Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Cheer

It took me sixty years before I experienced being thrown out on the street. Thank God, I can laugh about it. My wife owns a home in White Rock, New Mexico, a community about 35 miles from Santa Fe, where my gallery and studio are located. I do not like living in White Rock, so I have kept a residence in Santa Fe. Traveling is my passion, and I choose not to own a home . . . that would tie me down. I rent places that are furnished, and come and go as I please. Heidi Of The Mountains stays with me one week, and then lives in White Rock the next and I go a couple nights to be with her.

Here is my story, to which I could laugh or cry—but mostly I laugh. A gentleman named Joe had come into my gallery, seeking representation for his photography. He owned a poodle dog, and became acquainted with Heidi, because, at the time, we owned a poodle puppy (since deceased.) The man and his wife had traveled out of the USA, and he called himself an “international” photographer. This fellow brought his wife in to meet us, then invited us to dinner at his house in the foothills of Santa Fe. We dined with them and began to become friends, sharing poodle stories and tales from overseas. I agreed to show the man’s photos for one month. Meanwhile, I had been occasionally sleeping in my studio, since I had a residential lease expire. The gentleman and his wife suggested that, since they had three homes in three different states, and they spent most of their time in Colorado, we could pay a small rent and stay at their home in Santa Fe, for a duration of four to six months. The woman, Sheila, told Heidi, “It is a win-win situation.” Initially, I had a slightly weird feeling about the suggestion, but agreed anyway.

The couple left town, and Heidi and I moved some belongings into the house. Although the home was outside of town, it was quiet and comfortable. Sheila and Joe had said that they might visit us for brief periods occasionally, but that we could remain. We lived at the house for three months with only one visit. Meanwhile, I took Joe’s work out of my gallery because it did not sell, and my own photography was selling. After that, things changed.

Just before Christmas, the homeowners arrived. I had known they were coming for a few days, so had done extra cleaning. Joe seemed less friendly, and I noticed that Sheila berated him when he tracked snow into the house. Heidi and I left after two nights, and went to White Rock. The day before Christmas, we received an Email demanding that we get our belongings out immediately. That would mean that on Christmas day, we were expected to move. Impossible, because we were with Heidi’s family that day, and furthermore, my daughter who I do not see often, had arrived from Chicago. Heidi said that from her experience as an officer of justice, they could not expel us on such short notice. But they did. They took all our belongings and piled them in their driveway, in the snow, covered with a tarp. They sent us an Email as explanation, citing several complaints, including that the kitchen dishes were not in the proper order in the cabinets, that we had clothes strewn around in our bedroom, and that we had tacked a blanket over the large window in our bedroom to block the cold air.

I have found another place to live—a sweet, furnished guesthouse, just a few minutes from my gallery, and close to my studio. Heidi told me she had sent light and love to Sheila and Joe but the message came back unopened. “Did you send them an Email?” I asked. “NO, it was telepathic,” she replied. And so, that is my little story of holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Worth A Thousand Words

My ritual of writing a blog every week has resulted in 350 posts to date. Once the cadence established itself, remarkably it took on a life of its own, so that the postings have occurred even from the far corners of the planet.

Usually, a story or theme presents itself during the week prior to my Sunday posting, but occasionally, Sunday arrives and I am at a loss to write anything. Fortunately, life is like a kaleidoscope, and with a little twist, fantastic shapes and colors arrive that offer new patterns for viewing.

I once took a poetry workshop from Arthur Sze, a poet laureate of the city of Santa Fe, where I live. It so happened that he collected poignant pictures, clipped from magazines and newspapers, and he used these images to provoke his imagination in new ways. I think that this is the power of images, for it is said, “One picture is worth a thousand words.”

The picture I include today is worth at least a thousand words.

While I was out photographing on the streets of Madrid, Spain, one summer day, I came to a bustling plaza, and as I wandered, I heard the jangling of coins in a cup. A man with no arms stood gripping a canister by his teeth and wagged his head to and fro, shaking coins to make them clink together. This was all he could do . . . his handicap was great. I felt pity, and wondered at his existence in such a state.

Later, I was on a street nearby, walking slowly, when I came upon the same man, seated on a curb, smoking a cigarette. Next to him on the pavement was a man with no legs. I stopped in my tracks in front of them. The man with no legs had lit the cigarette for his friend and put it in his mouth. I motioned to take their picture and they both grinned.

This photograph is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Heaven and Earth

“All Heaven and Earth
Flowered white obliterate...
Snow...unceasing snow”
― Hashin, Japanese Haiku: Two Hundred Twenty Examples of Seventeen-Syllable Poems

I live in a place that receives snow in winter, and although it can be inconvenient, it is also beautiful and poetic. When snow falls, the world changes in front of our eyes, it becomes silent, and shrouded, as if a blanket has been thrown over everything, and it is time to sleep.

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" J. B. Priestley

Today, as I drove to my gallery, I had to detour to take pictures of the magical landscape. It is only ephemeral, this vision, because as the sun warms the earth, the blanket melts away and sharp forms spring forth once again.

Did you know that very light snow is known to occur at high latitudes on Mars?

Here on planet Earth, the world record for the highest seasonal total snowfall was measured in the United States at Mount Baker Ski Area, outside of the town Bellingham, Washington during the 1998–1999 season. Mount Baker received 2,896 cm (1,140 in. - or 95 ft) of snow.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Laocoön and His Sons, Greek marble sculpture, 25 BC
David, by Michaelangelo, Italy, 1501-1504
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither..."
(The Book of Job 1:21)

Artwork, by its nature and essence, is meant to be shared and provoke reaction. When I post my artwork on Facebook, I am sharing my creativity and passion with a community of friends and acquaintances. Usually, I am posting my landscape paintings and photography. Occasionally, after considered forethought, I may post a nude, but then, I have to appear before the court of moral judgment, (at least in my mind), whereas with the other artwork there is no such hindrance.

Since I have made friends in Muslim countries who are now Facebook friends, I especially do not want to offend them with my nude postings, or for that matter, any prim occidentals.
NU ACCROUPI, by Pablo Picasso, 20th century

In western culture, we are accustomed to seeing wonderful depictions of nudes in art. Especially, ancient Greek civilization glorified the human form in art and rendered fabulous and inspiring stone sculptures idealizing it. As the centuries unfolded, the nude in art came into conflict with religious doctrines, but had sufficient respectability and integrity to withstand wholesale persecution—and thus continue being included in some societies as an emblem of high art. Today, when you look inside of art history books, the pages include many nudes. It seems artists cannot be cut off from the body.
Melody, oil on canvas, by Steven Boone, 2011

Facebook, in a sense, is a universal country. It cannot be dictated by the mores of one sector of the population without the risk of being shut down entirely, as in China or as it is closely watched by authorities in Iran and other fascist type states. Facebook, and other social media sites also have safeguards against pornography, which is a danger to society. The history of the nude in art is not pornography, but celebration of the glory and beauty of our human form—that which is closest to us.

"Art is never pure, we should keep it far away from the innocent ignorant. Yes, art is dangerous. If it is pure it is not art."
 Pablo Picasso, (Spanish; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Nobody Complained

Celebrating the festival of Diwali, Varanasi, India
Have you ever gone to a movie and been the only one in the theater? The lights dim and the movie begins and you have the entire space to yourself—your own private screening. Last Thursday, I was at work in my studio when Heidi Of The Mountains called from her desk at my gallery and said that only four people had come in since she opened. “Do you want to see a movie? The film Samsara begins at 3:45 this afternoon.” I thought about it a moment and realized that this is a very slow time for galleries on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, and said, “Sure, I will meet you.”

We arrived together at the ticket desk at the small art cinema. A young woman was the only person there. She took our money, gave us our ticket, served popcorn, and directed us into the theater. It was empty. My feeling was happiness that we could claim the entire space. We sat in the middle, leaned into each other and as we shared popcorn, the lights went off and the movie began.

The New York Times describes the documentary movie Samsara as “Around the world in 99 minutes, and no words.” Samsara is a Sanskrit word for the ever-turning wheel of life, and the film is a dream-like journey over the entire earth, with stunning time lapse filming that illustrates the constant flow of a changing world. A musical score accompanies the moving images, but no spoken words. We watched and discussed in normal voices the movie as it unfolded . . . nobody complained.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nothing Is Lost

At the temple of Karnak, Luxor, Egypt
Today’s blog is number 347. That is about 6 ½ years of writing. In the beginning, I wrote to bring attention to my artwork, but quickly, the writing became fuller—to encompass life and death, philosophy, religion, art and travel, and more. As I think of it now, I became disciplined and rarely missed a beat, even while living out of a suitcase, traveling constantly. The written recording, augmented with photographs, is useful and has led me to ponder how experience is never lost, but is computed in the mind of God.

I love the term Akashic Record. It is described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. Many people who have died and reached the portal of the next world, when by fate have returned to a resuscitated body, describe seeing their entire life pass in front of them. "Nothing is lost of either piety or sin that is committed by creatures. On days of the full moon and the new moon, those acts are conveyed to the Sun where they rest. When a mortal goes into the region of the dead, the deity of the Sun bears witness to all his acts. He that is righteous acquires the fruits of his righteousness there." (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Section 130, Ganguli trans.)

Ancient Egyptian Afterlife Ceremony

We all will do well to ponder our lives, and reflect on our doings. While I was in Egypt, I saw artwork that copied ancient hieroglyph’s depicting the journey into the next world, and the chain of events that marked that transition. A person’s deeds are recorded, and a panel of 14 judges makes an accounting for judgment. If all is well, the personality continues to meet the higher beings. If not, Ammut the god with the crocodile head and hippopotamus legs will devour the heart, condemning the deceased to oblivion for eternity.
For more about Ammut: .
For more about Ancient Egyptian Afterlife Ceremony.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Beautiful Landscape

"Old Adobe Wall" oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches,  1986
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch: 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890)

Painting completed my life.
Frida Kahlo (Mexico:July 6, 1907- July 13, 1954; born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón)

The beautiful landscape that is all around me begs to be painted. Often, here in Northern New Mexico, my senses have been filled to overflowing by the poignant colors, shapes and forms, illumined by pristine, arid light that subtly changes from morning until night. Being an artist for over thirty years, I have chased after the beauty I see, and sought to capture it on canvas.
"Abandoned Ranch Road" oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches, 1994

When I graduated Art College in 1976, I left the east coast and went to New Mexico because I knew I wanted to live in the wide open spaces, and I had heard that an art colony already existed there. I arrived in Taos and was introduced to some famous artists. Eventually, I migrated to Santa Fe and managed to establish myself as an artist. Mostly, I am known for my landscape paintings. I also paint portraits, still-lifes, some abstracts, and draw. Photography, mixed-media, and writing are other creative pursuits . . . yet, my landscape paintings are most popular.  Here are some samples from the past decades.
"Church At Ocate," oil on canvas, 1995

Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one's sensations.
Paul Cézanne  (French: 1839–1906)

"Rio Drama," oil on linen, 48 x 60 inches,  2011

When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing.
Jackson Pollock (American: January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956)
"Path to The Sunset," oil on linen, 48 x 60 inches,  2012

To see more, go to the website for Steven Boone

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Linked Forever

I am with Sarah when she was about 1 year
Both of my children, Naomi and Sarah, were born at home, but to different mothers. My eyes were the first to gaze upon them as they were brought into existence from their mother’s womb. I assisted during the births to the extent I could, offering encouragement and support.  With my first child Naomi, I cut the umbilical cord.
Naomi and Sarah

Today is the birthday of my second daughter, Sarah. Two midwives and myself attended her birth. Jean’s labor began the previous evening and Sarah was born around six on a cold morning, November 11, 1986.

Both daughters attended Waldorf School from elementary through 9th grade. For that, I think that they gained a well-rounded education that did not ignore their soul, but rather encouraged harmony between spirit and the physical world. Both girls went to public high school. Naomi died of cancer the year after she graduated, and Sarah has gone on to finish University with a major in dance, and now lives in Chicago.
Sarah Boone

I feel entirely blessed to be linked forever with these two souls. One is ahead of me, in the next world, and Sarah is beside me in this one. Naomi, because of the tremendous difficulty she faced gallantly before she died, I regard as my teacher. Sarah is my delight and a reminder of beauty and grace.
Sarah, 2011, age 25

Sunday, November 04, 2012


"Quantum Of Solace" Kolkatta, India
Here is a word that is not often used but ubiquitously seen: juxtapose. It means to place together and contrast two or more separate phenomenon. Juxtapositions are everywhere, e.g. the position of the sun relative to the horizon, the temperature inside as different from outside, a fat person standing next to a skinny one, or an old person holding a newborn child. In the arts, juxtaposing brings drama to work. A bright landscape painting is made more thrilling with dark shadows, music is deeper with climactic surges mixed with interludes of softer passages, and theater is fuller when humor and sadness both enter the stage.
"Tango Passion",  Mixed-media

Juxtaposition can be embarrassing and detrimental as well. We see this in current political campaigns, where one candidate proclaims himself as good and points to the other nominee in contrast, as bad. Class prejudice is built upon juxtaposing of extremes of wealth and poverty.

I use juxtaposition in my art and photography to bring drama and surprise to the work. While I was traveling and making my street photography, I often sought stark juxtapositions, such as setting my camera up and focusing on interesting walls so that people walking in front of me became blurred while passing by. In the photo I am showing here, an innocent oriental child, dressed in her native attire, stands in contrast to a violent western poster proclaiming an action movie. The dissimilarity adds to the intrigue and drama of the picture.

In my tango images, drama comes from juxtaposing stark light with the tension of male and female interaction that is intimate and ritualistic.

Juxtaposition gives us reference and allows our imaginations to soar.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gushing Water

"Little Church At Ojo Caliente" oil on linen, 9 x 12 inches
“I wonder how long this water has been pouring out of the ground . . . probably hundreds of years.” Heidi Of The Mountains mouth dropped open as we soaked in the hot springs near the gushing water. “How do you know that?”

We had arrived at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs in the late afternoon, after I had completed a painting of an old adobe church nearby. It seemed incredible that the gift of mineral water, hot enough to soak in, had been pouring 100,000 gallons a day out of the earth for centuries. “Well,” I said, “Before this spa existed, Native Americans dwelled here and used the water . . . the history goes back centuries.”

Four different types of mineral waters: lithium, iron, soda and arsenic, continually stream to the surface, revitalizing the many who come here to soak. I first visited about thirty years ago, when the place was a sleepy, rundown resort, mostly used by locals. Not only did I soak in the primitive pools in need of repair, but also drank the four types of mineral water. Since then, the place has been substantially upgraded, and now, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa is an international destination.

After we finished our soaking, and I had swam in the outdoor, spring fed pool, we were walking to the car in the brisk autumn air, and I asked Heidi if she had drank any of the water. “No” she replied. “The Lithia water would be good for you, since sometimes you get anxiety attacks.” I was half kidding her, because she is a hyper energetic type of person and I remembered how when I drank the water, it made me feel calmed; although the soaks in hot mineral water does that too.

In truth, studies have shown that: 
  1. Individuals with heart disease, learning disabilities, and incarcerated violent criminals were found to have lithium deficiencies (as measured through hair sample analysis).
  2. Research studies measuring the effects of trace levels of lithium, commonly found in lithia waters, have demonstrated neuroprotective abilities, improvements in mood and cognitive function, and positive outcomes as a treatment for manic-depressive disease.
  3. Research studies published the British Journal of Psychiatry 2009 found that communities with naturally occurring lithia waters have lower suicide rates, mental hospital admissions, incidences of crimes, and arrests related to drug addictions.
  4. On February 8, 2011, German researchers at Friedrich Schiller University Jena published their findings in the European Journal of Nutrition (Nature Publishing Group) indicating that lithia waters lead to an increased life expectancy in humans and metazoans.
  5. A clinical pilot study using ĔDJ lithia water from British Columbia is underway at the University of British Columbia. It will investigate whether daily use of lithia water will improve new brain cell formation (neurogenesis) and reduce neuronal oxidative stress.
For the entire lithia water article : wiki/Lithia_water

Sunday, October 21, 2012

True Currency

I believe experience is the true currency. And among experiences, the practice of virtue is of the highest value. Money cannot hold memory, cannot inform or teach, and although it represents happiness to most people, essentially, it is inert and without life.

Four years ago, exactly this time of year, I lived on a houseboat in Kashmir, India (see my blog, My Astonished Eyes.) My floating world was Dal Lake, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains. Water lilies drifted all around, and my houseboat was very comfortable with hand carved wood decoration throughout. I met local people who came to visit me and sell their crafts, and my servant Mansoor would paddle me to the nearby town of Srinagar.

Perhaps, a financial analyst would have advised me to keep my savings intact and not spend the way I was spending then—traveling around the world. The USA economy had begun a freefall and my savings were falling like most everyone else’s.  Yet, I was hungry to experience life in all its facets.

At the time, I called my existence and traveling THE DREAM. Along the way, I made paintings, took photographs and wrote. My bankroll was diminishing, but my inner treasury was growing rich with vivid life experience. Going forward without fear, I trusted that since I am DREAMING, a bigger hand controls destiny, and furthermore, scenes change—including scenes of birth and death, but EXISTENCE in THE DREAM only transforms—never ends.

Someday, THE DREAM will unfold my death. I believe I will witness this occurrence and then, step onto a different stage to continue to be in awe of how fantastic and inspired is the universe and its Creator.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sky Above, The Earth Below

The sky above, the earth below. So is human existence given reference and meaning by nature.

The sky represents limitless possibility, spirituality, constant change, and by the succession of light and darkness—advancement, retrograde, and the struggle for progress. The earth represents nature, sustenance, and the cycle of life and death.

How potent is the combination of earth and sky! In between is a horizon where the two meet.

Two days ago, the autumn winds blew chilly air over Santa Fe, and marked the end of summer. The skies grew dark with clouds and hail fell down with a rat-a-tat-tat sound. My gallery closed at five o'clock, and I knew by the battle going on above, with glinting light darting down through the moving holes in the clashing clouds, that I must find a place to watch and photograph the drama unfold. I asked Heidi Of The Mountains if she wanted to go with me, but she declined and said she would meet me at a friend’s house on the outskirts of town where we are house sitting.

I drove to a park that overlooks Santa Fe, and walked in the cold, blowing rain. Not a soul was around as I looked toward the sun, blocked by clouds in the west—but the view was a grey one. Nevertheless, I knew the potential existed for a fantastic sight because everything was changing rapidly. Cold, I got in my car and began driving to the house.

When I reached a two-lane highway going out of town, the sky was changing drastically. The setting sun was shooting rays of light low on the horizon and an ethereal color permeated the pregnant air. When I saw a rainbow, I pulled over to find a vantage point to capture it. I climbed a hill, but was stopped by a barbed-wire fence. Looking behind in the opposite direction I saw the plains and mountains veiled in supernal light. By now my artistic soul was completely enamored and excited. I had to find the perfect vantage to take pictures, even though I had no coat and was wet and shivering. Then my cell phone rang with Heidi complaining she was lost. I was only partly hearing her because my attention was focused on the sunset. Frustrated, she shouted in exasperation. I was torn, because the grand moment was about to disappear. I tried giving her instructions that she barely understood, and hung up. Turning once again to the drama unfolding, to my dismay, just then my camera battery gave out! Heidi called again, and I began driving back toward town to meet her. Along the way, I saw one of the most fantastic sunsets I have ever witnessed, and felt awe but also was chagrined that I could not photograph.
When it was all over and we safely arrived in the dark at the house on a mountainside, I felt something special had occurred, and while I “captured” some of it, the wild performance of earth and sky let me play along but could never agree to stop and wait.

Click to see more artistic photography.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Each Moment A Gift

There is a beach on Kauai that is my favorite swimming spot in the world. It is Lumahei beach—the same cove where the famous movie South Pacific was filmed. Recently, when Heidi Of The Mountains and I arrived, I went right in to the waves and began swimming. On a short ledge nearby, a middle-aged couple were jumping from the rocks into the water, and then clambering out to do it again. I had the thought “Have fun you two, because you will die soon!” Immediately, I wondered about my thinking . . . then decided against judgment, because in fact it is the truth. It is the truth for all sentient beings that life is short. Compared to the lifespan of mighty Sequoia trees that live over 2000 years, we live briefly, but compared to the age of twinkling stars in heaven, or the galaxies beyond, it is less than the time it takes for ray of light to glisten on a crashing wave.

Count each moment a gift because life is fleeting. Rejoice, because death will arrive sooner than later . . . so, like the couple on the rocks, jump joyfully into the swirling, limitless ocean—and swim.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ineffable And Awesome

Each morning, when Heidi Of The Mountains and I go to our car that is parked outside our bungalow in a tropical forest, a fresh flower has arrived on the hood or windshield. It is as if a wind fairy has thought to pluck it from a tree to delight us. Outside our back door is a fresh water stream that laughs as it runs over the rock and earth amid trees that drop flowers into it on its way to the nearby ocean. Ah, the ocean! What a marvelous, ineffable, and awesome presence. It informs all of life here on Kauai, Hawaii. As the ocean goes, so goes the island.

It is easy to be transported into fairyland here. The temperature does not fluctuate out of the comfort zone, gentle breezes play continually, the rain comes and goes and the sun arrives bringing rainbows, the volcanic earth is fertile and provides abundance, delicious fresh fish are always ready for the dinner plate, and the ocean is near enough to jump into.
If there is a downside to all of this, it is that it feels like being a kid at summer camp. You have tons of fun, but eventually you will get bored with the limited opportunities and want to go outside the boundaries. Meanwhile, the surrounding ocean is a formidable restraint and says, “My kingdom is vast, ferocious and uninhabitable, so do not venture here.”

It is remarkable, and one of the great mysteries of the greatness of human spirit that many years before modern times, people on crude rafts or by canoe ever arrived here at all.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Miraculous Cycle

Aspen Glory, oil on linen, 36 x 48 inches

The earth is tilting further away from the sun each day as the northern hemisphere enters the autumn season. All the plant life is responding to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Leaves are changing colors on trees that will soon be bare, and plants are busy casting seeds from spent flowers, ensuring that come spring, progeny will come forth to repeat the miraculous cycle of life.

I enjoy the cooler temperatures and changing colors, and relish the autumn season before it gets too cold. Especially, my artist eyes are dazzled by color. Here in northern New Mexico, the greatest display of color is found in the masses of aspen trees that grow on the mountainsides. They are called “quaking aspen,” because their small, heart-shaped leaves tremble at the slightest stirring of a breeze, and the light reflected off the leaves dances. In autumn, their color changes from pale green to brilliant gold. Because the aspen share a root system, they grow closely together, and the creamy white trunks shoot straight up in the air up to 100 feet. It is awesome to see entire mountainsides covered with aspen, shimmering golden before deep blue skies.

It is a favorite subject of mine to paint.
Autumn Path, oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

 To see more artwork, go to The Steven Boone Gallery, or Steven Boone Fine Art.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
  ~Albert Camus, (French, 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Destiny is Always Unfolding

Path into the Himalaya mountains.
“The future will take care of itself.”

This became my motto while traveling, and even now that I travel less, I believe it. Essentially, this thought promotes a feeling that destiny is always unfolding inexorably, so go with the flow without fear—when the future arrives, trust that it is meant to happen and be thankful.

My wife does not quite get this attitude, and she objects to my fearless living, especially when my savings plummet because I withdraw money to live fully according to my inspirations.

In fact, most people are afraid of “not having enough.” This means constantly struggling to keep assets to survive comfortably . . . especially in case money stops. Enough must exist to insure survival in emergencies.

Something strange happened to me after my oldest daughter, Naomi died. I gave up trying to hold on, and instead practiced letting go. I even stopped trying to hold onto my own life, and instead abandoned myself to what I call “the matrix.” This is the place where life and death is always shifting and dancing together. My marriage fell apart, my ex-wife bought my half of our home and I became “homeless,” leaving the USA to go around the world. For one year I lived in a state of flux, journeying through nineteen countries until I had gone completely around the earth. I occasionally found myself in places where people from my background would never tread—e.g. the slums of Cairo, Egypt, the ghettos of Nairobi, Kenya, a houseboat on a lake in Kashmir . . . but then, I always felt safe in “the matrix.”

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Chain of Life

“Wow, it is cold outdoors!” This is what Heidi Of The Mountains said when she got out of bed on Saturday morning. We have been accustomed to higher temperatures, and now a cold blast reached us to herald the coming autumn.

Here in Santa Fe, most of the trees are still green, but soon, they will begin to turn color as the russet hues of fall  arrive.

Now is the time of final harvest for farmers in this region, and our local farmers market is bustling on Saturdays. When Heidi Of The Mountains and I arrived in the morning, I had not taken ten steps when the colors so thrilled me that I ran back to my car to get my camera. 
All the fruit, vegetables and flowers had been plucked fresh and simply were bursting with vibrancy. And this is what nature does . . . it packs a punch at the end of summer to ensure that the seeds will survive until spring, and thus the chain of life is fulfilled once again.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Unique Brand

"Road To Bliss"
In business, it is important to create a “brand” which identifies a product as desirable to the public. There are many examples of highly successful branding in commerce, where the name and image become so engrained as to gain legions of faithful followers. Even in the wide-open realm of art, it is often remarked that to be successful, a brand must be established. There are many artists that develop a style that is uniquely their own, and when they become successful, they continue within the brand that they have developed, afraid to go outside its boundaries.

"Target Hangup"
I never have been able to live within creative boundaries. I like to experiment, and even though I have been most successful as a landscape painter, and established a recognizable style that could be called a brand, I have nonetheless continued going beyond boundaries. It would be much easier, and I would be richer if I just stayed on a branded track. People like dependability and are uneasy being surprised. They want to know that what they like is current, and not a passing phase.

Artists need to be able to go through phases and explore. This worked for Picasso, DaVinci, and a handful of other art greats, but for the most part, once an artist has developed a unique brand and is identified with it, he is also slave to it—at the risk of being rejected and having to start again from scratch.  
How did Pablo Picasso pull it off? The force of his personality became the brand. He was PICASSO—and everyone expected new surprises from his genius. This would not have worked for his American contemporary, Norman Rockwell, whose brand was his marvelous illustrations of homespun Americana. To change his formula even a little, would have elicited howls of complaint.  


I have written of this creative dilemma previously: The Tightrope Walker

See more Steven Boone artwork:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spirit Is Manifest

The tree on the right died at the same time as Chamo.
“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
Albert Einstein

When I traveled in Asia, I often saw homemade shrines with offerings to Spirit. These shrines held a place of sacred importance and took up but little space in a home or place of business. Often they sat in a corner somewhere. A figurine representing Buddha or Krishna, or another saint sat on a pedestal, and all around were placed offerings . . . candles, incense, food, money—even cigarettes. These offerings were given to please Spirit, and in so doing, the giver hoped to get a blessing in return. This might be health or healing, or prosperity, or any of many other forms of blessing.

I am aware that the spiritual world is powerful and invisible, and that it affects every element of our physical existence. Spiritual signs can be read from physical phenomenon.
Chamo, at about three months.

Recently, this was made apparent to me again when we lost our puppy, Chamo, to an illness. He had come to us with a hidden birth defect that caused him to become ill. He was operated on and recovered, but then became ill again, and we had to put him to rest. Two weeks before, I noticed one of the trees outside my art gallery was dying. It had stood in a vase outside the entrance—opposite another tree on the other side. When Chamo died, the tree died also.

I had seen this sign from Spirit, heralding death, on another occasion. When my daughter Naomi was eighteen, she was fighting cancer. As a child, she had brought home two pine tree sprigs, and planted them on our property. They sprang up and grew until I decided that they would be better at the top of our driveway, framing the entrance, so I moved them. They continued growing, and I often thought that they symbolized Naomi and I. At one point, midway through Naomi’s struggle, during a drought, one of the trees began withering, despite my watering it. At one point, Naomi arrived home from California where she was living and being treated, and the tree had died. She was upset and scolded me for moving it from its original spot. Naomi died soon afterward. I planted a new tree, which has flourished . . . as I am convinced that she is flourishing in the spirit world.
See my previous post: Endlessly Changing

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Endlessly Changing

“Physical bodies are transferred past one barrier after another, from one life to another, and all things are subject to transformation and change, save only the essence of existence itself -- since it is constant and immutable, and upon it is founded the life of every species and kind, of every contingent reality throughout the whole of creation.” - Abdu'l-Baha

This quote is so beautiful and profound. I found it because a few days ago my dog had to be euthanized in front of my wife Lori and I. He was not even one year old, but had come to us with weaknesses that led to his demise. In the brief time he was with us, he had made our hearts more open and full. Now, we were faced with ordering his death—and in that we were also dying a little.

During this sadness, I felt again the feelings I experienced losing my beloved daughter, Naomi, who died from cancer at the tender age of nineteen. I have always known Naomi went from one life into the next, and she is in an exalted realm now. But what about our dog, Chamo?

The way I have been living is so simple, that I do not even own a shovel, or piece of earth. Lori has a house 45 minutes from Santa Fe, but when we put down Chamo at 6 AM, August 16, I could not go back there immediately, so we had him cremated. And that is all that is left. Our memories of him fill us with emotion . . . but nothing else remains. In this world, only humans have rational souls that can communicate through all eternity, from every dimension.

As for the physical elements that were held together by divine love and made the creature that we called Chamo—they have returned to dust, to be scattered and rise again in many forms, endlessly changing in the play of cosmic unfolding.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Turning Point

"Claustrophobia and Insanity"

When I was in my late teens I was surprised to find violent darkness within myself. I will always remember that the surprise came when I suddenly had a violent thought, and the thought was directed at someone I was intimately close with. This experience came at me like a thunderbolt from the underworld and it shook me to the core. Life was not the safe place I relied on, especially now that my peaceful inner world had been violated. 

From that time on, I became guarded about the world, and worst, guarded against the vast mysterious places that existed inside myself and were the “invisible” realm of the universe. When I had unsettling thoughts typical for teenagers, I was shaken, and the divide against myself widened. Essentially, I could not accept psychological violence anywhere in the world or universe, and loathed it.

As I was so embroiled, I continued to be an avid reader, and read heavyweight books, especially classics like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, and Crime and Punishment, and various books on psychology. I began reading a book in my mother’s vast arsenal of literature, called Our Inner Conflicts, by the esteemed German psychoanalyst, Karen Horney. This book had a profound impact on my thinking, and I realized that I must not set up ideal pictures of life to enforce, but rather accept all of it, including the darker, less ideal parts. I must discover myself, rather than idealize. To do otherwise would only lead to neuroticism. 

I began practicing allowing all my thoughts and feelings to flow uninhibited through my being. Immediately, I sensed freedom and even joy, but also great fright because of the power of the demons that lurked within. 

About this time, I had also become religious, having joined the Baha’i Faith. I reached a crucial turning point of continuing on a path of freedom, joy, and suffering, or turning to embrace only the light and reject the dark. I succumbed to my fear and went on a path of war—the war of light against dark. Essentially, I fell back into the war of opposites. This led to even deeper suffering.

Over the course of many years, my perceptions have shifted countless times. I perceive this physical existence as illusion and I am unafraid of death or the darkness it represents. Life is THE DREAM, and I am actively watching and participating, but know that I cannot be harmed by experience.