Saturday, January 29, 2011

Infinite Worlds

What we know with our mind is but a drop in the ocean, for vast realms exist outside our experience. We struggle to understand ourselves, and nature, and make feeble efforts to go further into the universe, but alas, the finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite. We live within vast mystery. One of our biggest puzzles is the world of Spirit. Since birth, we have come to understanding through physical imprints. For instance, we learn numbers by counting objects, and we learn speech by associating sounds with actions and things that can be seen or touched. We learn the laws of nature by falling, or burning our fingers, and experiencing the revolving days and nights. Yet, the Spirit world exists beyond the confines of the physical realm, and for this our understanding is limited—which leads to speculation, and arguments of faith. I, for one, believe there are infinite worlds and that just as there are elemental kingdoms, so too, there are Spiritual Kingdoms that are even vaster since they are not bound by time and space.

Many years ago I had a dream: I stood alone at night on a grassy knoll and gazed up at the starry sky. A little cluster of bright lights caught my eye and I recognized the Pleiades, also known as the “seven sisters” in the constellation Taurus, (my sign). I pondered the light reaching my eyes and realized the immense space between me and the stars. Light from stars can take billions of years to reach us. I thought, “How could God be in me and at the same moment be so far away in the farthest reaches of the universe?” I was confused that He could be so intimately in my life and intimately in life throughout the cosmos, even billions of light years away. No sooner had I had the thought when a voice spoke from behind my shoulder, “He is closer to you than your own life vein!” At that instant, space collapsed to nothing and I realized the oneness of The Creator.

The Spirit world permeates all of our physical existence and furthermore, informs and comprehends everything. If we watch closely, we can be in touch with angels. This requires that we get outside the confines of rigid thinking. Then, we can see signs from Spirit in dreaming, through nature, especially plants and animals, and even in numbers.

After my beloved daughter Naomi died, signs appeared that lifted me from grief. I will just relate a few: A peach tree we planted on our property was always but a stick, with a paltry plumage of leaves and no fruit. A nearby peach tree did fine, but not this one. After Naomi died, almost like a miracle, this thin, withered tree made  a basketful of delicious peaches. This happened one year only—immediately after Naomi had gone into the Spirit world. I took this as a sign that she had gone into a place of abundance and fruitfulness, and was giving us confirmation through the plant kingdom that all was well and not to be sad, but rather, glad. Another time, on the first anniversary of her passing, a group of us gathered in my back yard to pray and remember her great and gentle spirit. We all had written prayer wishes and wrapped them into small pouches, then tied them to a long cord. Standing in a circle, holding the cord between us, we each spoke from our hearts, remembering Naomi. A gentle mist fell, and suddenly a rainbow appeared. When the last words were spoken we stood silently, when out of the blue, two doves appeared directly above our circle and began an incredible dance that astonished and mesmerized us. The birds plunged down in a tight spiral, their wings almost touching, then paused and spiraled upward only to plunge in a spiral down again. Then they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. It was a once in a lifetime sight. We were all breathless, and not word was spoken until a woman shouted, “Thank you Naomi!” And a child chimed in, “I hope she keeps sending us messages like that, showing us that everything is okay!”

I have further observations about how Spirit world speaks to us in numbers, but I will save that for another time.

To read more about Naomi, see: A Heart Traced In Sand

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everyone Is Colored

Whenever I hear the term “people of color”, there is a deafening silence that ensues. The silence is my own, since I object so much to the term and have to swallow it quietly. Certainly, this particular saying is the offspring of America’s troubled racial history—when it was necessary to separate people by skin color. I have traveled the world and know firsthand that to describe someone as “colored” in a country like say, Egypt, would bring laughter and bewilderment. It is so obvious that everyone is colored.

To say “people of color” is like saying “apples of the trees” or “horses of four legs” and yet, people continue to make use of this phrase and it is often heard in otherwise serious conversation. I have written on this subject before, see: People Of Color.

Recently, I have been working on a series of images using photos I took several years ago. At the time, I arranged to work with a very light skinned young woman, and asked her if she would model with a male. She told me her roommate would probably agree, and that he was black. Immediately, I welcomed this arrangement and soon, we were in my studio to work together. The entire session was delightful, especially since the two young people were perfectly at ease with each other and uninhibited enough to be naked and close and without tension. They were like little children—innocent, free, and untainted by guilt from notions of original sin.

I have been re-visiting the images from those sessions. With my wide-format printer, I can print on paper or canvas, up to almost four feet wide. Then I stretch the canvas on to stretcher bars, as I normally do with paintings. After that, I can paint them, making them into more than simple photographs. They become mixed-media art.

While I work, I love the contrast between her pale skin tones and his rich, chocolate color. In places, I intentionally blur areas that separate them, so that they are melding together.

See more Steven Boone Artwork

Sunday, January 16, 2011


The cold days of winter have wrapped their icy fingers around me. To step outside is to shiver against the elements. My girlfriend, Heidi of the Mountains, has escaped to a secluded beach in Costa Rica where she writes me love letters and describes long walks on beaches, swims in the sea, relaxing hours spent observing monkeys in the trees surrounding her deck, and adventures with her girlfriend exploring the surroundings.

Meanwhile, my daughter and ex-wife are in Hawaii, swimming in the ocean, snorkeling among sea turtles and hiking among wild orchids.

This is the time of my oldest daughter’s birthday. Naomi was born January 11, 1980 and since she died in 1999, I have always come a bit undone when her birthday comes around. In some ways, I lose my bearings and free-fall into a state of bewilderment. One year on her anniversary, I was in a car accident (my fault) and in 2008 while I was in New Zealand, on her birthday I slipped and fell down an embankment near a river, crashing down with my camera, hitting my head on a rock and briefly going unconscious. My camera lens smashed and I had to find a hospital to stitch me up.

In my last letter to Lori, (Heidi of the Mountains), I told her to have fun and bring me back good stories. I am not jealous because each moment life knocks on my door and offers surprise and revelation . . .  wherever I am, I do not need to be somewhere else. Yesterday, I was selling some imported things at an indoor flea market and met a man who had chiseled good looks—like an older Anthony Quinn. He tried on several sheepskin hats I was selling, and looked good in anything he tried. We spoke, and shared warmth between us. He bought the hat, and invited me to come visit his workplace. He is a hair stylist and artist. I said maybe I would see him. He turned and looked earnestly in my face and asked, “Just say yes or no. Are you going to come or not?” I was taken aback but realized the value of his directness. “I like to be positive” he said. I told him I would definitely come visit. After he left, other fascinating people arrived, and all this is to say, life is full and wonderful, whether in the cold of winter or a sunny tropical paradise.

In a couple weeks I will be driving with my art to Orlando, Florida for an exhibit, then on to Miami for the Coconut Grove Art Festival. I will be in warm, sunny Florida for almost three weeks.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


What is a muse? Muse in Greek mythology, is one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. Muses inspired and presided over the different creative arts. Sometimes artists are well aware that something bigger than themselves has taken over their creativity. In these moments they become like a hollow reed upon which a mysterious wind blows a sublime and fathomless melody. Afterwards, the startled artist steps back and says, Wow! Where did that come from?

As William Blake so eloquently wrote, the muse allows us
To see a World in a Grain of Sand, 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

Thomas Edison was a great inventor, but I take issue with his statement, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” I believe that when Michelangelo, at the age of twenty-four, produced his colossal sculpture, David, he was completely inspired by a force greater than himself that blew through his every fiber, giving him strength. Certainly he was a unique channel and his talents begged for inspiration that attracted Spirit.
One of the greatest minds of all time acknowledges as much. Albert Einstein said: “One of the most beautiful things we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. 
” And he said, “To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.”

Imagination is the ability to dream while awake and in that heavenly state, be surprised by the “sirens songs,” blowing from across eternity. Walt Whitman knew this. The great American poet wrote:

As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under the trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love,

Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,

Or watch honeybees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon...

Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, 

Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring...

What stranger miracles are there?

The greatest artists, writers, inventors, et al. know that to truly be fulfilled is to actually lose oneself and wander in mystery . . . to be guided by strangeness and trust that a wild ride is towards the mystical ocean that is the beginning and end; both.

“I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.” Jackson Pollock

When I was but a twenty-two year old art student, my homework was to do a self-portrait. Every night I stood in front of a mirror and painted. The task was arduous for I stared at myself for hours on end, trying to faithfully represent myself in oil paint on canvas. But something took over so that I became inspired to continue. In the end I produced a painting that went beyond myself and once I stepped outside of the creative reverie and brought my painting to class, I thought did I do that?  Well, I did, but my muse stood next to me, singing her siren songs.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Magical Territory

"Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?" Friedrich Nietzsche

“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.” Fredrico Fellini

I live on a hillside in a home nestled among a cluster of dwellings. When Santa Fe had it’s big snowstorm last week, my vehicle was buried in snow and ice, so I decided to just wait until conditions improved before trying to drive. But I am not the type who can stay at home for long. While the snow came down one afternoon, I went for a walk and took my camera. Everything was a blur of white, and I had to be careful not to fall on the steep terrain. In the silence I walked, carefully choosing my steps. Soon, the poetry of nature was casting a spell and I became entranced by familiar surroundings that had drastically changed their countenance. Colors were subdued to tones of white, broken by objects not completely concealed in snow. Soon, I was covered with snow as well. I made my way to the small creek at the foot of the hill and though my feet were cold and fingers inside my gloves were chilled, I plunged down the snowy embankment to explore. I have written previously about this area, and you can read how only recently, it was ablaze in fall color: Stopped In My Tracks.  Now, whiteness prevailed. The beauty took me by storm, and I walked, stopping to take pictures.

There are times for artists during creative moments when an inner contentment is reached. Their passion is heightened and happiness is found—so that nothing else matters except being in the “zone”. Think of Michelangelo, working on his back for hours high upon scaffolding in the Sistine Chapel. Sometimes paint would drip in his face and his body ached, but he was ecstatic, oblivious to the outside. When he reached home, bone tired, the spell was still upon him and he slept in his clothes with his shoes on, only to go back again the next day.

How often the siren song of the creative muse drowns out everything else . . . so that time vanishes and hours fly away in moments. I have missed appointments because of being in the zone.

During the snowstorm, as I became more excited by the magical aspects of my surroundings, I entered the magical territory. Nothing else mattered . . . the cold or even the oddness of stepping in the creek while taking pictures. My muse stood by my side and I was happy as a lover with his beloved.

“Reverie is not a mind vacuum. It is rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.”   Gaston Bachelard