Tad Spurgeon oil paintings


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Finished paintings from the last few years are now here.

The news here is now complete. Thanks to everyone for their support of the work and book over the last twenty years. This website will remain up until October 2022.


      Well, have to admit there's not going to be a new edition of Living Craft anytime soon. So, for the time being, I put up the PDF of the most recent print edition as a free download. It can now go to Australia without any issues!

april 26

      Next Edition Update: Am closing in on the next version of the Living Craft text bit by bit. Changed it from 11 point to 12 point this time, which looks better, but also made more pages to edit at a slightly larger scale, meaning more pages with large spaces due to the heading structure. There are still a lot of small things to re-do for the new pagination and new formula numbers, and one big thing in the index, this takes a few weeks, but at least there's more of a system now. Should know much more in a month.


      This is what the page looks like now with the 12 point type for the text. A variety of formatting on this page, interesting to figure this out so it's easy to navigate.


      Have continued to explore egg white oil emulsions. Example of a denser one of these made with an old electric mixer and a small amount of pre-polymerized oil.


      This painting began with a few layers of very thin water-phase egg white emulsion paint that dried almost as soon as it was placed, then switched in this layer to a high oil phase emulsion. This was slow but very interesting to work with, relatively discrete but could also be blended. The next layer will probably keep the egg white amount in the emulsion the same, and add a small amount of polymerized oil for a somewhat more painterly look. 9x15 inches, on gessoed paper.

march 25

      Am working on the next version of the book. This is going well but the amount of formatting means only so much can happen reliably each day. Should have an update on this by the middle of April, it will be a little different.

       In larger terms, here's a hypothetical question: Say someone has a comfort zone. Now say that, due to changing circumstances, this comfort zone slowly begins to get more and more uncomfortable. Slowly, but surely. At what point might this someone begin to consider that their comfort zone was in fact no longer comfortable? At what further point would this someone realize that their former comfort zone had in fact become a serious problem in their life? When this someone move on, or would they steadfastly wait forever for things to return to normal, which had been so comfortable? Say that, even further on in the process, this someone were confronted with overwhelming, indisputable evidence that what they had called their comfort zone was in fact an illusion, a wolf in sheep's clothing in which comfort was used to hide a great deal of discomfort? Would they at this point shift, or change their attitude? Or would they remain in a kind of living nightmare of denial: faithful, to the end, to the addictive illusion of the comfort zone?


      Lily like to scramble up here, but late one afternoon she did it several times. It puzzled me at first but then I realized she was illustrating the benefits of the larger perspective.

february 27

      Waning moon, up and down temperatures, even a morning where the trees were covered with ice. This was a quiet but good week for me, but now and then it also felt like I was reluctantly watching a movie where people exist in a twilight of low-grade perma-fear because they believe all the things they are told by an electronic box. For some unfathomable reason, this box is their deity, to whose dark pronouncements they are strangely addicted. The outer world that they live in remains a beautiful place, but they are focused on the endless artificial dread generated by the box. How to explain that the box is just a box, can't speak without being plugged into an outlet, and has nothing to do with reality unless they allow it to? It seems so obvious, yet it doesn't seem possible.

      For a while I wondered if it was time for the news to end, then realized this week it was time for the website to end. It's been fun overall: a month ago I was working on a series of paintings, and even two weeks ago I was working on the next version of the book. These are both projects that could go on forever, yet at this point they seem done. In one way this is sort of sudden, but in another it's logical. I did hang on, what else does one do? But it felt increasingly like I was being pulled, gently but firmly, somewhere else. Recently I began to mourn less. That let it happen faster, and the process became more relaxed, even pleasant now and then. This week there was a definite uncoupling with the old way: everything expanded and settled down. This part feels like that old Waterboys song: that was the river, this is the sea. Which would not have been fine even a month ago, but is fine now. In the other hand, as a next step, this is still largely unknown, and may well have nothing to do with oil painting or its technique. So, I'm going to sign off here instead of dithering around. The site will be up until October, there may be another version of the site and the book by that point, hard to say! But there also various ways online to access old websites. Thanks to everyone who read and wrote, it was great fun and a privilege to share ideas with painters interested in the craft. What's next? Ha-ha, I have no idea, which is great fun.


      The situation humanity is in now is usually conceived of in a frame of reference that is medical, political, or combinations thereof. But there is a larger -- in fact, much larger -- frame of reference. I'll call it 'cosmic,' since the word 'spiritual' has been appropriated so long for things that are not. Below is an overview of the current situation from this cosmic frame of reference. This is how I see it, and may or may not resonate with you, but I'd like to share this since the loss of the cosmic perspective has been the most basic evolutionary roadblock for humanity now for centuries, and, after two solid years of outright command and control propaganda presented as an inevitable pandemic, at least a few people may align with that.

      Our evolution is arranged in large cycles of time that have different curricula for us. These cycles are based on a full revolution of the earth's tilted axis and, in Hindu writing, are called yugas. A yuga is about 26,000 years long; any other definition is incorrect, and, at this point, possibly an attempt to create confusion. The current yuga is called the Kali Yuga, and is a time where duality is the primary teaching tool. Throughout this time, humanity has experienced systemic inequality, conflict, and disharmony in order to gain greater awareness of how these imbalances occur, and can be transformed. The soul has a different perspective than we do: what we may see as life's unavoidable difficulties are, from the soul's perspective, the most amazing teaching experience ever devised. The yuga that follows is called the Satya Yuga, and is the opposite: an age of unity, equality, harmony and peace. The situation we are in now is a manifestation of the transition from the Kali Yuga to the Satya Yuga, and contains elements of both. A minority of people remain dedicated to Kali Yuga values and continue to promote them as the only option. The majority of people are beginning to realize that there is absolutely no reason to put up with this any longer. This is creating increasing tension between humanity and it's various authoritarian institutions all over the globe.

      The 'reality' we experience is in fact the product of our collective subconscious. So, the more people wake up to the way the minority has manipulated the frame of reference, and hidden what it is actually doing, the more the pace of change can grow. This change is being assisted by very high vibration energy coming to the Earth, which can be monitored by looking at the K Index and the Schumann Resonance graphs. This energy is raising the vibration of humanity day by day and this makes it increasingly difficult for anything untrue to remain hidden. While the mainstream media is a Kali Yuga propaganda machine, shifting to the war lie now that the pandemic lie has worn thin, there are more alternate sources of information happening all the time. Yet, the tension between false and true information makes the pace of change increase, and, at a certain velocity, we will reach a cosmic tipping point where Kali Yuga values no longer function, and Satya Yuga values begin to spread rapidly throughout society. This means a quantum change in the consciousness of humanity, and, as such, is a shift that will happen quickly. Some recent channeled messages from sources I have found reliable in the last few years -- here and here -- have stated clearly that this is going to happen soon. 'Soon' in this context does not mean next week, but does not mean next year either. When this occurs, the complex labyrinth we have been trained to call reality will be revealed as an illusion, and disappear. We will then have an opportunity to begin again in a way that is peaceful and nurturing for everyone. We will not actually become anything different, the veil or blinders we have worn here will be removed and we will simply have access to more of who we truly are. Dimensions of awareness that did not fit in the Kali Yuga will become active for everyone who, at the soul level, wants to make the transition from duality to unity. There are several names for this event in humanity's traditions, but what matters most is that we all are being given the opportunity to wake up one morning at a new level of consciousness, and to then build a world based on universal equality, mutual respect, and co-operation.

      In order for this to happen, the old way of the Kali Yuga has to end. The old way functioned because the programming that created imbalance and disharmony was carefully hidden, so that our issues or difficulties appeared to be inevitable or self-inflicted. While this has been detailed in the movie called The Matrix, a simple way to think of it is that the programming is what turned the human race into the rat race. Before the new way can start, what we didn't know about the old way has to come fully to the surface. This process has begun, and involves learning the extent to which collective trust in temporal authority was manipulated into trust of medical and media authority to pave the way for collective enslavement. The more the hidden mechanisms and programs are revealed, the more the majority will begin to resist, and the more the minority will fight to maintain control. This will make it more clear that control is the basic issue, not health or democracy, and will unify the majority will in ending the old way. This will produce increasing chaos as different people react to it as true or false. But the more chaos there is, the faster we approach the tipping point where Kali Yuga values cannot be implemented, or even exist, any longer on this planet. This means that violence, fear-based propaganda, and all types of enslavement, from psychological to literal, will disappear. In this period there will be lots of disinformation from authoritarian institutions and the mainstream media, both in terms of words and images, aimed at generating more fear and confusion, designed to make the Kali Yuga continue longer. And while the end of this period is inevitable, we can hasten it most efficiently by abandoning its frame of reference. The more we shift into unity-based values, accentuating the positive, and eliminating the negative from our thoughts and actions, the more we starve the Kali Yuga of it's basic energy source, negative intents and emotions, and help free humanity from the hypnotic negative programming that has been intricately woven into every aspect of our lives.

      If you are interested in this, you have probably encountered various methods. But nothing is necessary except to stop watching mainstream news and work honestly on ourselves. Stop looking for answers without, and look for answers within. We are each a fractal of infinity, the ocean in a drop of water, which means we have access to everything we need to know, we just have to release outer distractions and tune in to who we are. The more balanced we become as individuals, the more we are able to offer this option to the collective as it begins to make this transition. This re-unification process involves transmuting the lead of our duality experience into the gold of unity consciousness. It is about forgiving everyone and everything, ourselves included, in order to re-unify our consciousness with its next vibrational level. This process has many layers, and some things are easier to re-unify than others. It's going to become focal for many people once the struggle with Kali Yuga values comes to an end, but starting in on it now may be a definite help to remaining calm and collected over the next few weeks, when media propaganda designed to promote fear may well go into overdrive. The media has lost the ability to instill panic with the pandemic narrative, and has shifted to a false-flag war narrative. To anticipate the most obvious question, I don't have any idea about the date of the shift. It's not part of any political process, will simply occur inevitably when the majority of humanity wakes up and rejects fear-based lies and propaganda as a command and control mechanism. This may well appear to be at the point of greatest chaos, but this will quickly become the gateway to an amazing new world.

february 20

      Week of the full moon, some sun and warmth but now colder, sun in and out, and quite windy. Week of the full moon, a quiet one as far as doing. It feels like it's going to be that way for some time now, better to face it and look at the door that is opening. Some interesting things did happen on the being front, but it's sort of hard to describe this stuff, and who's interested in being anyway? I mean, I have no illusions about that. But after seven years of this tumbling process, bit by bit I'm getting rounder. This creates a feeling of rolling along at times, above the endless fray, which is very nice. Yet anything that is still not round is going to come up to be dealt with, making things bumpy all over again. But because things have gotten rounder in general, I'm getting better at noticing the advent of bumpy stuff before it can truly take over. The experience doesn't scare me anymore, or even feel that real. It's just the way to shift from a bumpy place back to a rounder place. This feels like a good thing to work on, something that will come in handy in the next few months.


      Sold the last of edition 14 of Living Craft this week. Have been working on the next edition for a while now, mostly lots of small things, but they add up. Realized long ago that the book could just expand endlessly, and became focused on simplifying the sentence structure. This is usually a good thing, there is nothing like the life of a paragraph where nothing can be added or removed. But have found a few places where simplicity became sort of oracular, overwhelming clarity. The problem with details is that once you see that they are crucial, all you do is discover more of them, and they begin to overwhelm simplicity. Yet trying to reign them in can lead to the 'for want of a nail' issue. I learned of this as a poem by George Herbert, but apparently it is thought of as a nursery rhyme, even attributed to Benjamin Franklin: 'For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.' This seems to be an expansion of a much simpler Medieval proverb: 'For want of a nail the Kingdom was lost.' So it's been a matter of balancing the validity of this to the craft with continuing to see the forest, not just the trees: a fascinating process. Anyway, am well into the last round of revision, sometimes adding a little, sometimes subtracting a little, looking at the text at high magnification makes finding smaller errors much easier! The hope is for it to be available again in a month or so. Will be doing something different with it this time, a little surprise.


      Had some cold and windy days where Lily wanted to stay in, this often means playing later at night. This is very fun for her because there is no question about who has the better night vision, ha-ha, none. After she eats she bounces around for a while, and usually hops up from the chair into her bookcase on the third shelf, the one before the top shelf. (This was originally going to be for books, but when I set it up Lily clearly had a better use for it, so it has remained empty.) Then I tap my fingertips gently over the top shelf, and they make this tantalizing sound, like some hapless small creature foraging around up there. She knows they're going to emerge above her somewhere on the other side of the shelf, and begins to perk up, but I think the way the shelf spreads and amplifies the sound, and the fact that her ears are so close to it, makes it more of a puzzle where this little creature is, not less. Anyway, last night when I did this she got the most amazing slow rapturous look on her face. Her eyes are big anyway but they look huge in the dark when her pupils get so large, and of course her mouth goes slack, ready to open wide. It was exactly like the Joan of Arc look in the Bastien-Lepage painting, so if you were woken up around 2 am last night by me in hysterics, that's why. Then my fingertips emerged over the shelf edge, and she started to wack away at them fiercely, though without claws, which she's figured out tend to shorten the game. She's never sure whether to go at them from underneath, or to try to lean forward and come up on top of them, and so, tries both. Then I move over so she can attack from the end of the shelf, which leads out onto the circular table, and this involves another set of moves. She likes to stay within the bookshelf, but sometimes I can get her to advance out onto the table at me. She attacks quickly, and I back off just as quickly, which she enjoys. She doesn't call me a fraidy cat, but the implication is clear as she parades around the table. And so it goes, some nights into further scrabbling at the closet door, some nights into the front room for a look at the night street. When she winds down, I cautiously get back into bed. If I start to do this too soon she pops up, supports herself with one paw, and wacks me with the other. Again, no claws, but it's still an attention getter, so there's always a sense of relief when this doesn't happen. Then, after a few minutes or so, she arrives at the foot of the bed with a soft whoosh and curls up behind my knees again. Life with Lily, late night edition.

february 13

      More back and forth temperatures: three warm sunny days this week, the cat rejoices, although cold again now with a little snow. Waxing moon, full moon this coming Wednesday, this is usually a good time for the work but wasn't able to do anything beyond the basics. This seems to have to do with a shift in focus, an expansion that doesn't feel bad, but seems to minimize left brain processes. It may be related to the pulses of energy that are coming in from the sun. At least, when I think to check, the K-index has often gone to yellow or red for the most recent three hour period. Although these incidents have been increasing, and the process in general has been ongoing for some time now. It's kind of like an internal vacation, though a little unsettling since it brings the more temporal definition of me-ness into question by blurring significant portions of it. It definitely became more insistent this week, which is also part of the ongoing pattern. This type of waiting, and this type of anticipation, make me wonder if a new plan is going to be unveiled soon. Having invented it, I of course have been reasonably happy with the old plan, but have been educated in the last few years to the point where it's limitations now loom large. And the new plan feels like it includes parts of me that weren't even available when I made up the old plan. Or maybe the old plan was a more of a compromise than I could see back then: outside my parent's version of reality, yes, but not anywhere near who I really could be. At the same time, there's been a really logical journey with this plan, and I can see that, while it was a slower process, it became quite stable, and created a situation where now, letting go of the structure I used to define me-ness is just fine. This is similar to the process that was involved in leaving Vermont. After thirty years I began wondering what I was doing there, but it was still two years before the opportunity to leave arrived. At which point I jumped on it, without examining it closely at all. It would have been much wiser to look at it more closely, but that wouldn't have gotten me out of Vermont. Anyway, painting was central to the old plan, but feels like it will not be to the new plan. At least for a while. There's so much intensity to the whole human process right now, the Toto Moment, when the Wizard is revealed as a Humbug, is finally beginning in countries all over the world. After two years of relentless negative programming from the MSM I can't help but hope that the pace of change keeps growing. But it also feels like a process as large as liberating the human race from the chains it willingly accepted from its wholly trusted, yet wholly evil, institutions needs to happen slowly to remain stable. Still, there will be a tipping point, when the awake outnumber the asleep by enough to move things forward more quickly. What is going to happen when a majority of people realize the extent of the lies, the depth to which poison was woven into every aspect of our lives? Yet, because nothing is more dangerous to a propaganda campaign than the truth, the next few weeks may feature further attempts to generate large scale fear or confusion based on false information by the media, possibly from a new or unexpected quarter.


      Paying attention to the phases of the moon seemed to help the work, so few years ago I started looking into what a lunar return chart might indicate: a chart for when the moon returns to the exact place it was at birth. I thought this might personalize the pattern more, and it did, but it took some time to figure it out. This was because the astrology I learned was oriented more towards natural proclivities, the positive and negative of the personality (the natal chart) and daily moods or happenings derived from transits of the daily positions to the natal chart. Are the notes of the natal chart in harmony with the current chart, discord, or both? Usually, a combination of both. And there was much to learn about this: aspects that were supposed to be positive were often simply rest periods, aspects that were supposed to be negative were often periods of growth. This leads to the topic of levels of astrological information, most of which it is wise to take with many grains of salt, since it is your chart, and everything that happens happens in relation to everything else. Interpretations try to act like a given point 'does' a specific set of things, but a body always exists in relation to the whole chart. Some relationships are more geometrically emphasized than others, but trying to simplify relationships into a few lines for mass consumption does not actually work. Anyway, the lunar return charts were a little confusing at first because I kept looking for events. Then, after reading a few of the Martha Lang Westcott books, I began to put the most relevant, that is, most closely aspected, asteroids into the charts and it became clear that they documented the emotional mood of a given period in pretty amazing detail. But of course, this required a level of personal honesty I had never had to apply to these charts, and that took a while to come to terms with. Like the new moon itself, they sometimes come in slowly, sometimes there's a definite shift. This month's chart started on Monday the 7th, and was different right away. From the relative spaciousness of the previous month, it went right back to digging for anything that still needed to be balanced. And of course, did not have far to seek. This process began with a bang as soon as I came back here in 2014, and every time I breathe a sigh of relief because it recedes, it's only to start up again at the next level. Have you ever scraped the end of a jar of peanut butter until it's absolutely clean? Doesn't even smell like peanuts anymore? That seems to be the idea. There's no point in detailing what it brings up except to say that there appears to be an original or primary event or wound, with levels of satellites. So, it's like going through the familiar wringer, and really humbling, but I always learn more about how everything that happened is connected and purposeful in terms of teaching me what I have so diligently resisted learning. But, the point of all this originally is that this month's chart is vacant in the fifth house, red circle, which is the house of Leo, personal creativity, where we roar, and where the painting situation most often manifests. So I'm wondering if painting is about to take a longer break in February. This would make sense since the painting from last week felt kind of exhausted, there has been no break in quite a while, and it is cyclically logical before Spring. Next month's chart shows the planets in pretty much the opposite house configuration, with the fifth house being emphasized, or fully tenanted, again. This could just mean painting returns, and is supported by the presence of asteroid Photographica (443), which is about images. But that also may be too simplistic, or trying to make this type of chart be about things it's not, we'll see.


       It's pretty much a given at this point that the universe is infinite: always expanding, goes on forever. Which means that it is beyond the concept of a number, no matter how large. It simply can't be counted. Yet the universe is also full of things that are quite obviously different from each another. There's an interesting paradox in this: if something is beyond number, it is therefore unified, a whole in spite of having parts. This seems logical enough, but also means that all the diversity within the universe is an illusion, allowing unity to create an experience it could not have otherwise. Which means that everything in the universe is made up of the same thing, it is all simply the universe exploring itself. So, this means the universe is a multi-dimensional fractal: there are lots of different forms superficially, but they are all the same in essence. There are even structures that literally repeat at different scales: the electrons go around the nucleus of an atom, just like the planets go around a sun. So, in terms of our lives as human beings, this means that we each contain the universe. This is a somewhat shocking concept, since we are trained since birth to consider ourselves puny mortals. Yet, infinity cannot function any other way. This is why the consistent message of an actual spiritual discipline is to look within. Because this is where the Universe is. Not just some of it, but all of it. Everything everything everything. It cannot be any other way. So, what I want to suggest, in case you're weary of your culture having turned into an endless re-run of a meaningless melodrama, is that everything was designed to be, has always been, and remains, our destiny as human beings. It's true that we have to look for it, shifting our focus from the outside world to the inside world, and it's true that we live in a culture that has made every attempt to lock our awareness on what is outside of us. That's because if you do look, the first thing you do is realize that the constant melodrama is not real, it is manufactured, a movie. It is possible to struggle with this situation, and say, this isn't culture, this isn't humanity, and I did this for a long time. But it finally occurred to me that if I stopped being distracted by the ridiculous, it would be possible concentrate more effectively on the sublime. Yes, the ridiculous has become so pervasive that it's not that easy to realize that it can simply be turned off. Yet, doing this means our existence suddenly begins in an altogether different frame of reference. If the universe of galaxies and planets knows no limitations, the same must be true for the universe of atoms and particles, and the same must be true for us: the rat race is not the human race. When we leave the unreal limitation program behind, we begin to experience something real: the positive and dynamic version of life that is our cosmic birthright. We respond to those vast and awe-inspiring photos of infinity from space because they remind us of who we really are: everything, everything, everything.



february 6

      First week of the moon, colder, some snow that melted with two days of rain, bright sun and arctic cold yesterday and today. Very interior week, which is saying something after a very interior two years, quiet on the outside but something is happening in the long slow process of the duality consciousness I was force fed from day one finally giving way. Like I'm slowly becoming round again, but round with experience. It's sort of paradoxical, like what seemed empty before is slowly being revealed as full, what seemed full is slowly being revealed as empty. This helps me to see why nothing I tried in the context of duality ever worked out for very long, since it was that box itself I was trying to get out of. It's like a figure-ground image: the cumulative experience of the endless tension of duality ends up defining it's inverse clearly enough that the inverse image can finally come into awareness as an option, a place to go. In a way, this option was there all along, but vaguely; it can only be seen, or become a destination, once the duality experience completes its course. It's not easy to talk about this because language itself is a primary duality tool: used to tell the truth, the lie, and everything in between, responsible for the endless labyrinth of consensus reality. The word detachment comes up, but this is only in relation to the value structure of duality. Which is of course the only value structure of consensus reality. When the apparent fullness of duality, with all its drama, definitions, rankings, and judgements, is left behind, there is an apparent emptiness. It isn't that comfortable, and when most people feel even the most remote inkling of this, they just turn on the TV. In fact, someone would only venture into this if they had genuinely had enough of duality, having explored it to the point of realizing it is a perpetual reaction-distraction machine, not reality. So, if the apparent fullness of duality is actually empty, it makes sense that the apparent emptiness of non-duality is actually full. This is because in duality, everything is tightly packed, and defined as closely as possible to make it both as distracting and as empirically predictable as possible. But in non-duality, nothing can possibly be defined, so there are infinite possibilities; everything is infinitely spacious: always different, new, a surprise. This is why there are no miracles in duality, but in non-duality, there are only miracles. The labyrinth of our cherished duality movie is humanity's collective illusion, non-duality is the larger reality and our actual destination. Yet, how can this choice be presented effectively to a species that has become so addicted to the illusion that nothing else exists? So addicted that an electronic box became accepted as the dispenser of immutable truth? Maybe a new frame of reference is coming soon, to this swiftly evolving planet.


      International shipping used to be pretty simple, a book even got to a little hill town in Spain in five days once. But the last books to Germany and Italy took a month and a half to get there. Then, after one got to Australia, only took five weeks, the latest one was returned with a service suspended sticker, the first one I've seen, plandemic related, but beyond this they're totally vague about it. So, domestic shipments are still fine, but no more international shipments for now, it's just become too arbitrary, and the alternatives to USPS are way too expensive. On the plus side, I was able to get the refund. Dealing successfully with the USPS and PayPal in one day is a definite first.


      Went back to a medium made with the oleogel concept developed by my friend Roland, see the 1-23 news for this. The idea behind it is to make a very fine and stable emulsion of egg white, starch, and oil. This worked well, with a subtle but strong set from the starch gel, yet it seemed like it would work better, especially in terms of being more hydrophobic or water repellent, meaning the colour will remain bright longer ala egg tempera, with egg yolk. Added the fumed silica second, the same amount as the marble dust, but this was too much. In an all-oil medium, fumed silica create more of a gliding gel, but when water is involved, there's more seizure, possibly due to the hydrophobic nature of silica. So added a small amount of polymerized walnut oil, this is mostly autoxidized, then heated to remove the byproducts of oxidation. The initial autoxidation makes it more sensitive to heat-polymerization, so it is relatively heat polymerized for the small amount of cooking time. The oleogel doesn't thicken as it ages, but does seem to get faster setting. This medium wasn't elastic, but felt like it would set and stick to itself well in layers, and might also still have edge fusion possibilities from the thicker oil. Ingredient proportions is that it typically involve choosing between behaviors that are opposites, such as paint that moves versus paint that sticks. But a finer balance in the formula often creates a third behavior that allows an interaction of both.


      This paint could be layered or carved back, and it had a nice balance between being literal and unexpected when it was worked after it had set. One thing I have to explain to myself now and then is that the process can't grow and stay the same at the same time. With this one, as is often the case in the first week of the moon, I set out boldly enough but the old map no longer worked, and I didn't know quite where to go. Like how the paint behaved, and how the reverse vocabulary of removing paint worked out, there are lots of nice small details to explore in this one. But both colour and form are kind of at sixes and sevens. Well, still wet in this photo, so it may dry a little brighter, which would help. Sense a residual grouchiness about this one? Part of me knows that none of this matters, that the process is just on it's way somewhere new. And also that I used to obsess *even more* about things that were unresolved. But am beginning to focus more on the opportunity they represent. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Lily and I were kind of cooped up for a few days in a row this week, and it did not take her long to figure out that there was coconut oil again. She started sitting beneath the kitchen counter with that gently expectant look. It could be wheatgrass, it could be yogurt, but I had a feeling. I got a new kind, so unrefined it wasn't even quite white. I give her about 1/32 of a teaspoon on my fingertips, and she licks it patiently off. This oil is very sweet and floral, like an evening breeze in Hawaii, and after she eats it she licks her chops elaborately, with this fascinated, dreamy look on her face. Well, I never thought I'd taste anything like this either.

january 30

      More seasonal cold this week, one sunny day with a high close to 40F when Lily spent more time than usual outside, taking advantage of what's available. Edge of a big East Coast snow storm later in the week, fine snow, lots of wind, but not that much snow. Last week of the moon, energy definitely waned as the week went on. New moon on Tuesday, always interesting to see what it brings in terms of what needs renewal. The waning moon is usually a more fallow time for the work, especially in the middle of winter, but did get a few things done. They have different qualities: the first one completed the current moon's mission, the second one is less resolved but asks what might come next. I used to ask for a seamless upward trajectory but this only led to crater after crater. Now it seems clear that what goes up must come down, since this generates the impetus for it to go up again.


      I liked working on the painting from last week but the medium seemed to be just a little too aggressive in its set on the absorbent sand gesso; this was interesting to explore but wondered if it was dictating terms too much. So, did the same medium this week but went to seven parts of the lean putty instead of six. This would also make it more flexible over time by increasing the amount of oil relative to the water-based ingredients. The other change was the order of mixing the wet ingredients. In the past I'd make the starch first, then work the liquid hide glue in, then the egg yolk. This was always a little lumpy, but became smoothed out in mixing it with the other ingredients. This time I added the liquid hide glue to the warm water that was added to the starch before mixing the starch, then adding the egg yolk. This made a smoother and more rubbery emulsion.


      Started this out in values of pale rose, then added yellow, and a little blue. Wanted to see if I could get the colour more neutral this way, but not much of that happened. This version of the paint was more mobile and facile than last week's: carved, layered, and removed well. One of those that completed itself up to a point, then said stop, even the next morning I didn't see much else to do. Still like the composition and the balance of larger and smaller areas, of more empty with more detailed. Would like to try colour with more variety, and will come back to this type of composition at some point and see what happens with paint that's less literal, a little more crude, and with different red,yellow, and blue ratios. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Decided to start the next one with a little bit of rose overall, then add more blue and yellow. So this one was a little more scripted in an attempt to get more red, yellow, and blue balance. The rose phase ended up so balanced it seemed good to introduce imbalance into the blue and yellow relationship. It seemed this would resolve itself as things developed, and in a way it did. But it also created a sort of false sense of confidence about following the plan. And the plan ended up generating two different paintings, duality incarnate. A very good lesson. Next time I'll go back to letting the beginning meander more. This unavoidably creates things that don't work, but this is exactly how I start paying attention before it's too late.


      Made the initial layer of this tighter with marble dust in the hope that this would introduce some arbitrary loss when the paint is stressed, but not as much as the painting from last week. Like how the colour developed, this worked better than the composition, where the relationship between the blue and yellow elements could be more resolved: both the blue and yellow sides makes sense on their own terms, but not together. It could be that this type of image needs to have a more unified background if the colour is relatively vivid. So, here, this would mean the left side blue becoming yellow, or the right side yellow becoming blue. Composition seems to often be about the next level of making balance less predictable through the introduction of imbalance. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.



january 23

      Pretty cold for here, sunny more than not, beginning to get dark after 5pm. Third week of the moon, most often a time when the impetus from the full moon begins to quiet down. Still was able to get something done that felt like the next step, so that was a plus given the time of year, and the phase of the moon. In larger terms, the pandemic movie is beginning to fall apart more visibly, some governments threw in the towel this week on restrictions. I keep hoping for an increase in disclosure velocity, but the procession remains stately, at least on the surface. Something pretty big has been hidden. It has to come out, so that people at least have the opportunity to know the truth. There's no question that the truth in this case is upsetting, and some people will deny it, no matter how much evidence is presented. But it does have the power to set us free, and pretty soon, in spite of all the efforts made to keep it hidden, this option is going to continue to be more fully out in the open. I always thought there had to be a Toto Moment, but now it feels like it's going to occur in a series of waves.


      After I did enough with the egg white, starch, and oil emulsion to realize that the chemistry of their mutual, that is, ternary, interaction was pretty involved, decided to return to using egg yolk instead of egg white. But my friend Roland is a chemist, and this week he sent me photos of an emulsion he's been developing. There's lots of research on this type of thing, the oleogel, in food science. Roland's gel method is ingenious, and I just happened to have everything needed to do it. The ingredients -- starch, water, egg white, and oil -- go into a beaker with a stirbar. This beaker goes into a larger beaker, or, in my case, a glass jar, on the hotplate. This gets heated to about 60C, or 140F, to coagulate the egg white, with the stirbar on very fast to help increase the stability of the gel by dispersing the ingredients quite finely. The gel is oil phase, about 20 parts water to 30 parts oil, not that thick, and more stable than the ones I made the old-fashioned way, by hand. It will be interesting to see what happens when this gets turned into a putty with marble dust and silica and used with dry pigments.


      Made some paper with the sand gesso this week, in addition to being absorbent, the silica addition makes the paint brake or set faster. I like this because it interferes so effectively with the flow of the paint. Used the same egg yolk, starch gel, and hide glue formula as last week, but the set was much quicker with this ground. Sometimes these images make themselves, as though the model it just sitting up there in the ether. But after the full moon, that quality typically diminishes, and making this brought me up against a series of limitations based on preconceptions about what 'should' happen to 'complete' it. In the past I've always struggled heroically with these before reluctantly accepting them temporarily, in order to regroup and struggle heroically again. But this time the process was a little different, there was less struggle. Which was exciting for me, because this is something I've been working on pretty actively as the basis for these. This seems to have occurred because there was less preconception. And this seemed to happen because, the more I messed with this, the more I deconstructed what I'd constructed, instead of trying to lovingly protect it, the more energy the process had, and the more I liked it. Was able to get pretty far the first day, but still, the next morning it didn't seem done, and it was clear that the issue was that the background colour was too strong. I tried adding colour with a very small amount of white, but this paint is pretty tender the next day, when it is quite set but not dry, and the difference in viscosity of the white I made created massive shredding and pilling of the paint beneath it. But, after the previous days experience, this was clearly just another 'error' that created an opportunity, so, after removing the paint that had white in it, I began deconstructing the background of fully set paint by paring it back and carving into it. This lightened the colour and animated it to the same degree as the other elements. Then added a little pale translucent pink to the green to back it off. So, this one feels resolved, meaning, it is what it needs to be, but in a different way. Possibly because all my preconceptions out of the way enough to let the next thing happen the way it wanted to. It's just so much fun to learn the next step. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Making Roland's oleogel into a medium. First is making a circle of 1T (15cc) marble dust, then adding the same amount of the oleogel. Second is what this looked like. Not that dense but it had a lot of internal resistance, a good sign. Third is after adding 2t (10cc) fumed silica. This really grabs with these mediums, possibly because silica repels water. Decided this was too dense for this, and added 1/2t (2.5 ml) more of the oleogel.


      Decided to forego the couch and put a rough composition in values of light rose on first. This produces more unity and may be a step to develop, though it also curtails carving back to pure white. The medium worked very finely with the knife, and set quickly. The complexity of the last two images led into the relative simplicity of this one. The egg white and starch gel track dries lighter than the egg yolk track, you can see this is the darker, still 'wet' look of the small red over blue places. This one is already lighter but not chalky. Only a few layers, the shapes themselves may be a bit literal as a result, but a surprising number of different things happened to develop further. Maybe this medium becomes a parallel track with the egg yolk medium, producing different results that inform one another. Now to see how long the medium itself keeps in the fridge. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Lily has been a little cooped up with the cold spell here. She goes out if it's sunny, but not for long if it's below freezing. The heat is a little nutty in the house, the only thermostat is on the first floor, and the system seems to really lag, then really kick in. I don't mind it cool, but too hot is the reason I left here for Vermont in the first place. Sometimes when I crack the window to cool it off Lily appears by magic, and tries to stick her head out. So then I open it for her a little more. Had an Amazon delivery last night, I met him at the door because his truck had been in the street a long time, and I wanted to make sure he got the right house. He had a pile of packages for several houses, and we were talking about which ones went where when Lily shot out onto the porch, like she was making a desperate break from prison. Earlier in the day, when it was warmer, she got half way down the stairs but wouldn't go out. She got up on the porch railing by the cedar tree and stared up into it, maybe looking for her friend the squirrel. The squirrel is doing well, I sometimes see it going around and checking to see if something it buried is still there. It was ambling across the small front yard the other day when the gray cat from next door shot into view from the hedge and chased it up on to the porch. The speed of this cat, who is two, and male, is impressive. Would he actually try to catch the squirrel? I inserted a leg between them, and the squirrel escaped up into the cedar tree. There have been a few interactions between Lily and the gray cat when he comes to visit her. Once she seemed reluctantly tolerant, then decided to just abort and come back inside. More recently, she hissed at him from close range, and he backed off and sat down politely. She also retreated and sat on the chair. I thought, Oh good, detente. But then he went and hopped up on the porch railing to her left. This put him in a position to walk across the railing to above where she was sitting. Cat chess. She would have responded to this by also getting up on the railing, possibly leading to a railing chase, but I decided to go pick him up and put him back on the sidewalk. I don't always follow his plan, but did comb the fleas off him this fall, and was the one who got him out when he was marooned in the first floor basement, having entered through the cat door at the back door in the theoretically totally screened-in back porch. Only to discover that Lily didn't live there, but Cali the inside calico did! Cali has a history of defending her territory fiercely, but got the worst of attacking him before he retreated, a scratch on her second eyelid that meant going to the vet; the gray cat's humans chipped in. So he lets me pick him up. He wants Lily to cavort around with him, but she just wants him off her porch. He has his own porch, which was her porch before he arrived. Still, I sort of feel sorry for him, I mean, who hasn't just wanted to play and found nobody to play with? So when he was back on the sidewalk, I played with him for a while through the hedge, something we started doing a few weeks ago. He really liked that, at least someone would respond to him, then he ambled off back to his own porch, cool gray with slightly pinkish highlights against the darker, warmer gray of the flagstones.

january 16

      Sunny but much colder week, full moon tomorrow evening here, a chart with strong positive energy. As the movie flickers on, it will be interesting to see how this manifests in terms of changes in what the dedicated theatergoers consider true or real. I've often wondered in the last few years how the Universe was going to get the people out of the theater who simply want to keep watching the movie forever. A lot of people feel that this will occur through some kind of external event that makes the infinite suspension of disbelief no longer an option. But it seems much more like the way the Universe operates for this to be an internal event linked to a shift in collective consciousness. It could of course occur through a combination of both: a challenging external stimulus followed by a calming or nurturing internal one. Well, have long since given up trying to figure this out. But the whole point of the exercise is that the truth has to come out, because the truth sets us free. So, something is in the process of shifting, and whatever happens, I have a feeling that the Newtonian empirical pragmatism so sacred to my parent's generation, so prevalent still among theatergoers, and so crucial to the presentation of the endless lies in the movie as reality, is about to get challenged by much more in thy face information than the findings of particle physics.


      A lot happened with the medium this week. It has wanted urgently to go on these excursions, but this week it also wanted to come home. Being home again is new again, but also different because it went on the trip. The first medium this week was a departure back into water-soluble wax, a material I really like, and therefore used too much of. So, this one didn't work out at all, not the colour, not the way it looked. Experimenting does make the bone pile larger. But it expands the technical frame of reference quickly, and the team that just lost in overtime seems to become harder to beat in the next game.


      Earlier this winter I used am absorbent glue gesso ground that had silica sand in it, so it both had texture and made the paint stick quite firmly. When the sheets ran out, I began to wonder if it was a little extreme, so the current batch of Tiepolo has no sand in the gesso ground, just a coarse marble dust for texture. Wanted to try out the older sand ground with the current egg white-starch gel medium, and found a smaller leftover piece, so did this test. Liked the way the paint adhered more, and the simpler use of shape and colour. 6.5x7.25 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      A relatively close second version of the one above at a somewhat larger scale. This one returned to the current ground, and this resulted in less set, and some local buckling of the paper itself due to more contact with water. Like the tipping in the composition, but the value shift between the two non-red elements is too great: the pink needs to be lighter, or the blue-green needs to be darker. The element of internal texture also didn't happen to the same degree. So, this is a first layer, something that needs more resolution. The medium is lean enough to allow a second layer without the colour going down so that may happen in a few months. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Became a little confused about the extent of the chemistry that was going on between starch and egg white. My friend Roland had sent me lots of information from food science about the interaction of protein (egg white) and starch, but I put out some starch egg white films to test and noticed that, while the starch may become more hydrophobic due to the egg white, this combination was also was also making a weaker film than starch alone. Which is not flour, but is much stronger. So, decided -- again, decided this last week too -- to return to egg yolk, but to leave fused damar out. The reason being that both these ingredients make the application finer and smoother, and I'd like it to be somewhat coarse or primitive. Liked the hydrophobic hardened beeswax in this medium, beeswax with the fatty acids removed, so made a slightly thicker oil mix with hardened beeswax in it, and then turned that into a putty. Between the hardened beeswax, the marble dust, and the cooler room, this got pretty thick, had to warm it up again to tube it, had to put the tube in warm water to get it out. Tried 1 part egg yolk, 2 parts hardened wax putty, 6 parts lean putty, but the hard wax putty still overwhelmed it, it could have been used, but would have been very literal, with no edge movement. So made up 1 part starch gel and added that: still dense, but more mobile.


      Another popular reaction to study in food science is the interaction between starch (here, amylose, on the right) and oil, (on the left, here linoleic acid, C18:2, the major fatty acid in walnut oil, the secondary fatty acid in linseed oil). Photo here courtesy of my friend Roland.


      The paint was still more edge oriented than I wanted, attempted to modify this by making the edges themselves more broken. This worked better in some places than others. There were two major interruptions while making this, and it a way they helped, and in a way they didn't. The strong set of the medium meant that there were more types of removal available: in a style that doesn't use white pigment, a significant bonus. At first I felt that more needed to happen on the left, but now I like it that way. At first I thought it was too crude, but now I like that too. So maybe everything happened just the way it was supposed to. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      So, the next version of the medium cut the hardened wax putty in half, and added some hide glue to create more set and edge fusion. Well, in theory, it didn't quite work out like that...


      This paint worked well for layers, and carved back cleanly, but, because the ground lacked sand, did not set as tightly or have the option of casually random edges. In addition, went to a longer format, the ratio of 9x20 instead of 9x10. Based the composition loosely on a drawing, and the combination of the format with the medium introduced a change that was interesting. But this was also too much newness to resolve, so this one had some confusion in terms of both shape and colour after the first day. The next day, the paint had set quite firmly, but was still wet, making removal easy, addition sort of complicated. After a few hours I can usually see a little more, change a few more things before it's fully dry, mua-ha-ha. A little too complex, a little too edge-oriented in places for me, but it felt like this was what this moon was asking for in terms of a more worked surface, and colour with more unity and nuance. The next shift is the ground; will make more of the silica sand gesso to continue with this paint. 6.25x14 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.



january 9

      More seasonal finally with even a little snow. Encountered the term 'nuisance snow' here a few years ago, found it sort of distressing until I realized it must have been coined by a nuisance human. First week of the moon, had lots of energy for the work but couldn't really discover what to do. This has happened before, but it's kind of a surprise that the process is in such high gear in the middle of winter. Am just beginning to understand the playing field of variables in this medium system, but it's fun, and understanding always comes last anyway. A lot didn't quite work out this week, which brought the old tension between process versus product, the seemingly endless addiction to results, into focus.


       We say a watched pot never boils, but this assumes that the watching is in hope of a specific result, the boiling, which expands the experience of the waiting time. What if the watching is just watching? This enables the process of the water coming to a boil to be experienced on its own terms. When the means and the end are equal, the tension inherent in their duality -- hurry up and boil! -- is neutralized. Without expectation, there is no hurry. The result still occurs, but equalizing all the elements in the process makes it more spacious as an experience. This makes it easier to pay attention to what's really happening. Now the water is beginning to move from the heat. Now there are really tiny bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot. Now the bubbles are getting bigger, and occurring faster. We can now see this, and take it in, because our experience of time is a function of consciousness. No longer ranking one aspect of the process as better or worse moves us out of duality as a frame of reference for consciousness. All aspects of the process are equal. And, as if by magic, this allows much more to happen. Does this mean that, in larger terms, the perception of reality itself is a function of consciousness? It's interesting that, of all the things that we can change about ourselves, the idea of changing the frame of reference of our consciousness itself is not more widely discussed.


      This system starts out with making the paint from the medium and dry pigments. Over the years I ended up with a lot of different earth colours in the yellow ochre-raw siena category, these all have different qualities and some work better than others for this. At first when I started working without white this Fall I missed it, especially at the end, but the system has adapted to its absence over the last few months.


      Started the week out with variations on the starch emulsion with either egg white or hide glue, liked the way the paints behaved but in terms of finishing, it was one of those new moons where nothing was new enough. It seems like there are times to look for new compositions, and times to rely more on developing compositions that have worked. Photo here of a detail I liked, about 2 inches across.


      So, stepped back and did this one, based on the relatively simple composition from last week. Increased the proportion of starch and glue in the emulsion before making it into a putty. This was going a little too far in terms of conventional paint behavior, but I wanted to find that place. The colour set very quickly, then pilled sometimes when the next layer went on top. The pilled paint was still wet, and it could be smoothed into the next layer, so it wasn't that big a deal, just resulted in a more primitive look. I ended up liking the look of the shapes the medium made more than the way it interpreted the colour, which was interesting. Not sure this assessment wasn't premature, but will see, these different mediums have all done slightly different things, but that doesn't mean what they've done so far is all they'll do. Still, it seems like there are tradeoffs in any system. So, the perfect approach is always the next one until it's tried out. At first it seems like a system will go halfway to the wall forever, but then the wall itself moves. The wall has been moving a lot in the last few weeks. Which is fine, but my notes for all of this are not as complete as I thought! 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      After the one above, compared the various smaller tests I tried, and had to admit that I liked the brighter colour of the one with egg yolk in it best. So, after all the tests of the last few months with no egg yolk, back to egg yolk, but in a different way. Used the immersion blender to make an emulsion of whole egg, starch gel and oil. This was surprisingly thin, first photo, but remained emulsified overnight. Used it to make a putty with a dense but mobile rheology, second photo.


      Started this out with a rose emphasis, loosely based on the large pieces of the one above. Tried using thirds more from the beginning, instead of starting with halves. This did not work better, and in changing it did not find a composition in large enough pieces, so ended up with gridlock, then, at least somewhat modified gridlock. I always think that I can solve gridlock but it is so much wiser to simply avoid it. Some points of interest, and am beginning to see how this might be resolved as an approach, but like the contrast of large and small pieces better. Like how the medium performed for a first test, how it interpreted the colour, and where the colour ended up: not too bright, not too dull; integrated but not compliant. The paint could to be removed cleanly, but did not quite set enough for the way I wanted to layer it. Yet this also meant it remained pressure sensitive in an interesting way. Even though the medium looked really dense, it was pretty mobile. This is simple to alter by making it a little less fat, or adding a little more marble dust, or both. So, will regroup, and give this approach another test. Experiencing gridlock always seems to emphasize the importance of the dynamics of the first few elements of the composition. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.



january 2

      Last week of the moon, mostly on the warm, overcast, and foggy side. The week between Christmas and New Year seems to often feature an odd mix of exhaustion and anticipation. As is often the case now, this felt ramped up or amplified this week. New moon today around 1:30 in the afternoon here, the closest asteroid to the Sun-Moon conjunction is Sphinx (896). Sphinx has to do with mysteries or secrets, but can also be about a teaching challenge: in mythology, if travelers did not answer the riddle of the Sphinx correctly, they were devoured. The answer to the riddle is of course self-referential, as are all challenges. These things tend to occur in combinations in the context: in the new moon chart before Lily arrived in 2015, Sphinx was in the 7th house right above the Descendant. So, a partnership began with a mysterious being that issued challenges regularly, and, especially in the first year or two, would literally bite me if I didn't get the right answer. Influences also have octaves from high to low. For example, and perhaps relevantly for the upcoming moon, Sphinx is conjunct the Sun in the birthchart of Jeffery Epstein, someone whose secrets are not that hard to discover, just as the original riddle was not that hard to answer, and that may come into greater public awareness in the month to come. This month will begin a more formal split of humanity into three parts, or channels, that's going to continue for 2022. The majority of people will continue to wait for things to return to normal, looking for guidance from external authority, and continuing to be played or conned as a result. And although the pandemic con is now wearing thin, the climate change con is in the wings, ready to take its place. Of the two other, and much smaller parts, one of them wants to enslave humanity, and created the labyrinth of cons that we know as con-sensus reality to do so. It will continue to try to maintain fear-based command and control in the year to come through corrupt, self-serving, and increasingly authoritarian institutions. The other part doesn't believe that the labyrinth con is reality, and therefore operates outside of it, in a larger frame of reference about human purpose and potential. This part wants to free humanity from the consensus labyrinth, and is actively involved in exposing the con behind the hard-hitting script, either literally, by revealing information that has been hidden, or vibrationally by not believing in the con as a frame of reference. So far, the story has largely been told by the media, but an alternative story is in progress and will gain momentum in 2022. The mask-no mask duality is a metaphor for the more basic issue of external authority versus internal sovereignty. And as with the mask issue, the two stories will present differences too great to be reconciled. For the larger part of humanity, the defining question in the year to come will be: who is telling the truth? And everyone will, of their own free will, from an information pool of their own choice, decide. For the Universe, this is about giving the undecided majority a prolonged opportunity to make a more considered or informed decision about what has occurred, what has been hidden, and whether the ultimate seat of authority is without, or within. To possibly come out from under the hypnotic spell of media propaganda and claim their birthright as multi-dimensional children of a higher purpose. In larger terms, at the soul level, everyone has already decided which path to take, and which version of the truth makes sense for their evolution. But if someone has been completely, totally, and utterly hoodwinked, as in mass formation psychosis, the experience of realizing the truth becomes that much more profound. So, the battle for the narrative, and the larger battle for the soul of humanity, will continue in the year to come, but with greater opportunity for awareness on offer for people who choose to explore it. From being really impatient two years ago for the lies to be revealed as soon as possible, I've come to feel lots of respect for the infinite care and patience the Universe is showing with humanity through this time. The truth is slowly coming out, but there's a lot more on its way. It's going to get hard to ignore in the year to come, and will ultimately present massive, incontrovertible evidence of con-sensus reality as an intricate labyrinth of deception. So, the truth will not be easy, and of course will be a choice. But it also has the potential to set people free in a way that would have been unimaginable otherwise. It's the hard way, but it seems like we have always done it the hard way.


      Palette detail: the handmade paint is looking increasingly handmade.


      Made this three part emulsion in a small coffee-spice grinder with wet or dry options. For the chemistry of this see last week. It had some body, but little elasticity. But when I made a putty out of it, the stretch potential of the starch became more apparent.


      Again started this without a drawing, wanted to contrast a large warm and cool red area, and let it develop from there. This was one of the earliest ways I made these, and I wondered how the increased formal vocabulary since 2005-6 would effect the outcome. After wondering about the potential of the emulsion, this paint had a really nice balance of set and plasticity or bounce, which meant the image seemed to make itself, always appreciated, and unexpected at the end of the moon. It dried brighter than I made it, and at first I missed the colour drama and deeper saturation. But I'm getting used to this version too, which feels less obvious. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Next, wanted to try hide glue as a type of protein instead of egg white. Made the starch gel with hot water, then added some liquid (warm) hide glue to this. Then drizzled the oil in while stirring by hand. Had made the oil mix a little fatter to try to keep a little more saturation, and ended up with a pudding-like emulsion. Put it in the fridge for a few days, when it came out the emulsion was gelled and bouncy, but also tender, not much internal resistance. Was wondering about if, given the relatively long time the ingredients were in the fridge compared to making the medium to order, the chemical reaction between the three ingredients would manifest in the rheology. Given that both hide glue and starch contribute to elasticity and set when used fresh in a putty, the way this behaved was a big surprise. Added much more marble dust and fumed silica to this emulsion than to the above emulsion to get something that had some density and bounce. Still, it was also really mobile. Was concerned that the thickness of the medium would mean that more would be needed to wet the pigment, but, oops, this resulted in even more mobility.


      The mobility of this paint was a surprise. It would semi-set, making it pressure sensitive to an unusual degree. It also carved back cleanly to the ground compared to the medium above. So, a lot of changes to factor in. Also, the energy of the day itself was a lot more tense, that was apparent as soon as I got up. The more detailed application sort of works against the strength of this paint, which seems to be to work boldly and graphically. I'm more interested in working with the simpler or more serene approach of the composition above, but this is what wanted to happen, maybe as a way to balance that. This was intense but also fun to make, especially when I gave up trying to get it under control, that fateful word. And I liked being able to adjust the tower structures the next day so they appear to be unstable, teetering, maybe even about to fall apart completely. Authentic paint seems to always mirror life, sometimes on the outside, sometimes on the inside, sometimes in a combination of both. And the pendulum stays in motion: something with serenity often leads to something with attitude. This one involved a pretty large shift for the medium, am looking forward to trying again with this paint, with more awareness about how to set it up, and what it wants to do. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Some pictures of Lily from 2021.

december 26

      Slowly but surely a little more wintry, one morning with a little snow, but still some highs in the 50s. This is good for Lily, she'll go out for longer in the afternoon and sometimes into the evening. Waning moon, but got some work done, very surprising given the season, but I'm really interested in what's going on. Pretty much out of gessoed paper, have to do that soon. Should I keep adding aquarium sand, or is that too sharp and pointy? This system is less about wet-in-wet layering than the one I used sand with. Maybe try more coarse marble dust instead this time.


      It's been really fun to work with pigment again over the last month. I originally got involved with developing concepts for tube paint because of the book: the emails I got suggested that relatively few people were interested in making their own paint, which was understandable. The current system is based on an egg white-oil emulsion, something that seems to have been used for a while in earlier panel painting, though probably water-phase more than oil-phase. Tempera grassa is kind of a loose term, but seems to usually be applied to tempera with added oil that's still water-phase. So there's really no technical word for this paint, oil paint with a water-based addition that's still oil phase. There are lots of instances of water-based additions in older painting, used in various ways to make the paint tighter, egg white and hide glue are probably the most common. One of my favorite ones to work with years ago with starch, and this week I added some of that bouncy starch gel to the egg white-oil emulsion.


      My friend Roland sent some information this week about the medium ingredients: the interactions between them are often studied in food science. In line A, amylose is starch, and fatty acid is oil. In line B, a protein is introduced, looks like something from milk here, but any protein is going to work in a similar way in the system. So, the end result is more than the sum of its parts: stronger, and possibly more hydrophobic. And, just as the possibilities are greater mixing three primaries than two, and just as the order of the colour layers matters, there are lots of options in this system. So far I've added starch to an oil-egg white emulsion, but protein inhibits starch retrogradation, meaning the starch remains gelatinous longer, so it may be possible to make the medium base in a larger amount by emulsifying oil into a starch-egg white mix. But, does protein in oil inhibit starch retrogradation? And what do starch and egg white do to one another that is then acted on by the oil? I like the idea of everything being blended together finely into an emulsion, rather than mixing the starch in by hand, which is best by far when it's still warm, and may actually be able to do this in small batches using a mini food processor.


      Illustration showing the way the interaction of starch and protein creates a more organized molecular system.


      Close-up of the first test with starch on the second day. I put in a thin couch of the medium, this lets the colour be removed wholesale once it's set if I really don't like it: a more important option in a system that doesn't use white than in one that does. In this case, the starch and egg white have set but the oil hasn't dried. So, not unlike pure egg yolk tempera, this paint has sort of a fragile initial drying phase. Something to keep in mind, not sure if this is a bug, a feature, or neutral.


      Was a little surprised that bright colour wanted to happen again. Had been balancing ultramarine with a green, but went to manganese blue in this one. No drawing, it made itself around the red pillar. Like the illusion of simple colour, the goofy grid, and way the upper corner semi-reads like a window, considered emptying the lower right corner more but maybe in another one. In one way this feels crowded to me in terms of the scale of the marks. But there's a line from Nick Lowe: bash it out now, tart it up later. And sometimes, bashing it out is all that wants to happen. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.


      Same type of medium as above, but a little less starch gel and a little of a lean fused damar putty medium. The fused damar putty adds elasticity and film strength, but it also makes things look like oil paint. I only added a little of it to try to keep more of the starch look. This medium was also a little looser. I didn't think this would be a problem but it was because the paint didn't set fast enough to layer it. I fought this for a while, then got out a sieve and sprinkled marble dust over the whole painting, knifed that in, then added marble dust to the remaining medium. This solved it, good example of a bug becoming a feature, but by that point there was a painting based on lighter colour values and sketchier shapes, so I kept on working with that. Still, waning moon, middle of winter, suddenly arrived at that fateful don't know what to do place: began to fiddle, then stopped. This one was really intriguing to look at, trying to figure out what would complete it. Did some removal and additions the next morning, the paint was set but not friable like the previous one. It's not that easy to walk away, but the second morning often seems to offer new eyes and entry at the next level. The same palette, but otherwise the opposite of the previous painting in every way. I like both approaches, and often want a little more of the opposite approach from the most recent painting. Ah, life! Always the road not taken. Still, exploring both seems to allow the opposites to inform or cross-fertilize one another naturally over time. 9x10 inches, oil phase tempera on gessoed paper.



december 19

      Still on the milder side, week of the full moon, that was later last night here, a more typical one with stronger energy, and a more typical full moon week in the work as well. The holidaze is upon us once again. Good to have a project for this much ballyhooed yet often chequered time of year, lots of different options surfaced for the egg white mediums this week. Had fun with this: made the paint, followed it where it wanted to go.


      Wanted to see what would happen with glair in the older system instead of egg yolk and hide glue. So, used oil paint for this and a putty medium with glair. The set was not as quick as the old system, it got a little grid-like but that's what wanted to happen. Like the more translucent colour, but got a little confused with value trying to keep it. Will put a thin second layer on this at some point using white to simplify it and subvert the grid. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Then returned to the egg white emulsion concept. The handmade emulsions were not that stable, which was not a problem, the way it might have been used originally, but wanted to see what would happen using more stable versions. First photo is a mayonnaise type emulsion made with egg white using an ancient egg beater type electric mixer. This was sort of fluffy and tender, and seemed a little on the fragile side, so after using it I put it over a waterbath and heated it. It first relaxed, then paused before thickening very quickly, and curdled somewhat. There's of course a specific temperature involved, but it would probably be possible to make this smooth using lower heat and then taking the bowl off the hot water as soon as it began to thicken. But am not sure this matters too much as it made a smooth putty anyway. Also tried adding hot oil to the beaten egg white 'in a thin stream' to thicken it. It thickened at first and became rubbery, but then thinned out by the time I'd gotten all the oil into it. It didn't break, and again, although rubbery is always attractive, being thinner probably doesn't matter. What did turn out to matter was the proportion of oil in the emulsion, and the level of prepolymerization of the oil.


      This was made with a putty using the uncooked egg white mayo mixed with dry pigments. Used some marble dust at the end as white. The mayo was made with 2 parts oil to 1 part egg white, and the oil mix was relatively lean. So, this dried noticeably brighter and less saturated than it was painted. I like this look, and it's lean enough to be overpainted without any risk of long-term darkening, but this paint would definitely need to be used on panels. Lots of interesting odds and ends in this one, another layer at some point to simplify it would be fun. 9x10 inches, glair tempera on gessoed paper.


      This was made with the cooked egg white emulsion, but I added another part of oil so it was 3 oil to 1 egg white. Added manganese blue, very fun pigment but easy to get hypnotized by it. The paint had a delayed but relatively strong set, no use of marble dust as white, also dried with less saturation, but not as bright or chalky as the previous one. Decided to make happier colour for this but, well, there's such a thing as too happy. Would keep some of this, but not all of it, in a second layer. Still, like the look of the previous one better: more primitive, handmade. Not sure if it's practical, but it seems worth another version on panel. There's a new type of the composition in these, sort of a spacious grid, still more to develop but new is always interesting. Not sure how spacious any type of grid can be, but paradoxical situations are always full of possibilities. And still need to try out the hot oil emulsion in the fridge. So, lots more to explore with this paint. 9x10 inches, glair tempera on gessoed paper.


      Lily likes Tiepolo too.

december 12

      First week of the new moon, a little more seasonal, then yesterday was foggy and went up to 65. It feels like something fundamental is changing about what's on offer, not within our beloved, benighted culture just yet, but in the larger context of being human on earth. It's like the energy is pulsing, but also getting bigger, brighter, clearer, cleaner over time. Of course it's been decades since I watched TV, maybe it just happens naturally. Like most people, I used to just sort of tough everything out, it was how I was raised, wouldn't want to let down the side. But am slowly beginning to get a little bit better at figuring out what's bothering me. This is interesting because if I can articulate the issue, I can ask for it to change, and, lo and behold, it changes. I mean, it may take a few passes at it, but there's at least some progress right away. In a way it never occurred to me to ask, or maybe it only occurred to ask in situations that were officially large or pressing. But there are plenty of things that are small but pressing in their own way, and these add up to a decent weight to be toting around if they are habitual. So, have been working on stuff like that, realizing I don't have to accept so much of my old way, can have a new way that's lighter bit by bit through applied awareness of these details. Then, I think like a lot of people, I thought it was selfish to do things for myself. But it's clear at this point that the outer world is a reflection of the inner world, so the new world I want to inhabit has to begin with me. This year clarified things completely by virtually eliminating the distraction or entertainment approach on all levels. There wasn't much of it left, but now the path feels cleared at another level. As an example, I can't entertain myself with doubt anymore. Or entertain myself caring about, or being upset by, or trying to change, other people's opinions. It's amazing how much world begins to blossom internally when there's less distraction externally. Maybe less entanglement is more accurate: the difference between actively keeping the outside world at arm's length and willingly leaving it behind.


      Continued with the system of last week, but went back to abstraction. It's fun to make the paint from various proportions of the glair oil emulsion and a limited palette of non-toxic pigments. At the same time, the nature of glair means this paint is different in ways that are going to take some time to explore fully.


      Making glair from the egg white causes the gloopy, folded over proteins to become more linear, and the oleic acid in the oil makes for a stronger film than glair alone. At 2 glair to 1 oil, this paint is pretty brittle, but also dries very fast, adheres to itself well, and has no tendency to flake or shatter when carved with a knife point.


      Second layer on the beginning from last week. Relatively lean emulsion that dried very quickly, looks like a water paint but is somewhat more saturated than gouache. I liked this, and it was fun to use brushes to make something like this, but it didn't seem like it would be reliably stable over time on paper with thicker paint. 9x10 inches, glair tempera on gessoed paper.


      I wanted the option of thicker paint, so decided to try a small panel and see what this was like with this paint. Made the second layer on this one less lean, it's showing a little density and saturation. Not completely resolved but like the goofiness of this. About 8x9 inches, glair tempera on gessoed panel.


      It's always interesting to see where the colour wants to go. Two layers on this one, less resolved but on its way somewhere else, a few different ideas that need to be reconciled or unified. Want to develop colour for these that's softer or more nurturing, but maybe not so predictably lyrical. Changing one thing changes everything, and because the changes of a given layer tend to get more and more intuitive, it's always interesting to pause and ask what might happen next. Want to change, as always it seems, the bottom right corner, and the triangle feels too focal, especially pointing down and being so bright. The singular singleton doesn't work, much less time three. Without the bottom horizontal quarter, this makes more sense, so will begin again there. Well, I say that, but a few more days of looking at this may well present a different option. The pink one above could be finished in the next layer. This one seems more innocent, but also more bumbling, and may go through a lot more before completion. If we can't be an expert and learn at the same time, which do we choose? It feels like the glair tempera will do well with lots of layers on panel, so I'm looking forward to this, something I haven't felt comfortable doing in oil due to the potential for the colour to go down over time. But we'll see. The egg yolk emulsion system of the last few years got increasingly focused on transparent paint and holding the white of the ground in one alla prima layer. The freshest look possible. This system uses white paint, so the colour is different, and the paint can be used in lots of layers. I still really like the earlier approach, but when I look at those paintings now the colour seems different, more optically and chromatically complex than it did, since there's something simpler to compare it with. Not better or worse, it's just interesting how the experience of the new paint made the old paint new again too. Experience is often spoken of as being valuable because of what it teaches about practical, as opposed to theoretical, application, but it also acts to change the frame of reference of the application, which effectively expands, and therefore changes, everything. 8.5x9.5 inches, glair tempera on gessoed panel.


      Lily's sixth anniversary, she showed up under the porch in early December, 2015. How did she know this was her destination? When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.

december 5

      Week of the waning moon, still on the mild and sunny side for this time of year. Last week of the moon, a good time to clean things up, clear the decks. New moon and an eclipse yesterday, as is often the case with the new moon, an energetic but unfocused day. Started a more formal experiment with the egg white tempera this week, fun to make paint in this exacting but relatively informal way.


      Decided to accept the winter situation of less overt creativity and started something realistic with a glair-oil emulsion, picked 4 parts glair to one part oil. Using a slightly heat-polymerized oil (1h:150C walnut) this made a semi-stable emulsion when it was shaken. Mixed this with pigment 2 to 1, then thinned it with more medium, and water. More than a little water made the emulsion break, but it could be stirred back together with the brush.


      Single colour underpainting, above, absorbent glue gesso, just placed the paint at a light value, then darkened it bit by bit. Very little open time once it was placed, as far as I got the first day. Below, second day, beginning to add colours, one at a time, starting with a layer of green earth. This paint is tougher than I thought it would be, and my friend Roland sent me a PDF explaining how the oleic acid in the oil acts to alter the protein structure of the egg white. He also sent me a PDF about a 15th century Spanish panel by Bartolome Bermejo, very detailed style, a reasonable amount about him online due to some recent exhibits. The panel in the PDF was executed in a primarily egg white tempera, that is, very little oil, and also featured seven different gesso formulas in the ground. A dark final layer overall, possibly a later varnish, but the paint is in remarkably good condition.


      End of the second day, above, end of the third day, below. Light emphasis begins cold in order to become more convincingly warm, or vice versa. The barn on the right was leaning too far forward, corrected that. The paint set and dried very quickly so the colours were mixed, then put on, one at a time on the second day. A different way of conceptualizing the colour, like printing with woodblocks, but not that hard to get used to. The third day paint was 5% fatter but still set very quickly. Started out mixing a warmer yellow, then added small amounts of red and blue to that, right tile below. On the left tile below, started out with a pink for the sky, then added blue to this with a small amount of yellow. This layer used some chalk and titanium white, then went back over the dark greens with some cold (Nicosia) green earth. The paint is less opaque than pure egg yolk tempera, and dries without a colour shift up. Which is very nice. Will do the next layer with another 5% increase in oil for a little more blendability. The paint will do fine detail but am more interested in the overall feeling of the colour. Used some titanium white for this, will probably not use it in the final layer, whenever that is, the look of it always bothers me. Am tempted to put materials in this layer that would keep the paint brighter over time, like a little fused damar or a little egg yolk, but maybe that should wait. From the perspective of learning about how the medium ages, it would be best to just do at least one with egg white and oil only.




      Wanted to see what would happen if the egg white tempera were used in an abstract way. After a vacation of a month or so, Lily has gone back to using her bunk in the studio, this is really close to the easel so I moved back to the kitchen. New moon, new way of painting, new way of using the new paint in a new studio.


      The paint needed to be used wet to cover, but the way I liked using it was too wet for the paper. The paint layered fine, that is, it didn't redissolve, but the paper began to buckle. This will relax bit by bit until it's flat again, but it feels like this needs to be done on panels. So, lots of potential, nice beginning though unresolved. Like this as a next step because it is so different technically from the old system. Brushes, not knives, thin paint, not thick paint, additive layers instead of carving.

november 28

      Last quarter of the moon, a few more chilly days. New moon on the 4th of December, another intense chart suggesting a deluge of information becoming available. Well, for those with ears to hear. There's a trial in New York City that starts Monday that's kind of being ignored, possibly because it is ticking so very loudly. This trial might feature revelations next week that are harder to ignore. In the work, fiddled around with making a lean emulsion paint using oil and egg white, switched to glair, this was better, possibly an approach that was used very early. Had hoped to develop this into something people could use as a solvent free method for realism but it's probably not going to work with commercial paint. Well, it works with chalk and bone ash, but still not too smoothly. On the other hand, if the beginning is dry pigment, then glair, then oil, this comes together and works easily. But most people want to start with paint in a tube. Which is understandable, but solvent became heavily involved in this approach for a reason. Well, there may be something here, but as usual when a new door opens, the newness means beginning over. Will keep posting more about the work as it happens, but things may be sort of sporadic for a few months.



november 21

      Well, the local rivalry between Being and Doing has been hotly contested for decades now, though Doing seemed to somehow always come out on top. But, after many years as an also-ran, Being began to edge into prominence in the last few years. And much to the surprise of the pundits, Doing in fact took a beating regularly in 2021, yet still rallied gamely until the Fall. But this past week, Doing found small pieces of itself orbiting Pluto, as Being took complete possession of the field. Do I love this? Well, not yet, but there's clearly no choice. And have to admit that, in spite of taking a regular beating this year, Doing produced some work I really like. So, in the long run, it's kind of hard to see Doing throwing in the towel. But for now, nothing doing! I can see the world as a stage where we're all merely players, but what happens when the costume you've called yourself just disappears? Have no idea what's next, but probably not anything known. Questions ensue. Will this be hard? Will this be fun? Probably the usual inscrutable mixture of both, and that's fine. But right now, feels like it's time for a rest. I'm not that great at this, but luckily, have a friend who is.

november 14

      Waxing moon, another week on the warm and sunny side for this time of year, sort of a timeless feeling. Full moon in the week to come on the 19th, it looks like a doozy, , very intense energies in the chart, including partial lunar eclipse conjunct Algol, one of the more intense traditional stars, pretty apt! This time of year is generally the most quiet time for the work, so we'll see if anything wants to happen. The process still happens, but not actually making them. Which makes sense somehow. I don't have issues trusting the plan, but have generally wanted it to get a move on. But of course, this is not exactly trusting the plan. Nor has it proven to speed anything up, producing the all too familiar growth opportunity of banging one's head against a brick wall. Am slowly discovering another way to deal with this, it's about relinquishing my personal definition of more, and exploring the definition of more that's on offer. In other words, there's always more, I just need to look in the right place. And it's easier now to feel the difference between the spiral and the maze. The spiral expands without thought or effort, with the maze there's always calculation and effort. I grew up being taught that the maze was simply human life on Earth, but that always felt limited, almost insulting to the larger picture. I kept looking for a connection to the larger picture, and finally found an appropriately large one in the early 80s in The Law of One books. This led to the Explorer Race books, there are more of these but the first six are definitely worth looking into for a highly detailed alternate picture of both humanity and the universe. A great many people, of course, are still in love with the great 3D game of the maze, with all it's material bells and whistles, alluring speeds and flashing lights, dramatic theme music, and can't forget the endless cornucopia of sitcoms and Twinkies. And this game is fine as long as we genuinely want or need to play it. But I mention these two sets of channeled books because they made such a difference for me, one that has lasted a long time now. In case anyone is interested in getting out of the maze, once and for all, and exploring the infinite universe of their cosmic birthright.


      Japanese sweet potatoes are amazing. I like to bake them, or fry them covered with a little oil on low heat, the fried ones are really good with the more bitter greens.


      Tried a few new things in this one, a 3x7 shape and a medium without hide glue. Neither of these really worked out, but it's sometimes necessary to explore outside a given frame of reference before returning to it. Without hide glue, the medium is a lot more mobile, and doesn't layer. Well, this could be changed a little by adding more marble dust but I wanted to see what happened this way. Based this loosely on one of the drawings below; it was fun to make because the paint did something different but all in all it feels like there's not much there. Will definitely go back to hide glue in the medium for more set and layering, but it may be a while before that happens. Which is okay, a lot happened this year. 6x14 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Some small evening drawings in the 3x7 format. I'm left-handed so these go from top to bottom, right to left. I went through seven variations of the known, some of which I liked, but realized more of a change was due, and introduced the combination of more simplicity and curves, middle row, bottom. This wasn't quite the right departure, but departure itself seemed right Then, a couple nights later, started working with a 1x3 format but with the simplifications of using thirds as the basis, and letting the edges drift outside the box. This made sense since the idea was to get out of my own box but it also seems easy to overdo. In the final one, below, reintroduced some of the elements from the earlier series. Am beginning to be able to see these as a kind of grammar, which is fun. This one seems like a good point of departure for a larger chalk drawing. May start with it within the box, and see if it still wants to get outside of it. Let it break out its own way, that makes sense.





november 7

      Week of the new moon, mostly sunny and more seasonal, one frosty morning. Sometimes the new moon is a little confusing, nothing seems to be new enough, but this one seemed to just take everything deeper. So, it felt like the approach itself, to anything, needed to be made new by being more closely examined. As is always the case, the frustration of not painting began to give way to more appreciation of what has happened this year. It's always interesting to look at something I've done and see a different painting. This often happens seeing something in progress on the second morning, but can also happen over longer periods of time. So, this year's work became new this week, could see it more for what it is, rather than as a series of relentless stepping stones to something better. At the same time, it feels like what I was doing has ended. Not painting so much, but exploring that particular vein or focus. It feels the next few weeks are going to be pretty intense; disclosure of what has been hidden is not going to stop, neither are the lies and gaslighting attempting to obscure it. This is at the point where even if I ignore it it's distracting, so I'm not sure anything is going to happen in the work soon. I know what I want to try next, but by the time the work comes around again, that all may have changed. The 10th and 11th, which feature a conjunction of Mars and Mercury in Scorpio, may be days of intense verbal fisticuffs. The chart of the full moon on the 19th is simply amazing in terms of how it delineates the situation we are in, including the way everyone is being presented with a choice as to who is telling the truth, and who is not: feels like a time to be patient and consider, rather than act and react, there will be plenty of that in any case. In larger terms, I'm mostly working on what new means in terms of shifting my frame of reference from duality to unity. This is always about becoming less reactive or judgemental, more detached or spacious, and the new moon brought another level of this to bear. So, some days are better than others, but, as with everything, once the question is formulated accurately, the answer isn't far to seek. Implementing the answer well is another matter, but I no longer see it as a race. I've always wanted to understand the structure of things, but can see now that this structure has too many dimensions to understand. Maybe who I really am can understand it, but the conscious me here on Earth? No. Giving this habit of mind up is huge for me, a large step. It feels clear now that the complexity is by design, encouraging consciousness to focus in the experience of the present moment, and focus on positive manifestation. Okay, except I don't want a new car, I want a new world.


      The K-Index measures how much solar radiation is coming into the Earth's atmosphere. The lines are typically mostly in the green zone, the red lines here show what happens energetically when a CME (coronal mass ejection) hit earlier this week, producing a G3 level storm. G1 and G2 storms are more common, G3 is rare, although not officially dangerous to sensitive technology. Still, this is the highest I've seen this index, for the longest continuous period, over the last few years. So, if you think about the energy of the Sun, and what it does for life on Earth, its enlivening effect, so to speak, as the Source of Light, it's easy to see how increasing the Light would be useful to clean up a planet that had become held back by pernicious negative programming. An inspired, simple, and unstoppable solution. It's going to be interesting to watch this graph in the next few months. Does the media lie? Yes. Does the government and its celebrity minions lie? Yes. Does the Sun lie? No. So, a bunch of phony stars vs. a genuine star. Who ya got?


      The version of the story I learned goes like this: We are all children of the Creator. To come here we accepted the veil, or the forgetting, leaving our identity largely behind, in order to learn more quickly, but also do an important service for the Universe. Eons of overwhelming interest in love, peace, and perfection all over the Universe had created the unilateral rejection of negativity. The fact that something was separated created a basic philosophical rift in Infinity that needed to be healed in order for the Universe to continue to grow. Because a Universe that isn't growing is a Universe that is beginning to end, this became an urgent priority. To redeem negativity meant including it, demonstrating it has a purpose, a creative use to the whole. To accomplish this, we incarnated into a free-will experiment in matter where our larger origins and the continuity of all life were almost completely obscured. This became the long, convoluted battle between Light and Dark we know simply as 'life on Earth.' This occurred because negativity proved to be far more complex, and more attractive to some beings on Earth, than the Universe had anticipated. After its defeat in WWII, the Dark became increasingly devious in the later 20th century, manipulating human life through technology, and turning information into misinformation through the media, so that nothing was really as it seemed. Subtle forms of poison increasingly pervaded the earth, the air, the water, the food, the social and political institutions. In this situation, it became increasingly difficult for people to access their inner voice and to believe in anything but pragmatic materialism, and the hidden agenda grew stronger by creating, and feeding on, fear. But as the Earth moved into the Photon Belt recently, the Universe made the decision that enough was enough, and began to amplify this already high frequency energy to expose and dismantle the Dark programming sometimes known as the Matrix, just as it was moving into high gear with its plan to use the plandemic to turn human beings into AI controlled slaves. This counter-program has been done bit by bit in order to create as little chaos for humanity as possible. Now, thanks to many different kinds of efforts on many different levels and dimensions, the Dark has lost this battle, it controls only the empty shell of the puppet governments and media. At this point, only the clean-up operation is left, which involves waking up the people who are still hypnotized by the Dark program, centered on the mainstream media's 'hard-hitting' culture of fear masquerading as truth. This movie is becoming more obvious as America's zombie administration stumbles on, the truth about the plandemic and what's really in the vaccine becomes known, and 'authorities' who once lied with impunity become increasingly exposed. A major clean-up is in progress, and will ramp up in the time between now and the Winter Solstice. What's left of the Dark will continue to try to create fear and provocation, but once this clean-up is complete, once we understand our true potential, and our true history -- how we were duped, and what was actually done -- we will be able to go from one dimension to the next as a collective, to ascend, so to speak: the first time any planetary group in the Universe has done this while physical. This means we will leave all forms, absolutely all forms, of conflict and duality behind over the next few years, and finally have a truly just society based on universal prosperity and equality. At this point we are on the paradise timeline, and the Earth is headed towards being the paradise planet it was always designed to be. Right now, if you listen to the media, you will hear one story. But if you listen to Nature, the Sun, what's inside you, you will hear a very different one.>/p>

       This is a very condensed version of the consistent story told in the channeled information that's been coming out now for years, I first encountered it in the Law of One books back in the 1980s. And you may or may not believe any of this, which is fine, it's a free will Universe. But there are some amazing beings out there who are helping us understand this, and sometimes someone says it with unusual grace or elegance. Here is a recent message from the same channel, explaining how close we are to the cosmic tipping point. It is difficult to be patient still, when we are so close without a definite schedule. But if you believe in this -- and you know who you are, even if no one else does -- the most important thing is to stay in the zero point field of unity consciousness, to find the paradise timeline in your own heart, and in your own life, and just stay on it no matter what is supposedly going on in the hall of mirrors of the outer world. Take back your power as a divine being and anchor the Light. There are going to be revelations relatively soon about what has really been happening, be wary of any last ditch efforts to delay progress by the MSM via further tales of fear and chaos. From the perspective of the Universe, this is a spiritual process through which humanity learns what is real and what is unreal, what is true and what is false, and, as infinite fractals of an infinite Source, everything we need to navigate this has been set up for us in the inner world. The more we access this place, the more the old way is deprived of energetic attention, and the faster we bring the paradise timeline into manifestation in our own lives, and for the collective. What is the 95% of out brain that we 'don't use' doing? It is creating physical reality. This means it is really as simple as accentuating the positive to minimize, and ultimately eliminate, the negative. Here is another quality summary of recent events, this time more focused on the Light-Dark endgame in America, why nothing large happened around the Inauguration, and the coming establishment of different global government, energy, financial and health care systems. This is a particularly good source, with many more recent messages of value. There is a lot to be positive about in larger terms, none of which is acknowledged by the MSM for this very reason. But no amount of gaslighting, trickery, or mind-control programming can stop humanity from waking up to its cosmic birthright and moving forward into a genuinely bright future.


      When I got involved in the Great Phony Spike Lavender Wars a few years ago, (a fraud which has only increased in scope, and which you can read about here) one of the things that came out of the research was that there were lots of phony synthetic fragrances, the tons of phony lab lavender being the model for phony spike lavender. So I decided to make my own soap, to be able to use a higher quality product on my 1.5-2 square meters of skin. This quickly led to making my own laundry soap out of the very cleansing coconut oil. I did use organic coconut oil, in for a penny, in for a pound, and cheaper when it's on sale. So, that's the top right photo, an older bar of coconut oil soap being grated for use in the washing machine. I use 1 part soap, 1 part borax, and 1 part washing soda, this is pretty standard in the alternative laundry world, and works well in general. But after a couple years I was running out of my original batch of coconut oil soap! Had read online about pine rosin being an older ingredient in laundry soap, but could only find recipes for pine tar soap. Decided that these would be pretty much the same in terms of their effect on the lye proportion, and went ahead and dissolved 1 ounce of pine rosin in each pound of coconut oil, second photo above, calculating the lye and water with SoapCalc online. Because the pine rosin is acidic, adding it really accelerated the process. Third photo is the 3lb. block of coconut-pine rosin soap before cutting it into bars. I tried washing my hands and face with it and it did create a dry feeling, which is exactly what I want for the laundry. Wondered if this could be adapted to a regular bar of soap, and tried a mix of 60% olive oil 40% coconut oil with 1 ounce of pine rosin per pound, that's the last photo. Took a shower with this, and really liked it, the rosin makes the olive oil lather denser and less slimey, but had to admit it was a little drying for this time of year. So, this might be for the summer, or it might be for laundry too. Have liked the effect of coconut oil on the more slimey pure olive oil lather, but with rosin, an all olive oil soap would probably have a denser lather. Or, the amount of pine rosin could be decreased. Or, a combination of both: 20% coconut, 80% olive oil, and 1/2 ounce of rosin per pound of oil. Hey, that sounds pretty good. No matter what I do, it always seems to be about developing a finer balance between the ingredient proportions.


      Example of the grinding back procedure with these paintings. Sometimes it seems important to let it all go, not try to make things conform to any model and see what happens. This approach heralds change, so to speak, and can produce breakthroughs, or messes, or combinations of both. This one from October clearly needed more, so after the paint had dried a few weeks I ground it back with relatively coarse sandpaper, cleaned it further with alcohol on a rag, then put an incredibly thin coat of hide glue on it. There was no skill involved, the glue just skates along until it is incredibly thin. One thing I realized quickly with this process was that the first layer was probably the best one. Still, I wanted to figure out a process with the ones that didn't work out the first time: actually got one of them the second time recently, which is virtually unheard of. Ran into problems years ago by putting too many layers on that had too much saturation, these inevitably dried down. So I like the idea of working in reverse with leaner paint, sort of clawing them back, easy at this scale on paper, and with this paint. There's pretty little paint on this now, so many different things could happen on top of it and still dry brightly. Part of stopping is always considering what has happened in more detail, and with greater appreciation. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.



october 31

      Week of mixed sun and rain, leaves turning bit by bit as it very slowly gets more seasonal. The single guy not blowing any leaves around at the train station across the street has become a crew of three guys blowing lots of leaves around. Beelzebub's Horn Section. Waning moon, everything pretty much ground to a halt in the work this week. Not without forewarning, it has seemed logical for the last few weeks somehow. Letting go of the work has never been my strong suit, so it's been a good opportunity to test out the one door closing so another one can open concept in the glowing crucible of experience. The more I get into consciously attempting to take good care of myself, the more I realize how little I did any of this in the past. It would be interesting to chart the way that doing came to mean so much more to me than being, I can remember times as a younger child when this was not true. Perhaps doing tends to take over because it guarantees more mistakes, therefore more opportunities for growth. The prevailing emphasis on judgement then means that mistakes don't get fully processed, so the opportunities for growth keep repeating until they become a kind of psychological logjam. I can see how this process works now, how it can become exacerbated to the point of dysfunction by the culture's emphasis on endless activity. But I'm glad that I couldn't then, because it would have only made me feel more fractured, like I'd come to the wrong planet, where the process of experience itself was working against me. Unraveling all this and sorting it out began in earnest when I came back to Philadelphia in 2014, although I was far from understanding this at the time. This process definitely has had its own mise en place, repeat performances of things that happened long ago that created a specific kind of fear. After a while I understood that each experience was designed to create closure. More recently, the events have been internal, replaying the stuff that somehow stuck. This has mostly had to do with adults who said mean or, certainly in one case, cruel things to me as a child, knowing I could not fight back. Each time I think this process has mercifully come to a close, it simply begins at a next level I didn't have any idea was there. Would always have said that everything happens for a reason, that none of it is bad even if it's difficult to live through. Eventually realized that this process was about a form of radical acceptance and forgiveness of both the hammer and the nail. It had always seemed wisest not to fight, yet not knowing how to process this fully produced the feedback loop of wanting to fight. When the frame of reference is that one has survived decades of a culture that is vicious and borderline insane, it's sort of hard to hear that these were all divinely perfect experiences that were chosen at the soul level. It's easy to see that intellectually, in fact to be appalled at one's ambition, but that's not soil where this process grows. I haven't wanted to give up, since it seems like the only real way forward, and this week at least the relentless chorus of internal leaf blowers has receded. So, it seems like this may be the door that's opening. Have to admit I'd rather be painting, there's just so much I still want to learn about, but painting does not seem to really be the current priority. And it's been odd, being stopped is sort of growing on me. Like, I can't change it, so why not explore it, even enjoy it? It seems so obvious to consider it this way now. You would think I might have figured this out sooner. But no, I wanted, above all, to fight it. Fighting it seemed like the only way to be me. And maybe it was for all those years. But that doesn't feel true anymore. Okay, maybe more happened this week than I thought.


      Chart of the new moon on November 4 around 5 pm at this location. An unusual mix of intensity and balance in this, as though the changes involved need to be thorough, but occur in small increments that allow people to process them without being overwhelmed. The most obvious tension on the horizon itself, Uranus in Taurus almost exactly opposite the Sun-Moon conjunction in Scorpio, then Eris, an asteroid representing discord, opposite the asteroid Karma, which is pretty close to both Mercury and Mars. So, the discord in the collective unconscious (12th House) plays out as verbal fisticuffs in the 7th house of partnerships but also of open enemies. Sounds sort of familiar. There's also Kassandra opposing Vesta, Kassandra is always trying to warn about a danger that goes unheeded, so this may be about the current untouchable vestal virgins: the mainstream media. So, overall, tensions between the two factions in the ongoing unspoken war over who has control of the narrative are going to continue to increase in the first half of November. The now-standard set of lies and dirty tricks designed to generate the fear that supports tyranny continue, but the collective also continues to put together the truth bit by bit and move towards freedom. Threats increase on the one hand, noncompliance increases on the other, the puppet government in the US is seen increasingly as a joke. Tension builds into the full moon chart on the 11-19, which looks like the one where disclosure begins on a larger scale. Something I've been waiting for a long time now. There are lots of things that have been hidden, some of which are simply evil, others of which may make people feel pretty unhinged when undeniable evidence emerges of what has been going on right under their noses. I'm not going to talk about this further because there has been such a tendency to deny it outright. Which is fine, everybody makes their own choice. I do wish these were informed rather than misinformed, but that's also by my definitions. It looks like what happens in the second half of November is the last wake up call, the loud one, so to speak. The Universe is really fair, and really patient, so the people who have been put to sleep by the media narrative will get a major opportunity to learn the story of how thoroughly they have been gamed and tricked. It's a free-will Universe, so they will still have the option of not believing it, but they get to finally be exposed to a coherent version of it. The people who do believe it will then be given the intense opportunity to forgive the unforgivable. But that's getting further ahead, the main body of what's been hidden hasn't even surfaced yet.


      The K-Index is an interesting measure of solar activity that reaches us as geomagnetic or solar radiation storms. The bars in these graphs tend to be all green, but more yellow and red ones have been appearing recently. Spikes have their origin in solar flares, which send CMEs (coronal mass ejections) to earth in a few days. Have a feeling higher K-Index values will become more common this winter as a way to remove negativity (lower frequency energy) from the Earth.


      The second week where nothing could happen in the work. Am used to less during the waning moon but this was similar to most of 2020, a total blank. Have a feeling it will be this way for at least a few weeks to come, will let it rest until around the new moon on November 6. Used to try to bulldoze through this type of thing years ago and proved that it only made things worse. Ah well, best to look on the bright side. Stopping always makes me see the work differently, maybe more completely because of getting slowed down, or maybe seeing it as itself, in the present, instead of a stepping stone to what comes next in the future. In many ways of course, 2021 has been a uniquely crazy year, but have to admit that, in terms of learning what I've wanted to learn about paint, colour, and form, and how they can combine to create meaning, it's been the best year ever.




      Made black and white versions of some local landscapes from the park, this was interesting in terms of using the red, green, and blue sliders to adjust, or even transform, the value scale of the image when converting it. Then tried that on a floral I'd always been interested in painting, and ended up with a softer focus and closer cropping.


      Took what I'd learned from black and white and applied it back to a colour image. Some aspects of it were more applicable than others, but this seemed like a step forward. It would be interesting to see how something like this would develop as a painting if it were made using this year's system. Well, hard to say. That may be next at some point, but it may not be!



october 24

      Week of the full moon, incredibly lovely weather, warm and sunny during the day, cool at night. Mercury is no longer retrograde, this tends to occlude speech and words in general. Feel sort of rusty but am beginning to be able to think and use words again, perhaps more of a comfort than a necessity. Last week the energy began to shift away from painting, to some extent it still feels correct to hold on in circumstances like these, see if there's a way to continue. But after a certain point letting go is clearly where progress lies. This remains problematic on the one hand, the seemingly arbitrary extinction of the happy place, but easier to accept on the other, the threshold of resistance is lower now. After even a drawing made last Sunday seemed like an imitation, decided it was time to give the work a rest, let other things happen. When one door shuts, another one is always ready to open, it's just a question of releasing the old door and looking for the new one. Born with the moon in Taurus, it's typically been easy to keep going, hard to let go. But there was so much energy this week something different had to happen. Growth in another direction. Went to the park near here every day, a place close to my parent's house where I'd spent time as a kid. In some ways I've resisted this resource, after so much time in Vermont it kind of seemed like canned nature. But this is what's available, and it was a good change, encouraging a relationship with something larger than the work, and my old friend, the ongoing mainstream insanity. The universal alarm clock is getting louder; the artificial, wholly engineered 'everything shortage' is about to begin. But this is nothing compared to the ongoing 'integrity shortage.' Wake up wake up wake up.


      Got into an email exchange with one of the chemists who worked on the latter phase of the development of manganese blue last week. His explanation of the way the pigment was structured to eliminate any contact between the manganese and the oil was confirmed by my friend Roland, meaning that any darkening of manganese blue is probably due to the vehicle. This makes sense as my original experience of this pigment darkening was with Old Holland paint, which, at that point at least, was made with cold-pressed but unrefined linseed oil. Made a small amount of paint from pigment and preheated walnut oil, it looks loose but is actually very dense, and tested it besides some older paint from Blockx. The Blockx paint is more finely ground, and a little more transparent. But it also contains some stearate: when the Blockx paint was mixed with the current dense lean putty, the results relaxed completely compared to the handmade paint. An interesting colour, it will be fun to see what happens when it gets used again.


      A large park in Philadelphia was mandated by William Penn, this is called Fairmount Park. The part where I went is attached, but a narrow finger to the north, and is now called Wissahickon Valley Park, after the main creek that goes through it. Vibrationally it is interesting because it is within the city limits, but has never been exploited by evil materialist white people, so to speak. The park has lots of entrances, but I walked to the one I used as a kid. about a mile from where I live now. It's a relatively broad ravine in this area, the creek itself is a smaller one called Creisheim Creek, named for a German town in the area where the Mennonites, invited by William Penn, came to Philadelphia. This creek is broader, with many more stones in and around it, than when I was younger. A quiet place, very few people on weekdays, large sections where there is just nature, no background noise at all. Most of the earlier stone bridges have fallen apart, but there are more places where it's possible to cross because of the increased amount of stones. Used to love to speed across the stones as a kid, am not quite as zippy now but got better as the week went on, which was fun. Interestingly, much of this has to do with being willing keep going while slightly out of balance. A move from one stone to another may work, but not create a stable perch. Or, the next stone may shift when I arrive: this didn't happen this week but was a regular source of both inspired improvisation and wet sneakers long ago. Anyway, a given move may well lead to several in a row. This means some forethought, but also some grokking in terms of selecting a route. Another example of how the physical and metaphysical mirror one another exactly.


      Less traditional type of composition. See these regularly but this one worked out.


      Later in the week, later in the day, further into the park. Warm and still days, incredibly green for this time of year, but some leaves are always falling. At one point I sat down in a relatively spacious and open area on a fallen tree trunk, and as my eyes adjusted to looking more broadly, could see pale leaves falling slowly, arcing back and forth a little as they did, all around me, from close by to further away, kind of like an unusual form of snow. This is also the day I saw what has to be a rough legged hawk. Hawk sightings are not unusual around here, but this bird was really close, about ten or twelve feet away. I was going home, near the entrance in a place where the undergrowth was giving way to spaced pine trees on a small hillside, when it flew right across the path. Walking in Vermont, grouse would sometimes explode out of the undergrowth, really startling, but the hawk was quiet. Stocky, bigger than a crow or raven, dark phase, very triangular striped tail, it was close enough to really see the curving point of the beak, the sheer intensity in its eye, then it was gone.

october 17

      On the warm side this week, unsettled but some really lovely days, now getting cooler. Waxing moon, full moon in a few days, lots of energy by also unsettled, things changing in pretty large increments. Just let this happen, this year has been one long course in positive acceptance. Neither resignation nor resistance, just being aware of, and working with, what is. For example, it is beyond me to end the movie, but I can leave the theater. At the same time, this creates a confrontation with the present moment. My mind is both bored by, and scared of, the present moment, it actually wants the movie to react to, all it has ever known. But the movie is a frenetic illusion, the present is the opposite, containing all there is. It's anything but empty, but not on the consensus mental wavelength, we have to look. Started seeing those really conspicuous Halloween decorations around the neighborhood this week, and thought, Gee, eighteen months of Halloween isn't enough? So, still have to deconstruct this wavelength regularly, calm it down. Seeing through it, then struggling with it, is not the same as letting it go, moving beyond it. When I do get there, it's really spacious compared to the places my mind wants to go. It's also always there, always available. And free. No wonder such a massive effort has been made to make it unavailable. Now, if I tried to tell people that they don't see what's really there, that there's a whole lot more, it wouldn't go well. Even if it were polite, and scientific, in terms of the wavelengths the human eye can and can't see. Even if they also had a cat, and had noticed the cat looking intently at things they couldn't see. Because, to most 'educated' people, at this point, seeing is believing. How do we explain action at a distance, let alone quantum physics? By ignoring actual science, apparently. We can agree on this easily, because it only possible for anyone to see what they can conceive of as possible. So, if someone has been conditioned, i.e. educated, to have no imagination, to believe that life cannot be miraculous because it must be 'scientific,' that limits the possibilities quite effectively. Now, when people took painting classes, this would quickly begin to change. Looking at things in order to paint introduced a new level of awareness of what was there. It was always a great moment when someone would 'see' a shadow for the first time. Yet the details of visible reality are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's really there. This is logical because, as inhabitants of an infinite universe, we must also be infinite. If we, or anything, were separate, there would be a number. A really large number, granted, but there would be finity. So, to be infinite, the universe must be unified. This means we are fractals, and that each of us contains the entire universe. This universe is inside us, not outside us. As such we can learn more, and become more, infinitely. This is our heritage, our cosmic birthright. A tremendous attempt has been made to hide this awareness from us, to make us feel limited, puny mortals subject to one arbitrary form of authority or another. That period of time is now ending: materialism, elitism, and media propaganda disguised as hard-hitting pragmatism, are all circling the drain. Day by day, the truth is coming out, it cannot be stopped and there is much more to come. We are being given an opportunity to reclaim our true identity as infinite citizens of an infinite universe. Yet, it's also a free-will universe, so if we want to keep the tell lie vision on and believe the sky is falling constantly, we can. But we are also being given an extraordinary opportunity to walk out of the darkened theater of the matrix into the bright sunshine of infinity.


      The hydrangea in the front yard had a great summer, but it's having a simply spectacular fall.


      Got a very polite email this week from the chemist who was involved in making the most recent version of manganese blue. He stated: "While it is true that there is some manganese in the pigment, chemically it is embedded in a crystal lattice of barium sulfate which is quite inert. During manufacturing, the pigment is washed in concentrated hydrochloric acid and sodium nitrite, so all available manganese is stripped from surfaces of pigment particles, leaving only barium sulfate at the outer layers. In the past, some varieties of the pigment were additionally covered with a layer of amorphous silica to protect it even further. Most probably binder yellowing in the Old Holland's paint is caused not by manganese." This is in response to a photo on the Just Oil page illustrating the yellowing of the Old Holland oil in a tube of manganese blue. He also states that the pigment is always ground too finely in paint, a common complaint of 19th century painters about the commercial paint of their period, which was of course coarser. Well, I've always loved this pigment, so it may be time to try some handmade paint with it in various binders and see what happens over time. There's a little left in a tube of Blockx manganese blue somewhere too, that should be good for comparison.


      Detail from a painting from June that darkened somewhat, the only one this summer but it stuck out like a sore thumb. I looked up the formula for the medium and yes, it was sort of complicated, and the paint was on the thick side. Funny hoe complicated still happens even though I know it's counter-productive on several levels. For the darkening, I'd suspect the sandarac oil varnish, in conjunction with the almond gum, possibly an attracter and holder of atmospheric moisture, but nothing conclusive since it's only one. In any case, the system has become both leaner and simpler since. Anyway, ground it back pretty heavily, cleaned it up with alcohol, then put a layer of hide glue on it. The separate isolating layer is generally deprecated at this point, but hide glue as an isolating layer is something that comes up in technical art history now and then, not so much as a problem, but as something a given painter is known to have done successfully: Oudry, for example, isolated with hide glue before the final layer. So it seemed like something to learn more about. Used a large but soft synthetic round with warm glue. I'm used to the behavior of glue as a size on printmaking paper, but this was very different: the glue skated over the irregular surface quickly and could be brushed out incredibly thinly. One of those things that will take a while to come to even the most provisional conclusion about, but it will be interesting to put a second layer on this one and see how that layer ages.


      The energy this week was really wacky, all kinds of different things happened. This is the second one of this shape with this palette, still too complex but less so than the first one. Like what's going on in the emptier top half, otherwise it seems like a candidate for a second layer at some point. The previous one had become a little subfusc, but in this one the elements feel too distinct from one another: a typical shift from one end of the spectrum to the other. It's fun in some ways when things just happen and work out with no denkschmerzen. Yet, these also have a tendency to seem too simple, or too easy, like all I did was catch the waved and ride it in. Until a round of work like this occurs, where nothing is quite right. This used to drive me crazy, I'd go through periods of mourning for what had been lost. But now it seems like a necessary part of the process, and I understand that nothing is ever lost. Transformed, taken to the next level of itself, yes. And who wouldn't want that? 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Decided to go back to the long format, have steered clear of this for the last few years but it felt like it was time to give 9x10 a rest. Again, the second one, the first one was too inconclusive. Ran into some issues here related to not knowing the shape itself that well, was able to semi-solve them the next morning but need to get the big shape-small shape, spacious-busy dynamics more developed. It feels young, but enthusiastic, would like less busyness, and more related colour. Will do some small drawings next to get more familiar with what wants to happen with the shapes. No white paint, just primaries and a green on a white ground. This approach makes completion more challenging, but I like the quality of the colour. At first I'd add a little white if need be at the end, but now it feels interesting to see what happens to the style if white is simply excluded. The tests show this system remains brighter than anything I've ever made over time, but the amount of time involved is of course not great. Still, have noticed in the past that if something is going to shift down, it tends to do it within the first few months. So, the question is whether to make these as bright as possible, as here, or to factor in the medium and ground shifting away from white towards buff over time. A colour scheme like this is most at risk, since, with the amount of transparence involved, the shift will be exponentially more apparent in the blues than anywhere else. So, it will be interesting to watch this one age. Of course, the colour moves around a lot with these, and does not have to be vivid to be effective. Still, this was fun and definitely what wanted to happen. 7x14 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Managed to take the air conditioner out this year before it became freezing cold, and without Lily jumping out onto the rear porch roof below. Once the air conditioner was out, she reclaimed the windowsill and its afternoon sunshine right away. Had another one of those dreams this week where she was whacking my hand with her paw. This is what she does in real life to wake me up, and these dreams mean she wants to come inside. Which she did. The image itself is always the same, and it always comes in at a low resolution, like it's a transmission from a different frequency. It feels like this is so I'll be able to differentiate a message from Lily from a regular dream. Other than that they have each had a slightly different style; the one last night was high value and semi-abstract.


      Out on the front porch late in the afternoon.

october 10

      Slowly getting cooler but still on the damp or humid side. Week of the new moon, the energy on this day was pretty odd, it felt like things growing, but growing apart. Triple conjunction later this week of Mars, the Sun and Mercury in Libra, this felt like these energies trying to find both expression and balance. Mercury retrograde, not easy to answer emails or formulate words. A challenging week in general, harder to focus amid the increasing din. Sometimes this was literal. This city was carved out of a forest, but it's funny how the forest never gave up. So there's always a lot of tree activity in the fall. They cleared an overgrown area on the other side of the tracks by the train station early one morning, the sound of the chipper echoing among all the brick and stone houses was deafening. The next day, there was a lone guy with a leaf blower at the station. The morning was otherwise quiet, and I was in the studio, so I watched him for a while. There were no leaves, he was just going up and down the walkways in his yellow-green safety vest with the blower on. It was an interesting experience, because, having been in Vermont for so long, this type of noise was new in 2014. It used to make me feel assaulted, and physically angry, when I first got here. Also, the old crew at the station featured at least three guys wielding these infernal machines. But here was one guy, still making an insane racket on an otherwise beautiful and peaceful morning, blowing absolutely nothing around, not a single leaf. It didn't exactly make me feel wonderful, but it didn't make me angry either. Which seemed like progress. Sort of like a movie that I had once had a part in, but was now just watching the end of.


      In larger terms, the situation in America is getting more epic every day. Oops, the media's ratings are way down, maybe they should consider reporting the real news. Such as, people all over the country are standing up and refusing to be herded anymore by double-talking authority. There's way more truth on the way, but too many people have figured it out already, the scales are finally tipping. Since February of 2020, we've experienced month after month of highly orchestrated misdirection and lies, but it's finally the end of the line for the phony pandemic and vaccine narratives. The next few weeks are going to produce big changes, especially when people realize that this was all carefully planned through decades of international conspiracy, and that their hard-hitting media was the centerpiece of it.


      Decided to use the commercial paint I had then start making it again as needed. The first one I ran out of was PY154, made this with 1:150 walnut oil and a little PY181. Could use a little more PY181. The walnut oil was a few years old before I heated it, this gave it more body than a heated new oil, and this translated to the paint. Tons more pigment in this than the one I had from Blockx, startling at first to use.


      First one this week, last day of the old moon, began with the first small study from last week, made this with a little fused damar and beeswax putty, but no egg yolk or glue. Wanted to develop the first small study idea from last week, liked both the colour and the form, but it morphed into an edgier red-yellow-blue fest. A little relentless but honest in terms of how things felt that day, am intrigued by the recurring strong difference between above and below the midline. I still get derailed a bit by wanting consistent product, but always learn so much from these, this palette is challenging but want to keep working with it. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second one, on the second day of the new moon, returned to the full medium with the water-base binder element but used starch instead of glue. This minimized the set of the layers short term, so it was a little chaotic the first day. Was able to clean it up somewhat the second day, but the edges remained too angular and specific. So, the softer edge development from a few weeks ago is turning out to be important, want to go back to the system that generates it. Like the movement of the shapes and colours across the top. The blue over red element on the bottom is too dominant, but I liked it too much to just get rid of it. Either get rid of that, or the light green lower element needs to go. Or, if the lower right corner becomes the pink that's next to it. Sort of a strange one, but it was a strange week. It's best to do what wants to happen and learn from it, rather than follow my own sense of what should be happening. Spent a long time learning that this never works. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Sometimes looking at them in black and white explains things that the colours tend to obscure.



october 3

      Lovely week of sunny days and cool nights, sort of timeless. Waning moon, not that much energy for the work but got a few things done. Am slowly moving away from judging them as good or bad, which is nice, an expansive feeling. The process continues to evolve in ways that are logical but unexpected, just have to be patient and let it rest more than usual. New moon in a few days on the sixth. As discussed last week, and below, it promises to be interesting.

the alarm clock

      Some background, the frame of reference from smaller to larger: Some people see what is going on as a pandemic, some people see it as a political struggle, some people see it as a struggle between good and evil, light and dark. But, in even larger terms than this, it's the end of an era, or age, of humanity, what has been called a yuga in India. The current yuga has been termed the Kaliyuga, and is superficially about discord, conflict, etc. but this is brought about by the existence of duality. So, it's about what happens when the universe, which is pure love, pure light, decides to maximize growth through the introduction of its polar opposite: not-love, not-light. This is a training exercise, the group of beings involved chose to incarnate in a relatively dangerous situation in order to have the opportunity to evolve at a extremely fast rate. In terms of our experience, we have been doing this for a long time now, but, as of 2012, the Kaliyuga began to end. And, by 2025, the Kaliyuga will officially be over, replaced by the Satyayuga, which is the opposite: a time of harmony, unity, and peace. So, from the point of view of the universe, it is important to slowly change the perspective of as many humans as possible from one based on duality, which, in larger terms, doesn't really exist, to one based on unity, which, in larger terms, is all there is. This means that the 'world' which we came to accept as real, because we grew up within it -- whether it is 'food' like Twinkies, 'entertainment' like Gilligan's Island, who won WWII, what happened on 9/11, all the stuff your parents told us, etc. etc. etc. -- is all slowly being brought to an end, so that a new world can begin that is much more in alignment with how the rest of the universe works. We have been in a complex school, and we are in the process of graduating. To get the most out of this process, people need to understand what really happened here, not just what we have been told happened. This means that the universe is slowly but surely creating a situation where aspects of our reality that have been hidden are now beginning to come to the surface. A great deal has been hidden, so a great deal has to come to the surface. This is because humanity was designed as purely good, and has a much more exalted destiny than anyone believes. But fulfilling this destiny involves great responsibility, and this means being not just totally innocent, but totally wise. And this means comprehending the opposite of good, completely. And, lo and behold, this is something we have in fact experienced. This has been coming out in relatively small ways so far via independent media, with the mainstream media continuing the various Kaliyuga methods of selective information management. But the chart of the next lunar cycle, see last week, suggests that another phase of this is about to begin. There has been a prolonged disinformation attack now since 2017, which escalated further with the introduction of the false pandemic narrative in 2019, and has escalated further in 2020 with the introduction of the false vaccination narrative. All of this is about to be countered by an injection of the truth designed to wake up as many people as possible to the real agenda behind the false narratives. So many things have been hidden that there are many ways this could occur. Some people will be angry that they have been manipulated and lied to wholesale for decades by the institutions they trusted. Other people will say that the counterattack itself is false, and that the mainstream media is telling the truth. The universe is interested in the increased awareness that leads away from duality towards unity.


      Cool enough to heat some oil. Did some 1:150 oil with both aged walnut oil, and some refined oil I washed this summer with copper ions. This oil turned out the be the mainstay of the system this year: not really polymerized, but a little thicker, and a little denser in a medium. Also made some of the oil I call Olio d'Graves, named for Daniel Graves, who told me about this process years ago. This is an autoxidized oil that's then heated to release the various VOCs that have been generated by the triglycerides reacting to oxygen. This oil has less heat resistance than an non-oxidized oil, and reaches a high temperature really fast. With linseed oil there's lots of foam, with walnut oil, less. The oil is superficially less thick, but relatively heat-polymerized for the small amount of heat, a few minutes, it has experienced. So, you're using autoxidation to enhance heat-polymerization. This is just helpful since heating oil to high temperatures for long periods has specific requirements: plenty of ventilation, the cat is outside, etc. But this oil then continues to autoxidize, which returns the rheology towards tighter again, making it a really interesting oil to use.


      Long ago I always wanted to make one perfect tube of the putty medium, but kept generating more and more tubes with variations. These piled up, started getting mixed together, then finally realized it would serve the system better to make several tubes that were distinctly different, and work with mixtures of those. The current system uses two different putties, one that is relatively lean, and one that is fatter, with a little fused damar and beeswax. These are mixed at about 2 to 1, so the lean putty gets used up faster. You'd think that after fifteen years of working with this medium a 'lean putty' would be a fairly straightforward proposition, but, ah well, such is not the case. Somehow, between one batch of this and the next, new possibilities crop up that might be improvements and need to be explored. Still, the general proportions of this are 2 cups of marble dust, 1 cup of fumed silica, and 3/4 cup of oil. I use a particle mask for this because of the fumed silica. The last batch of this was made with a 1:150 oil made with aged oil, and this was thicker, or more polymerized, than the same procedure with a new oil. So, though 1:150 is still relatively lean compared to something like stand oil, it's still fatter than raw oil. In this system I've learned that leaner paint means brighter colour, so I made this version leaner. Also made it tighter by measuring out the stone dust on the full side. Put this in large tubes, thought it might be a little tricky but tapped them as I went and it slipped down due to the thixotropy of the fumed silica: moving with shear stress, setting again at rest. Couldn't wait to try this out and made a few small tests, below.


      Made this with a somewhat fatter version of the medium. Having concluded that the courbaril varnish produces too much movement for this system, tried a little sandarac varnish I made years ago, this tends to make things tighter. It also interfered with the overall set of the paint, causing irregularity in the layering, but I got used to that and it ended up being part of the overall look of this one. Did a lot with muted colour and simple compositions in realism, and have been wondering when and how that approach would resurface. It's typically the mind that doesn't know what to do next, not the hands, and this was one of those pleasant surprise paintings that make themselves, the mind is just watching the hands do what comes next. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Made this one a couple days later, much different energy on that day and ran into issues early and often; this led to more paint, more opaque paint, and more complexity. It's too symmetrical, predictable, could go on and on. Although it took a surprisingly good photo, am not sure to this day what that's about. It would have been nice to have picked up where I left off with the first one, but the process is seldom that direct. It meanders around; isn't interested in results, but exploration. Are you sure? What about this? What about that? So, a case where this and that didn't work out that well, and now I'm more sure. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Two small medium tests, a good waning moon activity, fun to goof around on the one hand, but when I look at this type of thing, I always learn more than I thought I would. The first is just the new lean putty, the second is with the usual proportion of a fatter putty with fused damar and beeswax. Missing here is the water base part of this system, a mix of egg yolk and hide glue. Thought I'd like the behavior of the second system better, fat is flavor! But ended up liking the first one more. Simple is always better, but I'm not sure fused damar and beeswax can be left out entirely without inviting some darkening over long periods in this relatively humid climate. This is hard to figure out without really long tests, years. Right now I've tested the current system long enough to feel it won't dry down, it remains incredibly bright. There are three ingredients in small amounts that help this: the fused damar, the beeswax, and egg yolk. At the same time, I like this simpler look. Though this is the type of simplicity that emerges from the crucible of complexity, it's not the simplicity of innocence, it's the simplicity of what survived experience. So, this may mean reconsidering the role of the fused damar and beeswax putty. The proportion in the system could be smaller, the medium itself could be made less fat, or both. Checked the recipe, always a good idea since I don't necessarily remember it exactly, how many lifetimes between now and last July? Discovered it could definitely be made leaner, so that will be fun to test next. Is there always more? Why yes! Is this a bug, or a feature? A feature, the best feature imaginable. Each about 5.5x6.25 inches, oil on gessoed paper.

september 26

      Less rain than predicted, slowly but surely cooler this week, into the magic weeks now where summer is slowly giving way to fall. Whew. Week of the full moon, then the equinox a day later, definite sense of a pregnant pause. Got one painting done the day before the full moon, sort of at sixes and sevens about it, then the process began moving too quickly to keep up with in paint. Began to make larger drawings in black pastel, closer to paint than pen lines; will do more drawing for a while. Meanwhile, back in the theater, the movie flickers on. The Arizona Audit has been released, and stated that there were 57,734 ballots with issues, a number over six times the margin of victory, and that the election should not be certified. This is being treated like a nothingburger by the media, yet means that all states are now legally required to do audits of their 2020 presidential election results. Note also, fellow citizens, that national election fraud that involves a foreign government is treated legally as an act of war, and Americans who are involved in promulgating the fraud become foreign agents. So, that's now added to the constant ticking in the background. The one seems to be getting louder. Almost like it's slowly but surely going to turn into an alarm clock.


      Foraging locally seems unlikely within the city limits, but this is an actual American chestnut, there are two trees on my walk that somehow escaped the early 20th century blight. Was very fortunate this year to get there before the squirrels, got about ten, only this one in the spines, these are really sharp! I thought maybe they should age a little but the reverse seems true, will cook them with some winter squash this week. This is in honor of one of my favorite memories, the older couples foraging for chestnuts in the tiny roads in the foothills of the Apennines at this time of year. Huge trees, chestnuts everywhere when you drove through a grove of the trees.

the alarm clock

       This is the chart of the new moon on 10-6, for my location, the positions of the houses will change based on location, but not the positions of the planets. Here on the East Coast, this is going to be an intense four weeks. The new moon often suggests or even demands change, and this chart has definite oomph in that department, it's like an alarm clock. The Sun, Moon, and Mars are all conjunct the chart's Ascendant, it's rising sign, very closely, the whole thing is within one degree. Just below the ascendant is a powerful position for a powerful conjunction. A lot of significators of newness here: the new moon itself, the first house location, and the involvement of Mars, but it's all in Libra, which is all about balance, reconciliation, and is trine Ceres, the asteroid most closely aligned with natural earthly abundance, which is conjunct Hephaestus, the Roman Vulcan, craftsperson of the Greek gods. But Libra is also the scales, which signifies justice. I put in the asteroids that are within a degree of the Sun and Moon, supplying details and forming a giant chord. Of these Karma conjunct Mars suggests some form of overdue payback, many choices here, and Chiron opposite the Sun-Moon point suggests the process of something that hurts in order to heal. There's a lot more in this chart but, broadly, this new moon seems likely to present something new -- possibly even unexpected, remember the shock of the new? -- with great force, yet in the most balanced way possible.


      Adjusted the courbaril varnish medium from last week and made another one. The system was better but the composition went around in circles. Decided that, though this varnish is really interesting, it supplies too much motion for the current system. So left it out of the medium for this one, and the paint returned to setting quickly. This was a relief. Kept the pieces bigger, askew, and the palette a little softer, or older. This is where it was after the first day. Thought about changing it the second day, but decided to wait, consider further. In general, it seems like moving on to the next one is better -- that is, happier, more energetic -- at this point; just start over with a new concept. There may come a time when this one has explained itself fully at the next level, then I'd do another layer. But it seems best overall to listen to what wants to happen. Which makes me realize how much I've actually ignored this is the past, creating work that wasn't real, progress that was actually going backwards. Impetus or oomph is helpful, but it's easy for this to become impatience, or pushing. It seems like the only thing that works is an active or expectant version of patience that allows the process to pull me into the next step. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Tried a second one on one of the small panels, tried a different approach to the composition that didn't work out that well. Did a little creative removal at the end of the day, on the right edge, but decided the next morning to remove the whole thing. The paint is fully set, but not dry, and the thin putty couch beneath the paint allows it to come off pretty cleanly. Afterwards I rubbed it with a little alcohol, then sanded it, wiped off the slurry, and it was fully white again.


      Decided to work on the composition of that specific panel, it's both smaller and a little wider than the way I've been working, and this can make a difference. I resist this type of drawing because it seems hideous compared to colour but got used to it as it went along, and began to develop. All kinds of things can happen, they can all be modified, erased, and restated. Overall this one is a little rectilinear, but like the way monochrome highlights this. If the right angle is masculine, and the curve is feminine, I'm looking for an organic geometry that somehow marries or fuses these opposites. Waning moon coming up, a good time for drawings.



september 19

       Waxing moon, more summery week. strong but scattered energy, the work went awry, revamping the studio worked better. One cooler afternoon I made the gum animé varnish, it was fun to see that through. In larger terms, the scary movie continues to be projected in the darkened theater. The sky is falling, the sky is falling! And the audience is hypnotized with terror: expecting, and therefore getting, the worst. But, strangely enough, it's still a gorgeous day outside. When will the audience realize they can just walk out of the dark, and into the light? That a happy ending is theirs for the asking?


      Continued with small panel production, this was fun but created the usual impenetrable mess. Surprisingly, this led to a general overhaul of the middle island in the room, setting up the easel differently with the idea of starting to work there again, and culminated in cleaning the tabletop itself. Lily is always interested in renovations, especially when they generate spacious surfaces, and lost no time in leaping onto it.


      Became interested in hymenaea courbaril earlier in the summer, there are many new world copal resins, mostly now marketed as incense, with botanical information not always easy to come by or that accurate. But this is the only one that seems to have been used in European easel painting, called gum animé and possibly exported from Brazil as early as the 16th century. It's mentioned a varnish resin to test by De Mayerne, who calls it Gum Animae. Meaning he knows about it, but hasn't tried it. Similarly, it's mentioned in Trade in Artist's Materials, but there are no period references. I was looking for a resin that fused at a higher temperature than damar, but lower than Manila copal, making it possible to make a hard-resin type varnish without a lot of smoke. Got as far as finding the resin and dissolving some in isopropyl alcohol, then precipitating it out, before the summer heat set in. But my friend Roland also got some resin, and has done thorough experiments making it into varnish in the last few weeks.


      A species of locust, not a pine, called jatopa in Brazil, resin from this tree was used to make commercial varnish there in the 20th century. This tree has lots of uses, the fruit is edible, many parts of it are used in traditional medicine, and it produces copious amounts of resin that may be the source of South American amber. But the resin was never popularized for painting, unless it was used in the copal varnish marketed by Taubes, which seems doubtful. Copal itself developed a reputation for excess darkening that was based on the varnish made for carriages, from low quality linseed oil, heated to high temperatures for 6-8 hours in an open kettle with added driers, etcetera, but the Taubes material was made by a painter for painters, and was popular: Dali even refers to it in Fifty Secrets of Magical Craftmanship. I liked the extra-thixotropic behavior of Manila copal very much, and used all that I had made in Vermont. Which led to looking for a resin that could be made onto varnish without as much smoke. Preferably, given the neighborhood, with none! The first version of this was fused damar, but, given the dedication of the planet to variety, it seemed that there might be a resin that fused somewhere between damar and Manila copal. And added thixotropy in the paint, which fused damar doesn't.


      Roland tried this a number of ways, including dissolving the resin in ethanol and then boiling the ethanol off, pictured here, but he reports that simply heating the resin itself into the oil works just as well. I eventually made some of this varnish later in the week, details three photos down.


      Realized that the medium I've been using is a kind of gelatin stabilized mayonnaise. This type of emulsion is familiar to those who grew up in the culinary wilderness of the 1960s from the jello salad mold, but mayonnaise collée seems to have had its origin long ago as a way to keep banquet food from drying out. Had been mashing gelled glue into the medium, because mixing liquid glue and egg yolk didn't produce the same strong set, but decided to try mixing liquid glue into the whole medium. Made a double batch and added a drop of oil of rosemary to see how long that would help it keep in the fridge. Liked the consistency of this when it was cool. Dense, but tender, mobile.


      The medium worked well, but what I made with it became too rigid, too much like a mosaic. Kept animating the paint, but the whole became ornate, not complete. Scraped back some areas on the second day, always fun, but then realized the chances of it gelling without a truly major overhaul were small, and stopped. Something fundamental went missing. Too many trees, not enough forest. It could also be that, with the recent adjustments to the ground, this system now sets too quickly, helping it to layer and remove cleanly, but also making it potentially more static. As always, a fine line between too much movement in the paint and not enough. Lots to learn from what doesn't work, detail here, about six inches across.


      This led to some drawings loosely based on the third one from August 29 below. It occurred to me that these could be colourized digitally, but I'm not sure that would be helpful, would end up copying the model instead of making something new. When something works, it often seems easy, and it's also easy to take that for granted. Then it disappears, and it's time to go looking for it.


      Then it was finally cool enough to consider generating some additional heat, and made a small batch of varnish with the hymenaea courbaril resin later in the week. This was a very simple process, largely due to the fact that Roland explored it first. Having worked with copal, amber, and sandarac, I would have been confused by the larger amount of resin needed to make this one. The process generated no smoke, ha-ha, and the varnish itself actually smells good. This was fun also because my original intuition was that this was the resin that would work. But the only reference to actually using it I found in the literature that was in Mérimée, who said it fused at the same temperature as Manila copal. While the information in older books on resins should always be taken with a grain of salt, Roland also pointed out that Mérimée may well have had an older version of the resin, whereas ours is relatively fresh. Relatively, given that the resin as it comes from the tree is clear, and the resin we are using is orange, with a notable oxidation crust on the exterior. So, this is not the soft jatopa discussed in the paper above, nor the harder, 'fossilized' resin that Mérimée may have had, but the hard jatopa in between.


      Had some paint and extender left over and made a small test on Saturday using the animé varnish in the new version of the studio. A test is always good, you never know what's going to happen, and can learn what the material wants to do without being invested in making it do a specific thing. Added about 10%, maybe less, to the extender after using it as a couch, meaning the couch layer was leaner and still set strongly. 10% is too much, but wanted to make the effect of the varnish clear. And the extender didn't set noticeably from the varnish, but relaxed. Yet, though thin, the paint was quite bouncy and saturated. But, at that proportion in the extender, the varnish overwhelmed the set of the paint in the short run. Still, it was completely set after a few hours. Decided to just let this be animated, and it went through several cycles of adding and removing. Learned that it works incredibly thinly, and sets reasonably quickly when used this way. This could be due to the large amount of resin used to make the varnish. As usual with this type of varnish, less would be enough. If the extender itself were a little thicker, this larger proportion of animé might work in an additive way on the first day. Or it could be used at a larger scale for extended alla prima over a few days. The paint I had would work really well for lively alla prima realism with fine brushes. So, several forks in the road appearing with this material. Always wondered why it was called animé, most probably a reference to a medicinal use, but static this is not.


      On Sunday did a version of the medium using the same amount of the animé as the various other richer elements like the amber oil or protocopal. So, that's the only difference between this one and the previous dozen or so of these. It didn't look that different, but it was more mobile for the same density, and it set in a different way. It was still layerable, but the set was slower and less strong, and the paint was also easier to remove. It must be much more saturated when wet as well, as it felt like this had too much colour very quickly, but this will diminish somewhat when it's dry. New territory is always fun but full of surprises: Oh, it will do that, but uh-oh, not this, etc. The strength of this so far is how it artifacts. It removes cleanly, but because the animé makes the whole system finer and more tender, there's much more refined evidence of what was there before. The corresponding weakness is that the edges are now much more literal by default, and it's more difficult to smear them. So, a fork in the road: whether to proceed this way, or to shift the formula so that it resembles the former system more. There's more freedom in this approach, which felt really positive, but it's version of everything -- shape, colour, edges, set, removal, saturation, layering -- is more different than I thought it would be. This may be a bug, but is more probably a feature. Something new wanted to happen, I just don't know how to use it yet. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Lily loves to attack from the high ground, this is one of her favorite post-prandial activities in the evening. She zooms up there, there's a pause full of dramatic tension when those foolhardy fingers begin to sneak up on her, then the festivities begin.

september 12

      Generally sunny and cooler, still more summer than fall but not by much. Week of the new moon, sort of an odd one so far, demanding another level of excavation. The work came forward a little bit, wanted more but it wasn't there. Feels like something new needs to happen again, I get distracted by wanting to develop a specific approach but the process just seems to want the next one. In larger terms, it still seems better to focus on the birth of the new way, than to detail the slow but certain death of the old way. If it's organic, naturally alive, I pay attention to its message. Which is always positive. If it's inorganic, man-made, a machine pretending to be alive, I ignore it.


      Want to shift the current work from paper to panels at some point. Am getting a greater understanding of how to keep the surface alive if the painting isn't completed in the first layer, so this transition is getting closer. Started cannibalizing old panels a while back to make a variety of new ones, this is fun in moderation. Keep making the gesso a little coarser, used some fine aquarium sand and some of the fine calcium carbonate grit that is sold for terrariums in this batch. It looks heinously coarse when it's put on but calms down when it's burnished over parchment paper, the grains become more embedded.


      Only one new one this week, it took an odd photo, some closer colour shifts, had a hard time getting it even close. Like the sense of syncopation, of a composition of small pieces over the larger ones underneath. Want to develop this further. Not enough movement in the larger pieces, and it got busy from the smaller pieces trying to fix this. Too much vertical emphasis in the top half, too much horizontal emphasis in the bottom half. And still got waylaid by the grid in spite of consciously working to subvert it. I think I don't have plans, but I do, secret plans to over-organize all the chaos. Which is understandable, but doesn't lead to what the process wants now. It's not that this doesn't work, it semi-works, but it's on the road to mannerism. Used to get grouchy about this, like, I should have known. But each definition of what works is like the top of the pyramid. Oops, what now? There might be a few variations on a given definition, but it's a fine line between development and imitation. At this point the process just wants to start over and build another one, a different one. The new one will still be based on what has come before, but turning it inside out more than agreeing with it. It's also 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second layer on one from two weeks ago. It didn't quite work out, did lots of removal at the end. Obsessed about how to develop it for a few days after doing it, then let it go. Am becoming more okay with the limitations of this next layer. Can only do so much without losing what's underneath. This makes the paint appear flat, which somehow is absolutely not okay. It felt like removing paint at the end of it hasn't worked out was a good idea, the area it doesn't really go back to pure white but has far more options for the next layer. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Wanted to see what could happen with this one from last week. Keeping the first layer relatively translucent it helpful for the feeling of the second layer. It's fun to noodle around, some compartments became livelier, but need to alter the horizontal bar across the lower half even further. Too much of an implied grid, the scale too even, don't like the colour. Yikes, is there a way to fix this? Possibly one for the bone pile, but always good to get a more clarity about what doesn't work. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Getting ready to go out for the night.

september 5

      The remnants of Hurricane Ida came through here this week, the storm tracked just a little north of what was predicted and we got less rain. Still, lots of flooding downtown, and a few tornadoes in the area, one in a neighboring county. People around here are not used to tornadoes, one house leveled, large trees tossed around on the lawn like matchsticks, the houses on either side untouched. This seems to be the end of the sultry summer weather, days in the 70s now, with lows in the upper 50s, a great relief. Waning moon, new moon in Virgo on Monday evening, did decently with the work but got excited by it and tried to run on empty for a day, an old familiar feeling. Time to regroup for a few days, let it all coalesce. I used to try to plan the next thing, but it never really worked. Following the energy is much simpler. I don't to understand what's going on while its happening, just that it wants to happen. But then it's interesting to look at a new painting each day for the next few days. It changes physically somewhat as it dries, but I also just start seeing it differently; it explains its inner logic bit by bit. It can't be pushed, but after about a week or so the message of a given image becomes more apparent. What worked, what didn't, and why. At the end of the moon, this often happens from a larger perspective, the work of that moon comes into focus at the next level. It's always about realizing: Oh, I didn't see that before! It's like waking up in a slightly different version of reality: some of it is the same, but some of it is brand new. How did this happen? Again? It feels like the less I know, the less I take anything about the process for granted, the more fuel this generates for the process to grow. September is such an amazing month, this gentle lull in nature after the crescendo of August. Although this September is probably not going to be remembered as a lull. A process each of us is about to experience in our own unique way.


      Fun with recycling. Had a few older panels that were very long and narrow, decided to peel the linen off them and make them smaller. The gesso cracks in this procedure, sometimes flakes, sometimes stays on. Thought the gesso would come off the linen globally if I washed it, but it did and it didn't. Then thought, okay, let's just work with this the way it wants to be. This is what it looked like with a coat of glue on top to consolidate the older gesso. There's probably someone out there who would sign these and turn this technique into a career, but I decided to just put more gesso on top, the texture still shows through, but is sort of submerged.


      Well, ran into something a little tricky with the system this week. If a painting doesn't use too many thin layers, the colour dries true to the wet colour. But if a painting uses lots of thin layers that have lots of medium, the colour dries up, and not quite consistently since the number of layers isn't consistent. The major downside of this is having to guess about final value relationships. Haven't had only minor issues with this so far, but decided to try making the whole system a little fatter. Not much, just a little. The paint's behavior was pretty similar, the colour did have more saturation but didn't dry with a gloss. It still set quickly, and the uneven ground meant that edges and areas of removal were less precise. Still, this painting ended up being a more civilized or developed version of the third painting from last week. Similar elements, more colour, organization, and extemporaneous changes. I like the overall softer colour and edges of this, and the blue diagonal at the bottom. It was sort of peaceful or meditative to make, it felt like I'd just continue to change it until I liked it, then stop. This feeling is not always the case, but I could get used to it. So both an evolution of last week's painting, and a way to appreciate the more casual cohesion of first one more. The process wants to use organization, and subvert it at the same time. A pretty basic paradox in terms of generating creative tension. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Can I blame it on the waning moon? No, it was being in too much of a hurry in the beginning. Overconfidence, didn't wait until the composition gelled at that stage, producing more irresolute panoptical chaos. Yes, you have heard this story before. Worked on it a second day, it is at least better than it was. The left half vertically now works pretty well, as does the top half horizontally. The problem in once again the locked right angles of the lower right. Also became too involved in the goofy horizontal traffic jam effect across the lower half, this concept has potential but needs to breathe more, be less linear. More of a sense of theater: if you write about boredom in a boring way it's going to be boring. Similarly, can't comment effectively on the lunacy of the monkey mind from within the monkey mind. Still, as close as one of these busy ones has come, am learning a lot from looking at this one. 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      For the last few years flea season has started with the beginning of wet and cooler weather in September, so that's what I expected. So, when Lily began scratching early this week the internal alarm didn't go off right away. And when it did, a day or two later, I couldn't find the flea comb, our traditional first line of defense. It's funny, I had a vial of the flea medicine that goes on the back of her neck from last year, but it didn't occur to me to just use it. Anyway, I looked all over the place for the comb, stopped and calmed down, then finally semi-remembered where I'd put it, and realized it must have fallen, meaning it was behind the radiator in the kitchen. So got out the broom and started hunting under there, and it wasn't long before I heard the unique sound of the flea comb as it emerged. The pure joy of this moment would seem way out of proportion unless you have had to deal with fleas being somewhat out of control in your environment. And it got me thinking about how many things about life are this way. I.e., the problem creates the element of stress, which creates action and, eventually the joy of solving the problem. It's over, things can go back to normal. But wait, wasn't normal sort of boring? Not anymore! Anyway, when Lily came inside I got three fleas, then tried again later and got three more. I'm generally friendly to insects, have learned to talk to the wasps trapped on the wrong side of the window gently and they just walk right into the glass jar and I put them outside. But fleas are a different story, a potential source of all kinds of mayhem. Anyway, put the medicine on her the next day with the help of my downstairs neighbor. Put some DT earth in her food today just in case, but hopefully that's the end of fleas this season.

august 29

      Seriously hot and humid week, zowie, finally a little cooler yesterday after a rainy night, and a notably cooler week ahead. Yahoo, only two more days of August. For me, it's certainly been worse, but there's always a sense of celebration on September 1. Waning moon, but was able to follow the process as it moved me along. In larger terms, I still wonder what on earth it's going to take to wake people up, but it seems better to focus on the birth of the new way, than to detail the death of the old way.


      It's been interesting to see how pretty small shifts the ingredient proportions affects the way the paint looks and behaves. Made the medium two ways this week. The first version just had the amber oil, the second version had the 2:2:200 walnut oil as well, 1/16 of a teaspoon. The first version was used for the first two paintings below, . The second version was used for the other two paintings below. The first version was borderline too tight on the current gesso. The second version moved too much on an earlier gesso that was smoother and less absorbent. 1/16 of a teaspoon is 0.625 milliliters, about 2.5% of the total medium volume.


      Started here this week. Sometimes just after the full moon, it's still possible to make one that feels, well, full. A good example of the kind of simplicity that seems easy when it happens, like following the treasure map, it all seems laid out, one thing just follows another. This is always a positive experience, but have learned not to try to emulate one like this right away, but to do a different type of image next, study something like this until the next step in its evolution is ready to occur in a similar way. About 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Began this one differently, though still in a way that had worked in the past. But it ran into the board game issue, something that used to happen years ago. Fixed it somewhat, but not totally, then decided to put another layer on it at some point. Can see several ways to go further, they all involve changing things in the bottom third. Sometimes these need a rest to see further into what might happen, there are just so many possibilities. Am making the first layer of these without using white. Logical in one way, just want to see what happens if I keep learning it. But it also means the next layer can have white, and make a different type of colour with the same palette. About 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Decided to make something simpler, based this on one of the small ones from a few weeks ago that I liked. And it's always interesting what happens when a small study is expanded. Added a little white in a thin adjustment layer the next day, some of these dried to the original value, but some of them dried up. So, still some issues there, though they're small. Learned a great deal from this, one of those paintings that claw their way bit by bit through to another dimension. Am really interested in developing this approach further, but the process is kind of on a tear, who knows what's up next? About 9x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Wanted to work on solving the board game composition issue, seemed like it would be good to do some small ones and just keep changing them quickly until something happened that felt right. Found some small older pieces of gessoed paper, this one had a smoother ground and was not nearly as absorbent as the current ground. But that seemed fine, since the idea was to change things. Same medium, it was a little goopy at this scale, on this ground, but did change well! Ended up liking the colours better than the composition, learned something about the board game issue, and it felt like the scale was too small to go further with the paint sliding so much. And the more obvious knifework and edges on this ground really bugged me. Studies at this scale might be helpful in the week to come, though: the last week of the moon is usually a good time for humble expectations. About 6x6.5 inches, oil on gessoed paper.




      We went out on the front porch early one hot afternoon, wondering if Lily wanted to come inside. She was out in the front yard, exploring, and began to come up the walk, when the gray cat appeared at my side. Cats like to do this materializing out of nowhere trick. His goal was to get in out of the heat, and he started indicating he'd like me to open my front door. At this point Lily was on the porch steps, saw him, and gave a perfunctory hiss. You again. I realized at this point that something had to happen soon to alter this situation. Or Lily might be perfectly correct in feeling that her single rule about this cat, that he should ask permission very politely first in order to be granted porch access, was being violated flagrantly with impunity. So I said, Gray cat, how about if you go back to your own porch, picked him up, and took him next door. Lily didn't say anything, but I could feel that this action met with her wholehearted approval. That's where it rested, each cat having their own porch on another hot afternoon. I call him gray cat because of his name, which is Tiny. This might have been applicable a year ago, when the people who are now next door for a while got him, but makes no sense at this point, and who would want to be called Tiny? I thought about Tony instead. This quickly led to Anthony, or, as we say around here, Antiny. Yo, Antiny! But that seemed to be going around in circles. He's gray, so maybe he could be Earle? I'm working on it. A few days later I again came out on the porch to check up on Lily, but later in the afternoon. She was eying something intently from her perch on the old wicker couch at the other end. It was just beginning to cool off, and I gave my attention to a passing breeze. No sooner had it done so, than the porch erupted again the way it had last week with the junco. Only this time, the local squirrel was running full speed across the porch towards me, with Lily in hot pursuit. As I watched, the squirrel made it past me, and jumped up onto the railing and into the large cedar tree, where it lives up on the fourth floor. Lily wisely called it quits there, she has looked longingly into that cedar tree from the railing for years but it is impenetrable for her. But from where I was, there were no branches and, peering around a little, I had a clear view of the squirrel about two feet away at eye level and congratulated him on an amazing performance. He was still catching his breath but clearly enjoyed this, looking right at me with those merry bright eyes. Being local, I'm sure he's heard me talking to the cats, and the other day after I took the gray cat home, I had watched him expertly remove and eat the seeds from the winged pods of the small exotic maple tree by the sidewalk next door, those are some amazingly dexterous paws. So now it was nice that I was talking to him too. In retrospect, I'm not sure how much Lily wanted to catch him. I mean, she was right on his tail, so to speak. But he's a daily attraction out there, part of the family, I've seen them doing a stalking game with the squirrel up in the hedge. In theory Lily is the faster species on a short straightaway, but she's twelve and it's probably more fun to chase him now and then than catch him once. I'm learning a lot out on the front porch.


      Lily spent a lot of time sleeping on the red chair this week: close to the AC from the other room, but out of the fan that was bringing it in. The young gray male has been back for a few weeks now, I went out later one afternoon looking for Lily and he was on the porch looking for her too. We've had a couple fun interactions since he's been back, and I said hello to him, then he went down the steps to the walk in the tiny front yard. He stopped as the large hostas next to him began to quiver. Lily emerged shortly thereafter, just about eighteen inches away from him, and gave him a moderate hiss. I felt this meant 'I'm okay with you but this is still my porch. Do I still go over to your porch, which used to be my porch too, until you arrived? No.' He has never shown any interest in challenging her, but I went down the stairs at this point with the well-worn hey let's all get along here, and he ambled off. A few days later, in the early evening, I was sitting on the front of the porch, with Lily on the cooler concrete a few steps down. There was a medium brown bird in the Korean dogwood next door that overlooks the yard, giving the sharp warning signal they give for a cat, over and over. I got up and walked toward it, saying Bird, in case you haven't noticed it's really hot and this cat has no interest in you right now, and it flew off. Lily blinked as I came back, thank you. It was just beginning to cool off a little, with an occasional breeze, no cars driving by, a really nice time to be out. I was thinking about how much more peaceful the neighborhood has become in the last year when a junco zoomed into the yard over the front hedge, and landed on the edge of the porch a few feet to my right, in the six inches or so of porch before the wooden railing begins. I was watching the bird, who was surprisingly close, and didn't see Lily move until she arrived on the porch approximately 0.000187 nanoseconds later. She did a 180 degree turn to get around the old iron post for the steps railing, then darted into the few feet of space before the porch railing began. The bird was just beyond that, past the first post of the porch railing. Lily executed this maneuver using her claws first as brakes, then for traction to spring forward. But the turn itself took time, diminishing the element of surprise, at least for the bird. As the cat pounced, the bird took off. Lily couldn't balance in that small space after the pounce, and jumped lightly off the porch, ending up in the dense hostas on the lawn below. I said, Lily? She emerged a few seconds later, looking like that was exactly what she meant to do. It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.


      By Thursday I wanted to try doing something in terms of making materials. Have been using the hardened beeswax and really liking the way it is tighter than regular beeswax, so decided to make more, and try a larger amount. This is the older definition of Punic wax: beeswax which has had the fatty acids removed but is not water-soluble. The original was probably made with the complex salt natron, this is mostly sodium sesquicarbonate, which is available as a borax alternative for cleaning and works, but this can also be made with sodium bicarbonate and salt, which I explored for the book since they are easier to get. I love the proportional nature of this procedure: they figured out how to remove the fat from the wax but the wax itself remained water-proof and protective. The process is a lot like making a fresh cheese like paneer. Photo 1 is after boiling the wax briefly in the salt-bicarbonate water. Photo 2 is cleaning the wax with fresh hot water. This actually emulsified this time, which was a surprise but I think was good, cleaned it better. Photo 3 is the cleaned wax with cold water added, beginning to rise and coagulate. The wax is then removed from the water, Photo 4 is the wax in a piece of muslin, draining in a yogurt contained with a lot of holes punched into the bottom. Which worked better than I thought it would. Photo 5 is the drained wax. Photo 6 is the wax spread out to dry. This can be used instead of beeswax, I became interested in it because there are conservation objections to the fatty acids in beeswax getting saponified over time, but I didn't feel comfortable with the alternate synthetic wax made from petroleum. Punic wax operates like wax in a medium, but is much tighter, and doesn't slide in warmer weather. On panels it can also be used as a final wax coating that is harder than plain beeswax by dissolving it in a very small amount of solvent.

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