Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thought for The Day - Peering into the Void

The Portal (working process) 12 x 18 pastels

Many things can be said and when words are few...

I spent sometime yesterday working on the latest piece; a working title "the portal." As challenging as it is to define, designate a title, it's as difficult or rewarding to stare at the work and be flooded with a hundred variables. Typically, I don't get hours on end to sit and work, never mind actually sit and stare, but whatever I'm permitted, I feel multiple approaches flooding my mind.

That might explain the variable colors and best capsulize the process, there are colors and shapes and textures, layered upon one another. In my head, it's like a well written story, with plots and sub-plots, twists one never expects and even after the climax, there are subtle side stories continuing to run.

Sitting, staring, looking down a path and watching life unfold...sometimes one concentrates on one spot; other times, the mind tries to process every detail simultaneously.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Root

Where it All Begins...

The process of creating stems from a place and a source deeper than tree roots.

I live in an sub-urban area, but not the idyllic type with large yards, manicured lawns and cookie-cutter homes. It's an older area with large older trees and yards where a child's imagination grows. Some of the older trees have roots that reach deep and spread wide. When we moved into our house 25 years ago (wow, seems like yesterday!) there were remnants of an apple tree that produced a crab apple or two per year. I would say a year or two after we moved in, we had the tree cut down and removed. Have you ever looked at the roots of a tree that's been removed? Let me give you an idea what I'm talking about: that tree has been gone for approximately 20 years and I use the location to plant a vegetable garden. Whether I turn the soil with a shovel or till it with a tiller, I still find roots, old and supposedly dead. Now that tree didn't produce enough fruit to keep around and the few branches growing from it's trunk didn't give me hope for it. Sure, everyone wants a tree in their yard, especially a fruit tree to grab fresh produce, but when it looks bare and sickly, it's got to go!

My mom gave me the impetus to be creative; her simple doodling while on the phone opened a channel for me that 46 years later, still produces 'stuff.' I thought it had died, I thought when I faced the dilemma of 'making money' and 'being an artist' at 21, I would never produce another image again (not really; it was the melodramatic side of me having it's moment). And though, for all practical purposes nothing visual came from me, images and concepts lay beneath the surface, waiting for an outlet. Good as well as bad times stirred the outlets, the cracks and crevices to allow the flow to emerge. And years later, I'm at it again. The source is no more depleted than breathable air. It is nurtured from a source that never runs dry and each day is an opportunity to produce words and images. I am forever grateful for the ability to express!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Depths

Spending a little time this morning, searching through pictures, faces, bodies and souls, the obvious is evident: that we are spiritual beings living in physical bodies. And sometimes - most of the time - the physical becomes the crutch we lean on. We lean on our senses to define what our soul communicates. We listen, see and taste, trying to satisfy the longing of our soul.

Our soul is expressive, a voice, a declaration of what is hidden. We are designed for far more than receiving. Knowledge, imagination and innovation spring from the connection we make with the world and not taming it but living in it. We balance our lives in connection, not domination or repression. Our connections reflect the beauty of our souls. Even those that are difficult - people who are perpetually angry, sad or disagreeable - are in our lives to receive the LOVE we express. But be careful! If you are prone to a victim's mentality, prone to be abused and allow others to drain you, give yourself space from offensive individuals. We live in a world of "givers" and "takers," and it never ceases to amaze me that people don't recognize which role they play!

Be expressive, be free. Be full of life and give more than you take. When there are those around you who give as freely to you as you do to them, life is a wonderful journey! And when you find yourself out of balance, provide distance, contemplate what went wrong and either choose to repair it or move on.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thought for The Day - River Flow

Triplicate - 11 x 18 panels (3) Pastels

If you've ever placed your hand, a board, a brick or a sandbag in front of flowing water, you realized how hard it is to prevent it. It doesn't respond to words as we yell it and neither does it change direction. Have you ever paid attention to a drop of water? It works with gravity; put your finger in water, lift it up and watch: the water flows downward every time.

There are so many elements that for all practical purposes, we have little power over. Though its very cold here today, the sun is shining as if it were 90 degrees out! Unless you know the temperature before leaving the house, you might think it's warm and go out the door unprepared for the blast of air that takes your breath away! I considered the many elements, the multiple manifestations of matter that we literally 'swim' in any second of the day and it was near overwhelming! Consider what's happening around you - this is, by no means a comprehensive list:
  • right now, you are surrounded by light and energy - whether you are asleep in a dark room or sitting outside, it's flowing around and even "through" you.
  • The molecules necessary to produce a rain storm or snow are all around you right now
  • You are made of water and so many other elements and molecules
  • Right now, your eyes, ears, nose and tongue are working; your body detects temperature, or a comfortable level of humidity. It responds to the air and you decide whether you are comfortable or not. 
  • And all of the above - and far more - are evidence of LOVE
Bilal, a singer has a song called: "All Matter;" I'm sure I've mentioned it before. In the chorus he asks the question: "what is love, what is it, what is love, what is it? Cool on the outside hot in the middle, cool on the outside, hot in the middle." Then he suggests "you don't even got to try, all you got to do is realize, you don't even got to try, all you got to do is's all matter, its all matter...."

Even love, though for all practical definitions is invisible, it is manifest in the physical. We usually think of it in the form of a mother and child or a couple, but God has manifests it in every way possible. From the light, energy and the movement of the universe, all is an expression of LOVE. In response to what you believe is in an absence of it, you might decide to be bitter and "grouchy." You might decide if anyone comes "near you" or tries to be kind to you, you will treat them with contempt and keep them away. But you can no more stop the flow of love than you can a swollen river. The air, the food, even the availability of "inefficient human engineered goods and services" declare LOVE. And whether your food tastes terrible or not, whether someone is "poisoning the air" we breathe, LOVE continues to flow! It flows to you, over you and through you.

You don't even got to try, all you got to do is realize!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thought for The Day - Speak for Yourself

I've been a fairly quiet person all my life; never prone to long speeches or dominating a conversation. I want to be heard, but I understand the power of listening as well. I have friends who can talk at length about "anything" and "nothing" in particular and that's also been the case most of my life. I guess I get if from my father, who would get into conversations with his peers, they would go on and on, and all you would hear him say is "oh yeah," and "great day!" His smile and laugh always present.

My work speaks for me, its message can be misconstrued, misunderstood and perhaps minimized and marginalized, but for now, what I write and what is expressed in the colors and lines are my most meaningful expression.

Examine carefully and in both word and visual expression, you will find layers and twists, purpose and meaning hidden in the basic presentation. But then, we are so accustomed to a glut of words being the equivalent of profound thought, perhaps the simplicity will hide what I'm saying...not really. One day it will be clear.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thought for The Day - In The Wind

Even a rock can be changed by the wind...

Flowing. There are times when I sit to write or draw or paint, with no preconceived notion. I allow the 'breeze' to carry me in the direction it wishes. Words flow, colors and shapes emerge and my soul soars. Then there are the times when my meditations and logic are behind the wheel and the writing has a decided path. While more challenging - didn't think I was that much of a free spirit - it flows with force and purpose as well.

Growing up in an area where there is always 'air movement' as I've come to name it, I always feel a slight breeze. Because you always feel it, you don't notice it until you're in an area where there is no breeze and the sun is beaming down on you, and the only relief available is a piece of paper waving across your face. But here in Chicago, with little to supposedly 'no breeze' just walking around outside, you feel the slightest air moving around you.

This creativity thing, whether I 'acknowledge' it, flow with it or use it as a form of "resistance training" it works in my favor. For the many years where I wouldn't dare write or draw, I wasn't aware that I was slowly being turned and twisted and cracked. During this process, slowly I gave in and found that the best way to live this life was in light of what exists in me as well as following the direction the Spirit of God would take me.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Dance

After the Dance (in process) 18 x 24 charcoal

We approach

You pause

I hold out my hand

Reaching for your outstretched hand

Slightest hesitation

A signal that all is not well

You draw closer

Sidestep a full embrace

I pull you to me anyway...

This living, this life...L-O-V-E. Reasons too many, past, present and future prevent full disclosure. Surrender and trust a precarious dance, not just for two. It is our way, our cultures, mankind in general. We are a strange mix of emotions and thought. We know what is possible and like a dance, there are moments of full disclosure, followed by ambivalence and even cold distance.

Like a dance, we approach, we welcome and we greet. But rare are the moments when we give and receive without remembering and guarding.

Let's try a new dance, one where we embrace and hold fully. Where we recall pasts and yet hold on to the present. Let's dance as if tomorrow will be brighter with one another.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thought for The Day - Love

After the Dance 18 x 24 charcoal and pastels

Send it out

Receive it

We love "love." We love "loving." But love is more than responding to someone who is "loving;" love, by it's very nature simply gives. It does not stop because it is not received. Love does not fade in the face of opposition. It simply loves.

Think of love like the wind...we build homes and buildings and we build them to withstand strong winds. But wind finds it's way through the smallest cracks. It wraps around the house, envelopes it and in a quiet moment, you can hear it whipping around corners. When a breeze is powerful, you can feel it even in a brick house. That's what love is; we put up barriers to it, we try to prevent it's expression when we reject an individual, but love is stronger than hurt and love is greater than pain. Love. Never. Fails.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thought for The Day - Out for a Walk

Many days, I have to take a walk and sometimes it's just to get out in the air. Certainly, it's to get away from the desk and turn off the "software testing mechanism" in my head. But it's also to allow my other thoughts to circulate. My legs and arms move and my brain takes off to another place! Feeling the breeze on my face, considering the buildings, trees and people, it all combines in my head, an avalanche of information to fuel my thoughts. Now mind you, for the most part, my walk is less about "taking in the sights" and more about exercising my mind.

I laugh when I think about the periods of time when I didn't go out for a walk regularly. When work is demanding or worse, I'm in a suburban area with limited access to paths and sidewalks and I'm prone to drive through a restaurant for lunch. Then comes the 'opportunity' to exercise my legs...whew! Huffing and puffing and sweating! But when the opportunity comes again and again, I adjust, refocus and find my pace again.

Walking, going for a walk is cleansing and renewing. Whether I'm out for lunch with a coworker or going it alone, the process of letting go of 'office anxiety' and soaking in the big world around me makes me a better worker, man and artist.

Try it! Go for a walk!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thought for The Day - Chriysalis

Phoenix 18 x 24 pastels

Following the guidance of the Spirit...

We live our lives longing for expression though our society loves to hate our word, dance and colors. The very ones we would bless, instruct us to remain quiet, get a job or "keep the day one." And we learn to put a hard outer shell around our selves. It's effect is felt in our core, down to our soul. And we medicate, anesthetize and shelter our sensitive natures. Men become bullies or silent heroes and women become stern, hard working managers.

And yet, beneath that hard shell, like a small flickering flame, beats a heart and desire that will not die. It finds ways of expressing itself; in aches and pains that appear out of nowhere, memories of dancing and singing without a care surface from time to time. We pay "professionals" or as we have come to call them: celebrities, to perform for us, when we are perfectly capable of singing our own song.

Somehow, we think the world is too small, not realizing how the very ground beneath us and sky above yearns to expand to make room for the power hidden beneath our shells!

Years ago, I buried "Eddie;" tucked him safely behind a shirt and more!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thought for The Day - Custom Made Shoes

Elastic - pastels

You enter a store where shoes are sold and whether you have in mind a style, a color and you know your shoe size, your choices are limited. As a matter of fact, you can go from store to store, especially if affordability and options aren't found at the first retailer. Your choices remain small and placing your foot in a shoe, you fit what the designer and manufacturer decided is best for the masses. But you are an individual, with individual needs and wants.

Years ago, I found out I have wide feet, like triple E wide. I was a skinny kid with feet that couldn't fit in the shoes found in the typical kids' shoe store. Certain athletic shoes were off limit because they were made for the 'average' kid. From childhood, I've  struggled with finding shoes that fit me and for many years, as manufacturers move away from wider widths, I've learned to adjust, meaning I've learned to adjust my step so my feet don't hurt as much! It's one of my daily goals to kick off my shoes!

We are individuals, not mass produced beings. We are so unique, while we may have similar likes, two people. born at the same time, living in the same home can have dramatic differences in personality. And though we may think it's easier to wear the persona of others, BE YOU! All too often, we see the accomplishments of others, take note of the ease in which they operate or the easy way they converse and we think: "I wish I could be like them!" No, you don't; their struggles and desires brought them to this point. The same holds true for you.

Find, Operate, Function from your own shoes; never wear the shoes of others. The journey isn't over and even when you accomplish some of the things you hope for, there remains so much more. But you will never be comfortable in the shoes of others!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thought for The Day - Fishing

There are times when I fully realize, what I desire in that moment is not in my power to bring about. What happens next is not so much a conscious request or prayer, but more like a mental note written on a slip of paper and passed to God. I have heard myself say "some day" or "I would like to have _____" and the thought doesn't linger, but neither is hope abandoned. And most assuredly, in due time, what I desired comes to pass.

I have never thought of it as anything more than a connection to God that, in it's purest form is a request between a son and his father. He knows my needs and my wants and much more than that, He knows timing. I would love to say I'm "at peace" and patient enough to quietly wait for everything he would bring "to pass." No, there are times I'm like an impatient fisherman - can the two words be used to describe a fisherman? I pray with great fervor, want to see 'a change' as soon as I open my eyes. Then I pray more, and from day to day, pleading with God to send a miracle.

There are times, I sit, examining the course my life has taken or the path I think is best. I think it's important to spend time in quiet reflection; it's a way to gain insight and understanding not found in books or the latest health craze. Doing so, I find parts of my 'puzzle' coming together  with little or no effort. And like a patient fisherman, what I desire, what I hope for, finds me.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Thought for The Day - Pullin' it together

It's like weaving, the process of bringing the colors together through the channel of my hands and mind. I love the process of rendering because in a sense, I operate from a observer's point of view as well as "brick-layer." I get to step back, observe the process, analyze what's lacking, which turn I could have taken , and what other possibilities exist beyond the moment. As the "brick-layer" I'm applying the colors or tones, if I'm working with charcoal. It's almost mechanical and there are times  where I feel less like an artist and more like a brick-layer. But the process of both keeps everything in perspective.

There are times when works "in progress" remain on the easel or drawing board for weeks and months, and the only action taken is observing. I wake and as part of my process of daily preparation, writing, journaling, I sit and stare. Then I add a couple touches and simultaneously, plan the next drawing. And the wonderful thing - at least for me - what I plan rarely makes it to paper or canvas! It's wonderful because there is s a certain amount of spontaneity in the process and from piece to piece.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thought for The Day - Puzzle Pieces

Sleeping Beauty (in progress) - 8 x 11 pencils

After the Dance (in progress) 18 x 24 charcoal

The subject is a recurring 'theme' in my life, from my earliest experience with jigsaw puzzles, I have loved the very complexity of them. Putting them together, finding the pieces that fit perfectly together and the hours of looking for those pieces to fit perfectly. I certainly owe it to myself to invest in a 1000 piece puzzle or more, and do it soon!

Now mind you, every moment spent with a puzzle isn't pleasure. There are times when I want to toss the whole thing in the trash! The times where you are sure a piece fits, you place it down, only to find after trying to fit another to it's complex corners, there's the tiniest gap! And you begin again, trying to find the right piece! Or the times you sit turning and twisting pieces, and after what seems to be a long time, not one piece is put in place.

I've wanted to be an artist all my life, since I saw my mom casually drawing cubes and flowers in a pot. I learned how to do the same types of drawings pretty quickly and move to "race cars" - this little boy's fascination with power and going fast! Then I moved to drawing people, one of the most complex 'designs' to tackle. Faces, arms, the intricate twist of muscles, bones and flesh and expressions are pieces I'm constantly studying and working on! The ride on public transportation or a walk at lunch is an opportunity to study these pieces and see how they fit together.

And my life is the same; my individual pieces, with my wife, children, extended family, church family, 'work family,' and on and on and on...putting it together; new parts introduced all the time. There are times it's beyond frustrating! I want to walk away from this puzzle and disappear to a place where the pieces are few and far between! But this is the complexity of my life and 'putting us together' is my excellent work.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Centerpoint

That place of focus, the place where everything else revolves, begins and returns to. The center, the place of strength and highest acclaim. That place emotionally, logically, behaviorally and spiritually, where, when we operate, we exude our highest being.

I've read several quotes recently stating we don't live or appreciate "The Moment." Given my nature, I was ready to point the finger at myself, certain I was guilty. But at the moment, music is playing, my all-time favorite group Incognito; the song "Good Love" - look it up! That's at this moment. The music dictates appreciating the moment. I worked on a pastel piece this morning and whenever I work in this medium, "preconceived notions" are tossed out the window! Even when I stare at a work in progress and imagine colors and movement, when pastel stick hits paper, in that minute, at that time, it's only that moment and I'm guided by one hundred variables all at the same time. I could be troubled by the conflicting possibilities, but in that moment, I am at my center.

I have reasoned many times, my "work" remains small; I don't have a large audience for writing, painting, sharing a good word and especially counseling. But I have concluded "I've reached one." Did you hear me? Are you listening? If you have heard me, if an image rendered, gave you pause for reflection, then you found me at my center (and I reached at your core!). If my listening to your struggle and subsequent advice or just a nod of understanding eased difficulties for you, I heard you, I responded in the moment. I don't claim to have special powers, but as I learned from my father so many years ago, pray, seek and receive the answer in the instance. The best is given in the moment, with or without forethought.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Well

A Response 24 x 36 Oil

I wondered how deep the well ran...

As a child, for a few days of the summer, we traveled south to Mississippi and Arkansas, visiting my parents aunts and uncles. Both had a few cows, more chickens and a few horses or mules; the folks were old and spent last time working the land than used to. But on my father's land, there was a well that his aunt used as one of her sources of water. A well with a bucket attached to a rope that you lowered to get water from the bottom of it. I don't think I've been too many places since and seen a working well. Anyway, if you wanted water for cooking, cleaning and drinking, this was the best way to get it. And the water was cool and delicious! I remember thinking how could the water be so cold when it was so hot outside! But it was and we drink it often.

I remember wondering how water was below the ground; did it just sit down there? Or was it flowing here, there get the point.

Makes me wonder still, when I think of sources, are they just lying there waiting to be 'tapped?' I've been trying to get to the bottom of this, quite literally, all my life. A deeper searching and understanding of this living, this life. Seeing beauty in the mysteries of life as well as the simple and common. A drop of water, coming from your eye, or as will be the case in a few minutes, water dripping in the form of sweat...from my body...really...where is the well?

The source...the necessities of life supplied...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thought for The Day - Friction

Rise! - 18 x 24 Pastels
Friction - sometimes we aren't aware of the resistance until an attempt is made to move or the object (person, ideology or philosophy) in proximity moves away. Friction occurs when two objects in contact with one another and one is moving away the other. It happens when we want to move in a direction and the other wants to stay or go the opposite direction. And the rub comes when we aren't sure if or why we are moving in different directions. It can also occur when we think someone "should be" going in the same direction, you are certain you are, but actions speak differently. Depending on the attachment, transitioning away may not be as easy as one would imagine.

While we think our higher goals propel us to greater heights, certain factors make it near impossible to let go of the familiar. Good times, familiar surroundings, dreams shared and aspirations sought; we find ourselves, fighting against ourselves. Is it any wonder, people capable and dreaming of so much, hold on to familiar, yet destructive surroundings? Personal experience: you remember or readily recall what drew you to this person, place or thing and somehow, your higher aspirations seem to lose its luster.

It's a battle, and one we are born to fight. Our dreams and aspiration won't allow us to settle for less and yet familiarity draws us near. Many people have surrendered dreams only to pick up bad habits, disease and angry personalities trying not to grow beyond the familiar. When everything in you strives against your sensibilities.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thought for The Day - Really? What is it?

It's a tremor, a quiver felt from shoulder to shoulder.

It's a picture, hiding just behind the stark white of the paper or the canvas

It's a color or pattern or texture, built by layer upon layer, pleading for expression in this realm

It's a theme, a subject, a title yet revealed...

The creative process; when intention takes me to the border of this world and the unseen,

My hand is the tool, carving out colors from that other place.

When I allow my mind to cross that line, to sit, to stand in front of those flat surfaces and scratch that paper, energy and light coming through, it is my pleasure to be the delivery man of this beautiful message.

Do you understand it? Is the message clear? Or do you need a name, a title or designation to handle the simple words your soul clearly understands?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Figure

Sleeping Beauty 8 x 11 pencil
A Kiss 12 x 16 Pastels

Sitting here, sheet of pastel paper taped and prepped behind me, a Gil Evans rendition (circa, 1961) of "Where Flamingos Fly," I have the sense of these lovely figures moving in my head. I see them, the beautiful fluid motion of legs and arms, torsos and shoulder, moving slowly and moving fast.

Shapely in their form and variety, skin tones beautiful and luxurious, from dark brown to a glowing light caramel, their value being the soul beneath, active and full of life.

I see you, my beautiful sisters, moving about; from kitchens to the children's room, to the office, the store, behind the wheel and sometimes hauling boxes. Beautiful in your determination to be part of life, to be considered and to stand.

Your beauty is legendary! To watch you captured in a photo or better, to see you in person...the essence of glorious radiance shining in your face!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thought for The Day - Making a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents!

Desert Floor (in progress) 12 x 18 Pastels

Sometimes, your lessons reflect back at you! Years ago, my middle son had an art class. Freshman in high school at a time when I was "considering" getting back into art myself, but not quite there, he was struggling with color mixing techniques. He thought the answer was to buy all the different shades and colors in tubes of premixed paints. A lesson I learned in my college days was the technique of blending colors and creating your own shades. Certainly a tedious process, but you learn as much about your 'vision' as you do about the technique.

Some years later, when I started drawing and painting regularly, I could afford to spend money on paints, pastels and colored pencils. A few times, when I didn't have a certain color, I would express my frustration and limitations and how I could get "this" detail if I just had the right shade of green. And of course, he said to me, "you could just mix it. That's what you told me!" And of course he was right. Not that I followed his advice or my own; eventually, I bought that shade of green I needed and other shades of blue. But...

...When I sit with a blank canvas or sheet of paper, I might have a concept in mind, but often it is the willingness to do so that opens the channel to the flow. I'm learning that the very act of sitting through the process, feeling the frustration, the pain, as well as the joy and liquid creativity is part of the process. There are times when my supply of pink pastel is down to a single nub, but I have red and white in abundance...I make it work. I have had times when I only had newsprint available for paper, but in that moment, it may as well be a sheet of the finest sanded pastel paper as far as I'm concerned! I work the surface as if every thought and emotion in my head, is buried beneath the white surface. And it's my job to bring out what's beneath.

I have plenty of things to say, to write, to express...and the means, the medium and time are limited. But today, I'm making a dollar out of fifteen cents!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thought for The Day - Clear View

Triplicate (in progress) - 12 x 18 panels - Pastels

...Because our intentions are good. Because in spite of our faults  and failures, our fear that the world is collapsing around us and our single indiscretion contributes to the greater apocalypse, we want better. No, we want Heaven and it's promise of perfect health and connected relationships without ulterior motives.

...because we see with jaded eyes, we detect collapse and calamity faster than we do love and good meaning. Because with every well placed thought, no sooner do we look at our world, training and tradition kicks in to tell us that the guy who sits too closely wants to take our "stuff." We don't truly treasure stuff over people, we actually value our human interaction more than stuff. It's just that "stuff" tends to light up at our touch, at least 95% of the time. It responds when we need it to and it waits for us until we are ready to 'play.' But people are fickle; they sometimes return a mutual expression of acknowledgement and sometimes they avoid you as if you don't exist.

...because when we get behind our closed doors,  no one should be able to hurt us, yet we continue to hurt. No matter how we eat right or wrong - justified by great testing food in socially-satisfying situations, or alone where no one laughs under their breath -  exercise, pay our taxes and smile at our neighbors, we don't rise to the desired level or unity we strive for.

Who really wants more stuff? A television doesn't change the condition of your heart if you decide you prefer pain and disappointment over compassion. And a 100" LED Plasma television is no more important than the news about a child abducted in a town 500 miles away.

Intentions, desire and the Highest. Focus there.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thought for The Day - Thinking...

Phoenix - 18 x 24 Pastels

You ever have one of those days, weeks - hopefully not longer - where you wish you could turn off your brain? It isn't the accomplishments or hopes that need to be shut down, it's those annoying self-doubts and life-confirming hard-knocks that leave you in a constant state of anguish! Everywhere you turn, trouble, difficulty and disappointments plague your every move.

Sorry, it's this way sometimes. We don't have the 'luxury' of lives full of mountains and flowers; our lives our lived in the valley and on the plain. And even our "bright spots" have to admit, sometimes it's downright disappointing to the extent you wonder if it's worth it.

Well it is worth it! Every hardship, every struggle and disappointment as well. So while the thoughts are racing to what seems to a brick wall, while it seems like the life you desire is off limits and moved on to rest on another's shoulders, keep pressing on!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thought for The Day - Perfect Pitch

Declare It! - 8 x 11 - Colored Pencils

As in perfect voice. As in singing or speaking...when the voice by training , or a moment of instinctual balance and release, comes through with a sound, smoothly, evenly. Perfect pitch; when the sound coming from you, as an instrument, move at a rate detected by the ear, moving the listener to attention. Perfect pitch; well spoken, delivered in perfect sound, exciting the soul!

More than a practice of classical trained singers musicians and orators, it springs from the heart and soul of the person willing to align themselves in that moment. Perhaps, over time, the delivery can be "canned;" practiced to the extent that exact delivery point, that sound repeated. But it is the soul, that connection to God and a desire to declare, that moves our soul to hear.

Perfect Pitch; choosing to be the vehicle, the very vessel for a statement in a moment. I have watched teenagers, with no formal training, but only a desire to "sing for God," stand on a platform with hundreds watching, and sing in such perfect pitch, you would swear the voice was came from heaven. I've seen people sing and speak in the least ideal circumstances - flat building, average height ceiling - come through with a sound that rocks you to your core! And I've seen people who couldn't "hold a note" in an instant, sing as if Sarah Vaughn were 'channeled' through them!

Declaration; in this case a willingness to share, to pronounce, to make known. When we decide we have something to share, when we do so, perhaps in spite of our own sense of weakness or fear, we can stir the soul. And perhaps, for that moment, we have added our voice to those who desire to change the world. Perfect pitch; DECLARE IT!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thought for The Day - Eyes Wide Open

Study for Pre-Dawn Light 18 x 24 Charcoals

In a day's time, in the instance of a moment, there is so much we can absorb and take in. Actually our senses take in far more than our conscious mind will acknowledge; our reasoning filters out far more than we would acknowledge. But let's consider what we might dismiss, the stuff our 'filter' sees but refuses to acknowledge.

In traffic, on the way to work - work and our feelings about it (good, bad and ambivalent) being our primary focus - we pass others. We drive by them, beside them and see them in our rear view mirror. We see them, but we don't; we see faces and the same tell-tale indicators in their expression as in ours. Someone is struggling with a decision about a spouse or 'significant other' oblivious to their pain. There is someone who has a child that is capable of so much more, but is that child falling into the steps of me, the parent, who also could do much more? What about the story behind the eyes of a homeless man or woman, or the person pretending to be? What motivates someone to stand on street corners and beg for money when they have a place to stay, food and perhaps a car? And how different is that from you and I, living from paycheck to paycheck, the modern day equivalent of hand-to-mouth existence?

At work, 'hello, good morning' and small talk break up the work load. But how much truth are we ignoring in the words of our 'work-family?' More importantly, how much of our own soul's cry and longing for the 'abundant life' goes unanswered? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thought for The Day - Try, Try Again

Always trying...something new, what seems old; try it again. Maybe this time, another time, it "works." And isn't that ultimately what we want out of life? If I move to this neighborhood, this city, attend this school, marry this woman, maybe 'it' will 'work' for me. Maybe I will earn enough, my belongings won't stolen or vandalized; maybe I will have peace and a "good life." Always trying, always searching.

We won't fault an individual for trying, even when we feel like they're wasting their time. We all stand accused of trying to shift the world to our favor, of connecting our effort to our desires. And everyone capable of reading this will try it again, and again, and again. Why? Because as long as we live, we are motivated to brighten our life, bring beauty and completion to our lives.

And so it goes. Many will read these words, their mind already focusing on a way to do better or their feet and hands moving in the direction of a richer life. Keep at it; it's what we are designed to do.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thought for The Day - It Starts with Me

Pretty Seed - 9 x 12 Pastels

Of course, we all want the world to change for the better. We want the politicians to stop playing games with our tax money, we want to earn more money - whether working for ourselves or working for 'the man' - and we want better education and healthy choices for food. We want our neighbors to care more for their yards and the guy in traffic weaving in and out of it, to realize he isn't the only out here.


It starts with me.

I could picket, preach, join this organization, write letters to my congressman, sign an electronic petition on my company's behalf calling for the congress to act like adults...


It starts with me.

When I, each day, make choices to care about me, take action to bolster those thoughts, I change the world. When I sit in front of this computer, sharing my insights, a willingness to be known by words and images, I slowly change the direction of the world. When I model and teach behavior that is kind and considerate to others, when my children see me helping them and going out of my way to help others, I am changing the world.

It starts with me.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thought for The Day - The Art of Good Sound

I'm a fan of music, good music, great music! I have a particular tastes, though I'm always willing to try something new. The power of Music is felt in it's ability to change the mood of a room or in your head. I have said many times, if I had my way, I would listen to music every hour of every day.

Music has been part of my life for all of my life. And whether at church, at home, the gym, and at work, I need it to as the background of my life. It isn't always about soothing or relaxing. Sometimes the music triggers ideas and a new approach on an old idea. It is the movement of my life.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thought for The Day - Words and Images

Study for Predawn Light - 18 x 24 charcoal and pencil

Of a Feather - 18 x 24 pastels

The Seed - 12 x 18 - pastels

I've wondered how long it would take to get to this message. Well here I am; and here it is.

The title of a song, a poem, a painting or a car. Images and words, words and images. Words convey an imagery, a thought and feeling without imagery; images, rendered with or without intent, can speak volumes. In a "concrete" world, full of facts and statistics, lazy reasoning rules. Beaten down by cultural norms and the words "no" and "don't," we choose a life as herded cattle, following the cow path to and from home.

Every now and then, we allow a word, an image or both to rattle our cage. It doesn't have to be a speech or orchestrated rendition via a fine soprano voice. No, every now and then, the voice of a child, reading our worried expression, breaks through our London-fog, shines pure light on us and awakens the divinity languishing beneath our flesh. We only need a moment, often we only alow singular events anyway. But our world is altered ever so slightly by words and images.

Have you ever received a drawing from a small child and rather than ask "what is it," simply said "oh this is nice!" Children know intent; they instinctively know the connection between lines, colors and their identity. It's only when we force rules and names, that they forget the truth. But we can all stand to re-enter the school of words and images.

Allow the light to shine in you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thought for The Day - One Life

I'm Listening 24 x 36 Oils

You're living it now. You may not enjoy it, you may wish for more, but this is it, this is your life. Now if you want more out of it, if it isn't all you wish it would be, what are you doing about it? What can you do about it?

There really is more to this life than just "making it." Deserve it, earn it or not, live life to the full!