Tuesday, January 19, 2021


My cousin and I love to play with art supplies. What we produce is very different because our viewpoint is different, just as yours is different from either of ours. My hand is apparent whether I have drawn with a pen or pencil, inscribed on clay, carved or burned in wood or painted on canvas with a brush. The images or objects are just opportunities that exist inside me, waiting for their chance to escape and be out on their own in the world.

That’s how I make the leap from the idea in my head to the action I produce.

When I meditate, I do it for myself. It is not for anyone else, though others near me might benefit from my practice. In the same way, I’m happy to share my art with others, but I do it for me. I don’t mind if someone else doesn’t respond to it.

The funny thing is that the more deeply personal the art is, the more appeal it seems to have, at least with some. My symbols are admittedly arcane. When they find their target I’ve found a soulmate.

I don’t need my work to be understood by everyone, but I believe everyone can find their own voice. What they do may not appeal to me, and I think that is beautiful.

Friday, January 15, 2021


The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another:
He was overcome with shame.

Some people in this country who share my skin color have gotten used to a system that gives them power at the expense of others. They’ve gotten so used to it they think it’s normal and right.

There have been times when my whiteness has made me self conscious. For a while, I was the only white person that attended my church in Africa. I’d look down every once in a while and feel like covering my hands.

Over the past couple of months, my brother and I have been discovering our family tree. I know who I am now, and I can be comfortable in my skin. My white skin. I come from Nordic stock. This is what we look like. It’s not an indication of value or character. It shouldn’t give me privilege. The color of my daughter’s skin should not make her apprehensive when she leaves her house.

Please don’t judge me by the color of my skin, just as I will not judge you by the color of yours. Let’s see our diversity and celebrate it. Let’s look deeper and see that humans are one race.

We are all family.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


So much unresolved heartache has been passed down either through genetics or learned behavior.

Feelings of guilt, terror, the emptiness that clings after the untimely death of a loved one, or just being overwhelmed, get shared with the generations that come after you.

Feelings influence our actions and attitudes.

We unintentionally teach our behaviors to our children.

I have often felt the weight of some unnamed burden. Perhaps it has been handed down to me because an ancestor didn’t know what to do with it.

I’m accustomed to these familial artifacts. They are inwrought like vestigial limbs.

There are gifts hidden in the baggage as well. They can be hard to recognize because they are so often mislabeled.

Maybe we, the current incarnation of this slowly flowing biomass of shared DNA, can contribute a change in our generation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Discussion About Climbing Solo At Red Cliff

(keskustella: Conversation/discussion) 16" x 20" on canvas board

This painting has been hanging out in my studio for a while. It watches me work on pottery, and from time to time, I have a little conversation with it. I wash clay off my hands to paint, and then I wash paint off my hands to work in clay again. I go back and forth, the way I do in the brush strokes.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

The end

Sometimes I struggle with a painting, but the struggle doesn’t happen on the canvas. It happens in my head. I try and try to fix something. There’s an urgency and I get frustrated. Sometimes I put the canvas aside after fighting with it. On another day, I pick it up again and the solution flows out effortlessly. Other times, I pave over the entire thing with paint. I use a big brush or a palette knife. In those cases, I guess I was just building up my texture.

There are colors in my paintings that you can’t see. Time at the easel is not wasted, even if I obliterate something I’ve worked on.

I’ve learned something.

The mistakes are still in there, as they are in life. They are part of the process, so be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to be perfect. Take time to assess the situation. Maybe the answer will come when you quit trying so hard.

There’s a song on my iPod that says All my mistakes have become masterpieces.

Everything will be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, then we’re not at the end yet.


I think most people want the same basic things in life... comfort, a sense of well being, peace on earth. They will go to great lengths to achieve these, and the avenues to achieving them are varied.

Part of this comfort is a sense of belonging... to a family, perhaps a political group or religious organization.

The reasons are often subconscious, and so the avenue can become the objective itself. This is not good. Devoting yourself wholeheartedly to an organization is inviting corruption, and so the effect can be the opposite of the need it was intended to meet.

It leads to abuse of power and alienation of those not in your particular group.

When the metaphor you’ve adopted sees itself as truth, it no longer meets the need for which it was intended.

I think the elaborate myths behind such organizations are just that... fictional stories that have evolved from sweet picture books to horror. When your accepted leaders dictate your beliefs, you no longer think for yourself. You become a pawn in their game.

This is not a road to peace on earth.