Category Archives: Inspiration

nurture and offerings for the process

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grinding azurite

grinding azurite

The Art Game ideally is directed toward the expression of an inner awareness loosely defined as beauty. The awareness is purely subjective. One man’s beauty can be another man’s horror. The beautiful of one age can seem ugly to another. But bad players of the art game have no inner awareness at all. They are technically proficient and imitate those who have awareness, conforming to the fashion whatever that fashion may be. The whole Art Game, as played today, is heavily tainted with commercialism, the greed of the collector pervades it like a bad smell. It is further complicated by the tendency to show off that afflicts almost all contemporary artists, whether they be painters, sculptors, writers or composers. As all traditional concepts of the beautiful have been abandoned, anything goes, just so long as it is new and startling.

— Robert S. de Ropp


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“To see myself in everybody, and everybody in myself, most certainly is love,”  – Nisargardatta

The events and circumstances of our lives are like a murmuration. Each life, viewed singly, appears separate and alone, determined only by individual choices and actions. But our lives are a continuous string of relationships and events, each touching and influencing the next, touching the next, and the next, and the next. From long before our birth, to long after we die, it’s all a Union, a beautiful dance, the play of Life itself.

“Leave the familiar for a while..

let your senses and bodies stretch out

like a welcomed season

onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Sky.

Make a new watermark on your exuberance

and love.

Like a blooming night flower,

bestow your vital fragrance of joy

and giving

upon our intimate assembly.

Change places in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence

lie beside an equator

in your heart.

Greet Yourself

in your thousand other forms

as you mount the hidden tide and travel

All the hemispheres in heaven

are sitting around a fire


while stitching themselves together

into the Great Circle inside


~ Hafiz ~


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“The most important thing is to have a studio and establish and preserve its atmosphere… You must clean and arrange your studio in a way that will forward a quiet state of mind. This conscious care of atmosphere is really needed to show respect for the work. Respect for art work and everything connected with it, one’s own and that of everyone else, must be maintained and forwarded. No disrespect, carelessness or ego selfishness must be allowed to interfere if it can be prevented. Indifference and antagonism are easily detected. You should take such people out immediately. Just turning the paintings to the wall is not enough.”

— Agnes Martin, from “Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances,” by Arne Glimcher


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mason bee house, Magnuson Park, Seattle


Discovering Your Subject

(by Pattiann Rogers)

Painting a picture of the same shrimp boat
Every day of your life might not be so boring.
For a while you could paint only in the mornings,
Each one different, the boat gold in the new sun
On your left, or the boat in predawn fog condensing
Mist. You might have to wait years, rising early
Over and over, to catch that one winter morning when frost
Becomes a boat. You could attempt to capture
The fragile potential inherent in that event.

You might want to depict the each half-circle
Movements of the boat’s shadows crossing over themselves
Through the day. You could examine every line
At every moment – the tangle of nets caught
In the orange turning of evening, the drape of the ropes
Over the rising moon.

You could spend considerable time just concentrating
On boat and birds – Boat with Birds Perched on Bow,
Boat with Birds Overhead, Shadows of Birds Covering
Hull and Deck, or Boat the Size of a Bird,
Bird in the Heart of the Boat, Boat with Wings,
Boat in Flight. Any endeavor pursued long enough
Assumes a momentum and direction all its own.

Or you might decide to lie down one day behind a clump
Of marsh rosemary on the beach, to see the boat embedded
In the blades of the saltwort or show how strangely
The stalk of the clotbur can rise higher than the mast.
Boat Caught like a Flower in the Crotch of the Sand Verbena.

After picturing the boat among stars, after discovering
The boat as revealed by rain, you might try painting
The boat in the eye of the gull or the boat in the eye
Of the sun or the boat in the eye of a storm
Or the eye trapped in the window of the boat.
You could begin a series of self-portraits – The Boat
In the Eye of the Remorseful Painter, The Boat in the Eye
Of the Blissful Painter, The Boat in the Eye of the Blind Painter,
The Boat in the Lazy Painter Forgetting His Eye.

Finally one day when the boat’s lines are drawn in completely,
It will begin to move away, gradually changing its size,
Enlarging the ocean, requiring less sky, and suddenly it might seem
That you are the one moving. You are the one altering space,
Gliding easily over rough surfaces toward the mark
Between ocean and sky. You might see clearly,
For the first time, the boat inside the painter inside the boat
Inside the eye watching the painter moving beyond himself.
You must remember for us the exact color and design of that.



Clean tea, clean paint


Thanks to a gift of my first Darjeeling tea (all the way from Bangalore – thank you, you know who!) I’ve been excited to explore this particular tea. I understand now why it’s referred to as the champagne of teas, so full of nearly effervescent fruits and subtle sweets of all kinds.

When you drink a lot of good tea you develop an appreciation for “clean” tea. This is tea that’s been grown and processed without any additives or chemicals. They taste different, clearer somehow. They literally taste ‘clean,’ allowing deeper subtleties of the leaf to come through, both in the mouth and the body. This wonderful Darjeeling was one such tea, an added bonus being that it was picked just a month ago. There’s nothing like drinking a freshly picked tea in the spring, especially one as clean as this. A real treat.

I’ve been thinking lately about this concept of clean — clean tea and clean paint. The more I work with handmade paint (as well as some of the Rublev line of paints which are made with only oil and pigment, no stearates, brighteners or fillers of any kind) the more I’m developing a feel for the characteristics of single materials – the body of an oil, the grind of a pigment. I sometimes use additives too, historical ones like chalk or glass, but when I’m the one adding them I discover the particulars of how they alter the paint. It’s a fascinating process and a big part of what keeps me excited about painting.