Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Unseen Hand

An unseen hand is holding my fragile life. I can feel it. A little more than a year ago my beloved father passed away, and then my wife decided to leave too. Before she left, something was prompting me to pray each day, “Oh God, satisfy my needs, redeem my debts, protect me from deceit, and help me to see the truth.” Pretty soon, all my debts had cleared away, and it became apparent that my wife was not devoted to marriage. OK, that hurt and still does, but almost immediately after our separation, abundance began increasing for me in many ways. Despite my heartbreak that re-opened the wound I have of my daughter's death in 1999 at the age of nineteen, and perhaps my father's death too, I could see good happening and it was as if I was attracting it. As if a tender gardener were lovingly revivifying a crushed flower whose stem was broken. I have been aware and thankful of this and been praying at least an hour a day . . . as well as reflecting and writing.

"The Last Drama", oil on linen, 48 x 60 inches

An example of grace relates to something I wrote about last week (See: Rain On The Parade). I am an artist and have no certain income. It fluctuates depending on if my artwork sells. At this time, I do not have a gallery representing me, but sales have been occurring anyway. I had been accepted to participate in an outdoor art festival in Denver, Colorado, and decided to go all out and have two booths rather than one. There were numerous exhibition fees involved, and travel costs including a downtown hotel, etc. but I had a feeling I might do well.

From the start the weather was bad. I mean by the middle of the second day I knew I was finished. My booth was flooded and people were barely coming to the event. The first evening had been clear for a brief period and there had been promise because I had made good contacts but it was all downhill afterward and I considered the whole affair a loss by Saturday evening. I left early Sunday, despite the sky being clear, because the forecast was for more storms and I did not want to be trapped trying to take down my art in the rain. None of the artists were happy about the show, and a few were leaving early like me. I drove one day and arrived back home in Santa Fe, calculating my loss.

But grace had something in store for me, because from a contact the first night, my biggest painting sold through email conversations! I am shipping it back to Denver to a happy couple who will hang it over their fireplace. Grace and the unseen hand.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rain On The Parade

Hare Krishna people, chanting in downtown Denver, Colorado
Life is seldom what we expect. For instance, I packed my artwork in my van and drove for one day to arrive in Denver, Colorado for an art festival. Typically, I make good money selling paintings. This time, the morning of setup it was raining, and although it stopped by the time the festival began at 4 PM Friday, it was drizzling on and off. This is an outdoor event and I had two tents. The first evening I made good contacts for possible large sales. The next day was miserable with cool air and torrential rain that became hail. Parts of the field became flooded, and my booth as well. More bad weather is forecast and the art buyers are absent. I am leaving at day break to pack up and depart early Sunday. My hopes and expectations were rained upon, and I lost money not to mention my time invested.

After I shut my booth mid-afternoon Saturday, I went back to the hotel, and then the sun came out for  a little while. A big rock music festival raged downtown, and I mingled in the crowds, people watching, taking photos, and feeling joy while realizing how easy it is to be happy when I lose barriers and become one with the world. I love the streets of the planet, where I witness and record the parade of humanity.

I pay my dues being an artist, but I am addicted to the life.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Venice Reflections, oil on board, 20 x 16 inches
I love the word élan. When I make private affirmations of inner qualities I like to think I have, I include it. The dictionary describes élan as: energy, style, and enthusiasm. The thesaurus gives synonyms such as, flair, style, panache, confidence, dash, éclat; energy, vigor, vitality, liveliness, brio, esprit, animation, vivacity, zest, verve, spirit, pep, sparkle, enthusiasm, gusto, eagerness, feeling, fire. I love all those words too!

And this is how I want to live the rest of my days . . . with élan.

Although it is a bit unpredictable and maybe not following precaution, I am planning to sell off possessions and leave the United States in September, not knowing when I might return. I know that I will begin in Venice, Italy for a month. I have Venetian friends that look forward to my arrival and they are helping to find an apartment. After that, I don't know. Spirit will take me.
The Gondoleer, digital photo
Once, when I was living in Venice, I was walking with my friend Lycia. We were heading toward a canal to cross a small stone ponti (bridge). Two men were by the canal, arguing heatedly and pointing fingers. In that moment, my élan emerged and without thought, I grasped both of their hands in mine and held them together. They looked up at me in shock. I let go, smiled and walked on with Lycia. She asked me if I understood them. I answered no, not really. She said, “That was a Jew, arguing with an Arab man!”

It was élan that allowed and propelled me to enter the space of the two arguing men and act as I did. I hope to always have this quality . . . if only for surprise.
Night In Venice, digital photo

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Higher Level

Nepal Earthquake
Last night I went with a friend to a benefit that she organized to raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal. Over 7000 have been counted dead, and many are injured and homeless. My friend had just returned from living there, and has been actively raising funds to assist the Nepalese.

The reason for such calamities is mostly inscrutable to our minds. Is it just chance and chaos in nature? In the annals of recorded human history, there have been many such disasters, some taking not just thousands of lives, but millions, i.e. the bubonic plague in the middle ages in Europe, famines in India, disease that came with European settlers to America that wiped out millions of native Americans who had no resistance. The deadliest earthquake in history hit the eastern Mediterranean in July 1201. Approximately 1.1 million people were killed, mostly in Egypt and Syria.

"Slave" by Michaelangelo
If we look at the world as a big object of art . . . it is constantly being made. From an artists perspective, I can say this, that often in the best artwork, flaws and shortcomings are discovered as the piece takes shape. For unskilled people, this is unsurmountable and brings the project to a halt or inconclusive ending. But for the more advanced creator, it just propels the process into a loftier, more exalted state.
Often, so called accidents are used by the skilled artisan to get to a higher level than if these accidents had not occurred, because an opening is seen that was not there before.

Is the disaster in Nepal a blessing in disguise? This is from an article that appeared in todays New York Times:
“More than 80 charities and government agencies have poured into Nepal since the quake to work on its well-documented water and sanitation problems. Nepal’s water ministry has held routine meetings with them in its biggest conference room, which is still not large enough to accommodate the scores of people who show up in T-shirts and vests emblazoned with the bright-colored logos of their organizations.
They are coming to a country that was already among the world’s most unsanitary, with a 2011 government survey finding that 45 percent of Nepalis did not use toilets, one reason 82 percent of drinking water supplies are contaminated with fecal bacteria. A study found that about 11 percent of Nepali children have diarrhea at any given moment, which contributes to the stunting that affects more than a third of the nation’s children, according to government figures.
'The risk is that an already bad situation gets much worse,' said Mr. Rautavaara of Unicef. 'But at the same time, this is a massive opportunity for the sanitation movement.' ”
Click for the full article

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Embracing With Love

Every woman has masculinity and every man has femininity. This is how the sexes relate—otherwise, there could be no understanding. At this time in my life, I do not have a woman partner and it is occasion for me to come into my independent understanding of the yin-yang balance within myself. I made a list of the characteristics of my inner woman and inner man. I picture them meeting and embracing with love, breathing deeply of each other, replenished as if drinking from the same crystal spring, dazzled by the same over-arching heaven.
My inner female:
Beautiful, kind, healthy, radiant, one with nature, honest, faithful, speaks to plants and animals, sexually attractive, laughs and is playful, wealthy, honors the sacred and gives abundantly.
My inner male:
Strong, resilient, healthy, caring, handsome, adventuresome, bold, has elan, a knight, virile, unhindered, creative, capable, rich, abundant, attractive, truthful, has integrity.