Today is your Last Day

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“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Since I’ve been asked numerous times why I left this blog high and dry a little over two years ago, I figured it’s now time to provide an answer. Trust me, this has been bothering me for some time, and though I try to maintain my creative efforts to a steady beat, sometimes life happens.

Back in the summer of 2016 I met someone who I fell for, and…

Just like that… “poof”… I was gone.

Over a year’s worth of writing and art making was seemingly put on hold for the better part of 6 months. I did occasionally write on my other blog, but I had little to no creative focus. I had literally stepped into suspended creative animation, frozen and stagnant.

My focus was on another soul, who I found to be beautiful, complimenting my own life in every way.

However… It did not last and I was left in despair. But, I was also given the greatest gift imaginable.

In August of 2017 my son was born, and just two months later I turned 40 years old. Now, today, I am 41 and within the past few months I have uncovered a part of myself that was buried long ago.

Life is funny. It seems that we have to travel so far from ourselves just in order to find ourselves. It’s like we must leave home simply in order to find our way back, to remember; to remember who we really are, and who we’ve always been.

And this is exactly what I have done.

A young artist that I follow taught me a valuable lesson recently, and I must say that the timing of this lesson is perfect. We have to become ourselves. We cannot lie to ourselves. Though we may try new things or think ourselves into something that we believe we should try or should be, we will never know happiness or peace if we are chasing something that does not fit our soul.

What we do must bring others in, and it must share joy. And we can only do this from a place where we generate our own joy, our own peace.

The above picture is a pen and ink drawing that I created recently. This is the type of art that I do, the type that I essentially began with. It is within creating these types of abstract images where I am the most vulnerable, the most centered and the most comfortable.

This is my space, and this is where I create from. Though I realize that it is highly abstract, dark and seemingly disturbed, it is also completely truthful. It is honest emotion and an uninterrupted flow of creation.

And this is what art is. This is what writing is. This is what moves us in a dance and why we lose ourselves in music. It is raw..

It is a full baring of soul.

We must do what we do because every day is our last day. This moment, right now, is your last moment.

So do what you do and do it well. Do what you do best, and do what you enjoy. So long that this is altruistic and brings joy to the world, and it leaves you with a smile..

Then do it.

And enjoy it.

 

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Seeing the Soul

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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.

A Process of Passion

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“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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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.