Sunday, April 29, 2018

Trove Of Art

I packed over twenty five paintings and took along a portfolio of hand made prints to make the one day drive from Santa Fe to Oklahoma City. The Arts Council here sponsors a six day event with a trove of art and artists, music, and food. The hours manning my booth are long and sometimes the people become a blur, but I am thanked often for showing up to share my art.

Two of the first buyers came back the next day to add to their Boone collection . . .

This is the last day and when the show ends at 6 PM, I must pack my art back into the van and begin driving home.

I have made enough sales that the time has been worthwhile. Also, I brought along my field easel and art supplies and made a few paintings. One of these I sold while it was still wet.

The photos included here are of some collectors who bought my work at the show.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Kindness Towards The Outside World

Have you ever heard of the phrase, random act of kindness? According to Wikipedia, the free online dictionary, it describes "a non-premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world.

Almost exactly eleven years ago, I was on the receiving end of such kindness and it is as fresh today as it was when it occurred. That is the nature of such deeds; to remain always young, vibrant, and with everlasting fragrance.  

I was visiting a friend in Rutigliano, a village in the Puglia region of southern Italy. I wrote about the episode, and here it is again: 


Sometimes while I am outdoors painting, my activity arouses people’s curiosity. In the old quarter of Rutigliano, in a neighborhood of stone streets so small cars cannot enter, I set up my easel and painted. A dozen or so curious people at various times arrived at my side to look. Youngsters especially were unafraid to approach. An old, slow moving, toothless fellow came along and took a pleasurable interest. He spoke but I could not understand, so I said in Italian, “I am an American artist, and can speak a little Italian, but not very well.” Turning to go, he halted and speaking in Italian, asked if I wanted a cigarette. After he was gone, I returned to my painting, and a few moments later he re-appeared and asked if I would like it if he brought some coffee. I said, “yes,” then he disappeared around the corner and five minutes later brought me espresso. For his random act of kindness, I thanked him profusely. He vanished again and I painted in earnest because the sun was moving across the afternoon sky causing the light and shadows to rapidly change so that my subject looked different with each passing moment. Twenty minutes later the fellow came again and strolled up, holding a plastic bag in his wrinkled hand. He opened and held it out, and I saw a pair of used, but nice, Italian leather shoes. Momentarily confused, I wondered what he was doing. The shoes looked about my size, and he pointed to my feet and then put the bag in my hand. Looking up into my face with a smile, he said something. I leaned over and kissed his whiskered cheek, then he shuffled away.

The original from 2007: Random Acts Of Kindness

Sunday, April 08, 2018

True Wisdom

The greatest thing you can do to cultivate true wisdom is to practice the consciousness of the world as a dream.  -Paramahansa Yogananda

In 2008 while I was traveling for one year around the world, life became THE DREAM. It was a subtle shift in my consciousness. As I relaxed into my new role of adventurer and observer, I realized how fluid life is—and how obstinately hard my consciousness had become with years of built up mental formulations. I determined to let go and be in flux. I shook off notions of nationality, race, wealth—all the usual prejudices that are obstacles to oneness. The more I let go, the more I realized the world is phenomenal, fluid—and ever shifting sands.

If the sound of waves outside my door kept me from falling asleep, I laughed at how accustomed I had become to silence at bedtime. If I found myself in a crowd of strangers in Africa, and I was the only white person, I delighted how the kaleidoscope of human colors before my eyes shifted radically to ebony. Deep in the blackness I went "clubbing" with new acquaintances in Nairobi; dancing all night. Some people must have thought they were dreaming to see me, just as I knew I was in THE DREAM experiencing the night, the African milieu, music and being lost in it.

In Rome, I missed a long distance flight because I was confused by the 24 hour clock. My plane was scheduled to leave at 01:30. I arrived just after noon, and at the ticket counter was told the flight had left 12 hours earlier at 1:30 AM. I was shocked and breathless for a few moments, but realized how THE DREAM had unfolded with a major surprise. I became observer and even laughed at how I stumbled and hurt myself.

During youth, occasionally my young mind would wander into zones that made me question “reality.” Then youthful angst would set in, and fear of being mentally ill would arrive. After all, aren’t we supposed to be on firm footing in the world, knowing from where we come and where we are going?

When, in the spring of 1997, I found myself in a cancer clinic with my oldest daughter, Naomi, who was seventeen, the surroundings seemed foreign, nightmarish. We did not belong there and I was confused. After waiting, a doctor came to us and announced with considerable concern that Naomi had a very large tumor in her hip and it was malignant. The cancer most likely had spread to her lungs and maybe brain. I sensed being in a dream. Reality had shifted so radically that I clearly perceived we were in an unreal world because in essence, we were okay, safe, protected in SPIRIT; even eternal. But death was all over us. What was real?
Six years previous to that episode, while on a family vacation in Oregon, I had a powerful dream that shook me to the core. When I woke I was devastated. The vision was full of mesmerizing and beautiful imagery, spiritual throughout, but I woke with a start when an arrow, sent by a spirit being, pierced the heart of a child next to me. The imagery and symbolism had been profoundly spiritual up to that point. What had happened?
The day at the cancer clinic, standing next to my child when the doctor gave his report I felt an arrow pierce my heart. How are the worlds bound together? What is “reality”? (For more about Naomi and I on our spiritual journey, see my award -winning book A Heart Traced In Sand)

After my extensive traveling I retained a sense of THE DREAM but it tapered off. Perhaps I needed flux. I needed uncertainty, mystery, enough constant change to keep me off balance. I began missing it enough that I have tried to cultivate the sense permanently.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

With Fresh Eyes

Often it happens that after I have spent hours in an art museum, when I come out onto the street, I see life differently—as if everything before my eyes is a painting. This effect lasts intensely for a few minutes and then wears off. But for those first moments, I am in an entrancing altered consciousness and seeing with new eyes.

(The above two images are an example. The image on the right is by famed French expressionist Jean Dubuffet. His work is in museums around the globe. The image to the left is a photo I took on a street in Granada, Spain.)

Viewing abstract non-objective art is so abstrusely personal it can seem to be anything in ones mind’s eye. Later, with an opened imagination out on the street, cracks in the pavement or ripped posters or the blur of traffic becomes art; because that is the way we have been thinking and experiencing visually. It has happened to me many times.

The image on the left below is torn poster paper I spotted on a street in Amsterdam, Holland. The image on the right is a large painting by the famous American abstract expressionist painter, Franz Kline.

Sometimes photography and art are closely related. A giant of twentieth century photography, Man Ray is on the left, (below). Henri Matisse's work, is on the right. He also worked in Paris at the same time, but is known for his drawings and paintings.

I love art! It expands my vision and creates new ways for me to see the world—with fresh eyes.