Painting – Little Floating Altars

IMAGINE.
You are sitting quietly beside a little creek in the autumn sun,
listening to the trickle of the water
and a leaf comes floating by.
A small floating altar. Some of us as children made them.
We added a few twigs, maybe a small stone, and then sent them sailing on their way, most always with a giggle.
IMAGINE.
Today, you are the one to find the leaf sailing by…
This imagining, was the inspiration for the painting “Little Floating Altars.”
Upon this altar is wheat, two acorns, and two slips of paper with “Love” and “Laughter” written upon them. A key gently settles beneath the message. A dragonfly skims the water.
This is a gift for you, and your message.
This painting contains symbolism creating the message itself. Let’s interpret them one at a time.


Throughout history, water has been used as a symbol of wisdom, power, grace, music,
and the undifferentiated chaos that gave rise to the physical world. Possibly the current chaos we are all experiencing, will give rise to a renewed time of wisdom, power, grace, and music. The results of a harmonious relationship within peace. And we must choose this peace again and again.
A leaf is a symbol of growth, and the relationship between the leaf and the tree. What is your tree, your true heart, and the life giving energy that supports you?
In the Chinese tradition the leaves of the Cosmic Tree represent all of the beings in the universe. All of us together, the greater good of all.
Acorns have a deep and rich symbolism. The acorn as a seed, is a symbol of growth and unlimited potential. In its dormant state the acorn reminds us that we too, need periods of rest and dormancy to inspire periods of growth, to understand the importance of living within the seasons, with grace and harmony. Perhaps one of the gifts of isolation, is a time to reflect upon our “tree.”
The staff of life. Wheat symbolizes rebirth and resurrection, sprouting from the earth and feeding the people. Wheat is a product of efforts and the harvest is the rejuvenation of the spirit and the body. A bounty, a promise, and sustenance. It is also physics, our attention and emotions are our harvest, where are we placing our attention and emotions, with the truth or fear? One enables us, one dis-ables us.
In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity, and understanding the deeper meaning of life. In your heart of hearts, aren’t we all striving for acceptance and joy? The enemy of joy is separation, fear, and demoralization. Inhumanity destroys hope, humanity nourishes and builds love, understanding and support.
At its heart, a key is an opener of locks. Keys are symbols of opening and closing.  Sometimes a key means the difference between freedom and domination, or life and death. This key represents the truth, each day and in each moment, ask for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. See behind the smoke and mirrors, and take great comfort in the truth of your heart beyond fear. This key is courage.
Love and laughter is a direct link to the truth, and the greatest builder of the immune system. Love and laughter can be found in every moment. Try it, with each challenge or disappointment, chose to laugh even if it is just a physical chuckle. This first laugh will trigger a sense of forgiveness, a subtle calm will follow, then information for the next step full of balance and wisdom. Try a chuckle now, and an instant smile will follow. Keep Love and Laughter as the guardians at the gate.

Chin up, steady on,
pray for what you want, and not what you don’t want!

If you have made it this far, then I am deeply honored and
I thank you!
Peace.
Art Cards & Print

Painting – Autumn Flowers.

For quite a few days and nights the air was heavy with the smell of burning wood. Many of the hills and reserves were burning, and still are. There are 426 fires active in my state as of today. For weeks our temperatures soared well over 114 degrees, and I wondered how the firefighters could physically survive it. Each morning the fading moon was hot-pink or red from the smoke. And it is devastatingly worse for our neighboring states.

Yet through all of this, the untouched areas of nature are carrying on, painting a picture of beauty in its elegant grace.
Nature, our greatest treasure and teacher. I marvel at it all…and I am humbled.

We have known about global warming since the 1960’s. Yes. I hope all of those that didn’t believe in global warming now “get it.”
The planet doesn’t need us. We are its guests, we were meant to be the guardians of this gift.
I hope we have a new and intelligent government that places the earth as a top priority, finally.

A government that selflessly serves and represents the Greater Good of All.
We the people, can not do it alone.
It requires “We the Nation.”
We the world.

Peace and prosperity for all.

– Thank you

Painting – Hope, Creativity & One Foot in Front of the Other.

Today, I took a break and created this painting and then added the text.

Each one of us have been facing numerous uncertainties. Myself as well. Many have lost so much. Each day there are more furloughs, layoffs, job losses, and so much more. Feeling overwhelmed can be a constant.

However, every one of us also has a great gift, we were born with it.

To myself and my sons, I call it “Flipping the Switch,” and then “Steady Eddy.” The switch is that incredible light within each one of us. It’s there and yet in difficult times we can forget we have it and how powerful it can be when we most need it. With any disappointment or change, I remind myself to “Flip the Switch.” The switch is a flood of relief, lightness, and solutions to problems begin to arrive in my mind and in my life. It’s choosing faith in your yourself, faith in the power of good, your own goodness, and faith in all others that support the greater good.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.” — John Lennon

“The idea flow from the human spirit is absolutely unlimited. All you have to do is tap into that well. I don’t like to use the word efficiency. It’s creativity. It’s a belief that every person counts.” – Jack Welch

“And when the brokenhearted people living in the world agree there will be an answer, let it be.” – The Beatles

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” – Helen Keller

“We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.” Stephen Hawking

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” e. e. cummings

“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.” – Luc de Clapiers

“Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced.”– Hans Hofmann

To each and everyone every moment of the day,
Flip the Switch, One Foot in Front of the Other, and Steady Eddy.

– Thank you

7 Paintings – In The Big, Big Picture of Life and Humanity…..

Well,
this weeks painting is not quite finished,…..
However,
I still want to share something that I hope has value to someone, somewhere,
and have unearthed a few paintings from the past few years, to help illustrate.

If I had a magic wand of miracles to arrive within every human being on the planet
– in the “Big, Big Picture of Life,” these are what they would be;

1. A Peaceful Heart

Choose Peace

“Acceptance does not mean inaction.
We may need to respond, strongly at times…From a peaceful center we can respond instead of react.
Unconscious reactions create problems.
Considered responses bring peace.
With a peaceful heart whatever happens can be met with wisdom…Peace is not weak; it is unshakable.”
– Jack Kornfield

2. Wisdom

Wise Woman

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
– George Bernard Shaw

3. Hope

Hope

“Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success;
for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.”
– Samuel Smiles

4. A Sense of Humor and Laughter

“Iggy” Nature Spirit. 24″ x 36″

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” – Charles Dickens
and
“Life is better, when you are laughing.”

5. Kindness and Compassion

Kindness & Compassion Stamp

Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people.
A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

6. Believe

Always you can go higher, for within yourself you are greater than you think.
Believe that, for it is a fact – a great, big, truthful, wonderful fact.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

7. Love

Love is Joy

“I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear”
― Martin Luther King Jr.,

“We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love.
And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world.
We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.,

To someone, somewhere, and everyone everywhere……Chin up, and Steady Eddy.
– Thank you

 

Painting – Resurrection of Fallen Warriors.

Print Available here, and here,

I chose a beautiful poem by Robin Decker to express the essence of my painting.

Hummingbird

by Robin Becker

I love the whir of the creature come
to visit the pink
flowers in the hanging basket as she does

most August mornings, hours away
from starvation to store
enough energy to survive overnight.

The Aztecs saw the refraction
of incident light on wings
as resurrection of fallen warriors.

In autumn, when daylight decreases
they double their body weight to survive
the flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

On next-to-nothing my mother
flew for 85 years; after her death
she hovered, a bird of bones and air.

About This Poem

“Inhabiting both earth and sky, birds serve, in many traditions, as emissaries from the afterlife, as they do in this poem. Here, I sought to combine the science of hummingbird metabolism, the cultural history of hummingbird mythology, and the personal history I associate with the bird. The words ‘visit,’ ‘resurrection’ and ‘hover’ contribute to the ‘otherworldly’ feeling hummingbirds generate in many who observe them.”
—Robin Becker

-Thank you

 

Painting – Enjoy Your Rest Mother Nature

Nature Made Alter. What a Delight to find. Earth Day April 22, 2020.

Hi Mom.

Your children have all been sent to their rooms to think about who they are, and to remember, please remember, who they

could still, truly become….  even now.

In this rare moment of a little “Me Time,” you can breath a deep sigh of peace, your sky’s are bluer, your air is cleaner, and your bird’s joyful songs can finally be heard above the sounds of chaos lessened.

You, who have nurtured us and given us all we could ever want, beauty, bounty, and magnificence, have borne our ingratitude, ignorance and entitlement.

You carry the scares of our dishonorable actions towards you, our greed. Yet you continue to support us, provide for us, delight us, and unconditionally love us all.

I thank you, apologize for how we have offended and harmed you, and ask for your forgiveness. I am so sorry that we all fell asleep to your incredible love.

May we all learn that our thoughts and emotions affect you.

May we all wake to what we truly need, as as opposed to what we simply want and demand.

May we all ask for, work for, and support those inspired souls with the creativity for the better, kinder, and recompensable solutions for your resources.

May we sing a song of life in rhythm to the heartbeat of the earth, our mother, and live accordingly in honor, gratitude, and blessings in our every breath.

Happy Earth Day Mother, I love you.

Painting – The Power of a Smile

“Everyone smiles in the same language.”

– George Carlin

“Iggy” Nature Spirit. 24″ x 36″

Many artists/writers/musicians have recently felt a shift within their creativity. At first it felt as if the well were dry, but slowly inspiration began to trickle back in, returning in a gentler, more thoughtful use of their skills and the messages they are sharing.  So it is with myself. I am happy to say I am working on a new painting, although it too is gentler, more thoughtful, and I am taking my time. I am fortunate in that I am still employed and working from home. Instead of the news, I “google” random acts of kindness caused by the virus. On my break I walk. It’s spring, hopeful and beautiful. I meet many on the path and our exchange of a genuine, simple smile is so very powerful. On my way home, I thought to re-post the painting “Iggy,” from a few years ago, along with some lovely quotes on the simple power of a “smile.” – P.S. – I am so very grateful to every “essential service” worker. Thank you. – Peace, and Goodwill to All.

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”Thich Nhat Hanh

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. “H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I love those who can smile in trouble.”Leonardo da Vinci

“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.”William Hazlitt

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”Thich Nhat Hanh

“Smile, smile, smile at your mind as often as possible. Your smiling will considerably reduce your mind’s tearing tension.”Sri Chinmoy

“Always find opportunities to make someone smile, and to offer random acts of kindness in everyday life.”Roy T. Bennett

“Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile”Mother Teresa

“When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. “Unknown

“Nothing shakes the smiling heart.”Santosh Kalwar

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.”Steve Maraboli

“A smile cures the wounding of a frown.”William Shakespeare

“The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Anyone can smile on their best day. I like to meet a man who can smile on his WORST.”– Lauren Graham

“A smile remains the most inexpensive gift I can bestow on anyone and yet its powers can vanquish kingdoms.”Og Mandino

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”– Joseph Addison

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”– Paramahansa Yogananda

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo Buscaglia

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”Phyllis Diller

“After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s infeasible duty is to be of good cheer.”William R. Alger

Take care, and thank you!

 

 

Painting – Harmony Within Chaos

This painting is about choosing to ask Chaos to have a seat & allow me to ask it questions about its job.

In every life chaos will arrive many times, the uninvited and somewhat dreaded guest.

Like the quote; “Guests are like fish, after three days they begin to smell,” chaos is a challenge, unless…we can find the blessings of change within the chaos, and the gifts within the opportunity. Chaos comes bearing gifts beyond our imagination if we are willing to receive them. Chaos is not for the faint of heart.

Chaos is not an easy adventure, and attempting to shove it out the door does not work either.

Hello Chaos, have a seat. If we make the choice to have a trusting spirit, an adventurous soul, and the courage it takes to find a peaceful place within ourselves to become still and listen, chaos will tell us what it is up to. Chaos will arrive to challenge our fears and control issues. It will ask us if our faith and trust are genuine, or just a platitude we comfort friends with, as we privately plot how the world should really be running along.

Chaos is a teacher.

If we choose the stillness within and listen with gratitude, it will direct us to a place of observation within the chaos, like a perch and a shelter. From this place it will begin to teach us about the creative force that arrives to upturn the stagnant blocks, uncover the lies, and offer the truth. Chaos can be an answer to a prayer of change. The truth will set us free unless we choose to react, run in circles with our arms in the air and join the conversations of fear, and judgement, and miss the opportunity know, to be the insider, and to watch it unfold.

Chaos holds the key to learning harmony.

Harmony is the shelter. It does not include resistance. It is a position of neutral. It asks us not to define it, or find a sense of safety in our immediate and ignorant definitions. It does not argue nor defend, it is the space that is a melody of listening and alert attention. It trusts that if action is needed, it we will will be specific, peaceful and in harmony with the moment. Knowingness and wisdom is the lesson of harmony. To know how to serve and when, and how to ask. Harmony is in the center of chaos, and chaos can usher in the light of creation and change for the greater good. Be the greater you by surrendering the smallness of you, (may include arguments). Find your perch, pay attention, ask for the wisdom and truth that chaos has to teach, and then you will fly.

This is my experience with chaos. Chaos is the greater good asking for change, and harmony is “E” ticket of the peaceful and effective path. — Thank You.

The Abstract Realism of Life.

Do we see all that is in front of us, or just what we assume we see?

Wonder II is an abstract painting in technique and creation. However, by only adding a limited amount of shadowing to create a shoreline, it appears to be a view from across a pond in the late days of the fall season. I find this pretty interesting. My mind continues to register realism, but the painting is completely abstract. I know this, because I painted it.

I like this description of Abstract Realism; “…exploration of the pure exuberance of paint with just enough imagery to deem it realistic.” (Sherri McGraw).

So, how much of life around me am I aware of in each moment?

Detail Section – Wonder II

Creativity inspires me to wonder, and I wonder if we perceive life on a moment by moment basis, through unconscious assumptions. What we see…. may not be all that is available to be seen in the moment, and we may be missing so much of all that is truly around us. If this were true, then are we missing the information about whole truth by assuming we know the truth?

Perhaps our assumptions, or mental constructs do not allow us to see beyond them, and fully register what is actually right in front of us in every moment. What if the whole truth was available to us in each moment, if WE were fully present in each moment? If we were not thinking a few minutes ahead, or thinking about what just happened in the past, would we find ourselves without any anxiety? Would we be filled with a knowingness and with that, a peacefulness  in each moment?

Wonder II is acrylic on untreated linen, 20″ x 36″. The entire creative process consisted of adding splatters of paint, layer by layer in a rhythmic motion. Each additional layer created a “resist” for the next layer to follow. Finally I scraped all of the paint off and what was left had stained deeply into the linen. Then I added some highlights with oil pastel and washed in a shoreline.

This painting reminds me how a peaceful place can be found in the pure presence of each moment.

— Thank you

 

 

Painting “Tribal Garden”

Sketching in my notebook, I began to play with a design and listen. It felt tribal, and I thought of tattoos, but I also felt a garden, and realized this image would represent a combination of the essence, thoughtfulness, and the respect many cultures live by, deeply connected in reverence with nature, honoring the gifts of the earth, and that which created it.

Beginning Tribal Garden, Sketch

The sketch is a connection for me, and when I begin to paint, I get to listen and learn.

Tribal Design – Representing a way of choosing to live, spiritual beliefs, and could be seen as a transition in life, embracing wisdom and understanding the grace of being truly aware and alive.

Garden – The original paradise created by God as a safe enclosure. The soul, and innocence, consciousness, happiness, salvation, and purity. Gardens represent the essence of the space between people that is a true state of living in peace, because gardens represent inclusion, community, and a sense of well-being.

Tribal Garden Design

Hibiscus Flower –  Delicate beauty, immortality, and the natural beauty of being one with God. The hibiscus, represents a state of royalty in the connection to that which created this earth, respecting and honoring the hospitality that the earth has always been generously giving to us.

I then painted two more panels of this piece.

Tribal Garden Center Panel

Tribal Garden – Third Panel

And I thought about this experience, about the tribal significance of living on this generous planet, and listening to what the garden and its creator is so diligently offering to teach us. Do I listen and make time to connect to the earth? Do I honor the planet in my life choices, in what I choose to support, and do I and thank nature each day for its wisdom, and the nurturing sustenance it offers?

This is the “Tribal Garden”

Tribal Garden

Thank you.

Painting “The Unknown is Calling”

Stage One; The Phone

Once a painting is completed, I begin to wonder what the next painting will be. This time, the image of an old black rotary telephone came into my mind. I thought this was great, I love these phones. However, this image also arrived with the essence of a mystery as well. Each painting is an adventure, a life lesson for me concerning the shared experience of us all.

I create black in a painting by applying a variety of colors on top of one another. I finish the section with two or three layers of  Lamp Black glaze,  a soft warm black. Black is the combination of all colors, and the absence of light. Most every surface will reflect the colors around it, even a piece of white paper, or the page of a book you are reading. Try it. Look closely at your finger touching the paper, then lift it about an eighth of an inch, and continue to look at that spot on the paper. If the lighting is good, you will see the color of your skin faintly on the page. When I first saw this, I thought I was having a “moment”, but with closer observation, I saw the truth of what I was actually becoming aware of.

Stage Two; The Crow

I began to create a marbled texture as well. Next, the name and the number on the phone arrived into my mind; “Unknown 0000”. OK, here we go I thought, we are painting that which we call “The Unknown”, something that immediately seems uncomfortable and mysterious. After the phone was completed, I saw that a crow was to be perched on the phone.

I sat with this painting for some time, just listening. While painting the background, the story of the image began to tell itself. To various degrees, we may consciously or unconsciously, for a false sense of safety, try to protect ourselves from the unknown. This can lead to a calcification of the light that is within all of life, by not allowing the light of awareness, joy, and love to move in and through any given moment freely. We could also grow argumentative and controlling, demanding that what we know, is the right and only way.  This would be simply our fear and not trusting an inner knowingness. This inner knowingness is created to be in constant flow through us. This is also the unknown, becoming known.

The Phone – represents information, and that life is continuously calling to us in each moment. Black represents information that is moving from the position of what you may not know in this minute, to what you will know the next, bringing it into the “light” where all of its colors can be seen.

The Crow – Crow symbolizes the void or core of creation, from darkness to light and alert for every call from the sacred.

The Dove & The Rainbow – In this painting both represent the highest truth available to all. At one moment it is unknown, and in the next, we have the opportunity to become aware of it. We do this by simply asking, by making our own phone calls, and then listening instead of hanging up. It is the peace, and the freedom we feel when we move from not knowing, into knowing. This is faith. This is asking what it is you need to know. When we think about it, this happens in each moment of every day. By choosing to remain open to change, to information with consideration, we are answering the phone in our own lives. We are being led to our own greatest selves. We become light, and within the light, we become pure color.

P.S. The day after I finished this painting a circumstance arrived at my door of life, and I was ushered into another opportunity of the great unknown. With a new set of observational skills, faith, questions, and a lot of focus/listening, and after 5 hours with a used car salesman……..a gruelling test if there ever was one, I exited dehydrated, but victorious, and with an entire new lifestyle. 100% Electric. (big smiley face)

This is “The Unknown is Calling”

The Unknown is Calling

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