“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.”



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.

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.



The New


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~ T.S. Elliot

Goals are fun to set, especially during the first days of the New Year. We see it all over. People buy new things, healthy things; things that help one quit smoking or things that count steps and monitor heart-rates, things that uplift and empower and things that inspire a healthy body and mind. For some reason, the New Year, this random day is as symbolic as the first day of spring, ushering in renewal, rejuvenation and revival.

The gym becomes full, at least for the first month. The walking track gets crowded and the hiking trails become a bit more traveled. Running shoes go out of stock as do most organic health foods. It is truly the time for change. It is truly the time for self-awareness.

As our lives often beg for revival, renewal and positive change, so does our creative spirit.

I’ve recently learned a small but profound truth in regards to art myself. Our soul must express, and not just in one form, or in one particular medium. We can have style, but our style must be challenged for it to grow holistically. A catharsis must be allowed over a wide range of mediums, not to remain stagnant in one form of expression alone.

This year my goal, resolution if you will, includes branching outward into foreign mediums, new stylistic theory and exploring that which I’ve yet to. The painting above is a template for a new form of abstract figure study that I’m working on. Through this form, through this challenge, I choose to search for a truth I’ve yet to discover, as it is with all art.

For those not acquainted with the mind of an artist, this is both exciting and scary. It is new ground, not traveled. It might be awkward in execution, horrible in presentation and unaccepted by critics and peers. At the same time, it might be wonderful, powerful and spark the desire for more. It can be all these things and more.

It is new, and in being new, it is free. This is how art is born, and this is how art lives.

I challenge all to explore the unknown this year, in both mind and spirit. Let this freedom of the foreign take your heart and mind into new places, new thoughts and new dreams. Dare to be inspired by the unknown, by the unseen.

Read a novel that you would otherwise pass over. Open a journal and write a story if you haven’t ever tried. Paint with oils instead of acrylic, use wood instead of canvas. Carve instead of chisel. Choose to experience life with the brightness of new eyes.

Believe that this is the day where all things begin anew, and it will be.

Happy New Year


The Art of Line


The line that describes the beautiful is elliptical. It has simplicity and constant change. It cannot be described by a compass, and it changes direction at every one of its points. ~ Rudolf Arnheim

We are all welcome here, within the art of line.

The line is full of motion. What seems plainly straight is more full of movement than one can see. Line carries with it inertia, the line is artful inertia. It moves and leads the eye, the heart and the rhythm of life around it.

One line can form two, and two can form several. Three lines can intersect, forming sacred geometry. All lines have this form, though they are not simply linear. The move both forward and backward, through time and across the mind. The line becomes what one sees and lives in memory.

This line is infinite; never starting and never stopping. It moves beyond the footprint of origin, beneath the tide of moon driven waves. It pervades all things and coalesces with dark and light.

What is the line? What is this art of line that has lived before time began?

This is the finger, the brush, the words, the thoughts and the dreams of all creation. It begins without beginning and ends without end.

The line is the spiritual vein of art. In life, it redeems the wicked, saving the souls of the wretched with each pulse, with each ripple of time in each glimmer of the eye. It calls to the to the painter and to the watcher. It drives us mad with each stroke and lifts our hearts without pause. The line is life.

Where is your line? Where is your art of line?

The line is born as we are born, though it has existed before we first ever spoke to the world. This unbroken, unfettered, unfiltered divine laser lives as we live, stepping where we step, extending outward along our path. We find it behind us and in front of us. It lives where we walk.

We cannot escape the line.

We must all walk this art of line. We should all dare to follow its way. Our intrepid souls follow the line in hopes that we too follow with full hearts, with bright dreams and desires of truth. The line marks our way, and draws out our deepest desire.

The art of line must be learned and lived. It must be caught and released. It must be embraced and kissed. It must always be, only to become.

What will the line become?

It already is. It always has been.



“Because when I dream, I feel no fear,
And when I am fearless, I am my most creative self.” ― Nikki Rowe

I, like many other artists, often find myself staring at a blank canvas wondering where to start, how to begin, where to place the brush or which angle to approach. This can be frustrating. But, it is a part of what we do. When this happens we must look deep within and find what we are missing. Sometimes, we can see it staring right back at us. This is the art of finding the source.

The funny part about being an artist is that when we openly express creatively, we most often go blindly into a piece without visualizing the end result. And, many times, even when we have an idea or a visualized concept, halfway through it we change direction, we change color, we might even turn the canvas upside down and start over, or sideways, or upside down then sideways. The possibilities are endless.

In our work, we move forward only with connection to the source. Sometimes the source hides from us. It is within our creative nature, however, to find where it hides and breathe life into it.

We’ve all had that once piece of canvas that just never seems to come together. No matter how we approach it, it simply does not speak to us in the way we’re searching for. It speaks a foreign language. It sits still and lifeless, staring back at us, mocking our every attempt to push forward and finish our work.

We paint over it, we rewrite it, we add whites, highlights, dark colors and texture. We change the background, we change the foreground, we change the edges, we change everything about it and end up in frustrated limbo, unconscious of what we are really doing.

This is what happens when the source of our creative energy is missing. Though, it’s never really gone. It hides from us, sometimes in the corners of our canvas, in once spec of color that we overlook time and again. The source hides in our lives as well. This creates imbalance.

In our lives, we must connect with the source. We must center ourselves and find where it hides.

All lives are connected with the source, with that point of awareness that begins and ends within us all. It is the sacred place of our hearts, the hidden space within our souls.

In life, we cannot paint over our frustrations. We cannot color over the blackness, or add white to the mopped mess of color that we’ve created. Sometimes, we must step back and look for what we missed from the beginning.

All of the arts and all lives must have a connection with the source. Without this connection, our work does not speak and our lives remain static and droll. It is through mindful awareness where we find this firm ground and let it speak through us.

Stop and let the source breathe through you. Let it guide your brush and your heart. What was once a mess of confusion will soon become a mirror of life that emanates from within. The canvas will then speak to you, the language will become clear and it will look at you as you look on it. With the source, the work will come alive.

Be aware of the source, and begin your great work. Begin your life with this connection and move throughout time with the flame of creation.


Life in Contrast


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Contrast is part of life, and we truly live in a life of contrast. However, what appears to us as strikingly different, what appears to us as a simple juxtaposition of black and white are really two of the same. It is within the one shade that we can find two.

We should all explore the contrast as it applies to our lives. We artists use contrast to evoke distinction and clarity within a piece. We writers use contrast to shade the personality of a character against his peers, his struggles or in completion of his goal. Within one form, we can always find two, contrasted throughout time.

Contrast dances in unison with one purpose. This simplicity differentiates the part from the whole, though it is the whole that all parts emanate from. It is this specific part of the form that we emphasize in our own lives. Sometimes we emphasize the black, while other times, it is the white.

In life, we must recognize our own contrasts. We must become aware of both the subtle and the striking differences within our own consciousness and what we perceive around us.

It is through recognizing these true contrasts that live within us all that we can become whole. With this simple understanding we can come back to the center. The contrast will coalesce within and around us, becoming one.

It is dutiful of all artists, of all creative spirits to explore contrast, just as it is for all lives to accept and understand it. This is the divergence of self and of sight, of mind and of body.

We become our own contrast. We live through our variance of self and of mind only to one day return to the true form. To become one with this clashing of color, of shade and of emotion is to become one with the heart and the mind.

Color your work and your life with the awareness of contrast. Unfocus and watch as two forms become one.



Muse Your Moment


“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“What does?”
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason

Inspiration. Where does it emanate from? From what source does the muse originate? How do we find it as we stare at the blank page, or gaze deeply into the white canvas?

It is said that each day we are given a moment, just a solitary point of awareness within a fleeting second where we can choose to capture the flame, where we can choose to see our heart and its desire. This is the moment where we capture our muse.

The muse comes in many forms. It can arise from one line we may read in a book, or through the emotion we witness around us. A person can inspire us with their words, their smile or their gaze. The wind can blow a seed in just the right way, and we are then captured by the muse of nature. It is within our awareness that we find these fruits.

We must be open to these things if we are to create truly and passionately. The moments come and must be captured, but so many go unnoticed. So many are left wasted as we’re often distracted by worldly things.

The screen of the smartphone blinds us at times, though it can also be a conduit for our muse. The busy lines at the store confound and irritate us, but within this line muse can be captured. The traffic jam riles our rage and tries our patience, but within this temporary solitude one can surely be inspired.

Each moment carries with it the ability to transcend our awareness and cultivate our passions. Each second can inspire us to create, to smile and to walk ahead with a strong heart and a clear vision. It is our duty to recognize the subtle gifts waiting all around us.

Whether you are inspired by a painting, a phrase, a dance, song or even by sitting on your couch watching Netflix; capture this moment. Let it speak to you through your heartmind.

Some may be inspired by the patterns in a leaf, while others may feel the emotions of the world as they hear a bell toll. Whatever it is, be aware, be sound and be alive in this time. Be the muse of your own moment.

Life is one continuous beautiful moment. Don’t let it pass you by.


Free the Circle


It is said that a spiral is a circle that has been set free; a spiritually actualized form. In many ancient cultures, the spiral represents a universal pattern of growth, renewal and the ever evolving journey of life. It is a pattern that all human beings have recognized throughout time.

The spiral is known in the mind’s eye. It is brings about the gnosis of self, reminding all of the inward and outward evolution of mind and spirit. It is used as a guidepost for understanding and remembrance of the source, and of the journey back home.

We live in a spiral galaxy, in a world of spinning electrons and circular patterns of microcosmic spirals that no human can see. But, we can feel them.

The artist knows the spiral. He knows the pull of the brush along that sacred form, almost pacifying as the stroke is placed. The writer knows the spiral, the beginning and the end, all at once; the inward and outward evolution of the story. The composer, the actor and the dancer know the spiral as well. It pulls the heart and mind in a rhythmic dance of parallel light.

Spirals tell us that the world is new, as much as it is old. It reminds us of a time when the balance was maintained, with the heart and the mind in tune; atonement of the spirit.

It is along the spiral where we find the true path of art, and of life.

Take care of your spiral, of your sacred space, of your present moment. This ensures that we always embrace universal change. In this space, we witness  the power of creation at its essence; one continuously unraveling and evolving present moment, one continuous infinite spiral.

We must accept this as truth, as artists and as spiritual human beings.