Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2023

Night of Carnival

I was slightly fearful of creating this particular unforgettable experience. I spoke with a psychologist about going to Rio de Janeiro for carnival, explaining I knew how hedonistic the trip could be and how my nature was sort of wild with some chaos thrown in to the mix. He smiled, confirming what we both knew. I booked my trip and went to South America for three weeks, including a night of carnival in the sambadrome February 14, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio indeed becomes quite a swirl of exuberant activity during carnival. Millions take to the streets and of course the main event is samba parades in the sambadrome. Five nights of parades.The parade starts at 9:30pm and it goes until 5-6am. Each of the six Samba Groups have 82 minutes to parade. Each group includes up to 3000 participants. 

There are also balls preceding the samba events. Each ball is based on a theme. The one I attended was called Red & Black, the colors of a favorite Brazilian soccer team. I had paid my fee before leaving the US, so had time to shop for clothes that were red and black. In particular, I found an awesome black shirt with red lightning designs.

The ball began at 11 PM and went until dawn. I took a cab from my hotel and arrived as other international people were stepping into the cavernous ballroom; dressed in red and black of course. The music and dancing was incredible, and because people were also getting inebriated the floor swirled with bumping and grinding. I got in the middle of it all, just feet from the stage where along with the band playing salsa and samba, scantily clad girls made shimmering ripples with their bodies . . . I had never seen flesh quiver like that.

The sambadrome holds perhaps 90,000 people and some carnival nights include higher ranked samba groups. I went on one of the best nights: Sunday. I also paid for one of the best spots to sit. The most I will ever pay. Not saying how much . . . but it got me an incredible view where I took pictures all evening and morning until my battery gave out just before dawn.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Shooting Star


The mid wife looked up at me from where my newborn child lay and asked, “Do you want to cut the cord?” It was a special moment in the living room of our little house. The doctor stood nearby and my tired but happy wife lay on her back with the baby on her stomach.

Doctor, at birth of Naomi

Morning light streamed in the bank of windows nearby. I took the scissors offered me and cut the cord—separating mother and child. About a foot of cord stayed attached to my daughter’s navel. I hardly could take my eyes off her, marveling at her perfection. The day: January 11, 1980. 


Tomorrow would be her 41st birthday. Naomi died when she was but nineteen.

There are countless mysteries in life, and most of them will not be unravelled. I will have many questions when I cross over to the other side to reunite with Naomi and my ancestors. Then, as I stand in the light of truth and divine love, understanding will be given.

Colored pencil drawing Naomi made hours after learning of her cancer

One mystery that haunts me is the dream I had when Naomi was 12. I woke up with a feeling of extreme sadness and dread and then wrote the details down. It was a marvelous dream in all respect—full of awesome symbols of power and beauty—yet in the end the death of a child occurred. I could not understand its importance and even went to a psychologist to unravel the meaning. I made a painting using its images. Then, when Naomi was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 17, I thought about the dream again. 

I will carry this mystery with me until the end of my days.

In the dream, which occurs at dusk, after witnessing an amazing flock of birds fly by, I ask for a sign and it is given immediately—a shooting star racing through the evening atmosphere, fiery, fast and bright—just above barren winter tree tops. More events unfold, before the sudden surprise ending that left me gasping when I awoke.

And so too, Naomi’s life was short and bright, for especially in the two years of her struggle at the end, she incandescently shed light as her life burned up. 

I am filled with a wonderful sense of happiness. It is an indescribable sense of utmost freedom and joy. When I am in touch with it I just think, Oh, God, thank you for this beautiful body and life. I have learned how to use THANK YOU throughout everything.
  —Naomi, age 18

The book I wrote about Naomi is available in print and digital edition: A Heart Traced In Sand

Sunday, January 27, 2019


The image, called The Traveler, is blurry. The mysterious human subject is a man but has been mistaken as woman. Strange light and shadow are all around, with golden luminescence falling from above onto the lone figure who is otherwise dark. The scene is absent of color and the landscape is so amorphous as to be almost anywhere . . . including another world.

The image is popular in my gallery. 0riginally a photograph, I manipulated it somewhat in photoshop. I print it on canvas, stretch it on stretcher bars like a painting, and work on it with other materials so that in the end it is called mixed-media on canvas.

To take a photograph is often called, “the capture.” Usually but a split second. I like the term because it describes indelibly recording a moment in time and preserving it for viewing later in the form of a picture. Most photographers are trained in camera fundamentals and techniques, then use fine equipment to set up shots that are esteemed for detail, contrast, proportions of light and dark, as well as subject matter that is universally acknowledged.

Not so this photo. In October 2008 I was living in Kashmir, India on a houseboat on Lake Dal, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. One day I set out with the owner of the boat to ride horses in the mountains and trek. The day was marvelous and included a stop in a village where I painted and met locals. On the the way back, as the sun was going down we drove on a primitive road that twisted down along a river. Occasionally we went by homes and people. I was rather delirious with joy, feeling the air streaming against my face, full of happiness for the encounters of the day and all the beauty I experienced. I had experimented with using my camera for shooting pictures that included my movement and the turning of the earth . . . in other words, taking photos that did not try and stop movement but rather used it in the composition. We passed a man in the road. He wore a phiran—a native costume that is like a cloak that goes to the ankles. I leaned out the window, turned back to look and took his picture. A “capture” that took half a second. The moment proved serendipitous for the image has been enjoyed by many.

When one sells, I make another and add different strokes and textures so that each piece is unique and the art keeps refreshing. Prints on paper also are available.

For more on this photo, see: Footprints

For more on Kashmir, type it in the search field at the top of the toolbar to the right.

Sunday, March 04, 2018


A wounded man lies on a dark battlefield littered with corpses and not a living soul near. His blood drains away, seeping into the silent earth and he thinks, “it will all be over soon and then I will fly to heaven.”

Another person is in a garden of splendor. Roses open themselves to the warm life-giving rays of the sun. He delights in their varied form, color and fragrance and wanders among them, with soft grass underfoot. Birds sing from branches of trees and their songs are sweet. Bees buzz from blossom to blossom busy with the work of collecting pollen to make their honey. The gentle play of air currents across his skin is like a sublime caress from an unseen hand.

One heart is elated, open, enchanted and confirmed. Another is stabbed to the quick.

A caterpillar will someday emerge as something almost entirely different—a butterfly.  First it must die to its old form and be born again. In its cocoon, the caterpillar form disintegrates and from the primal ingredients another, very different creature is born. What a wonder to open its marvelous wings and stretch them out . . . to fly. To go from one that crawls and eats leaves to one that moves freely through the air and feeds on nectar. The butterfly might fly across a dark abyss. But it will not land there. It will find flowers.

Some poems from my past:

Perfumed Dawn

Someone said that
you are easily distracted by
butterfly wings and
the sound of trees.
They said you only speak
in the language of dreams.

I know the picture.
You are intoxicated from the
fragrance of a perfumed dawn.
That morning, the scent of a thousand roses
arose from the mist of your memory.
A sublime light filled
the corners of your mind.
You fell weeping on the floor.

Since then you have not been the same.
You wander streets, staring
into the faces of strangers as
if looking for a long-lost friend.
When a glimmer of recognition
is seen in someones eyes
you cry, and where
your tears fall, birds arise.

It seems there is nothing to do
to solve this madness. Sirens
are calling for you to drown
in a surreal sea.


What world is this,
where I must learn to drown
or else be set on fire.
Those who do not discover the secret
risk going up in smoke.

Throw yourself in—
go to the bottom.
It is better not to resist.
Let water take you;
                   be like a fish

Soon you will feel at home.

Footprints in the Sand 

Beautiful the dawn when you
danced along the shore
wearing pain
like a bracelet of bells.

Birds circled above—made a halo
around your head while waves
caressed your feet.

How many lovers
has the ocean drowned?

Wind and tides quickly
swept away your footprints,

Your hymn is in the hills.

All writing © 2004 -2018 Steven Boone

Sunday, May 22, 2016


My recent 4 ½ months of traveling is now in a ½ hour clip of photos, video and music.    Enjoy.

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, July 10, 2011


I love spontaneity because in essence, it is honest expression—proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint. A person being spontaneous is not being devious at the same time, because they are not manipulating or contriving a result. Other animals always act with spontaneity, but we humans, because of our conscience cannot. In the human realm, civil society has rules of engagement, and therefore, moral consciousness over-rules spontaneous action. For instance, we might feel trapped in our car in traffic and have a spontaneous desire to leave our rightful lane and jump ahead of the jam, or maybe we see someone trip and fall in an unusual way and feel like laughing out loud, and of course bathrooms exist so that we have a private place to be relieved, although a spontaneous reaction might be to go anywhere.

In art, spontaneity can produce the finest results. It is because the artist is “letting go” to the creative muse inside. Jazz is a great example. There may be a loose theme to follow, but spontaneous improvisation can take the drama to new heights and uncharted territories. Actors must follow scripts, but occasionally we get glimpses of spontaneous moments that transcend theatrics and bring us in touch with the soul of the performer. Japanese Butoh theater is famous for spontaneous acting. For artists like Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack and many others, spontaneity is at the essence of their work, for they are immersed in it so fully that external constraints do not figure into the result. As Picasso’s contemporary, Georges Braque said, “It is the act of painting, not the finished painting.”

Friday, May 04, 2007

Shifting Sands Of Time

People who know Venice understand that it is beautiful and grand, a place of joy, and also sad. Bells ring, violins play, and there is laughter in the streets and from the cafĂ©’s. Lovely footbridges arch over innumerable canals. Walking in the narrow passageways, the little common plazas called campos offer meeting places throughout the city. Shops offer art, finery, delicious food and drink, as well as everything else needed for comfort and convenience. To feel deeply all this, is also to understand that Venice is a castle made of sand, always crumbling bit by bit. It is ephemeral, like a dream. Everything creaks and sways, and the walls crumble. A feeling exists that it could all simply disappear.
Somehow, I relate mystically, and understand that beauty, comfort, and fortune are likewise fleeting and even as a dream. Everything enjoyable is also disintegrating. The grand sand castle that is our earthly life today is gone tomorrow. So now, I live the dream, and understand that in the end, all is endless transformation and beingness, ultimately gathered up in eternal spirit. All we can claim is spirit, and we must be conscious of how it is eternal, beyond the shifting sands of time.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Being Fully Grounded

I have been experiencing joyful moments of being fully grounded. It is enough just to be alive within my own body, accepting my past, at ease with my present and eager for the future.
Today, marvelous, fun moments came in a steady stream. Especially when Sergi and Macarena, two Spaniards who are in Santa Fe came to my studio to do a photo shoot with me. I had set up a black backdrop beforehand and also collected some props. My concept was to have their moving bodies blurring together with streaming transparent cloth, all lit from the skylight above. At first they were wrapped in cloth, then naked and twirling around. Finally, we walked to a costume shop just a block away, and got costumes. Sergi pranced about in a huge rabbit’s head as Macarena danced in a white dress, streaming transparent cloth through the air. Three hours flew by in fluid, continuous moments full of laughter and fun.

Click to see more Steven Boone artistic photography