Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wolves Running 2 - Acrylic Painting

Here's the finished acrylic version (24 x 36") of the orange wolves, our gifts to the world. I find it a little shocking in its unabashed orangeness, but the strangest people love it. Including my super-critical young adult daughter & a very distinguished elder woman. 

What's always interesting about being a little shocked or even downright disgusted by a new painting is that the sensation is completely non-informative about the quality of the work. Misleading even. While the artist may think that the painting is bad, we've simply failed, often it's just that the painting is ahead of us. When we catch up, the painting is suddenly beautiful.

I recognize that my beliefs about what's happening in the world & what role I might play are in a particularly rich flux. Books I've been reading—In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen—are helping me bring this flux to conscious thought.

In the process, how I see this painting changes.

All I have to say right now is this: These running wolves are not hurrying. They are exerting their joyful strength.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wolves Running

This is a watercolor study (11 x 16.5") of an idea for an acrylic painting on canvas. I chose to try it out in watercolor before committing to canvas because the original sketch was mystifying. Would it work?

Orange wolves carry the meaning of what one gives to the world—the activity of sharing one's talents generously, vigorously. The sweep of night sky implies the great mystery, all that is beyond human understanding. Maybe the wolves understand, or run in harmony with it.The little pennant shapes with elements of life—bone, leaf, snowflake, flower—also suggest the continuity of the particular & the vast. Maybe the message of this painting is that our personal gifts are made in the context of all that is small & all that is cosmic.

I welcome your interpretations.

This painting is on exhibit at Quercia Gallery in Duncans Mills, CA, until May 31. It will be at Sebastopol Gallery later this summer. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Coyote Wind watercolor, 17 x 22"


Last summer I painted this coyote gazing out into what? the future? Whatever it is, he looks happy to see it, so it must be good. The little shapes underfoot suggest the elements of life coyote & we depend on.


Earlier this week I hung this painting in a show with Victoria Whitehand at Quercia Gallery in Duncans Mills. Our show is called "Inner Light ~ Outer Music," & is a unique expression of Buddhists wandering in the world.


I first met Victoria in 1993 when she was curating an international show of Buddhist art. The following year she invited me to co-curate (the show was annual for 5 years). We became good friends, & for a time walked together every week at Ragle Ranch Park (in Sebastopol).


Not long after I met her, she went off north for a 3 year, 3 month, 3 day Tibetan Buddhist retreat. When she returned, she became lama of Gold Ridge Sangha, now called Kagyu Takten Puntsokling. Meanwhile, after 30 years of Zen practice, I drifted into something less definable & more Native (still cherishing my teachers & the Dharma).


Victoria's works in our show are bold, nearly abstract caves & canyons: inner light. Mine are mythic animals in odd situations: outer music. Yet they converse with each other. Our colors, our shapes echo, shine & dance together.


In the show, you can finally see what coyote is looking at: the glowing light of one of Victoria's beautiful canyons. The music of Coyote, the light of Dharma.