Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Shamanic Painting

I do not easily visualize images in my mind.  I make my art in order to see this world with the veils removed. I make my art in order to see that world beyond the veils. I ask my work to teach me, knowing that nothing is only what it seems but also something else.

One of my oldest guides is this piece of writing that came to me in 1972 during a lecture about the book Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander. As I was walking to the front of the classroom to meet the speaker, I stopped and scribbled these words:

 In a painting of life and light, you paint to be alive.

Every part, and every part between the part, is whole.

And you are artist enough to call forth its riches.

For you there will be no past indifferent moment,

there will be no forgotten place.

 I have remembered these phrases across the years of my art making.  They remain the ground upon which my choices for painting are made.  The titles of my pieces are lessons for me.  Usually a title finds me before I find the painted image to which it belongs, and so I must hunt in this world for the picture to understand the words of that world.

 I give art lessons and shamanic mentoring to small groups and individuals, teaching that the world answers back. You can’t see them unless you expect to.  You put your mind in a certain state—confident and relaxed at the same time. This takes long practice.  You have to work.  Did you think you could snap your fingers, and have it as a gift?  What is worth having is worth working for.