Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I remember the first time I died

If you want to catch a butterfly,
open your hand.

I remember the first time I died. I was twelve. 

We were living in a four flat apartment, lower middle class neighborhood and my parents were frozen in a cube of unhappiness. It was twilight on a fall day when I decided I would not live my life like theirs. 

This was the first time I died. It took a while to be reborn.

Six years later, on a winter night, I snuck out of my house, and with the help of my best friend's older brother, I left for good. 

It would be years before I saw my parents again and even more years when I opened my heart to let them in. 

In that six year period, I met a man - really a boy becoming a man. He taught me, through his unconditional love, my worth and my ability to love and to be loved. I was reborn. 

The second time I died was 17 years later. I left that now fully formed man. We had taught each other all we could and for some reason, like a deflated balloon, we lost the oxygen of our love. I saw the desert of my life before me and thought,
I can't live this way. I won't live this way. 

I was only in my mid 30's and the thought of living in quiet despair killed me. I left that life, not without consequences, but I accept them. 

I have learned in my 66 precious years on this planet, that we die everytime we change course, find a new path, and are reborn a better, more open person. These are not physical deaths, these are deaths of thoughts and habits, so we can create new thoughts and attitudes. 

Sometimes the people we know best, don't want us to make these changes, but if we don't we die a different kind of death, the death of living without purpose.This jaded death leaves us numb. 

Live with your heart, first, then join your mind. The mind is about boundaries and survival. The heart is about unconditional love and the gifts we receive when we give. These periodic deaths are simply the act of letting go. We can't travel forward if we drag the corpses of old behaviors. We must die to change. 

Remember the last time you did something with no conditions, with no expectations of something in return? That's the feeling of love.  Live there. And welcome these deaths of change.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Where Are The Women; Mr. Shlain?

Helen Frankenthaler
color field painting

Dear Mr. Shlain,

I am nearing the end of your fascinating book; Art & Physics, Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light by Leonard Shlain, and I am amazed and appalled. 

In spite of the knowledge and insights I have gleaned from this 437 page historical telescope regarding the prescient visions of artists and the scientific breakthroughs of scientists, I am left in a conundrum...where are the women? 

In my personal view, the advent of the abstract expressionists is one of the most exciting turning points in art. Here we have innovative giant pioneers like Louise Nevelson, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner and hundreds more; all silent between your pages.

Only the male voices are heard and recognized. You are obviously a talented and sensitive detective of history, combing through the archeology of innovation and discovery with the precision-like scalpel of your physicians mind, and yet, you are blind to an entire group of contributors. 


This is the reason women are not as visible in the arts and sciences, men like you do not investigate further nor give recognition to these incredible innovators. Therefore, we are not written into the historical fabric. 

The irony, you began this book because your twelve year old daughter inspired it during a visit to the MOMA. How do you explain to her why no women artists, mathematicians, nor scientists are listed in your discoveries or observations? 

Along with the artists above, here are just three visionary scientists left out of your book:

Hypatia; 415 AD, Greek mathmatician, astronomer and philosopher. Head of the Neoplationic school of Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy.
Marie Curie; 1867-1934, Polish-French physicist, chemist, and pioneer in the theory of radioactivity and X-ray. First and only woman to receive the Nobel Prize, twice. 
Rosalind Franklin; 1920-1958, English chemist and X-ray crystallographer, largely responsible for discovering DNA double helix, which Watson and Crick received the recognition and Nobel Prize in 1962, after stealing her research..

Another 437 pages could be written regarding the contributions of women in all sectors of the arts and sciences. 

It's time our stories were told. It's time we begin to tell them, ourselves. If we leave it up to the men, we will be forever silent and deeply buried between the pages of discovery and history. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Here I am, see me

Tangled Alphabet
Mixed Media

I listened to an interview with abstract painter,  Aida Tomescu

At one point she said, "abstraction is a language, it can never be a style because it's not fixed, it is forever evolving." 

Which reminded me of a conversation I had with another artist who lamented, "abstraction is the last new thing, I don't think there's anything we can do as artists that will be a breakthrough like abstraction."  The paradox, she was right and wrong at the same time.  

As artists we crave to express ourselves different from our peers. As Tomescu states, abstraction will never be fixed, just as we aren't. Since abstraction comes from within, we each can peer over the edge of unlimited possibilities that make up the chambers of our minds.

As we bravely step into the abyss, we manifest the path to our unique language; an abstract alphabet that constitutes our private vocabulary, the foundation which is built through our individual experiences and how we interpret the realities around us. 

Taking these abstract puzzle pieces, we create our inner pictorial maps. Even though each is as different as we are from each other, on a collective subconsciousness we can unravel each other's language, a visceral understanding borne out of our joined humanity.

So when we are courageous enough to express our unique authenticity, we give each other a precious gift;
Here I am, see me. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

There is a lover beyond another

There Is A Lover Beyond Another

There is a lover
beyond another-
one I am gladly
bound to.

One whom I
can not ignore
for risk of great

One in whom I
see myself so clearly,
where I can fly beyond
the dimensions of
space and time.

One who nourishes me
with wings of eternity.

There is a lover
beyond another-
one I am gladly
slave to.

A life lived not in
richness and in health,
but in the concrete of
boredom and the ordinary,
will surely be my destiny
if I heed not her siren song.

I gladly go
and perform
the struggle, tug and push
in the solitude of my studio.

I give her voice-
I worship at her feet.

There is a lover
beyond another-
gratefully so. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Creative inspirations

In Honor of Mary Oliver

Her arcane appeal 
is shrouded in her simplicity
of profoundness.

Her ability to word-paint 
the wonder 
of the natural world
with crystal, innocence-

I feel her awe and devotion
in my mitochondrial soul-
and I want to stand beside her

Mary Oliver is one of my creative inspirations. Her words, an extension of her lovely soul, reach deep inside me and awake the wonder of this magical place we call Earth. We share and worship in the same cathedral, the expansive outdoors. 

Her most recent book; Upstream; Selected Essays is a joy to read. Thank you, Mary Oliver, for using the lens of your words to paint a world of magical mystery. Bravo. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wait For Me

Wait For Me

Acres over my head
gliding across the grey winter sky
the lone cry of a Canadian goose
pierces an arrow of melancholy
into my heart.

for me-

I wonder,
what were you doing
when your flock took off without you?
Captured by your image in the pond
you floated across as a group?

Or perhaps you were off in a field of
never ending grass, grazing away
as your brothers and sisters
ran the runway of the plains
up into the air.

And now what?

Plaintively crying out
hoping your voice will boomerang forward
and the tip of an arrow of geese
 will come flying towards you
drawing you back into the fold
of your companions.

I toss up a prayer
that that is so. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Link to my sanity

Born In A Dream

I am nothing
I am everything
the paradox
the conundrum.

"Without me, you would not be."
I ponder this
and respectively reply,
"But without me,
you would not be known."*

This is the symbiotic paradox we swim in. 

This is the conversation between the artist and the blank canvas. Until we make that first mark, there is nothing. 

I think, why am I drawn to do this? 

Imagining my life without making art is like looking into a large Vantablack hole...suffocating madness. This is my link to sanity, my holy grail, the chalice of my human redemption. 

We all need a purpose to feel alive, making art is my "aliveness." When I pour myself onto the canvas my soul breathes. A sigh of calm descends and I am transcended. 

* Paraphrase conversation between Abraham & God.