Category Archives: Blog

Beginnings

Dear friends
Welcome. I am happy to share with you my updated website. A very big thank you to Mia, John and her team at Kits Media. They have been amazing and with their excellent work have brought my site to another level. I hope that you enjoy it’s new look and functionality. One of my new features is this blog, read on if you wish, and if you don’t, I invite you with one click to unsubscribe at any time.

Beginning is difficult. Making your mark on the white page, the blank canvas, taking the first step in the sand swept clean from your life’s last storm, each time we leave the known to embrace the unknown we are acting from the heart of courage.

Why blog I ask myself? Why now? Why go public with inner musings, why bring conversations left unsaid or expose revelations buried in the pages of my artist’s notebooks? Why does a painter choose words?

Curiosity. Fumbling with words like small consolations in my desire to understand; your curiosity and mine. Two of the most commonly asked questions I receive are, “How long did it take you to paint that?” and “Is there a story?” There is always a story, people hunger for story. It’s my intention in this blog to share with you some of the inspirations and challenges, some of the stories that connect unraveled threads in relation to my own rabbit holes, my reading, my studio practice, painting, poetry and the study of the dharma. Oh, and sometimes bees. I am intrigued with the alchemy of the hive and the creative power of bees. Why? Because passion is necessary and I am as passionate about bees as beauty, the beauty of language and paint and how we create, all of us. We are all creators, every day making our lives.

Which leads me to a story about a Hare, and how my blog comes to be using the tagline “How to Explain Pictures”.

A very long time ago…I was a young naïve student adrift in the art department of a university far from home, a bit like Dorothy, clearly lost and out of context, juggling an athletic scholarship with courses spoken in what was to me a foreign language, filled with words sounding more like speaking in tongues than a language meant to help me discern meaning in any given text, literary or visual. But there was one intriguing, shaman like figure that appeared and reappeared and continues to appear throughout my education and investigations beyond that faraway school. Joseph Beuys. I never understood a word at the time. Nothing the artist made of felt and fat, iron and beeswax made any sense to me at all, but I felt something. Something I knew I needed to keep my curiosity open, my senses alive to the mystery encoded in his performance, “How to explain pictures to a dead hare”.

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The artist in his solo performance, (unless you count the hare) was being filmed and photographed as he moved through the space of the Schmela Gallery. On his right foot, attached to the sole, was a great clanging piece of iron, on his left foot, a felt sole. But why had Beuys covered his head with honey and gold leaf? Why was he cradling in his arms a dead hare with all the tenderness I had come to associate with slide after slide of gorgeous renaissance pietas punctuating the darkness of art history class? And what was he whispering to the dead hare. Who was listening?

For years, I have been listening to this mysterious piece from the echo it has formed in my own consciousness. It has offered me much. I am grateful to the artist Joseph Beuys who has challenged me and expanded my awareness. I am grateful to all those who are courageous enough to share a piece of their own journey.

Joseph Beuys was asking something of me and therefore of all of us, as well as giving back to us the knowledge of our innate inheritance as beings of spirit. Beuys was asking us to bring all of our senses of perception to an artwork, not just the organs of our sight, scent and touch, but also the inner organs of perception, our intuition, imagination, inspiration and above all, our heart. He was a person in tune with the unseen realms, in tune with the wild in nature and in us. He believed the task of art was to further develop the creative potential of all people, not just “artists”. He felt works of art could bring us closer to our feeling body and to our emotional intelligence. Beuys believed in the power of this kind of embodied intelligence to create a new future for humanity unbound from more rigid, linear and analytical thinking. Though his action, “How to explain pictures to a dead hare” was first performed in 1965, it remains relevant, evidenced by artists continuing to perform cover versions in our time.

So, it is begun. Like any work of art, the greatest of these being your own life, artistic expressions find their final form only after a great series of destructions. This blog will find its way failure by failure, arriving somewhere as yet unknown to me, only as I create over and over again.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Beuys: “Art enters into the person and the person enters into the work of art”.

As for the other question, “How long did it take you to paint that?” I leave it like Degas’ dancers, waiting in the wings.

I sincerely hope that you the reader, rich with your own stories, will find something here that holds meaning for you. You are part of a community including friends, family, artists, curators, collectors, educators, and various other creative, curious creatures. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to comment, repost, tweet, pin or email me with questions

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