Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Light In Everybody - AdiDa Samraj

May all humans become aware of the immense negative consequences of any kind of warfare.  May war become completely unacceptable to all humans everywhere. 

May we settle our differences with tolerance.

May all humans feel their heart connection to all life and become unwilling to hurt or destroy any non-humans.
May we all celebrate the Light in Everybody, Everything, Everywhere.

Friday, November 4, 2011

All art requires courage. ~Anne Tucker

I watched a wonderful video today about three female artists:
All three women in this video understand a lot about art and how it flows through them.  They are all accomplished artists.  They also each express some of the struggles being a woman and an artist embody.  They all understand beauty and the value of beauty in their lives.  They understand the ceremony of art, the communication and heartstream of art.  They are sister artists who have never met and yet are part of a single woven tapestry of art in the world. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"I am not interested in art as a means of making a living, but I am interested in art as a means of living a life." Robert Henri

The object of painting a picture is not to make a picture--however unreasonable this may sound.  The picture, if a picture results, is a by-product and may be useful, valuable, interesting as a sign of what has past.  The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence.  In such moments activity is inevitable, and whether this activity is with brush, pen, chisel, or tongue, its result is but a by-product of the state, a trance, a footprint of this state.
These results, however crude, become dear to the artist who made them because they are records of states of being which he has enjoyed and which he would regain.  They are likewise interesting to others because they are to some extent readable and reveal the possibilities of greater existence.

Monday, October 10, 2011

by Chief Seattle, "We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves."

This painting was inspired by visiting the beautiful island of Kauai.  As lucky as I was to be able to see the incredible sea turtles, fish, coral reefs, and stunning views, will future generations see any of this? 
We must be a voice for the voiceless. 
For the sea turtles caught in nets, for the fish swimming in polluted water, for future generations not born yet.
Whatever your art form, and be assured you have one, use your art to speak for the voiceless:
Sing the beauty of bird songs and wake up  muffled ears,
Write of the strength of trees and stir human thoughts to greatness,
Paint the colors of ocean fish and move the eye to see,
Sew with the gift of cotton, silk, and linen and show hands how to share,
Pray for all the voiceless and move the heart to love
We are all one, all connected,
May we all care.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Got Game?

Now the game. Your game. The one that only you was meant to play. The one that was given to you when you came into this world. You ready? Take your stance. Don't hold nothing back. Give it everything.
- The Legend of Bagger Vance (movie)

Friday, July 8, 2011

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.

"Now I was suddenly made aware of another world of beauty and mystery such as I had never imagined to exist, except in poetry...I experienced an overwhelming emotion in the presence of nature, especially at evening. It began to wear a kind of sacramental character for me. I approached it with a sense of almost religious awe, and in the hush which comes before sunset, I felt again the presence of an unfathomable mystery. The song of the birds, the shapes of the trees, the colors of the sunset, were so many signs of this presence, which seemed to be drawing me to itself. " - Bede Griffiths

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare." - J. Oswald Sanders

Would you be able to maintain your sense that a painting was good even if ten or more people vehemently disagreed with you?
Do you have the internal strength to follow your own hunches?
If you don't, I can make some guesses as to why.

1.  You have been wrong before.  It is not that you lack passion and conviction it is that you respect the fact that emotion can cloud vision.  I cannot count how many times I have been caught up in some aspect of a painting without being able to see that the whole painting didn't work.  For years I had to get help to decide if something was good enough to mat! 

2.  There are too many art forms to be good at them all.  If the time is not taken to master the basics in any art form then there is no solid foundation upon which to build true mastery.

3.  Intimidation.  You have been bullied by someone with strong opinions, made fun of for a perspective that was different from others, or been shunned by someone who was jealous...etc. 

Nevertheless, if you think something is good have the courage to say so even though you will run the risk of being intimidated, uninformed or wrong.
The consequence of a life lived in suppression is a far greater loss.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"The Great Tradition of Art is Healing, Resonating the Being, Serving Our Equanimity, Raising Our Sympathies, Enhancing Our Existence. " Adi Da Samraj

As I have studied art and artists it is easy to realize that most artists (poets, musicians, painters, etc) while spending their lives passionately involved in their art live in circumstances that can hardly be described as comfortable.  They often live in poverty creating art most of their waking hours.  You may see their art presented in a beautiful frame in a luxurious gallery and yet this is no reflection on the circumstances most artists live in.  True artists will continue their art no matter what hardships or distractions arise.  A serious artist remains focused on their discipline, their passion, no matter what and thus their art becomes transcendent.  Meaning, their art goes beyond the ordinary range of human experience and understanding.  When an art form becomes transcendent it serves a great purpose for others because when they view it (or read or listen to it) they are moved beyond themselves.....and they are changed at heart by this experience.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the most both challenging and useful things that happens to me as an artist is to be broken hearted, inconsolable, with emotion showing on my face.  It is part of an artists capability to deal with things in this world that are painful by creating. For me the process of creating when I am hurting and/or despairing helps me to grow and not become hardened.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coloring Books and ABC's

This past weekend one of my art students shared that her bunny had died.  She had had this bunny for 2 years and loved him deeply.  Her mother is also currently in ICU fighting cancer.  I asked her what might help.  She said that she just wanted to color in a coloring book.  So I purchased a LARGE box of crayons and a variety of animal coloring books for very young kids.  It wasn't long before all of us, the boys too, were all coloring.  The room was quiet for the most part.  As we finished our pictures we tacked them up on the wall.  I have to tell you all of the colored animals were truly beautiful.  We gave them to my student to take to her mother.
Marc Bekoff, a compassionate spokesperson for non-humans has what he calls the ABC's of animal protection and compassion:  Always Be Caring and Sharing.
To me, these ABC's are truly guidelines for all beings.
Sharing art can bring such joy.  Look at all of our children's art work that is proudly posted on refrigerator doors!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sitting Down

One of my students wrote to me about why she was not painting: " Honestly? I've felt like the only thing standing in the way of me doing so was..well, myself."  This is true!  I have been asked numerous times what is the 'secret' to becomming excellent at anything.  The secret is this: the hard part is not the drawing (or painting or playing music...etc) the hard part is stting down to draw (paint, play music).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What moves the Heart?

I have been deeply moved by a number of stories in the news.  Stories of people being heart moved to action.  There was the story of Jessie a teen girl who used the money she had saved up to buy a car to help a badly hurt dog.    Another amazing story about a maintenance worker who while emptying the trash found Patrick, a starved and barely alive dog and found help.  A story about a wolf with neurological damage and people who helped her.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is what makes  The answer for me, is Love.  Whenever any of us truly Love then whatever we are doing becomes Art.  And this is art that heals....heals who see it, touch it, hear it.  Each of us have a sacred art and when we perform that art the heart of all is moved.  What is your sacred art?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"I believe the more you are like society, the less you impact it." -Howard Hendricks

Feeling pressure to be normal?  Are you influenced by what people might think about you?  Are you intimidated by the look of another person who thinks you are out to lunch?

Consider this:
1.  High levels of creativity are linked to high amounts of extra available energy.
2.  High levels of extra available energy are linked to having fun.
3.  High levels of fun are linked to being a kid.
4.  Being a kid means that you run with the moment.....
jump with a bounce...
follow your curiosity.....
laugh out loud...
are spontaneous...
explore life......
So maybe you have gotten the impression that the child in you is supposed to grow up.  The Puritans believed that also.  They maintained that having fun and being spontaneous were definite sins.
Your differences are what make you special, and if others think you aren't normal...celebrate!
Here is my progress on one of the paintings I shared earlier:

"I have touched with a sense of art some people – they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?"    Mary Cassatt

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Wonder of Color

Today I saw a male Rufus Hummingbird.  He was a brilliant iridescent copper.  I love color.  People have argued over color for ages.. Ingres said:  "Enough of blazing color, it is anti-historical!"  The thinking of Ingres's time was that the highest form of art was historical statement....and all else was second class ( like portraits, figures, still life, landscapes, etc).  Telling a story was it!  He believed that "open color" was definitely at odds with the "high calling" of the artist.
Open color consists of two major elements:
1.  Taking the color outside the boundaries of line and form
2.  The use of color different than found in the actual motif.
To further consider the statement of Ingres, here is the thinking of Constable:  "The great vice of the present day is bravura, an attempt to do something beyond the truth."  He believed that reality was paramount, nothing should differ from the 'true' color of something...or someone.
"Open Color" was out!!
Of course there are many other artists who did not go along with Ingres or Constable.  Like Gauguin:  "It matters not whether the haystack is yellow or purple, we shall paint it red if we wish."  He felt that there was another calling on the same level as historical statement: decoration.  In the words of Maurice Denis, " a painting should decorate."
Even today there is arguing from these two different camps: the commercial establishment saying that truth, reality, and a messsage are important.....and the fine art establishment saying that imagination, distortion, and beauty are important.  One group detested 'blazing color' the other loved it!
Why did they love color?
Delacroix said, "Color has a much more mysterious and perhaps powerful force.  It acts so to speak in spite of us."
Charles Beaudelarie explained, "It seems as if this color thinks by itself independently of the subkects which it clothes."
Van Gogh said: "I use color in an arbitrary manner to express myself strongly."
Oh!  The Wonder of Color!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do you believe giftedness can be passed on by people?

I do.  There were three men who became very important to Michelangelo:
Ghiberti taught Donatello;
Donatello taught Verrocchio;
Bertoldo diGiovanni was taught by all three,
and it was this man, Bertoldo who became Michelangelo's mentor.

The gifts of these men were deposited to Michelangelo's account.
How about you?  What treasures have been passed on to you by gifted people?

Here is a work in progress I have been working on today:

I will be back blogging on Monday. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Calling

A student once asked Whistler: "Why are you a painter?"
Whistler answered quickly: "Because an artist has to do SOMETHING!"

Tomorrow I am sending this finished painting to Cindy Marabito, the author of , "Pit Bull Nation" and head of a rescue group called Reunion Rescue.  Every day she faces about 400 requests to save animals in dire need of rescue.  She has done this day in and day out for years, it is her calling.

We all have different callings .  Another word for calling is 'gift'.  A 'gift' is often something that comes easily to us so we are thus unfortunately often able to disregard it because initially it seems too 'easy'.  I have seen many people not embrace their gifts because it seems like no big deal that  they could do ______ (fill in the blank.... drawing, composition, singing, baseball, photography, teaching, speaking...etc).  We often think of a 'real' gift as something that others can do that we struggle with!
Evidence of a gift is usually a strong desire that will not go away.
Even though our gifts initially seem to come easy to us, for those who pursue developing their gifts they soon find that this requires absolute commitment and hard work. 
Cindy has been doing rescue work for over 12 years.  Everyday she does what she can to rescue more. Why?
It is her calling.

What is yours?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fundamentals of Art - Drawing

For me, one of the fundamentals of art is drawing.  For the most part not a day goes by that I do not draw.  I have heard many times from many people, "if only I could draw....then".  Well, you can draw - IF you are willing to pay the price required to learn.  I think this is true for most things.  Drawing for me is as fundamental as scales are for a musician, or writing is for a writer.  The best approach I have found for learning how to draw was developed by Betty Edwards.  Her book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is exceptional and if followed will give you the ability to 'see.'  The discipline to continue drawing after completing her course is essential to develop in order to truly master line.
Here are some examples of my daily drawings:

"What is a drawing?  How does one learn it?  It is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do.  How is one to get through that wall - since pounding against it is of no use?  One must undermine the wall and drill through it slowly and patiently, in my opinion.  And, look here, how can one continue to work assiduously without being disturbed or distracted from it - unless one reflects and regulates one's life according to principles?  And it is the same with other things as it is with art."  Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Beauty is its own excuse for being." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are many ideas and philosophies about what art actually is.  Briefly, for me, art is an expression of beauty.  I think some of the most interesting ideas about what is considered art can be found here in a book written by the Gorilla Girls.
Some of the most amazing art I have seen recently are in the area of textile arts:  quilts, slow cloths, weaving, baskets and much more.  I just finished taking an on line class with Jude Hill called Boro cloth.  I think this was the most encouraging class I have ever been in.  I also view encouragement as an expression of beauty ( in parenting and relationship theory, encouragement is considered the foundation of relationships.  Encouragement is not the same as praise, and it actually requires the use of  temporo-perietal junction and the posterior cingulated cortex of the brain to even be expressed.)
Here is a pillow I made while taking the class.  On the front I have hand painted and stitched the cloth to make the flowers.  The back of the pillow utilizes weaving and patching techniques explored in the class.
Here is the front of the pillow:

and the back of the pillow:

"We live by encouragement and die without it - slowly, sadly, angrily."   -Celeste Holm

Monday, March 21, 2011

Luna Moth

Here is a Luna Moth painting I have completed.  Luna moths can have a wing span of up to 4.5".  To draw and paint such a magical being is truly a joy.  Robert Frost said of butterflies, "But these are flowers that fly and all but sing."  What a beautiful description.

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Anderson

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Painting What I Love

Here is a recent painting I did of my dog Raven:

I have realized in my quest to paint 'Beauty', that for me what is Beautiful is what is Loved.  How can anything be truly beautiful unless it is loved?