Today is your Last Day

IMG_2089

“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.

 

Advertisements

Seeing the Soul

IMG_3281

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

IMG_3198

“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.

IMG_3185

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.

IMG_3186.JPG

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

IMG_3187

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.

IMG_3190

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.

IMG_3191

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.

IMG_3192

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

Question

“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

IMG_3179

“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

fa732513c54b64e3c918bb1f37309902

“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.

Source

IMG_2395
“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.

Lessons in Color

IMG_2316

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”
Oscar Wilde

Color is a precious thing. People don’t fully understand it. This deserves exploration.

Color is the phenomenon of light. It is the quality of light that we see, but this saturation of light is so much more.

Color tempts the eyes, opens the mind and rattles emotion. For the artist, color, shade and hue are all tools to convey his message. Just as the writer paints with words breathing life into a story, the artist colors the life of his work so it may speak to the world.

We can learn a lot from color. We can see the light reflected, changing the spectrum of our minds. Our mind is a prism, filtering light through, coloring the depths of our imagination, stirring our dreams and desires.

Color can make one feel powerful, soft, sensual, admired and loved. Color can also make us feel warm, hard, powerless, agitated and sad. Through the power and use of color we extract and provoke emotion, we give a touch of life, and a touch of dreams with every fleck, every pixel.

Life can be full of color, or it can be grey. It can be as simple as black and white, or it can be colorless, void of light. It can be dark. But this is up to us.

Through color we can mute the darkness. We see the shimmer of life and taste the sweetness of existence. Bold color denounces what is dark, and covers it with radiance, with life and with love.

We color the seasons with the shades of the heart. Through brilliant reds and greens we can make the spirit of the holidays come alive. We can make others feel, and see the spirit surrounding all that exists.

We are the colorists, the artful wanderers and the creators of inspiration. We color inside the lines and out. We please the mind and satisfy the heart. We are the color of life, the incandescent smile of the universe.

Color your world with your heart and with your mind’s desire. Stand in the brilliance and bask in radiance of this shining life.

Free the Circle

IMG_0998

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.

Form

IMG_2208

“You are time, and time cannot be created or destroyed. Time just changes form.”
Khalid Masood

What is form? Is it something that can be measured by something else? Where does it come from?

This is the paradox. Because at its very essence, even form has no form. It is all but formless, though it remains. This is art, this is the art of form.

In Taoist thought, the Tao is said to have form but to also be formless. It is all things, pervading and permeating everything. This is art, this is art on all levels. It is writing, it is dance, it is painting and it is anything which takes the creative energy out of the soul and places it onto the stage of the world.

Some people have a specific form of style. Style indicates thought. Style indicates a plan, a comfort or showcase of skill. Form should never be confused with style, though without form, style cannot be. The goal of all art is to have form, to have style, to illicit emotion, inspire thought and to be seen. It is through the formless form that we deliver this to the world.

As Bruce Lee once said. Water is formless. It takes the shape of whatever vessel it’s placed in. If placed in a cup, water becomes the cup. This is the formless form. It is the goal of all art.

To become.