Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gallant Fox portrait

I recently finished this oil portrait, commissioned by Christie Dennis, of her late husband Rodney. It was a very sweet project to do; I knew them as family friends when I was growing up, and had been warmly acquainted with them in adulthood, too--in Maine and Massachusetts.

Here's a little bit from a eulogy Christie wrote:

"Gallant Fox was a talented and charming racehorse in the thirties whose quirk was to be unpredictably diverted by something that caught his interest, and was known to stop mid-race to follow the trajectory of a bird flying overhead. As some of you know, I taught Rodney to drive--something I perhaps should not admit to--which brought us one day to the intersection of Brattle Street and Route 16, with the light turning green and Rodney at the wheel. The jockeying and turning of the cars and the fact that they didn't collide so amazed Rodney that he forgot he was driving and came more or less to a halt, to much resonant annoyance. I called him Gallant Fox. He liked that...."

Here's some earlier stages of the painting, and a close up:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Equinox: Balance

Daffies, oil painting 8x12" (available)

It's the between-season of Equinox, a time of endings and beginnings, the balance-point when night and day, rest and activity, light and dark are equal. How does that reflect in the balancing act of your life and creative process?

Are you taking enough time on and time off? What about lights and darks--is there a bit of strain from always looking on the bright side, or perhaps a weight of over-confronting the difficult? Are you exploring the full range of contrast available to you? Or are you more into the mid-tones of moderation?

Three Daffodils, fabrics

If things seem to be on tilt at the moment, it might help to remember that most guidance systems (e.g. navigation systems on planes) function by being off-course almost all the time (and correcting). Every step we take involves a tiny tumble through space in free fall, teetering from one foot to the other. Being on-target is made of being off, balance is created from imbalance in motion.

Two Daffs, fabrics

Did you see the wonderful TED talk by Harvard brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor on what she learned when she had a stroke? (You can watch it here). She experienced a blissful, creative expansion of awareness from her right hemisphere when her left hemisphere was damaged. Then she spent 8 years recovering her power of speech so she could tell us about it.

Creativity depends on allowing the linear, verbal, conceptual left brain to relax its dominance over perception. (Read more about this in the article Looking). Then the intuitive, present-moment field awareness of the right hemisphere can express itself.

The left hemisphere serves by negotiating practicalities and execution. The right brain is quantum physics, the dreamy don't-know world of possibilities and potentials; the left brain is Newtonian, down-to-earth, cause and effect. Creative process dynamically juggles both in an equality that doesn't even need to compare and contrast.

To those in the Northern Hemisphere, Happy spring. Here's hoping your creative life is blooming

Wednesday, March 19, 2008