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

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