Category Archives: Life

Fifty Floating Apples

Last summer I wrote a blog post about floating apples – Going Bananas Over Nuts and Apples. It’s a special topic for me, as is gravity and that kind of mystery.

That mystery is imagination itself, where ideas live, play? For me it is without a doubt the most real aspect of the universe, intact beyond anything physical, and fluid more than static. I think some of that is there when the apple floats – when the tree can no longer hold it, and yet just before gravity begins the descent. And I wonder, “Do butterflies “know” something of this, but in a very different, magical way?”

Please keep that in mind, as it may the best way I can describe some of the thinking behind this new painting. It’s called “Floating An Apple” and it was done somewhat with Magritte’s “Son of Man” in mind. Perhaps this is my tribute to his message in that picture, show here:

image of the Son of Man painting

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

On the painting’s Wikipedia page [1], Magritte is quoting as saying this about his painting:

At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.[1]

Floating An Apple_Proof2

 

In the Right Place - art

WTF – Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s so much going on around the world that is so damn troubling. Like countless others, it seems that no matter what one does individually or collectively, these troubles persist. Yet we try.

I’m one of those who in the past few years has tried to avoid “the news”, as in “mostly the relentless accounts of the worse current events”. In fact for me almost everything about what we call “the news” is among the most troubling of our current events.

As hard as I try, one simply cannot avoid some stories, such as the ongoing Ferguson debacle. I usually don’t blog or comment about these terrible tragedies, but for some reason this one has gotten me down more than most . . . I’m reminded of an incident that happened about 12 years ago, in Birmingham, Alabama.

I was there for a few days on business, along with a few others. One evening a co-worker and I decided to go for a walk, check out the city a bit. We were close to downtown, walking distance from the convention center, and there was plenty enough to see and do. In other words, we came across a pool hall.

It seemed like a nice, safe area. It was clean, lots of lights, a beautiful evening, friendly people around, and so on. We felt extra safe when we noticed a few police officers. They stood out partly because they were on bikes, just strolling around. One especially stood out because he looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. They also had on these skin-tight uniforms – a tight shirt and shorts – at least on of the Village People would be so envious.

A few minutes after seeing these police we were safely inside this nice, clean pool hall. We got ourselves some whiskey & coke and soon the game became so relaxing. In other words I began to kick his ass . . . oh, how I missed my snooker! To make matters sweeter, the music came on. Nice tunes on the jukebox, courtesy of two very attractive young ladies in the corner, the only two others in the place, aside from the bartender. I glanced over. They really were stunning to be honest, especially with their smiles and giggles.

My friend and I continued with our game. Then Arnold entered the hall. I had my back to the ladies in the corner, which is where the policeman was headed. All of a sudden those giggles turned to loud screams. In a horrible flash I turned to see what was going on. The ladies had their arms up and backs arched away from Arnold – a defensive posture. It was necessary because the policeman had a long nightstick raised and extended in his right hand.

In this flash I saw this nightstick begin its downward assault. Almost miraculously, it stopped. No one was hurt. The young ladies left their drinks behind and made a quick exit, visibly shaken but at least not beaten. The officer had his back to us the whole time. I can’t remember if he glanced over in our direction behind he quickly left the place as well.

We asked the bartender what had just happened. She told us that apparently these young ladies did not have any I.D. on them, so it was unclear whether they could legally be in this licensed hall.

My reaction now remains as it was then, and it’s the same for Ferguson, “WTF!!!”

I forgot to mention that these were ladies of color and the officer was white . . . they also appeared to be close to the same age.

Anyway, I can’t stop any of this madness. About the only thing I can do is offer my little sign of peace. It’s not much. It’s just a savings of five bucks, and by that I mean I’m giving away my novel – today and tomorrow – November 26th and 27th.

While the book is about love, it does have its unsettling parts and aspects . . . did I mention fear? Still, overall it’s about the best of humanity . . . at times like these it seems we all need reminders of that means . . . a temporary escape from some of these troubles.

So here’s my Amazon link to “Dawn at Last”. While I know it doesn’t mean much at all, at least it’s a little something . . . a little gift.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Finally, to my friends around the world, even those whom I have yet to meet, I’d be honored to have you accept my gift.

Pickled Eggs and Other Food for Thought

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything ethically related, and no, this isn’t going to be about Ferguson or Iraq or the Ukraine or Gaza, or Venezuela or Nigeria or Syria or Afghanistan or whether Germany will export another $60 billion of military “stuff” this year. It’s not even about drones peeping into Vancouver apartments.

This is about life, and the creation of it, or in this case is it best to say the production of it?

I came across something today that has me in a pickle, and it can be a little jarring. It has to do with the bio-mechanical womb, and it seems just around the corner . . . you can read the post here . . .

Would You Grow Your Baby In An Artificial Womb?

Is it just me or are we basically doing everything ass backwards now? By that I mean, “shouldn’t the ethical decisions be covered long before the technology gets this far?” The truth is that for a very long time now, one can always find an ethical justification for anything we are capable of inventing or doing . . . hello folks, everything is allowed! The legal people just put up some rules & regulations to complicate matters further. Still, shit happens!

Please Stay Kosher

When I look at that womb container the first thing that comes to mind is a pickle jar, and it seems everything gets privatized sooner or later? Private or not, who among is worthy to make these decisions? Perhaps none of us. By that I mean how the technology is applied.

So instead of worrying about pregnancy, and stocking up on pickles and ice cream, you will worry about something else. “How is my little Bick baby doing today?” Then as you snap pictures of the work in progress, you ponder, “Shall it be Ben or Jerry?”

I’m one of those who is completely against things like colonizing Mars, and this artificial womb stuff only solidifies that concern. After all, at some point isn’t it all just a little too excessive? When did nature become so irrelevant?

Roll over Beethoven! Another Turner Classic?

The Hole Picture

Pigeonholing is essentially  term that describes an attempt to classify in a mutually exclusive way. Put another way, it is like trying to make something discreet as opposed to a continuum. In that way it becomes somewhat limiting.

This can be frustrating for creative types. For example, in the case of my writing, I never considered the relevance of genre while writing “Dawn at Last”. However, once the marketing of the book started, it seemed like something I needed to do – had to do for online purposes. When you think about it, every database is a process of pigeonholing. That’s true with every social media site as well as places like Amazon and Fine Art America.

It took a long to find the right hole for the book, and I’m actually very comfortable, or perhaps relieved, to be classified as an author who writes literary fiction. That’s because it not only fits my style, but it is also a style that is very broad in definition . . . after all, it’s all about the characters, unusual and somewhat unpredictable ones, and the plot is secondary, though still important.

Similarly, in art I put I put myself in the abstract hole right out of the gate. That seemed very straightforward at first, though lately I like to think of my style as “abstract-figurative”. That’s because most of my art includes the female form and some also includes other mysterious creatures such as birds.

The Invisible Nest

Whether in art or writing, there is something I try to convey about the selfless aspect of life. That seems to be such an amazing part of the natural way of things, yet for most it seems so hard to see or comprehend. I try to make it easier, but without preaching . . . more subtle. In the context the abstract term makes a lot of sense. After all, this selfless aspect of life is so full of mystery . . . invisible, non-physical, imaginary yet very real.

Perhaps that is the most frustrating dichotomy. Someone we have been taught that the term imaginary means “something not real”. One again there’s the discrete . . . zero/ one . . . yes/ no. Buddhism talks about a life force that moves through sentient beings. As such this force fits the description of imaginary or non-physical . . . but it is not separate from the physical, just selfless.

This is one reason why I seldom have faces in any of my art. It’s funny how in our culture this is offensive to some, kind of “dehumanizing”. I see it so differently though. For me it is an attempt to move beyond the individual and convey the importance of the selfless reality – something much bigger than ourselves.

That’s one reason. On a more pragmatic level I don’t like the fine detail that can go into the painting of faces. I’m actually in awe of that kind of art when I see it, and if I had a mind to I could easily go down that stream. I know because that’s what I did when learning to draw, and as wonderful as it is I found it too easy in a way . . . simply technique and detail.

That is by no means a knock on any of those skills or that style. In fact it is more of an admission that there are so many out there doing it that there is no real need for me to join that flock.

Accepting The Flaws

Again, being pragmatic, I have decided to try something with faces, yet still continue in my style. In doing so there has been this deeper understanding how even in a portrait, what makes it special is not the image but the underlying emotions. It’s there in every fine piece of art . . . the 4th dimension or is it the fifth?

So after all that, without further adieu, I’m putting my first face out for public display. This picture is called “Perfectly Flawed” and if you understand any of what I’ve written above, I think you will have a better appreciation of both the words above and the visual message as shown below:

Perfectly Flawed

 

Seeing more than one’s self by dropping the “i”

Love, that eternal mystery, and shouldn’t it always be that way?

For me that is a rhetorical question, because I know the answer, and in many ways. Does that make me an expert in love? Of course not, what a horrible claim that would be . . . in a way dishonorable to the divine and the sublime.

Perhaps it is what some may call a hobby, but for me it is more like a way of life . . . the search for it (love) in most of what I see . . . and I’ve seen so much of it in so many ways. Some that know me (or think they do) would scoff at every word I’m writing here, but I can’t control that, have no need to, and simply dismiss the scoffing as irrelevant. That doesn’t make me arrogant, but more like frustrated. There’s so much I’ve come to know, but it seems the price of this knowledge is an almost solitary confinement in the knowing.

Perhaps the painting and the writing are an escape from this solitude? It sometimes feels that way. More than that though, there is this smoldering desire, “true art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist,” as Einstein put it.

Many readers may find these words vaguely written, and that’s understandable. What I’m reblogging here might also be construed as vague, and yet there is so much beauty in the mystery of it all. I neither condone nor dismiss any of its content, but somehow I do find it easy to understand, as it is ultimately one more way to search and find love, and oddly enough, it seems to describe a creative process.

Here it is, a most intriguing post: The nature of domination.

A Pinterest Guide to Dawn at Last – Part II

Now for the rest of the story – Dawn at Last . . . and she wants to be in pictures!

This post is a continuation of yesterday’s installment of one Pinterest picture for each of 26 chapters – the first 13 are in A Pinterest Guide to Dawn at Last.

Here’s chapters 14 through 26 . . . as always, I hope you enjoy the show . . . that’s all folks!

Chapter 14 – The Gathering of a Monkey, a Toad, and a Chicken

Chapter 14 - The Gathering of a Monkey, a Toad, and a Chicken

Chapter 15 – The Goddess Awakens?

Chapter 15 - The Goddess Awakens?

Chapter 16 – And So They Dance

Chapter 16 - And So They Dance  Pilar - Shadow Dancing

Chapter 17 – Pushing Buttons . . . and Talking it Over

Chapter 17 - Pushing Buttons . . . and Talking it Over  Said Alice.

Chapter 18 – On to the Frying Pan

Chapter 18 - On to the Frying Pan

Chapter 19 – A Late Lunch of Cognac and Pastrami

Chapter 19 - Today, Instead of Robin, I have Cognac and Pastrami

Chapter 20 – Look Out . . . Wet Flooring!

Chapter 20 - Look Out . . . Wet Flooring! -     "Some things only women can do" - Jackass - hahahah

Chapter 21 – 317 Browning Road . . . Revisited

Chapter 21 - 317 Browning Road . . . Revisited

Chapter 22 – The Painting

Chapter 22 - The Painting -  “Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself.”  Siddhartha Gautama

Chapter 23 – The Musketeers Get Defensive

Chapter 23 - The Musketeers Get Defensive

Chapter 24 – We Can Still Dance

Chapter 24 - We Can Still Dance

Chapter 25 – Sunni’s Happy Daze

Chapter 25 - Sunni's Happy Daze

Chapter 26 – Getting the Giggles

Chapter 26 - Getting the Giggles

There you have, and I’d love to hear your comments – have any favorites?

One verb or two?

This is a work in progress, using some candle wax and pieces of a wick in lieu of charcoal.

This is a work in progress, using some candle wax and pieces of a wick in lieu of charcoal.

For many months now my art process has taken a back-burner to the writing process. Why do I use the word process? It’s because the most precious aspect of it for the artist, this artist, is in the joy of creating . . . when something is finished there is a kind of sadness, I suppose mainly because the process is finished.

Many times I’ve found myself moving on to another picture, and right away, simply as a reaction to this sadness. It’s not a deep depression or anything like that, but merely a recognition of a need to move on – it’s a very natural feeling.

Why do I even raise the issue?

While the process is very much a pleasant imaginary journey, often times the discussions about the finished work becomes a bit of nightmare. For lack of a better term, it often gets bogged down in dogma, such as, “What kind of art is that? What is the intent? Is it fine art?” For me the biggest issue surrounds the use of technology . . . as if the use of software negates the “validity” of the final piece, and for that matter, the process. Sadly, there are many who think the machine does everything, while the truth is that it does very little, at least in my experience.

It’s strange how the focus on the piece can get so negative, so divisive, but thankfully nothing can take away from the experience of the process. I’m very tempted to respond to that technical issue here, but I won’t, because no matter how I put it, any comment will only add to the controversy.

The Bigger Picture

I’ve noticed that this kind of controversy seems to be in so many fields. For example, I can experience the same kind of exasperation in a discussion with physicists, especially about issues such as the big bang theory, the nature of the universe, and the center of the universe.

Many people get upset because of my views come from a different way of knowing, such as by simple observation and perhaps a little logic? I don’t why it’s important, or if important is the right word, but it seems it’s easy to learn things this way, more so when there is simply no intent. This issue of intent, or lack of it, is what I refer to as important.

A Very Kind Way of Learning

One of my favorite learning experiences comes from spending time with a candle now and then, gazing into the flame and watching pieces of the wick kind of swimming in the melted wax around the flame. I mention this because I’ve learned so much this way. After watching the dance within the flame, a wonderful dance, one night it hit me . . . there is no center. It is completely impossible to find the center of any given flame on any given candle.

As this is true, then it follows that if you cannot find the center of a flame, how can you ever hope to find the center of the universe? For me there is great beauty in this truth, as in my experience in the process of art. Unfortunately, the discussions that follow aren’t so wonderful, especially with those consumed with quantifiable measurement . . . sometimes logic and a little imagination should be enough . . . some say art is an expression of life without numbers.

That’s also how I see nature – an expression of life without numbers.

Truth moves around . . . thankfully!