“In the Paint” Some thoughts on Process and Ecstasy

My-My-My-Oh-Oa-O top detail
My-My-My-Oh-Oa-O top detail

“In the Paint” Some thoughts on Process and Ecstasy

It is important for artists to be mindful of what we put out into the world. Anything could be painted; but artists should be aware, awake and producing on the higher plains of existence.

I run: I love: I pen poetry into journals, Toss yarrow sticks for IChing; I go and explore the woods or I lay my back onto the sand, feel the earth move, and stargaze; I watch the clouds move across the sky: and I linger long in coffee shops until it’s indecent. I hear romance in the thrum of trains passing. I climb the poles at children’s parks and hang upside down like a bat. I read much, sleep little. In between I hang out with circus folk and watch in awe. Dance with the Tribe. Spin fire on the beach. Throw sticks and meditate upside down. I feel immeasurable gratitude for friendships and the natural world. I don’t dream. I follow threads of serendipity and live an amazing life. My thoughts on how to live an amazing life are going into a book with the working title “The Manic Manifesto: Cultivating Magic and Pathways in the Creative Wilderness of Your Life”

My finished paintings are the narrative of movement of circus and flow artists that I want the world to see. They are strength, beauty and connection to source. These come from my source – which in language I can only call Love and Wonder. Love simply is. Wonder is the joy in not-knowing. So all-told I paint my fears, what lurks in The Wilderness, what I don’t understand and that which I don’t know. The results are floating, mysterious, and serendipitous paths to some discovery. These paintings  communicate our bliss, and our spiritual landscape as the consciousness of the earth and address the mystery of source.

The optimal time of day for me is before most people wake, when the trappings of day-life can not exert needs and when I am vulnerable and open to the spirits. I do a small ritual of yoga practice of postures and headstands in front of the wood panels, to set my intentions, warm my body and let the chatter of the mind quiet as I offer myself to a dialogue with the painting. At best, the finished paintings are the feeling of spinning and dancing, the feeling of freedom to travel from here to there, spontaneous collections of mysterious things, of our collective energy.

Each painting begins with sketches done with a cadmium red or orange watercolor pencil, coffee washes, burnt sienna, egg blue pastels, and lust. I make corrections with ivory acrylic paint. The sketches are weeded through to the ones with promise and composition. Quickly and with a bassline pumping I draw the figure onto a large panel with burnt sienna on a large brush. Then for as many mornings as it takes I go into the paint. I sit with quiet mind early in the dark and hope the painting will talk to me. I commit myself to one work and let it occupy my mind and mingle with thoughts about the Wilderness of our minds and the joy of loving friendships. Perhaps I will light a candle and burn smudge. Music might take me down the Rabbit Hole. All of these trigger a letting go, a swan dive into the Wilderness. Sometimes the faces come to life in the paint and I cry. Sometimes I hoop. Sometimes we sing and dance together. The paintings aren’t really good unless I go through this range of emotions with them.

It’s really satisfying when something new appears and a discovery is made in the paint. I don’t try to analyze such things, just accept them as some whisper behind me on a public bus; I just admire the gossip and let it pass through me. I remain other in order to be truly a vehicle of expression. Somedays, when I feel particularly spent, things appear in the paint, and I wonder who has painted these things. Unicycles, and jellyfish are the most current (and welcome!) party crashers. When the figure breathes; it is done.

The paint dries and I run more. The adrenalin, extreme state of awakeness and hours spent squinting at color make the colors in Nature appear like a kaleidoscope of ecstacy. I overflow in the pleasure of sky peach and yellow patchworks trickling onto pale green, yellow, blue leaves in the morning light, and I close my eyes and with deep breaths and exhales try to imprint the happiness in the space of my imagination.; try to gulp in breaths of that cobalt sky that seems unreal it is so blue and then think perhaps it is all unreal: a dream. I take notice of owls watching me. Perhaps this heightened state is what flow artists call “flow”… I call it “in the paint”.


All around me everything is ever-changing, ever-dying, but I sense that there is a power that is changeless that holds all together. {paraphrase of Ghandi}

You are a beautiful and wondrous spirit made of love and light.

It is my joy to paint you and to bring the wondrous to a greater number of people through my paintings and sculptures.

~ wanderlusting, twirling, painting, always dancing ~


Mezza9 National Public Radio (NPR) Interview for award-winning solo exhibit, “Amplify: Paintings and Kinetics”

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