Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Listening...

I'm Listening, Oils, 24 x 40
There's a great deal of noise in our world and that includes the space between our ears. All of this input, this clatter, this static is perfect when you want to run from yourself. And when the energy from past hurts and today's fears scream at you, what better place to hide than in plain sight?

But that's not the place to hide; we all know there isn't much comfort and compassion, let alone reason, in this world. "I'm listening..." quietly, patiently. Sitting, in the noise, in the hustle and bustle, waiting for knowledge and wisdom, healing and love. "I'm listening," though my own heart frantically cries out for relief. "I'm listening," past the roar of my "lack" and my "wants." "I'm listening because beyond all of this, there is a response that defies language; because beyond the easy way out, there is hope defying logic.

I'm practicing patience; not the pain-full type where the next second without relief is agony. No, this patience says "it's coming, it's coming; no, it is here." A relaxed declaration from the soul of a man who trusts God to put the parts together, to bring relief and most importantly, to put this life in purposeful existence.

Listen. Quiet your heart. Allow the message(s) from the well of your soul to bring your life into perspective. Then await further instructions.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bird in Flight

Hi, I'm adding this shot of Bird in Flight. It is a very dark painting, but this one comes closer to getting the essence of the painting. Thanks!

I've Signed it...

I've heard it said that artist should blog about their work. After all, that's why we're on the web...okay, so maybe I'm not an artist on the web. Maybe I'm a writer, especially when it comes to blogging. To those whom I share insight, I guess I'm putting on my counselor hat. When my poetry is put out there, I guess I'm the poet. And the rare occasions I actually say something about the work I've visually rendered, then, yes I'm an artist. So what does all of this make me?

"When" I sign my 2009, I pulled out paints, pencils and other art supplies I honestly had not touched since 1984. I also pulled out paintings from my parents basement from the same year. Most of the work had no signature - but it was all mine - and immediately I recalled my rationale for not signing, back in the day. The bravado put forth, was that it was "vain," sort of like the thinking of bringing children into the world to continue one's legacy.

These days, I sign a few pieces, though the logic for not signing has changed. Pealing back the layers of media-speak, the reason many things aren't signed, or publicly displayed, or placed in plain for all the world to see is me. I could name an ugly emotion or lack of self-esteem, but isn't all of that, as well as a healthy self-esteem, bundled up in my body, soul and spirit? Aren't all the wholesome as well as unhealthy thinking part and parcel of what makes Eddie unique?

I have two paintings that will get a signature today, even if it's 11:58 or :59 pm! One painting titled, "Bird in Flight," seems to have a single focal point on a dark background. To see the painting up close is to see, not only the bird, but a single tree, leaning - as my wife pointed out, yesterday.  The story behind this painting is this: one evening, while in prayer (the type with eyes closed, head bowed and a dark room) the image flashed across my conscious mind. I could see the outline of trees in a dark background, being blown by a strong breeze. Then, suddenly a bird taking off from what seemed to be a body of water. The image stayed with me, giving me the impression I should draw and paint it. I haven't touched the painting in over a year for various reasons, but looking at it, laying in the stack of paintings the other day, I thought it was time to put the finishing touches on it. I put it on the easel and to my surprise, it was finished! Except for one thing: a signature.

Bird in Flight
Finishing things and releasing them is a way of always making room for more. It's realizing that my life exists beyond the four walls of my mind. It is living in relationship with the messages as well as delivering those messages to others. I may always blog about nearly everything, but ultimately, isn't it a way of relating to my world?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Graduation And Road Trip

How I spent the last four years of my life...this weekend, my wife, my oldest son and I, traveled to Virginia for my oldest child's graduation for Virginia State University. Of course, no child is to remain "in college;" the goal is always to get out and 'find their way in the world.' But I had become so accustomed to this 14 hour drive across country twice a year, that the awe of the occasion went unnoticed. And yet, Sunday morning, sitting in a stadium filled with graduates, their families, friends and well wishers, my vision became clear.

The school had as it's commencement speaker, Susan Taylor, former editor for Essence magazine. Growing up, this magazine was a regular part of the reading in my home, so I often read her editorial titled "In the Spirit." I knew the depth of her written thoughts and insights. But hearing her speak - if there were clouds in my thinking, she helped to move them away. Her central theme was focusing on the bigger picture of one's life.

Admittedly, though I believe I'm a profound thinker, and think deeply about my role in the world, this weekend peeled back a layer of my own "stinking thinking." It was the road trip, the graduation, and being outside my usual comfort zone that helped me realize how far I need to go. Like my daughter, who has to grow and take her place in the world, I realize this weekend that I have a ways to go and that I wont get there without effort and dedication. Those are "words," and sometimes we take for granted that WORD has power. My challenge is to me only; if you find a word for you, grab it: speak the word and then live as though it has occurred!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Multiple "Me's"

"Put your best foot forward." A simple saying nearly ever parent or adult has said to nearly every child. While we may always want to be presented in the best light, very often, the choice we make, how we are perceived is the complete opposite. It may trace back to a series of choices, fueled by thoughts and feelings that speak to our inability, or a weakness within us. But always appearing positive, upbeat and cooperative seems to escape us.

At times, we feel the need to withdraw, place our selves within a protective cocoon. Those moments, we think the only protector we have is 'us.' We may cry out to God in a prayer: "Lord save me," or "Lord keep my enemy away," or even "take care of those who would harm me," but our focus is on the pain we feel, rather than our potential.

I remember times when I was so disgusted with the course of my life; my attention focused on what was not happening, what I wanted to happen, and what was seen as the height of reinforced walls between success and I. In times like these, one's attention isn't merely not "seeing the forest for the trees," but seeing the trees that are twisted, dying and potentially deadly.  In times like this, it is hard to remember that my children are being fed, clothed, educated and loved, or that the car I have is running so well, I don't have to give a thought to whether it will get me to work or not. Sitting at my desk at work, I forget that my contribution to the company's success is so valuable, the idea of letting me go is the furthest from leadership's mind. I only perceive disappointment at my life.

No one is immune to "stinking-thinking;" even the most successful people are capable of focusing on their failures to the point they don't stretch for additional success. And honestly, it's at this point I think we all need to learn that the eye of the storm is that moment, that brief period where we calmly view the multiple aspects of our existence.

From the "least of these" to the "greatest," we are an amalgamation of good actions and selfish motives. We can love our spouses to death and in a moment become a hateful person. We can sit in fear, dreading the success we say we want and in the same day, work at someone's company as though the lights would go out unless we're there. Contrasting and conflicting possibilities exist in each of us.

In the book of James (the New Testament of the Bible), he asks a poignant question in chapter 3 and verse 11: "Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" Of course the implication is we should not produce "salty water," but  fresh water; but "putting our best foot forward," is not only a challenge, but a a supernatural feat!

Personally, at this point, I am in the 'eye of the storm.' I can see within me so much potential and exercise it. And seconds later, any given day, I see where I'm falling short of expectations I have for my life and it seems to snatch the very light from the sky. But in this quiet place, where all that is 'me,' swirls around me, it's refreshing to know 'when' I achieve the success I believe I desire, I will remain this mix of incredible and despicable; I will grow, but there will remain in me the potential for additional growth. My expectation is spiritually and mentally, I will become the man I believe I should be, but new areas of weakness as well as strength will be revealed. Where are you in your development? In this moment, on this day, are you looking at your life as a disaster, while sitting in front of a work of art, created by your hands? Or do you perceive your life as a success, but with room to grow?

Monday, May 2, 2011


I have this wonderful schedule posted above my desk. Forgive the many analogies to exercise, but it's one of the many disciplines I've seen near immediate results from. So here it is: the idea of the schedule is to keep me on track, build in skill building techniques, techniques that build experience, as well as reach out (social networking).

It would be easier to give in to fear and allow the excitement and joy of creating to fester inside me - again. Today, I broke (if only for today) the cycle; I spent hours working on a single painting. According to my schedule, I'm supposed to spend two hours painting. Now for some artists, two hours a day isn't much, but like physical fitness, I need to build up my 'muscles' before I'm lost for day in the studio. But for me, to spend approximately 4 hours painting, that's a major accomplishment!

As I type out this blog, I'm listening to music - Jill Scott and she's repeating the word "TRY." Very familiar with the song, especially with the concept of "try again." I think if there was a message for anyone that reads this, it is TRY, TRY, then TRY a few more times, then TRY once
again. So for now, Eddie has tried and he has a measure of success. He will wake tomorrow and follow the schedule: drawing 2 hours. In the short term, from the critical eye, this isn't much and yet for me, this is a great start. I hope to see creative muscle definition very soon. By the way, I'm so beat I can barely keep my eyes open. I guess that's what happen when you give it all you got!


...if you search the web, you may find a similar blog post by me on my website at I'm having trouble with my website publishing software, plus it's a bear managing two blogs! Oh well, the 'burdens' of being a 'creative-type!'

My son! The youngest is a bundle of endless energy when it comes to video games, if he could, he would play all day and well into the night. At moments like this, where, someplace between "ohmygod, I'm not earning money" and gazing at a painting in progress, I would love some playtime.

When you're a kid, they have to tell you to stop playing and do something important and beneficial to the mutual benefit of everyone around you. When you're an adult, with adult responsibilities, you have to tell yourself - or you listen to your spouse - to take some downtime; in other words, take sometime to play! I often feel I've been given a gift of time and talent, but the "disciplinarian," the one that tells me to "get to work," will not be restrained. I'll sit and contemplate the contentious list of should-be-done and even wait for directions to the next task, meanwhile, hour after hour passes, and the "real work" gets squeezed in. my mind, I am that kid who ignores the call to come in and do chores. I am playing way past dark and who refuses to grow up. But in my body, I'm the man who has responsibilities. How about a bit of both?