|This is an eclectic mix of river paintings, portraits, still life, interiors, figurative and abstract work in oil paint, casein paint and india ink as well as wood engravings, mixed media and collage. All relate to the creative atmosphere of rivertime , where the simultaneous existence of past present and future are accentuated. These are day dreams of river alchemy.Perhaps the best compliment I ever received about my work was that there was a lot of love in it.I perceive rivertime as a state of love ,open to being and becoming and the alchemical golden flowering of dancing in harmony with life. The river is a frontier linked to observing the movement of psychological time and the now, the alchemical symbol of eternity surrounding the moment.
Joseph Campbell once said that all around the world people need a space of being and becoming , a place and perhaps a state of being in which they owe nothing to anyone and nobody owes them anything , a place where they can simply be and become, a creative space of incubation. This is the common ground of the riverscapes, river mandala, flower pot beings , Actaeon Reborn, and of Divination as it relates to the Actaeon myth. Acateon became that which he was seeking.Compassion is intrinsic to providing a creative space of incubation for ourselves and each other.
Compassion is its own form of intelligence and can’t afford to be lost in this day and age with such an emphasis on technology and weaponry as well as dualistic thinking as opposed to holistic thinking. Emotional intelligence seems overlooked and underestimated and at the very least something to consider in so far as how it relates to us merging with machines.
Through an extended study of the book “The Flame of Attention” by Jiddu Krishnamurti I was helped to consider the reality of psychological time and how it relates to self knowledge and the transactions of the world as they themselves relate to self knowledge.
I savor the sentiment of a Jungian conception of fishing as raising thoughts from the depths of the common grounds we share as members of the earth and a cosmic mystery. This was introduced to me through one of many great teachers in my life, David Knudsen , who ran the wilderness camp I attended as a teenager, and introduced me to wilderness adventure combined with Native American and Jungian studies. Dave said he day dreamed about one day having the leaders of the world come together for a sweat lodge ceremony, to be born of the earth together. Dave also encouraged me to really examine the hero’s adventure as described by Joseph Campbell.
These paintings are things that are as much a journey into strangeness and the unknown as an aspiration to bring back something of value to offer. Just as the Patron Saint of Alchemy has been sometimes identified as Chronos Saturn, Father Time or Death, I also savor the Statue of Liberty in her resemblance to Hectate , Queen of the Underworld. I daydream about expressing Ancient Bucks County in a tantric approach to tradition and innovation, and most of all sharing a spirit of creativity. A tantric approach to things involves employing the imagination to channel energy in a creative way.This is a link to Jungian and Eastern Indian yogic approaches, of yoking our consciousness to a greater whole as well as recognizing that the energies of our bodies can be nurtured and channeled in a creative spirit relating to consciousness , linked to a personal process of holistic thought. Rather than to dwell on who has offended who with allegiances to partial thought, it is a blessing to find the trust of the Patron Saints of people who have empowered mutually beneficial freedom of exploration and growth through buying artwork of integrity and acknowledging it as valuable in it’s relationship to society.
“Heading Home” , depicting my father in the bow of our little fishing boat resonated with me as something out of a gospel, blues or bluegrass song. My father always trusted me to run the motor in a spirit of empowerment while we shared quality time on the beautiful free flowing Delaware River. Likewise when we would return home to my mother and sister we would find a beautiful table setting with candles lit with my mother’s love and a wonderful home cooked meal. Dinner conversations were like confessionals and explorations as free flowing as the river itself, never censored, and with intense attention to the emotions at hand. I am not only thankful to come where I come from , a creative home in a community that celebrates creativity, but have intentions and aspirations of offering the frontier of Home as something universally beneficial. It is not presented as a standard to measure things with in the spirit of a destructive psychological time, of what should be as opposed to what is…rather it is not unlike a san culpa in the yogic sense of a creative intention to share the heroic adventure of Home as an alchemical panacea or cure all medicine. As Terrence McKenna said, any family has the makings for what the Alchemists called “The Great Work.” Any family brings with it the dark earth , the shit, the beautiful Nile Mud in which the celestial gardeners can sprout the seeds of their work. How wonderful if we could all feel comfortable , at home in our own skins , not simply repeating that we are all a part of the same thing, but feeling these things deeply.
I don’t see Terrence McKenna discovering DMT as much as discovering the depth of himself in relationship to the earth and humanity through history, art and the present adventure of life.
It is wonderful to hear Ravi Shankar discuss classical music in relationship to the experimentation with drugs in an NPR radio interview. Ravi Shankar expressed a concern for discipline as it relates to classical art forms. This was a very similar dialogue as the discourse Robert Henri offered in his classic book about painting in relationship to Frans Hals. Many critics and people loved to promote Hals as someone who painted drunk in order to paint the bar room people he honored in paint. Robert Henri pointed out the necessity of any aspiring artist of any kind to develop a keen sense of observation relating to the subtle quality of things that was entirely different than relying on drugs or alcohol.
The admirers of the arts are as much the artists as anyone and I sincerely thank any and everyone who has helped enable me to do what I am doing. It is truly wonderful to be able to embrace the flowering of individuals as they struggle with their own limitations. It is a celebration of learning as living as well as a reaffirmation of the value of individual growth in relationship to society. To find out what is truly important or valuable in life is a true if not universal vocation.
The Kinsman of the Earth sits on a stone bench flanked by lions who perceive loved ones, and the metallic fish decorate the black sycamore as Christmas ornaments. My fish was the little feminine looking thing and when my friend returned from China with a gift from one little boy to another he brought the other fish. It was a time of friendship before such an action would be frowned upon as something “gay” as if “gay” or “Jew” was automatically something evil. Perhaps Thomas Aquinas was really on to something when he said that friendship was among the most sacred things. The friend who brought the fish has since died of a drug overdose and the topic of addiction seems to be relevant in more than one way. I don’t see these things as only a downer, in fact I see them as an inspiration to follow through in the spirit of friendship to the best of my ability.
I very much agree that good art often does have the quality of an individual struggling with their own limitations and am eternally thankful for the theatre of operations to express and explore these things. In Kinsman of the Earth The Rose window that floats over the Church of the River represents a unity, of eternity surrounding the moment , a golden flowering of the spirit, while the harness boots are also in the spirit of yoking the consciousness to the greater whole.