Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time and Space

Sunset at Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
When I was a little boy, living in my childhood dreamworld of imagination and wonder, life resembled a beneficent sea surrounding me on my blissful island home. I lived in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and I remember that in my contentment of the fullness of space and consciousness, the future seemed far beyond the horizon and out of sight. I did not have sufficient experience of time and space, so I could not project ahead. When I was about six years old, in 1958, I knew that the year 1960 was coming, but it seemed an eternity would have to pass before arriving there. In other words, the distance of two years seemed an eternity.
Fifty three years have passed since 1960 has come and gone, and it could be the blink of an eye. When my wife and I argue about something and perhaps the matter is blown out of proportion, she has taken to philosophy to remedy the emotions. She says, “In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big issue.” I understand the sentiment, and agree immediately that the bigger picture of life holds the solution to everything.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


This afternoon I finished an oil painting on panel, and stood back to see if I liked it. The subject appealed to me—two cockatoo birds, sharing a nut between their beaks. The painting came out well enough and I considered it a success. I measure my portraits a success if in the end, the subject seems to speak in some way . . . as if imparting a message. The birds seem alive, and joyful in their camaraderie.
Often when I finish a painting I photograph it and post it to my Facebook page. I posted this picture, and right away, Colleen, my cousin's wife in Atlanta messaged me asking the price. We chatted this way, and she bought the artwork immediately. So, between the time I posted the picture and the time it sold, maybe five minutes elapsed. Colleen said the work had special meaning for her because she had been a zoo docent for 4 years and knew the birds.
My cousin Greg died a few years ago and left Colleen bereft. I call the painting “Lovebirds.” That is what Greg and Colleen were . . . and now, when Colleen sees the painting in her home, she can be reminded of her eternal union with Greg.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I love the possibilities of living without constraint. Of course, this is impossible, and society requires that its citizens be constrained. In some cases, constraint is advantageous, e.g. when we constrain our eating to only include healthy food and limit its consumption. There are many examples of constraint acting to safeguard what is good.

Yet I have always had trouble with aspects of constraint such as reticence, guardedness, formality, self-consciousness, awkwardness, and obstruction. Deep down, I refuse to be choked off, and from an early age resisted wearing a tie—feeling uncomfortable with any constraint around my neck.

When I was in art college, I made a logo that symbolized myself. It came from my unconscious and arrived quite easily. It is a box, with two half circles bursting out and up . . . as if acknowledging the structure and support, yet being free.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

I Only Feel Elation

I call my wife Heidi Of The Mountains. When we first began spending devoted time together about four years ago, we liked to hike in the mountains, and she enjoyed it so much that when I looked at her with her blonde hair as she hiked, I called her Heidi Of The Mountains. The name stuck, and at times, she has insisted that is what I must call her—Heidi. It is the only way I refer to her online.
A few days ago, we awoke to a fresh blanket of snow, with flakes continuing to fall from the gray sky above. Not to be stopped, we took our dog and snow shoes and drove along the blanketed road toward the Santa Fe Ski Basin, into the mountains. We parked at a trail head, and were completely alone. Our dog Gracie, immediately began frolicking, thrilled to be in the winter wonderland. Indeed, we all felt happy and lunged merrily into the magical woods. The snow continued falling and the temperatures were below freezing, but we were bundled in winter clothes, together by ourselves in the wilderness, and in silence among the snow-laden trees of the forest.
Following a barely traceable trail, deeper and deeper we went . . . the snow falling gently, everything shrouded in white, and serene. The only sound was our feet crunching in the snow, and our voices as we talked or laughed. Occasionally we would stop just to listen to the silence. Nothing, broke the impasse, not wind in the trees or bird song. Gracie would stop too, and listen.
At one point, Heidi Of The Moutains said, “My hands are cold, are yours?” I replied, “I don't know, because I am so entranced and happy, I only feel elation!”

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Greater Reality

What is distance? It is a system of measurement determined by space and time. Arbitrary units are devised, e.g. minutes, hours, inches, feet, miles, meters etc., to allow for a common agreement and understanding among human beings. These units of thought govern our physical lives and are the basis of our cooperation and communication.

But what about dreams? Dreams exist in other worlds beyond time and space. Cultures that value dream consciousness are most often dominated by those that place greater value with “facts.”

I love the realm of art, because “facts” can be blurred, twisted, or re-arranged. A blue sky can turn pink, a wristwatch can melt, a person can sport both eyes on one side of a face . . . anything can happen. In poetry too, a tree can grow from inside of a heart, birds can flutter forth from thought, an elephant can appear in a living room . . . limitations are obliterated.

Once I was on a trip with friends. We were going to visit a Navajo man who lived on a reservation in New Mexico. We stopped along the way to visit other friends at their home in a town called Gallup. As I sat in a chair, relaxed and at ease, I fell into a dream state, and suddenly arrived at the Navajo man's home. He was outdoors, building a house, brick by brick, trowel in hand. I awoke from this vision, and a couple hours later, we drove up a long dirt road and when I saw the same Navajo man, it was exactly as I had seen him earlier, in my vision. How was it that in dreaming, I escaped the bounds of time and space and arrived at a greater reality?