Seeing the Soul


In life, we should all inevitably (and hopefully) come to the point where our focus is turned away from ourselves and out into the world. This can come at any age, where we wake up and shift our concern from ourselves onto others. Where we see not what we can gain, but what we can give. Correspondingly then, our affect on on the outside world becomes more important than what the world can give to us.

We then become free. We become part of life.

When we learn to become selfless, we truly begin to live.

This, for me, is that time. And it has been happening for a few years now, only recently have I begun to truly understand it.

I believe we are all bound by a higher force, one that is not only part of everything but contains everything. It is the source from which all creativity emanates, flows and returns. This is God. This is the Universe. This is the soul; the small pieces of God that inhabit us all.

This is a simple thought to me, though it may seem complex and illogical to some, but then, we’re all allowed to think, believe and have faith in any way that we choose.

For me, this truth is part of who I am and part of my awareness, my own discovery, my own experience; one that nobody else can have. This is part of the dynamic in which I live, and the closer I get to embracing and loving, the clearer the face of my soul will appear.

The above painting was rendered over a period of two weeks. First green-gold and yellow, followed by the magenta and portrait pink underlay, then came the patching of bone white. You notice the face immediately, and then probably understand the title.

Seeing the Soul

To me, this painting represents what is hidden within us all. It partially illuminates our inner light, our inner connection to the divine, to the universe and to God.

It shines behind the perforated veil of the ego, and glows under the confusion that we create in our lives with our carnal and selfish ways. It is always there, we, our soul, waiting to become bright and allow our hearts to guide us.

These are the truths that will guide us all home. But, it is up to each of us to find our own truth, release our Earthly binding and become part this life, this connected life that is shared by all.

Only when we glimpse the soul of the world will we understand how truly beautiful we all are.

Only then will we truly know life.



“Art has a voice – let it speak.”
Rochelle Carr

In my opinion, the very heart of the creative process is and always will be a simple truth that lives in the art of self-expression. This is an art unto itself. It cannot be tamed or explained to others with ease. Especially to others who don’t understand or cannot interpret art very easily.

Abstract artists know this all too well. In non-representational art we find many models of expression, many concepts that are explored and some that seem so foreign to even be considered “artistic.”

We can find these forms of expression in most modern art galleries across the west. Everything from conceptual textile art to the placement of a pencil on a block of wood is considered artistic expression by someone or some group of collectors. And it is true. Whether or not we personally think of something as artistic, doesn’t make it inartful, or any less artistic whatsoever.

These are still, at their very essence, a pure form of self-expression by a person; a human being who has chosen to express in his or her own truthful way.

We must all understand that art is very subjective by nature. What I like or what my neighbor likes in terms of “art” is going to always be interpreted differently by different eyes.

This is a lesson that all artists must learn:

Not everyone is going to like your shit.

And this shouldn’t worry us. We must all bleed our true nature, and not worry about the spilled drops.

Just like all art collectors collect for specific reasons, we as artists all do it for our own different reasons. Some of us enjoy the planning and execution of the concept, whereas others simply like the random splatter of paint on the canvas, or wherever else it may land. We all have our own form of expression, and it is during this process where we create our truest works.

The above painting is a 24×30 abstract work of pattern and color that I made mostly using a two inch palette knife and heavy body acrylic paint. Up close the erratic texture is easily recognizable, and in this piece I was mostly concerned about creating a sense of comfort within a sense of confusion.

Mostly though, it was fun to make. And that’s all it really is about. Interpret it how you like.

I call it “Bleed.”


A Process of Passion


“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”
Anatole France

Being an artist is hard work. All artists know this to be true, and whether or not you’re actively selling your work, the process is at times a lengthy and complex one. But this process is fueled by passion, by the will to create, inspire and share with the world.

Personally for me, my art and writing work are both callings in life. I do it because I love it. I share it because I want to. And, yes, occasionally I do make a dollar or two at it. Though I’d love for this work to be my livelihood, at this point in time it doesn’t quite make the ends meet. But of course I am certainly hopeful and sure that in the near future it will..

In the meantime, I work a rather taxing schedule on a graveyard shift that leaves me little time during the day at all. I’m often tired and lethargic during my work-week and splitting your sleep schedule into 4 to 5 hour increments at a time is no easy task.

So, I have to make time during a tiny window of daylight and spend my days off writing and conjuring up ideas for painting.

This, however, is only one small part of the complex process of passion that I endure week after week. But, I love every minute of it.

The other night I finished a 30×40 acrylic piece which I’ve titled Dreamer’s Door as seen in the main image on this post. This was a process that I began around noon and finally finished close to midnight.

Below is just a part of the process that took around twelve hours to complete.


The beginning. All things must start with a little color and a big idea. I’d already envisioned a piece with a geometrical center. In this piece I envisioned a rectangle for the impression of a door and left more light within the center of the canvas.


Adding more light in the form of dark titanium and milk white. It may look patchy, but here we go…


After adding a ridiculous amount of painter’s tape to frame out the door, the fun begins by playing with colors. In this case, ultramarine blue and light violet.


And now.. We have a mess.. But it’s SO much fun! And really, as in my last post, there is a method to the madness here. Looking closely you might see the long strip of painter’s tape which is keeping a slightly off center strip of light color preserved for later manipulation.


Now, after removing the center strip of tape and a little wash with water and a few splashes of Viridi, and a few streaks of orange.. The door is almost finished.


And now there she is.. Dreamer’s Door. A process of passion that lasted a beautiful (and quite messy) twelve hours.

I enjoy these moments while creating art, as brief as they might be, no matter when or how they happen. It is part of a path that I have never truly known where it would take me, and it doesn’t matter because the journey has always been beautiful.

There is truly something magical and joyous in creating art, and I’m grateful for the ability to do so.

Thank you all for reading!

No Inspiration Needed


“The conception of each star was at the point of no return; of a desperate soul struggling to master the winds!”
C. JoyBell C.

As an artist and writer I often get asked the question: Where do you get your ideas from? or Where do you find inspiration?

Well, art isn’t a cut and dry subject. In fact the very nature of inspiration, ideas and muse are quite complex and even paradoxical no matter what reference they’re assigned to.

Where does the business man get his motivation from?

Where does a nurse get his or her passion from?

Where does a mathematician find his sense of purpose, his need to solve or create complex problems, questions or ideas?

The answer lives strictly in the individual sphere. And even if I could explain the very nature of muse, it wouldn’t always be transferable to another. For example, here at the link below artist David Limrite writes about the various yet simple ways in which he acquires or drums out his ideas.

Where do My Ideas Come From?

His answers are unique to his personal experience, as they should be for all of us. What I can answer personally, or elude to, is that sometimes inspiration isn’t needed.

How is this possible? Aren’t all great works of art somehow inspired by something else?

No, not always. And quite possibly, not even half of the time.

The inner domain of the artist is a very creative place. Sometimes, it is out of this simple and basic desire to create something that we all begin our work. We feel a calling, an urge, a push from a divine inner force or what have you. Sometimes, it’s just an itch that needs to be scratched.

I want to create things because I can. It couldn’t get any simpler than that.

Often, yes, I’m inspired by a certain image that I come across. Other times I read something that makes me think beyond the box, or strikes my heart a certain way. I could even hear a song and be inspired by the lyrics or even by the tempo. But all of this is but cake for a creative spirit.

We, as truly creative beings, need no inspiration to create. We are motivated by an unseen realm of forces. These are the thunderstorms that rise from within and purge from our fingertips. They cannot be controlled, but they can be directed.

We need no reason, and we do not ask why.

If you ask a climber why he climbs a mountain, he’ll probably tell you simply because it’s there. And so it goes with art. We create because it’s there, because if we don’t we feel silenced, unfulfilled and empty. We feel the rumble of our creative voice stifled from within, and this cannot be. For any artist, it will not sit still.

We all have a voice within that longs to be heard and shared with the world. But sometimes, we long to hear our own voice, the ancient vernacular of the soul. It is within this primordial need that we find the first form and uttering of the artist.

Just as a child bellows out his first cry, only to hear himself, so we too cry out to the world to hear the same.

The Method


“I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Madman

A method exists in the madness, for anyone who expresses their creative heart. It’s easy to see in many works of art, this inner “thing” that won’t sit quietly and is never stilled. It comes alive on the canvas, speaking out to the world in its rumbling voice of pattern and color. The attuned artist knows how to use this force to his own bidding, to transfer his emotion into a breathable form.

In my opinion, this is the work and the goal of abstraction.

It’s easy to see the skill and the effort behind many great works of art. The impressionist paints the replica of life that he witnesses, whether this be in landscape or portrait. But the emotions behind these works aren’t as visible as we find in the world of abstract art.

But we must not simply look at it, we must feel it.

We may see a beautifully painted scene of wildflowers upon meadows, near mountains placed near a running stream. This image may move us, make us think, make us feel alive, peaceful, happy and content, but… What about the artist during his time of labor?

Was he at peace?

Was he saddened?

Was he working through a problem in his head?

How could we know?

For example:

My most recent piece shown above I’ve titled “Autumn Rain Formula.” My emotional state is sound and precise, free and alive, happy in the moment, remembering the time of seasonal change as a child and how that first breeze of cool air brought the first amber colored leaf falling from the sky that I’d ever seen.

The rhythm of color and line begs the presence of an archaic language, spoken only by nature and witnessed only by pure eyes.

It is the music of the Earth, dancing in unison with its elements.

This is the work that I love, coming from a place that I’ve always known as home.

But then, all artists have an inner home, that special place where their “thing” exists.

For me, my artistry comes from a primordial place. The ethereal tone projected is part of who I am, my personal philosophy and in tune with feelings that I cannot help but to express. This is the way of being free of form, free to express intimate feelings, thoughts and desires.

But all art is subjective by nature.

Perhaps it’s easier to explain understanding art simply as how a child understands the changing of seasons; Naturally, in perfect timing with life.

Map of The Wanderer


“I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.”
Hermann Hesse

Artists, art scholars and critics all have argued over many years about the artistic quality of abstract art, non-objective art and non-representational art as a whole. These are typically all grouped together as what abstraction represents. Some even say that it’s just random splashing of color for no particular purpose or goal. Others argue that it’s the most raw of artistic expression.

I’ll agree with the latter.

Abstraction is, for me, the most cathartic medium for expressing emotion, ideas and intentions. Some pieces might look haphazard, chaotic, and even completely incomprehensible, but the true artist in his most raw and vulnerable state is able to express his emotion, thoughts or feelings through the use of line, pattern and color.

The example..

The above piece I painted last night I’ve titled, Map of The Wanderer. This, as with all art is certainly open to anyone’s interpretation. However, there is a specific focus and intent here.

In this piece it’s clear the confusion that I, the wanderer face. The hectic line and pattern work represents the map, while the sporadic splashing of darker colors infers my emotional confusion on which direction to pursue.

In life, I am a wanderer. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and see most of the world and to gain valuable experience about life and people while doing so. But, in the most basic and pure part of my being, all the experience of the world leads me quite often to knowing no direction, following a map of blurred lines.

The intent of this piece is to bring the viewer into understanding the wayfaring soul, the desire to blow with the wind and to grace the surface of all places, even if only to touch them or lay eyes upon them once.

The abstraction allows the viewer to feel the wanderer’s confusion, his feeling of misdirection and indecision. His map is confounding and worn, like his heart and his patience. The color pronounces the hefty burden of choosing his way, and his feeling of despair in not knowing which direction to travel.

The wanderer stands to the right of the map, looking on it with a wide eye of anguish, in a solemn expression of blankness. This is the look I know all too well.

I often find lessons and wisdom in art, an urgent feeling or a sense of the artist purging himself onto his canvas. I can even find this in the work that I produce and many times to my own surprise.

We should all purge ourselves and bare the soul. In doing this we find a peace that we may have forgotten.

To me, art is simply a unique, uninhibited expression of life, and pure abstraction can initiate the release of these thoughts almost subconsciously. In this respect, art and life are inseparable, as are the lessons they teach us.

Staring back at our own reflection, at our own work, we find a lesson that we unknowingly taught to ourselves.

My lesson?

Pursue only the map of the heart.




The Race


“Why should we be in such a desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Shall his spring turn into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute?”~ Henry David Thoreau

It would be less than, or even non-human, to have a perfect life of peace and balance at all times. Though this is what we strive for, most of us, to balance our lives with the busyness of the world in any way possible, we cannot avoid the speeding. These are the moments of frenzy and the ever quickening pace of life that leave you behind in a heartbeat if you slip for just one moment.

I was reminded of this several years ago when I was introduced to the work of Julie Mehretu, an Ethiopian born artist, in her work “Black City.”

The overall composition denotes and feels like the modern, busy world we attempt to thrive in. And just beyond the initial view of the work one can easily feel crowded, left behind or easily confused. As you focus your eyes on the piece itself you start to notice your eyes darting about its space, trying to stay focused is nearly impossible and after a while you begin to feel overwhelmed by the subjective chaos that the piece exudes.

This is art of the world. It is a perfect example of reflecting the culture of speed; a culture that is ever evolving to an even faster pulse of time.

What our eyes can see in this moment is forever an impact on our minds and this, if anything, reminds me of why all people should take a moment to simply breathe.

Should we simply let the world pass us by for a moment and recognize our inward muse, we will quicken to the pace of the world in a unison that time cannot fathom. It is in this moment, that the world will have to keep up with our pace.

Though we may be living in an ever busier world, we must recognize that this perception of time is but an illusion that has a higher purpose.

We should all be the keepers of our own time, and see beyond the race of life.

It’s not a race. It’s simply a journey.

Lessons of Local Color


“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

The world of art knows no bounds. In all reality, everything is artistic; all of life is an expression of the creative force that binds us together. It is through the many mediums of art that we find the soul of the world expressed in numerous forms.

We find this expression in visual art, in those paintings, sculptures and images that draw out emotion and thought. We find it as we dance, as our bodies vibrate in movement with drums and music. We find it in writing, reading the words of a fine poet, or immersing ourselves in the world of fiction and imagination. Often for me, I find it on the stage, or on the screen through the characters that actors portray, in stories that speak to the heart and burn my eyes with tears.

Recently I watched a movie titled “Local Color.” This was listed as an indie film and produced over a decade ago. I hadn’t heard of it until recently. And, in my opinion, all artists should check it out.

The story is simple. It is about finding yourself and following your heart at all costs, no matter what people say, no matter what obstacles you face and no matter how much self-doubt, pain, guilt or anguish that you might carry.

It is the story of movement and change. Understanding how the world can break you, but make you. It illustrates the passion to create beautiful things even in these dark moments, and in those made of light.

It is the story of understanding life.

In artistic terms, local color refers to “the natural color of a thing in ordinary daylight, uninfluenced by the proximity of other colors.”

This definition can easily be attributed to a person. i.e., Standing as a singularity, perfect in our own light, uninfluenced by the proximity of other things.

Be local in your own color. Be yourself, and always be free.


Blank Beginnings

IMG_3135“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”~ Émile Zola


There it sits, right in front of you. You look at it, and you swear it looks back. It stares at you, looking right through you, taunting you to approach. You step forward, then back. You pace as it stares at you, mocking your stride as it sits motionless.

Your blank canvas has an agenda.

It’s up to you to unlock its secret story.

Often, we as artists stare at a blank canvas. We sit and we stare. We leave the room then come back and stare a bit more. Nothing changes. Time progresses, and it sits still, blank and void of color, emptiness projected through blinding white light.

We all endure this moment of creative stagnation. We have an idea, but we aren’t quite sure how to approach it. Sometimes the idea is blurry, resting in the fog of our mind’s eye. Sometimes the idea itself eludes us altogether, hiding behind other noise.

But we don’t give up. We wait. We want the right moment of inspiration. We yearn for that divine spark. And until that moment strikes us, we’ll have yet to breathe life into the blankness.

This prequel to the act of creation reminds me very much of myself as a young child. Too often I’d run off without any idea of where I was going or what I was going to do. And though I didn’t realize it then, it’s clear to me now that in those moments I was the most free, the most creative, the most pure. It is within this special place that the creative spark lives. In those moments, all I simply wanted to do was to be outside, to be free.

This is how we approach the blank canvas. We don’t have to have an idea, we just have to be there in the presence of life. We just have to have the desire, the fire that burns within.

To create art is to unlock the human experience, and to move the soul. It is to make the world feel. It is our way of living out loud.

We all just have to step outside sometimes and feel the breath of life grace our hearts. The direction will always find us.

Step toward the canvas, free yourself, and begin to live.

Swatch of Life


“The ability to create great art comes from an awareness of yourself and what surrounds you.” ~ Jenie Gao

I remember when my daughter used to ask me questions about everything, the most random things. Like, Dad, what would happen if we all lived in a whirlpool?

How do you even begin to respond with a logical answer? Truth is you can’t, but you still answer the question, to the best of your ability, and she always understands.

Life throws us these random curiosities sometimes, and each and every time we have to make our way through with our own understanding and experience. Art teaches us this value. Through simple childlike questions we learn and experience the creative drive that inhabits our spirit, and we express it in whatever functional way we can.

Sometimes, like a child, we have to test the objects of our creativity. We have to question the structure of whatever we choose to create. We have to see the result, ask and test the substance which we use on our palettes.

Enter the swatch board..

A simple swatch board is an artistic tool to be used for testing applications of color, blending structure, line and brush strokes. It may seem like just a simple rudimentary tool to be used as a key or a guide, but it can be so much more. In fact, the creation of the swatch board itself is a work of art all its own. It is an artful expression of the questions we must ask, and of the structure which we are attempting to find.

The swatch board is a childlike projection of our desire to both learn and create. It is a question of self-awareness, and of our surrounding world.

I invite all artists to create a swatch board. Play with the color, test the brushes. Make swirls, circles and patterns. Blend, brush and streak. See the birth of creativity within your testing of its gentle life.

All creative spirits should exercise this simple expression of life. It is a marker of what drives us to be creative. It’s a child asking a question about whirlpools. It’s why we share what’s inside of us.

It’s why we are who we are, in color, in patterns, in blends, streaks and spirals. It’s the diversity of the world represented by one simple truth.

We all desire to share what’s inside of us.

Enjoy your swatch board. Enjoy your life.