Monday, September 30, 2013
But all too often, the light, the warmth, the energy we desire is "eclipsed" by our emotions; we hang our heads in shame and anguish. We recall our pain and in that given period of time, nothing is can be heard, felt or seen.
Lift your heads! Look to the light! Your source, your strength! There is all you need to make life worth living!
Sunday, September 29, 2013
It's part of our bond as humans; we are connected to one another in ways we can't imagine. It's a shame evil came into the world, otherwise, the connections would be so much clearer!
To be seen and heard...all too often, the choice is to remain unseen and unacknowledged. Walk into a room full of strangers and there is acknowledgement, but not recognition, meaning no one really knows you. Walk into a room of family and friends and you are greeted, acknowledge and based on the relationship, you are valued (loved).
We are meant to connect. Social media, and media otherwise, is a way of doing that. Flaws, shortcomings and abuse? Yes, but when we come in contact with one another, there is energy, fire and an exchange.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
|Elastic - Pastel 18 x 24|
Each night, I turn on a "Sleep App" that monitors my sleep patterns for the night. It also gives stats regarding my sleep patterns, how many hours and minutes I've slept and rates the quality of my sleep. A helpful feature I've been using for a while is the "noise generator" that simulates the sound of a gentle rain. I never thought I would need anything like this to sleep and in truth, I don't usually need anything but 'opportunity' to sleep. I can sleep anywhere and any time! Heck, back in the day, working as a stock room clerk at Sears, I would catch 40 winks leaning against a stack of boxes! Anyway, this noise helps me to quiet my thoughts; sometimes that works and other times...well let's just say it takes a while to tame the mind!
Noise and Traffic. Static and Facts. Filters and Figures. I'm going to leave you to ponder where these words hang in your life...maybe they don't exist in your world at all.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Watching the blank page
And its vast starkness tells me stories.
I see images form
Men fighting their way through battles,
Swords slashing and hacking
I see women who love deeply and embrace as though giving away the breath from their lungs.
In this ‘emptiness’ there are words
Some spoken below a whisper
Yet their power is felt by the soul
Stories pour from you – from a space that supposedly contains nothing
Yet there is so much there
That it can be misunderstood or misread as writer’s block, or the Artist’s cramp.
Yet it is there, dancing, active, waiting for you to peel back the white and reveal the flesh beneath.
Take an adventure with me as we push past the mundanity of our lives,
Let’s go where children are purposely conceived and planned for, a place where a walk through meadows green is a journey to discover secrets.
Let’s go to a place where one’s name is rarely told because words are powerful and revealing a name is akin to revealing one’s soul.
Leave the land where pages are for numbers and the reporting of what we know already.
Mount your imaginations and let’s go!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
It may not seem that way and sometimes, we squander our opportunities. But there really is opportunities abounding!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
There is a great deal of emphasis placed on being "large." To a small child, kind, playful and thoughtful parents are HUGE! It doesn't matter that mom and dad aren't up on the latest trends and technology or that the child isn't exposed to foreign lands and dining on the finest cuisine; "mommy and daddy love me and they are the best," and that's all that matters!
We want a solution, a formula, a remedy for an ordinary life. We want to grow beyond the mundane and live among the stars. But perhaps, the stars are closer to us than we think. Maybe, just maybe, they are sleeping in the same bed, eating dinner with us and there for us when we need a friend to listen. Perhaps that's the formula.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I know I can't be alone in feeling this way, some days I want to throw in the towel! Give up for those unfamiliar with that old saying. It's not like there's one thing I want to accomplish or taking classes to complete a degree; this is my life and all the things I want changed, the success I hope for seems elusive! And the dreams from childhood on up? Wow! Really God, and I'm stuck in an office? Please don't get me wrong; I am grateful for income, I just wish it was tied to my heart's desire. And testing someone software isn't my "heart's desire!"
DIG!!! The shamelessly 'borrowed' image is the one that comes to mind each time I walk away from trying. I'm not a young guy anymore and I went a long time wanting to be an artist, without touching brush to canvas. I've wanted to write and have for a long time. I have a small audience, people who 'look' at my blog (thank you if you're 'looking!'). But I get frustrated! And yet for each time, I walk away, I'm drawn back to where I left off...
By the way, that last part of the wall may seem like you only have a few feet and little effort to go. Not to discourage anyone, but in reality, that's the hardest part. You're tired, your pickax is too and the rock is the hardest closest to your desire.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Intrinsic ingredients of life!
But in a given period of time, we can lose sight of them. And yet these key components are sitting beside us, surround us in the walls of our home, sustain us as we sit down to a meal and smile back at us from the face of our children.
Don't look far and wide, look within your heart and around you: It's right there!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
What's needed is intervention of the highest level possible. We have made a mess of our lives, disaster around us is happening "within us," as well. We need divine power to resolve the brokenness and bruises in our lives.
Lord, my sincerest prayer is that you bind together, the individual and the collective, to everyone who calls on your name. Amen.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Moving at a rate of speed that indicates we are out of control...
You ever have one of those days, weeks or months where you feel like you're life is moving way too fast? Where insomnia can most assuredly be traced to tasks you are to complete? And your intuition tells you "something's wrong." Maybe multiple things are wrong. You have that overwhelming sense that 'things' won't turn out well.
Momentum suggests there is movement. I'm suggesting the movement, the forward motion, can be out of our control, beyond our capability to slow the pace.
But I'm also suggesting the following:
- Acknowledge the fear (Seth Godin's "lizard-brain")
- Examine your expectations - all of them good, bad or indifferent
- Breathe deeply - meaning pray, meditate, "go with the flow;" please allow a little space - no a lot of space; this is transition. And change we don't control or welcome is always terrifying!
- Allow the solution(s) to materialize...also requires quiet meditation
- Allow the forward movement to take you to what scares you, through what scares you and into the victory you desire!
You can't stop your life from moving forward, but perhaps your life is moving in the direction of victory rather than destruction!
Friday, September 20, 2013
Always listening, whether consciously or unconsciously for some nugget of clarity to bring light to this world. Where does your work or creativity begin? How do you bring it to light?
Thursday, September 19, 2013
It's 5:00 am. Years ago, living with my parents, occasionally, I would wake early enough to see my father before he left for work. He had a routine: get up at 5:00, shower, get dressed, read the bible, eat a little breakfast and be out the door by 5:30. I thought that was early, way too early for me. I worked at the factory where he was a manager, one summer, which meant I had to get up a few minutes after he did. I remember thinking it was okay, at first, and by the end of the summer, I couldn't wait to get up at my normal time.
I'm past my father's age, when I worked with him that summer. And I rise much earlier than he did. I'm out the door at 5:15 thereabouts, but I'm on my way to the gym. I exercise for about an hour and then it's off to work.
A few years ago, I took classes toward a masters in Counseling. There were mornings I either didn't go to bed or I work early to study and write. Now the routine is ingrained in my psyche: rise early, get work done and prepare for the day.
We really do become our parents, don't we?
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
|Bird in Flight - Pre-Dawn Series|
But here's the thing: I'm awake, I have the "activity of my limbs" and "I'm in my right mind." It's a good day and let's not waste it. Sunlight is far from breaking the eastern sky, but I won't let that stop me. Folks, I'm telling myself these "facts" as much as I'm telling you. Don't let your dread of the day and your physical ailments prevent you from stretching toward your goals. Get up and get your day started!
Monday, September 16, 2013
Put in your 10,000 hours and you will be an "expert" in your field.
In that case, I better work 100,000 hours and while I'm asleep! Writing and drawing, painting and poetry, water colors and stories...I could be practicing a long time!
I don't want to become proficient in any one thing; matter of fact, the one thing that acts as an umbrella over all is expression. Not in the soliloquy, monologue style, but where I am actively engaged with others. This life is not to be lived in solitary, but in community with others of same and different minds.
Practicing my craft is a matter of taking in the world around me, the good, the bad and the ugly. It makes for a rich tapestry for the stuff of rich lives. I quietly observe, be a fact finder, examine the highlight reflecting on someone's nose and observe the sounds. I'm making mental notes and always cataloging colors and words; there's always fascinating things happening around me and I do my best to observe and absorb.
Ten thousand hours? I think I've put in quite a few already. Maybe not ten thousand, but I'm building my time as I go. let's see what comes of it.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
And so often, it's as if there were blocks and clots and clogs throughout the system.
But it's needed, sorely in this world.
Not empty feelings or words
Pure and simple
Flowing to man, woman, boy or girl
Regardless of race, need or desire
Saturday, September 14, 2013
But I've taken time to "see what I'm seeing," to examine who I am. I look intently at people. It's partly because I am an artist and I'm always in anatomical mode. Meaning, I look at details of people's noses, their expressions and the way "all the parts" come together. Musician Bilal's opening line from his song "All Matter" says it best: "we're all the same, but all so very different. Divine by design, it all intertwines."
There are so many parts to us, both seen and unseen. When I have time to sit with someone, try as I might, I'm examining their face, the movement of their body and I'm looking for more than the visual representation of the individual; I'm looking for your soul! Sitting and talking with my children, my parents, friends and family, I'm always looking for truths that aren't being spoken, I want to know if you believe what you're saying; tell me how you "really feel!" I may not voice this regularly and I'm not always in this "mode," but I am interested.
We are taught to cover our selves; from childhood, we are taught to sit quietly, laugh softly and yet, somehow we are supposed to love freely. How does one love, when we are so afraid of being ourselves and as a result being hurt?
Forgive me if I stare; I'm just trying to see your soul!
Friday, September 13, 2013
And why is it we think we can keep one plate spinning in our lives? Why are we attempting to keep 3, 4, 5 or 6 plates going simultaneously? The plate in the middle is slowing down; better keep it going! By the time you get one back in orbit, number 4 is about to hit the ground! We run from one plate to another, trying to keep the whole "act" from crashing to the floor.
It isn't bad, this process of living; it's the parts we take on that leave us stressed and overworked. My wife said last night, it seems all we do is come home to prepare for the next day's work. Yeah, that's a spinning plate with a couple saucers and cups spinning beside it!
Thursday, September 12, 2013
So often when comparing races, we emphasize habits and stereotypes that are "exclusive" to one group. Certainly, there are cultural differences, especially as we are more exposed to countries and people we're not familiar with. But here's the thing: people are always people. The same way love and hate is expressed in one culture, it is expressed in another. One race or group of people will not be better "behaved" because of past circumstances. And while NO ONE should kill anyone else, it happens among people daily! Black on black crime occurs as frequent as white on white crime and and any other group. It is the "human" condition.
But realize, while we are emphasizing the negative aspects of our existence, realize there are far more people "building" our societies, i.e. maintaining and striving to make it better. And we're doing it without realizing it. When people are working in jobs and businesses and taking pictures of children and women and men, they are emphasizing this 'humanity' in ways that highlight our strengths and courage. When people go to mundane jobs each day, doing work that "feeds the masses," guess what? The masses are fed, housed, clothed and cared for! Certainly, the processes can be done in better less "polluted" ways, but it's being done. And when we strive to take care of one another in better ways, we are being better "humans."
Hope these words help you feel better about our place in this world.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I love staring at a painting. Whether abstract, portrait or something expressionist, there is a story behind it. Oh, it may not be a story where man meets woman, falls in love and they end in divorce, but there is a story. I find myself, whether it's my work or someone else, sitting and looking for a length of time, trying to determine what direction the piece is going.
Now, even with my work, the 'path' isn't always clear. Sometimes it takes some time to determine where a piece or series is headed and where it should go. Even with portraits, I am usually inspired by a facial expression or a part of someone's body that sticks in my mind. Simply concentrating on the position of neck and shoulders, the curve as the neck connects into the shoulder...simply taking time to see the story lines running beneath that connection...
Contemplating; simply staring, wondering, imagining, surmising.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
And yet it is a true statement and carries far more weight than we would give credit. Our inclination is to intervene, interject and prevent damage. But you ever notice, how "things" work out in their own time? I don't mean we should all stop paying bills or stop working and live "off the fat of the land." No, what I'm saying when your anxiety has you staying up late, tossing and turning and waking early, just let it go. When that 'issue' nags at your every thought, to the extent you find somehow you've gone through a red light, oblivious to your error, you better let it go!
A few months ago, I was troubled beyond compare. Could not get 'life' to go the way I wanted and I was disappointed that things weren't happening the way I wanted. Well, at some point, looking at the success of others, I realized I was "where I'm supposed to be." "This" isn't happening by accident, so my comfort has been, "every good thing in time." I'll still plan, dream and when the door opens, I'll walk in, but for now, Let if Flow.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Now as a visual artist, I love seeing objects, people, textures and the like and trying to render it. It's something about the contours and shapes and colors and the whole clashing and blending that sends my soul into another place. I thought about this the other day, how when I was about four, I saw my mom sitting with a pad of paper, doodling a flower, growing out of flower pot. It wasn't anything fancy or 'gallery worthy,' but it was the ease that she did it, that's what did it for me. I was hooked and I can recall trying to do the same thing. Except it didn't stop there; there was always a challenge to do what others had done and to do it my way.
Singing has to be the same; it has to be hearing or reading music others have done and being moved to the extent you express yourself. It has to be adding your own flavor, your own style to a song and hearing it expressed in your voice. It must be about rendering words, a story or feeling in a way that is uniquely your own that keeps singers singing.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
These 'things' can slow or impede a ship's movement in water. They build up and grow and attract enough other materials, that the smooth bottom of a ship gets "caked up" with this stuff. And a ship needs a smooth bottom to sail or move about in the water.
If you haven't figured out where I'm going with this, let me make it clear: so do we; we need a smooth "bottom" if you will to move through life. And yet like a boat, we have very little control over the 'stuff' that cakes up underneath. The pace of life dictates, that at times, we have to ignore some future issues. We have matters of "immediate importance," requiring attention from things we can see. All the while, other things go untouched, growing in priority. Even when we can "get around to it," our effort is half-hearted, not considering the matter important enough to completely remove and rid ourselves. Sometimes, we trust "everything will work out," not really knowing what to do. But oh, these BARNACLES grow and impede our progress at the exact WRONG time! When we least expect it, we find we our stopped in our tracks, by something we should have taken care of, a long time ago!
Get my point?
Saturday, September 7, 2013
We are like pipes or conduits where energy in the form of thoughts, feelings and responses flow. Back and forth, all day, each day and even in our dreams, we flow full of information. This energy, this information is not mindless or without emotions, and not every emotion is wrong or sinful. Our lives are full of good and constructive and positive energy. A small thing like - speaking of my country and where I live - streets constructed of concrete and asphalt. Someone had the idea that this material could support an endless supply of vehicular traffic with minimal repairs. Now we have miles of roads that connect to nearly everywhere you would want to go. We have created vehicles that 'could' take us "off road" if we needed, though they aren't quite tough enough to take up rocky climbs as commercials would have us believe. We have offices, where business is conducted nearly 24 hours a day, to support and communicate with other businesses and individual. We are a huge construct of connection and support and need. We are a grid "system."
But it starts with a pipeline, an idea, a concept of connecting. While we don't like to "receive" destructive and negative energy, we should give careful consideration to what output comes from us and what we mindlessly receive. I am a conduit of energy and information and truth. How I choose to manage and disseminate it, is up to me.
Friday, September 6, 2013
He was interested in knowing what it all means, why the shapes and colors form as they do. He said "I really want to know." I took a few seconds to consider how to respond, since I have considered the question myself. I have wondered how, especially jazz musicians come up with the titles for their songs and other visual artist give names to pieces. I've wondered, while in process, what "this piece" means to me and in "naming it," what message would the designation communicate to the observer. I told my coworker that for me, the process of naming the work, the telling of the message hidden in shape and colors is a matter of naming the story or idea. It is sharing my vision, my perspective with my audience. At the time, I didn't feel my explanation to be adequate, but as I have learned, any given moment is a puzzle piece for the whole of life.
But it dawned on me just recently, that while we love naming, quantifying and measuring everything around us, you or I can barely put a name on the impression a song leaves on you. In this moment, I'm listening to one of my favorite artists: Robert Glasper with a song 'entitled:' "Y'Otta Praise Him." Now the beat has samples of Christian flavored songs, but the beats are subtle, with my favorite improvisation runs jazz musicians are famous for. I could listen to music all day...and I could paint all day...and I could sit in the middle of good conversations with great people all day...but I can't name that tune; I simply live it. Some songs bring up memories, others, story ideas or Friday night dates, but name that tune? No, I would rather enjoy the moment.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
But there are things you don't plan for. More importantly, there are other matters, other issues you have in your life that you will not push aside anger, fear or frustration to complete. You choose to stay 'stuck' and on the couch. All of your dreams are postponed because "what if they don't like my work?" Or "I'm too fat and out of shape and look terrible in anything I wear!" Or "I'm too old to start now!" And yet, you can't settle into the austere life your conscious seems to suggest is appropriate for the "slacker" you imagine you are! Strange disturbances occur, felt physically, but mostly emotionally and it's as frustrating to "not" achieve - or at least make the effort - as it is to try.
Push it aside. Think, plan, set deadlines, goals and make it happen. Everyone reading this, has, at many times in your life thought something was impossible and not only did they make it happen, they completed the task exceptionally well! Push aside those thoughts that tell you can't and DO IT!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
So I'm drawing, painting, testing software and writing because it is my best work. There are so many things I write and draw that may never see the light of day; and it's possibility it could be deemed my "good" or even "great" work. But for now, I'll keep it close to my heart and perhaps, some day, my best work will be revealed.
In this venue, this 'media outlet,' I get to share my thoughts and hopefully someone reads it and finds courage to do their best work. In my opinion, some of the best work you can do is to contemplate, dream and in some small way, put into action the grand plans of your heart!
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
We never have enough time in our 'organized society.' For all our sophisticated structures, integrated systems and technology, we can't make a minute last any longer than it does. Whether you use a analog clock or watch, a digital indicator, have ever you looked at it and realized how quickly time has "gotten away" from you? Or as you are sitting in between tasks and appointments, the time seemed to tick away slowly, right up until that "last minute" where you realize you've got to get moving. No, we can't seem to get enough of it, no matter whether you are working, retired or disabled, what we want out of life doesn't seem to work in the time frame given.
But if you take 60 seconds, and I mean "take it!" Because it seems quite literally, that's what is required. Take the time to delay necessity and demand, quiet your mind for one minute, and you can change the pace and direction of your life. Truly, the rush and hustle of it all can wear us out, but it's only be appreciating the quiet, even in the rush of our day, that we find peace and rest. And perhaps, at some point, we really can become masters of the minute!
Monday, September 2, 2013
|Study for Predawn Light - Charcoal 18 x 24|
A few months ago, I started this "Thought for The Day" with a coworker, who seemed to need it. It was a "shot in the dark," a hand extended to simply say "it will be okay." Didn't mean much, just a way to assure someone who needed it. I've blogged before, tried to do it here and on my website, but honestly, the weigh of it was a bit much. Neither here nor there, at the moment. Anyway, she received the words heartily and "challenged" me to deliver it daily. I laughed at the thought, but seconds later, gave it careful consideration. Pretty much, without fail, she has received encouragement, warnings or whatever the Spirit of God lays on my heart to share with her, since.
The audience may be small or large; some read and continue with their day and I never hear from them. Some respond with a "like" on Facebook or a comment on the blog page. But it doesn't matter; when I open my heart to the words, images, colors and textures, it behooves me to spread the message to who ever will read, see and most important receive. Funny thing about all this "sharing," it is as therapeutic to write it as it is to share it. And when you receive it, whether you acknowledge, now, later or ever, the words complete their task.
Years ago, another coworker challenged my 'right' to entitle a business "HIS WORDS;" she considered the "proper" expression, "His Word" coming from a particular, cultural perspective. I think it's appropriate to call it "His Words," because they - the "words" - are delivered in multiple ways and channels. If you are willing to listen, to see and again, to receive, He is speaking to you so much and so often, you will never believe God is a distant voyeur in your life. You will see him as integrally woven into the very fabric of all creation. My role, for this blip in time, is to deliver to you, what is given to me. Remain faithful to your task, you responsibility as well.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
|A Response - Oil painting 24 x 36|
Read an interesting article on a website, skinnyartist.com, its about amateur vs. professional artists. Here's a link to help yourself. http://skinnyartist.com/9-warning-signs-of-an-amateur-artist/. Now please, don't use it to "pull the trigger," or "slash your wrists" if you find yourself woefully wanting - ah alliteration! Sorry, I'm in a light hearted mood today.
Whether you are a visual, word, song or dance artist, there are days where inspiration, your muse, sleeps in. Honestly, so many years ago, when I tucked away paints, brushes, pencils and inks, I thought I had to give up the gift, if only for an undetermined length of time. I always wanted to paint and draw; I loved the flow of pencil across paper and the way paints were more than a liquid medium. The material was an extension of my soul! But practicality and 'responsibility' (writing that word feels like dropping a 100 pound rock to the ground and proceeding to drag it about!) dictated that there were far more weighty matters at hand. So I parked it, put it on the shelf, laid it aside.
Three children, house and several jobs later, while I KNOW I'm not a professional artist, I have found it's far more valuable to express myself in one way or another. My favorite medium is images, but oh the sheer joy of words! Funny, I'm a minister, preacher specifically, and yet its by far, a better use of expression to write!
Words and images and living and struggling and resting and praying and... All triggers, inspiration to express my soul. I want to be a professional, I really do, so whether its convenient, whether I sleep late or I'm running off to work, I carve out moments, little by little to allow the light inside to shine through me. All I need is the right trigger; and the right trigger is nearly any trigger.
Express yourself, though no one listens, watches or seems to understand. And whether your audience is one or millions, allow the Light to Shine!!!