Tad Spurgeon oil paintings


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      A Sunday look at process and product.

february 21

      More snow this week, 8 to 10 inches of strange stuff with a lot of ice in it, followed by two icy mornings. Highs well above freezing this coming week, this should take care of the roads if not the biggest shoveled mounds. First week of the moon, this was the usual: lots of energy but no certainty about what's going to feel right. I used to think of this as a negative, or at least trying, but now that I've converted to looking for the positive in everything it seems fine to just do what wants to happen. This is more fun, also seems to lead to taking more chances, doing things spontaneously because they feel right instead of second guessing the moment. Which is also more fun. It might not appear to work, but it also might lead to something that does. I remember years ago realizing that changing one shape or colour in this type of work changed everything, the feeling of the work as a whole, and feeling very confused by that. But this also means that a 'mistake' in terms of where the painting was may be an opportunity to take the painting somewhere new. As experience grows with this process, more options present themselves in the moment. This makes it less effort and more fun, because it is more spontaneous, leaving behind all the formulas that tend to creep in about what works and what doesn't in the search for something finished. So, as I move slowly away from the dualistic thinking I was brought up to have, and certainly became very tangled up with in spite of putting up an ongoing effort, the process of the work does too. This week things happened I never thought of before, colours appeared I never mixed before, things happened spatially through the interaction of the shapes and colour that never happened before. All of this is occurring because my thought patterns are different. It makes sense that creativity would come from non-duality, from the zero-point field of Unity or Source where there is no judgement, and I'm used to having this quality change the feeling of a given day, for example, or show me where a given memory is still hanging me up. The process takes the jagged or angular thoughts and makes them rounder. And with certain people, certain experiences, it has taken years to get them round. Yet, it actually takes a lot of effort, a lot of resistance, to keep those thoughts angular in the first place. But I'm just in the process of realizing this for the collection of jagged memories that somehow became too precious to let go of. It's one thing to be able to agree that nothing bad or wrong ever happened, that it all occurred for an evolutionary purpose; it's another thing to go through the entire subconscious event by event until it's all more or less smooth. But it feels like that pattern of having so much energy involved in resistance was also what limited the work creatively in the past. That the judgements built into my personal process logically limited the way that process could function creatively. I knew someone was trying to tell me something last year when the process stalled so thoroughly for so long, and, looking back on it, it's clear that the concept was to use the resulting emptiness to generate a deeper inquiry into the creative process. At first I thought it was about the artistic aspect of the creative process, but that was part of the problem: the process was asking for a much larger frame of reference. It is especially difficult to perceive one's own frame of reference, since its function is to define what comes in, and what is excluded, from conscious awareness. But it's also exciting, since it introduces expansive change at the root of daily experience. It's really fun to get up in the morning and have no idea what is going to happen. But this involved getting rid of a lot of knowing!

      Externally, in America there is still what might be termed an all too familiar movie lumbering slowly to its inevitable conclusion. Against the apparent run of play, this movie has a happy ending. But a lot of people who would rather remain asleep in the tragi-sitcom of the 20th century materialism have to be guided out of the theater first. Because these people have been carefully coached for decades to believe the theater is life, period, the experience of the movie's end is necessarily going to be a little shocking, or disorienting. This is part of why the ending is going on for so long: the illusory news supporting the illusory presidency, the illusory government, the illusory vaccine for the illusory pandemic created by the illusory news. If you're aware of this, the important thing is to stay centered in unity and who you know you are, because the bottom is about to drop out for a great many folks who are going to need help. Given the fact that there is supposed to be a State of the Union address in the week to come, I'm not sure how much longer this set of interdependent illusions can be maintained, but who knows when the actual Toto moment will occur? The movie may just get that much more obvious. A precise channeled overview of this situation is here. Another one from a favorite source is here, this one is about the process of getting more of yourself into the present moment, aka unity consciousness, aka the zero point field, aka your cosmic birthright, aka our collective destiny.


      Another window view from here, more fun with b&w, winter, and degraded digital.


      Small amounts of water soluble ingredients are found often in older painting. Egg yolk doesn't really count, being a natural emulsion, but egg white was used, cherry gum, starch, and hide glue. They all do the same thing that a resin medium does: arrest the paint so it flows less, but without solvent, or stickiness, and with less likelihood of darkening over time. Recently I've been adding a thick methyl cellulose paste to the putty to keep the paint from moving too much. This amount is fine on panels, or for more painterly types of realism, but smaller amounts work very well for fine realism to keep the paint more discrete.


      Second layer on a beginning that got a little too nutty. It kind of had a split personality, in both the shapes and the colours, making it hard to know which way to go. So, learned a lot in this one, some wholesale changes still to come. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Fiddled with the above image digitally, but not sure what this solves except that there's even more that needs to change. If the lower right corner becomes one piece in the blue, that helps; the frosted white shape also needs to go.


      Another second layer, this was on a more recent first layer of simple brights. Not done but far more personality and some nice details, a nice balance of organization and invention for this stage. The upper left corner happened last, and I debated leaving it, but decided it was too funny, and that it could be softened if need be. There's something a little cartoony about this one, not quite sure what causes that but it's interesting. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Slightly smaller one from last year that never quite worked out. Ground back the second layer heavily and made it more unified this time. Like the way these look as the layers proceed, some shards and evidence from the past layers incorporated into the new feeling of the next one, but the paint has to be thin and lean for this to work, so it has to be planned in a sense. Feel conflicted about the rising pink funnel on the left, but couldn't figure out a way to change it this time. And, it may look fine in a few weeks. Another thing it's taken a long time to learn is just have fun with each layer as long as I can, and let all the judgements go. I thought they were so necessary, so smart, but they were short-circuiting the ability of the process to grow. 10-5x11 inches, oil on gessoed paper.



february 14

      More cold, a little more snow, though less than predicted, mostly lost the sun, but also the week of the new moon, lots of energy for the work all things considered. This week something began to happen that I hoped would happen but, not having done it before, wasn't sure would happen. It's all well and good to plan a system out to the nth detail, but that doesn't mean the work will obediently follow the plan. I've been starting new ones rather than going further with the layers, but this week made layer three on a few layer two images that seemed more sacrificial. And it worked out pretty well. The system is coming together, and getting more organized in the process.


      A simple but well-thought out game I used to play as a kid with my grandparents. The blocks themselves weren't shiny, but had some pine texture, so they stayed stuck together more than if they'd been maple, or shiny. But eventually it would get too teetery and, no matter how careful or inventive you were, the whole thing would come down when the next block went on. Thought about this game this week in relation to what's going on in my benighted country. Have we hit peak crazy yet? No, but it feels like it's getting close. Each of the hands in the photo is actually a TV network, or a social media platform, and each of the blocks is another giant lie, another act of social media censorship. The tower gets bigger and bigger, but it also gets more and more unstable. It's impossible to predict when enough people are going to wake up to this game for it to finally end, but I have a feeling it has to do with something that is being called a 'vaccine,' but is not. So, this increasingly strange movie will play out in its own strange way as the Universe takes the steps needed to wake people up who would much rather remain asleep to the fact that there is more, much more, to life than they have been led to believe. It's hard to just ignore what feels like a clear and present danger to people who function with blind faith in the system. I was born to them, and have known them, worked with them, all my life. But it also seems increasingly distant or unreal in relation to the bigger picture. Which is that we are all fractals of Source, meaning we all have the entire Universe coded within us. This also means that our thoughts become manifest, making it simple to renovate this particular culture and this particular planet by thinking a new one into being. The mainstream media blockheads try to keep us focused in anger, division and fear, in order to trap us in an endless feedback loop of lower vibration, so the key is to focus on the opposite: unity, and what makes us happy. This creates not only a different state of consciousness, but a different manifestation of physical reality. At this point there is so much high-vibration energy flying around that it is very easy to demonstrate this to yourself by just saying, first thing in the morning, 'I am looking forward to a day full of happy surprises,' and noticing what happens! As fractals of Source, we are really powerful creators, this ability is *exactly* what has been so carefully hidden from us by the negative, materialist mainstream version of 'reality.' The more we accentuate the positive in our own lives and thought process, the sooner we can replace this strange movie with a surprisingly joyous one. So, the work we do on ourselves is work on the entire Universe we have within. We are all born with this potential to an equal degree. This means YOU COUNT. We are witnessing consensus reality falling apart. Many people can't wait to cobble it back together, but I have a feeling that it is falling apart in order to make way for something so much better it is very difficult to conceive of it.


      More baked sprouts. This is half kamut, the heirloom wheat, and half French lentils. They sprout at the same rate, overnight if they start soaking in the morning. Ground them up, added a little salt, and baked on top of the stove for fifteen mintues a side. Very tasty, still pretty dense, but less dense than all sprouted kamut. The sprouted kamut version wanted some currants in it. With the lentils, it wants shredded vegetables: a carrot, some cabbage, parsley, scallions, etc.


      I love this composition in the backyard, seems sort of timeless so I fiddled with it to make it look more like film. There's something really fun about degrading digital!


      My studio on the kitchen table. Well, it's Lily's table really, usually covered with catnip, but she's nice about sharing it. The light here is better in the winter, but it also gives Lily more peace and quiet in her front room window berth than if I were in there working. With the weather cooping us both up a lot lately, this is a good idea. Small watercolour of a composition idea above, hadn't thought about doing these but this one worked out well.


      An example of what I'm calling the middle medium. The beginning is just the lean putty. The old finishing medium was the lean and fat proportions used here, but reversed. That produced a saturated final layer that didn't dry off or down over time. But that feels too fat now, like the increased dry film brightness of the system now. Maybe more fat than lean putty in the end, but not 4 to 1. But really, there's more than one 'middle medium,' and I was having trouble keeping track of them. The egg yolk and the MC gel are constant, but the proportions of the lean and fat putty change. So this one is 8211. A fatter version to follow could be 6411. Something fatter than the lean putty alone, but leaner than 8211, would be 9111. Etcetera. This is important not only because fat over lean means better adhesion, but because avoiding excess fat means brighter colour over time. While the system would ideally complete the painting in three layers, with three different mediums going from lean to fat, the system could also be expanded like an accordion to include more middle mediums. Which is what's happening. This is interesting because each of these paints has a slightly different look, and a slightly different way of working.


      Executed the little watercolour above, this was sort of a surprise, not sure if I'll leave it or add more paint to it after a while. I like it but the process wasn't exactly interesting, it seems to be far enough in this direction for now. About 9.25x19 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Some of the earlier beginnings ended up with too many pieces, or with compositions that needed help in lots of bright transparent colour. I'm such a fan of the way colour looks without white that it's sometimes hard to begin to use white again. But this felt like a step forward for the system. Close, but not quite done. It's fun to look at work like this and try to think of the two or three changes that might complete it. So far: the blue upper left corner has to change, and the whole bottom right corner area is an issue. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      This was a start that had gotten quite quirky, and in relatively odd colours. The concept of this indirect system is to be able to salvage anything, so this one seemed like a good candidate to test that out. This one feels closer to finished, I like its gentle goofiness. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      This one only had a single underpainting layer, so I didn't get into paint with white, just developed the original conception further in very thin paint. Colourwise, this one has a kind of split personality, so I'll be looking to resolve that with some wholesale changes in the next layer. Which is a good place to be: knowing one road has ended, and a new one has to begin. After so much close colour work with realism, I used to get happily hypnotized by the bright colour in these. But it will be fun to work on this next with the freedom of knowing the colour can be quieter. 10x11.5 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Third layer on this one. This was the first one where I got softer colour to happen, and required some patience to get to the next level, but I liked where it ended up: still somewhat attenuated colour, more lyrical than the second one, more integrated, less jumpy, than the first one. Patience creates the space to consider further under an increasing sense of physical pressure to get things underway! There's typically a point at which what had been gained from the earlier layers has to be abandoned in order to go further. That's when the new layer is born, and the energy increases. So, in some ways, the process is a pyramid that builds layer by layer until the apex is reached; in other ways, the whole pyramid gets built from scratch each time. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Lily in her impregnable fortress under the kitchen table, an evening activity. She is protected by full boxes of books, and waits impassively for someone to be foolish enough to extend their hand on top of the boxes. Then she erupts like a Jack in the Box, one paw on top of the box for stability, the other flailing away at the intruder with utter, frenetic abandon. It's just too funny, always makes me laugh.

february 7

      Snow earlier in the week, and more snow today. Last quarter of the moon, new moon this coming Thursday, stellium of six planets in Aquarius: the Sun-Moon conjunction leading, and Saturn, a new structure in formation for consensus reality, bringing up the rear. Given the season and phase of the moon, a pretty decent week for the work, not everything I tried worked out, but what doesn't work is also an important part of learning. I used to be pretty judgemental about what I did, perhaps the last vestige of the way I was raised and educated, but after being stopped for most of last year, I'm happy to make any progress at all. And while the progress in terms of finished work is still slow, the progress of the system itself has become pretty fast. So, that part is in a good place. My 91 year old upstairs neighbor had her landline installed, this was my suggestion after having been called in to fix her cell phones several times over the last few months. She makes the software malfunction. I told her to bang on the ceiling if she ever needs anything, so she does that and then I bring my phone up for her to call tech support. But I end up talking to tech support because her patience with their jargon is small, while she offers a running commentary of strong opinion on my end of the conversation. It's sort of like Ground Hog Day playing out in a hall of mirrors. Nothing new at this point, and would also make a very funny movie, but I was relieved she became tired of it too. Still feel that a large shift is going to happen soon for America. Can't say when, but still believe the key will be when the Emergency Broadcast System is used. Can say that the White House is currently unoccupied, and that D.C., which is technically foreign soil, is occupied. Mercury is retrograde until the 21st of February, the next two weeks would be a logical time to go back over a lot of erroneous information, and correct it. This process is invisible to many people, but to those who have been watching it, the wait seems interminable. From my perspective, the wait is about making the transition safer, and potentially less of a shock for the many people who can't conceive of it. Recent commentary on this process here. General overview of the process we have gone through, with an emphasis on leaving duality behind for unity consciousness here. Another take on this here from one of my favorites, the Arcturian Council. These guys are ninth dimensional, whereas we are currently three, moving into five (the dream state here is four). Their advice is always centered in unity consciousness since they are close to it's origin (the Creator is twelve), and have given messages faithfully every day for a very long time now. If, like me, you occasionally find it hard to slow down, hard to just be, and hard to just trust the plan -- once again, one more time, endlessly -- their perspective might have something to offer. There's also a commentary on the Paradise Timeline from earlier this week below.


      We got about ten inches to a foot of snow over three days early in the week, it started out fine and cold and blew all over, not unlike a real storm, then the wind died down and things warmed up just enough for it to be sticky. I put the oil into the jars, then jammed the snow in on top. It would have worked better to have had a stick to tamp the initial snow tighter, but got a lot of snow in on top of it. I inverted the jars to see how mobile the oil would be, but it didn't go anywhere too quickly. Still, over time in the freezer, I was able to disperse the oil throughout the snow by rotating the jars on their sides. The oil will stay in the freezer now for about a month, it could of course stay outside if it's cold enough long enough, but note that outdoor oil needs to be covered and buried well to avoid the attention of hungry animals. The possum that got some oil from a rag on the porch about a month ago was back recently, checking the same spot, they have distinctive tracks!


      Will continue to rotate the oil every few days to keep it dispersed in the snow, then take it out after a month and let the snow thaw. Snow features both ionic and electrical activity, and, once melted, the mucilage just appears like magic in large clumps, and can be siphoned off. So, lots of time in the freezer but very little effort for an oil that dries three times faster than any commercially refined linseed oil, and makes stellar sun oil. This method first appeared in print in 'The Painter's and Varnisher's Guide' by P.F. Tingry, published in 1804. Tingry was a professor at the University of Geneva. The straightforward practicality of this formula is very different than the other formulas in his text, suggesting that it was a traditional procedure in the area. This simple and elegant procedure is also featured in the PDF about various methods of refining linseed oil available here.


      Underpainting 1: Made a number of paintings years ago based on what I called the lumpengrid: geometry that was somehow more skewed, primitive, or organic. Returned to this approach with an absorbent ground, very thin and lean paint, a transparent layer followed by a layer that used white. No drawing, just the anchor of the bright red keystone, something I always liked from an older painting. The next layer will be warmer, less dominance of the chrysoprase green. This needs to be emptied more, have noticed also that I tend to create a column on the left, which never works. This gave me some confidence for returning to the grid, but it was short-lived! 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Underpainting 2: Decided to explore a wider rectangle next. Some interesting things happened with the colours but got a little hypnotized by that old fresco quality, and didn't start with a clear enough concept in the first place. As such, couldn't find a composition or larger sense of purpose with these dimensions. Am intrigued to try to figure out how to simplify this and move it forward, but it may be best to just let it go. 10x14 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Underpainting 3: Decided to get a very clear concept before doing the next one, and made several small scale drawings first. Too austere, too much the pendulum swinging the other way from the first one. There's something about both the colours and shapes in this that I like but it's too simple and I'm not sure about how to develop it yet. If this were an alla prima painting, I'd have to finish it anyway, so I'd make something happen, for better or worse. This way, I get to consider lots of options for what wants to happen next. Which I like so far. But, given that I'm most likely to chose the least well-known route to completion, this may not really make this layered procedure more of a sure thing. Which is fine, it can always be abandoned, and even if it is, it's taught me a great deal. 10x14 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Underpainting 4: Returned to the 5x6 size and more personal shapes for this one, did several small drawings first, all slightly different, this really helps comprehend the grammar of this better. Not as austere as the ones from last week, some goofiness but not too much, more committed to the shape and colour details but also guessing more, possibly too many shapes. Also felt sort of waning moon: less sure of its execution, but also the beginning of the next level. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.



february 2: the paradise timeline

      The story goes: we are all children of the Creator. We underwent the veil or the forgetting, leaving our identity largely behind, in order to come here to do a service to the Universe by redeeming negativity, showing it had a use, which had never been done before. To do so, we became involved in a free-will experiment that morphed into the long battle between the Light and the Dark we know simply as 'life on Earth.' The Dark became increasingly devious in the later 20th century, manipulating human life through technology so that nothing was really as it seemed and it was increasingly difficult to believe in anything but materialism. But as the Earth moved into the Photon Belt, the Universe decided enough was enough, and began to amplify this already high frequency energy to expose and dismantle the Dark program bit by bit. Now, thanks to many different kinds of efforts on many different levels and dimensions, the Dark has lost this battle. Only the clean-up operation is left, which involves waking up the people who are still hypnotized by the Dark programming, centered at this point on the mainstream media's 'hard-hitting' culture of fear. Once this clean-up is complete, 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 in the physical. We are on the paradise timeline, and the Earth is headed towards being the paradise planet it was always designed to be. This is a very brief version of the consistent story told within the channeled information that's out now, but sometimes someone says it with unusual grace or elegance. It is difficult to be patient still, when we are so close without a definite endpoint. But if you believe in this, and you know who you are, 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. Everything we need to navigate this has been carefully placed for us in the inner world. The more we access this place, the more the old way is starved of energetic attention, and the faster we bring the paradise timeline into manifestation. 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 a different global financial system.

january 31

      A cold week with some sun and a full moon a few days ago, a foot of snow predicted for the next few days. Some good things happened in the work; it is definitely on its way somewhere new. Mercury now retrograde for the next few weeks, this seems to delay packages, snarl up communication even further, and make words hard to find. I keep trying to write this but Lily keeps hopping up here and biting me. This is always a message to stop. Okay, okay!


      Tried using the fast-setting medium approach from last week for an underpainting. Did this from a small thumbnail type ink drawing, these seem to often point the way to something new. Was excited to do this, the fusion of a lot of different approaches to the shapes and the space. About 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second underpainting using a similar approach to the shapes, space, and colour, but more feminine than the first one. Did not take a RAW file, and the JPEG just didn't get the colour for this one right, a little too brassy overall, but in life I like this one more. About 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Tiny geometric study going further with the same big triangle type of composition, using the lean medium in layers on an absorbent ground. This means lots of set for the paint, and also lots of layering or carving possibilities. Like the colours, but otherwise at sixes and sevens. Still feeling my way with what this can do, it is a little nutty to be able to change things so much but am beginning to understand more about how it works, what it can and can't do, will go a little larger next. 5x6 inches, oil on gessoed paper


      Slightly larger intuitive study, no drawing, used a somewhat richer medium than the one above so the paint did not set as much, and also did not dry quite as brightly. Still bright, but I'll move it back towards the leaner medium for the next one. This was fun to make, always interesting to see something unexpected developing with certainty about what it wants: that's really all I'm interested in at this point. A nice vacation from the more disciplined larger geometric approach, yet have a feeling that emphasizing these instead would not work. 6.5x9 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      A more complex composition that had stalled, some things I liked about it but also some over-predictability and irresolution. Made a black and white version and then adjusted some of the pieces. Still kind of needs help. Not sure there's a future for this type of composition; am fascinated by getting the simpler ones to work. On the other hand, it may be a matter of scale, will try developing this one further in a bigger version in thin water-base paint.


      Occasionally Lily stops playing cat for the camera and looks more like her real self. Always interesting to see who the actual being is beneath the role, or the mask. But how do we develop the discernment to tell the difference? Have a feeling that's going to become a focal issue in the next few weeks.

january 26

      Blackout at the White House from 3 to 6 am on Sunday, followed by fireworks, video here. Yet, who cares? The tragicomedy of the puppet administration and the hypnotized populace lurches further into Act One, fueled by endless righteous media opium. Do I understand this correctly? The Universe, in its infinite wisdom, has opted to present America with a presidency that's a game, within a socio-political system that's a game, within a physical reality that's a game, in an attempt to awaken the somulent as gently as possible to the Dark side's ongoing game. I know I'm supposed to trust the plan, but how how does this kid glove approach make any sense? It just adds another layer of unreality to what is already an unfathomable labyrinth of mirrors. The only thing real here anywhere is...oh, wait, now I get it. Well, it still seems too gentle for the time frame. But maybe it's the calm before the storm, so to speak. Wake up, wake up, wake up. Wake up, wake up, wake up.

january 24

      Had a sense this week that the shift is immanent. Which is, I guess, nothing new, 2020 really showed me the vast difference between what I felt had to eventually happen, and what was feasible within a given week. But this week I felt the shift growing, bit by bit, day by day. It's now more hopeful, less foreboding, but still quite large. When the shift happens, the illusion will be shattered, and the truth will, at long last, be revealed. Yay. But, have to keep in mind that the illusion has become so prevalent that for many people it is a kind of false God, that talking black box is what they believe in. So the demise of the labyrinth, or matrix, is not going to be easy for everybody. The chosen vehicle for this seems to be the Emergency Broadcast System, which, at some point, will take over the airwaves for at least a few days in order to explain what the media has chosen not to. Compelling evidence will be presented, and the large percentage of people who have been hypnotized by the endless media opium of the last four years will be awakened to what has really transpired in America since the end of the Second World War. Somewhat rudely, yes, but by what other means at this point? The emergence of the EBS information will mean it is officially game over for the bad guys: the deep state, the cabal, etc. But there are still going to be some people who don't or won't wake up, and some people who want to fight. So, especially in urban areas, there may be some bumpiness in the next few weeks, some 'sheltering in place' for the rest of us.

      So, an overwhelming sense this week of the shift about to finally occur. Yet, in the face of all this tension, the feeling that the inevitable positive outcome for humanity was at long last about to begin, nothing actually happened: meaning the sense of a hall of mirrors about to shatter only increased. So, in terms of what is feasible in time, still a little ahead of the game. At first this was perplexing, but now it feels like using the EBS to circumvent the media opium is being delayed to minimize possible chaos and loss of innocent lives via the usual last ditch dirty tricks. We are now in the last stage of the last battle in the great cosmic experiment. In the entire history of the Universe, no collective has done what we are about to do: transition from one dimension to another while in the physical body. So, cosmically, this is a very big deal, ushering in a new era of growth not just for us, but for the entire Universe. But that's the bigger picture. Right here, right now, America was designed to be a Republic of the Light, not the Corporation of the Dark it became. In the last four years, the Dark experienced defeat after defeat, and, over the next few months, America will become a Republic of the Light again. If you are interested in the ongoing development of this from a cosmic perspective, here are some links to sites I've found generally helpful. One. Two. Three. Four. (Links 3 and 4 increasingly have political information as well which I would recommend being cautious about especially if dates are involved.) There is great variety here so what works is a matter of personal taste and discernment. In general the greatest gift we can bring to the next few weeks is to stay as positive and non-judgemental as possible. This may be challenging given what must be revealed, but places our vibration outside the illusion of duality of this experiment, and into the zero point field of unity consciousness which is the official next step for humanity. Cosmically, this is a really powerful place, which is why the Dark side made such a massive effort to keep us in duality. The more we exit the thought process of duality as individuals, the more the energy created pulls the collective out of it as well. Once this energy hits critical mass, it's goodbye caterpillar, hello butterfly. Individually, this is not a matter of being perfect, but of making a consistent effort to get out of the cocoon. A good way to remind yourself of this is to take a series of conscious deep breaths. Really simple, and quickly brings the body out of any negative emotion. The more we do it, the more intuitive it becomes. Mantras are also good for this, and can also be really simple: I am peace, or, I am oneness. I also like: All is forgiven, all is healed: something that, by definition, cannot occur in duality.


      Did a lot of work this week, it varied from things that were clearly just therapy layers to the entering some new territory in less vivid but still lyrical colour. But my favorite thing was this little guy, which just happened this afternoon, because it's a departure based on experimenting over and over again with a relatively simple set of ingredients in the medium. The medium sets quickly, like it has damar and wax in it, but they're not in it. Goofy intuitional study, these are fun and necessary sometimes and tend to point out what wants to happen next. So, while I put several passes of paint on this one, this medium is quite lean, and this opens up a large set of new possibilities for developing the first layer. It's odd because I've been feeling that the approach to the first layer needed changing, but didn't know how to do it. This is very different, and could be used that way, or integrated into the existing system. It will take some experimenting to see what wants to happen, will just follow the process where it leads. About 5.5x7 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Sometimes it's just time to spend a few quiet minutes in the pantry.

january 17

      Week of the new moon, less cold but overcast and damp, a sense of hope balanced with a kind of foreboding. Continued with the Wim Hof type breathing, have done this up to three times a day and, without really pushing it, can just about hold my breath for two minutes. The larger point is the increased energy and feeling of expansion in my chest, and, while not directly involved with the back, this seems to be helpful to getting energy moving there. Did get some painting done, but couldn't get tracked with it. This is often the case in the first half of January, when the sun is in the fifth house of play for me, but should shift back in the week to come, when the sun enters Aquarius and the sixth house of work in my chart. Ideally, work and play are not opposites but exist in dynamic fusion. Still, work was kind of my salvation for a long time, and moving away from doing in order to experience more being is not exactly my strong suit. Became kind of distracted off and on this week by the national situation. It's clear that the best approach to this is one that goes beyond duality, the endless warring faction scenario I grew up with as 'reality', into the zero point field of infinite universal creativity, the unity consciousness that is our cosmic birthright. Didn't do badly, was able to check out for hours at a time, but the situation remains, at this point, a hall of mirrors. Light presented as dark, dark presented as light, censorship justified: welcome to the new administration: permanent masks and a poisonous vaccine. Still, the roles of the players are becoming increasingly clear. And with estimates of as many as 25,000 troops now in Washington, D.C., have a feeling that, in spite of attempts to interfere with the immanent activation of the Emergency Broadcast System, the emergence of the light that leads to resolution is on its way at last. My biggest question of 2020 was how the Universe was going to wake up those people who, with the assistance of endless media opium, would much much rather stay asleep forever, and it appears that the answer will at least begin by or on the 20th, Inauguration Day. Once the EBS is activated, the truth will begin to be told. The truth is going to be inconvenient, the truth is going to hurt, but the truth is also going to set everyone with the slightest inclination free. Discussion of this situation from a spiritual perspective by Blossom Goodchild and the Galactic Federation of Light here. I have been following this weekly posting for a while now, and they have never said anything with remotely this degree of certainty before. Here is something similar from Metatron. Again, having read these messages for the last few years, nothing this definitive has ever been said, pretty profound, even as these messages go. So, does this mean that the eons long battle between dark and light on this planet finally over? That the grand cosmic experiment is officially a success, everyone having learned exponentially more than by angelically living in light alone? It doesn't exactly feel like it yet here on the ground, but that's sure a hopeful thought.


      Digital version of an image from last year featuring that really hot digital colour. Fun, but not sure I'd like a version of this in paint for more than a little while.


      Printed version of that image.


      First thin layer of actual paint. This one was fun, felt in sync with the image all the way through. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Did one more underpainting in oil, but this one was more of a gamble, lots of changes from the original image, will need more adjustment to the forms in layer two. Then tried another underpainting in acrylic, but this one was really at sixes and sevens. I'd love to be able to use acrylic as a tool for exploring this, but it may not be the best idea after all.


      Lily likes climbing trees, and I've always wanted her to have a tree inside. A few weeks ago, the giant sycamore tree behind the house obliged by dropping a limb. I cut it to size with one of those utility Japanese handsaws, truly an amazing tool, and lashed it to the radiator pipe with cotton clothesline, her favorite kind of rope. But so far, nothing! Which is fine, most changes get ignored for a while. The young cat next door left for a few weeks, but is now back. He's plucky, may see her as Mom II, and she's being patient with him when he comes over to her porch. But the other afternoon, he was waiting for her on the porch when I went to let her out. It seemed like Lily arriving to him about a yard away might not be a good idea, so I told him to scoot, which he actually did, funny how they seem to know when you're warning them for real, and he was down in the front yard when she came out. Then, when I went down to get her a few hours later, he greeted me, she galloped by him through the door, and he wanted to come inside too. He seems so young and sort of goofy and hopeful, which is hard to resist. I guess if the fur hasn't started flying at this point, it won't.

january 10

      Waning moon, new moon around midnight on the 12th here, more on that below. Continued with the relatively intense but fun Wim Hof Tummo type deep breathing, also started working with an other method called resonant or coherent breathing, combining 6 second inhalation and exhalation for 5 breaths per minute. These two are a good yang-yin combination. Energetically, this has already stirred things up in a good way. Wrote out a declaration of personal sovereignty this week, a contemporary spiritual practice that I'd always liked but never actually done: it just came out one day in a way whose intensity surprised me. Had a dream the next night in which a long-standing issue with one of my long dead parents was resolved in a way that was even more direct than the declaration. The magic of the written word. Had a decent week with painting in spite of the waning moon and ongoing election fraud, a good sign. With three stages, the process has more options within it, meaning the possibility of images that are more nuanced. I used to think of the underpainting as just something that wasn't done yet, but now I'm seeing it as an opportunity. Another one of those great duh moments when an unconscious habit or prejudice comes to light. This was supported by a funny dream last night in which I was the coach of a soccer team that made paintings instead of scoring goals. Looking forward to the new moon and what it brings to the work.


      I forget about Japanese Sweet Potatoes and when I remember them it's always nice. Steamed cubes here with some ground black sesame, scallions, ginger, a hint of red pepper, and salt. A little white miso is good is you're okay with soy, a few chopped walnuts too.


      Well, I had really hoped that the sword of Damocles of the presidential election would somehow fall this week, but now I realize it was for the best that it didn't. The cosmic goal is to wake up people who are asleep to the way they have been lulled and gulled by the endless lies of the media, and Congress overturning the electoral college vote would not have done that. At least now we have some idea of how totally corrupt Congress is, not to mention the obvious false flag breach and violence included in that protest. Social media censorship is also increasing, the demonizing not just of the President, but of key figures in the administration. These companies are afraid of the fraud story getting ANY airplay because it is so well-documented, yet this also means the public can now see where these companies stand. So, there are still ten days before the new administration quietly rolls out Agenda 21, and America is quietly annexed by the CCP. I don't believe this will happen, but part of the plan may be for it to get close to happening, as in, really close, because this is the scenario that will expose the most. The media continues in lock-step to call the accusations of election fraud baseless and unproven: a flagrant lie but mission-critical: all the human trafficking and pedophilia arrests in the last four years have really eaten into profits. Yes, it's all about the ultimate sacrilege, turning people into money. Right under everyone's noses, the ultimate hideous joke. The endless presentation of fraud as fact is about trying to reduce people who are aware of the fraud to despair. This can only work if people who are aware of the fraud give up hope, and, so to speak, surrender. From the vibrational perspective, it is important to take a deep breath and remain focused on the inevitability of the far from seamless fraud coming undone. Given that the larger focus of this is the way the false god of the media has hypnotized so many people, I wonder if the next step involves revelations about how that world actually operates. If just one well-known mockingbird develops a conscience and starts telling the truth, instead of selling their country out for a paycheck, the whole house of cards comes down in a hurry. The carefree mockingbirds might consider how well the Nuremberg defense worked. A public that is shocked and confused by how badly they have been misled by their sacrosanct hard-hitting news anchors is much less likely to support violence than a public permanently riled up by lies. Another intriguing Hail Mary possibility is the monoliths, now at 163 confirmed worldwide, although they're mostly in the US and Europe so far. These aren't getting any airtime whatsoever because they can't possibly be explained in terms of any earth-based technology or agenda. Someone has gone to a lot of time and effort here, to no apparent purpose. Of course, having been raised by earnest materialists in the most two-dimensional environment possible, I think it's cheating for the Universe to simply bombard the planet with unity consciousness energy until lies can no longer be successfully told. But, on the other hand, it won't exactly be the simplest experience for the hypnotized to go from sitcoms and Twinkies to oneness with everything overnight. And unilateral enlightenment is also the method that entails the least potential violence. New moon on the 12th at midnight, here on the East Coast the sun-moon conjunction is within a degree of Pluto in the 4th house of home, safety, intuitive sense of environment. Pluto is sort of the ultimate bete noire in astrology: the relentless unmasker, relentless destroyer of old patterns, relentless revealer of the truth. All of this is in Capricorn, the sign of large organizations, seen or unseen. So, a clue to the theme of the month there. Also, Venus in Capricorn (corporate woman) conjunct both Quaoar (connection to Source; a trans-Neptunian, my experience with these is that, while small, they are intense in aspect) and Icarus (taking a chance that involves both freedom and risk) in the third trine Uranus in Taurus (sudden change in values) in the seventh, this could be a key female whistleblower emerging from within the system. The 14th looks like a good day for this to happen. At the same time, please be on the lookout for more false flags or fake news from the cornered and desperate media designed to cause panic. The pandemic is so yesterday, how about a nice nuclear attack, or alien landing, etc. The bigger the panic factor, the more earnestly all the networks come out in fervent lockstep, the more likely it is to be a hoax designed to generate as much systemic instability as possible. Hard to believe the Creator loves everyone sometimes. Anyway, in larger terms, I know I should leave this tangled web alone. There's so much going on behind the scenes that it's nearly impossible to develop an accurate model, and it's much easier to stay positive and trust the divine plan without going anywhere near red versus blue. But I'm fascinated by how the Universe is finally going to wake up a population that would much rather wait forever for things to go 'back to normal.' Normal! Oh my sainted aunt. When I first read about angels laughing at humanity for giving up its birthright so easily, for pursuing less so relentlessly when it had been specifically designed to become more, I was sort of offended, but had also read that angels can be kind of blunt or tone-deaf to the earth experience since they have typically never been here. But now I can see what was meant: total dedication to looking through the wrong end of the telescope. But, with the discord of the Kali Yuga over, this situation is also about to end. Not exactly without a tantrum, and I definitely expect turbulence to dominate before the new year actually begins on March 20. The important thing is to focus on being peace, meditating on the battlefield, to neutralize as much negativity as possible as it emerges. According to the Arcturian Council, operating from the perspective of the 9th dimension, we have already created a more positive new time line as a result of inverting despair, or working creatively with negativity. Also, here is an especially elegant overview of the current situation, via one of my all time favorites, galaxygirl, from the Galactic Center. The Galactic Center is, well, pretty centered!



      The Refining Linseed Oil PDF is now available in a French translation here courtesy of Canadian painter Vrishaketu. Merci beaucoup, Vrishaketu!


      Something from April of 2020, simple but the previous one had been too complex so decided to leave it this way. I was excited about the shift in the medium last Spring, which made these dry brighter and allowed more accurate carving into the paint. But then came the Pause, and I had to wait.


      Changed the colours digitally to start a new version of the composition. The idea is to use the earlier frame of reference, but alter it to the point where it begins to vibrate or fall apart somewhat. Like the way this process keeps the sense of the paint, but introduces glitches and more nutty colour combinations. Didn't quite want to make this exactly, but its difference made it feel like an interesting place to start. That may be a good approach with these: to start with a reference that's imperfect, that requires attention to develop it.


      Backed the chroma off the image above to do a printed version. Some interesting changes occur to how things read as a result of these different iterations. This one looks surprisingly good in life, a nice balance of the shapes and colours. Sort of an accident given how this process operates, but nice when it happens, gives me something inscrutable to ponder.


      First layer on the actual painting. Want to indicate the major masses but keep it all pretty airy. The ground is absorbent, so the paint sticks like glue, can be moved a little bit but only with firm pressure. Sort of brut but I like the results for this stage. One of my favorite pet theories is that Too Much Facility in the Opening Causes Redundancy Issues in the Conclusion. As it needs to move from lean to fat, it needs to move from sketchy to complete. The next layer is still thin but is more mobile, fine, can do the details in the model easily but I'm not sure that's a good idea, might be best to wait until the third layer. It's definitely fun to think in this process, won't really know what happens with each one until it does. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Lily got a Christmas present! My brother sent her a felted wool sleeping pod, dense and well-made, very nice. The heat situation here is a little odd, feast or famine due to a single old and quirky thermostat in the apartment below, but when it's cooler at night she hops right in.

january 3

      Week of the full moon, it was a pretty intense one for me, felt really energized that night. Although it might also have to do with the Wim Hof deep breathing, started doing this this week and really like the combination of energy and relaxation it produces. Historically not the easiest time to focus, but began to get some work done this week on the new system. So far, so good, certainly fun to paint again. It may take some time to get it all functioning smoothly, but that can only happen by doing it. In larger terms, am happy with the concept of working on these in three distinct stages instead of trying to plough through them alla prima. I liked doing that for about a year or so, but it got to a certain point and I was puzzled about how to take it further. Or maybe didn't want to take it further, wanted to retool it into something that could have more options. Less of a sense of hurry, more of a sense of spaciousness. But basically, I was in too much of a hurry myself to see what those options might be. Removing painting from the equation totally for most of 2020 effectively solved that: the tortoise sees more than the hare. Speaking of 2020, it's finally over! Happy New Year! Although the 1-1 date is arbitrary, the real new year begins on March 21st. I can feel something new wanting to happen, and get aligned with it now and then. This energy is very gentle, welcoming, but also huge. It is a challenge to let go of the old while still existing within it, but that seems to be what is being suggested. I would always have said that human potential is infinitely more than we have been taught here on Earth. This 'educated,' but radically dumbed-down, materialist version of humanity is the fundamental lie, and fuel, of all first world cultures. But it's interesting, after having waited and wondered for so long, to begin to feel this more. In a sense it was there all along, but it's closer now, much closer. There's sort of an entrance requirement, though, which makes sense, seems reasonable. More on that below.


      Okay, I've debated about whether to talk about this for some time, but have decided to because 1) it seems likely, 2) its potential to cause disruption is large, and 3) because this event is not exactly getting media attention: very much on purpose. And if you're in America, especially if you're in a metropolis, you may want to plan. In the week to come, on the 6th, at 1 pm, the results of the Electoral College will be reviewed by Congress. This is something that is in the Constitution, and happens after every presidential election. In the past, it has basically been a rubber stamp operation. But, it's not going to be this year. The results of the election are going to be objected to in Congress based on the Mt Everest of evidence, relentlessly marginalized up until this point, that the election was extremely fraudulent. So, the way the process works, the chances are very good that the Electoral College results will be overturned. This is going to go over very well with the mostly small or medium town and rural people who believed their candidate had been cheated, and not very well at all with mostly urban people who believed their candidate won. And have been told in lock-step by the media that the claim of widespread election fraud is a selfish temper tantrum by that narcissist cartoon villain (whose administration keeps on arresting pedophiles and human traffickers). But, more importantly, it may also mark the point at which some misguided people, who are surprisingly well-armed for 'spontaneous protestors,' attempt to take the law, i.e., the country, into their own hands. Because each side has a good general idea of the other side's plans, this may escalate pretty quickly into a civil war, especially in urban locations, and result in martial law for a while, etc. So, this is the final act of the old year, to be fully completed by the Spring Equinox, when the actual new year begins. Everyone feels like 2021 will usher in positive new changes on all fronts, or at least the beginning of them, but first, we have to get over this final hurdle. In a battle, the traditional response is to choose sides, and get good and mad at the other side: for weeks, maybe even months, on end. This is how we do things here in duality. And of course our dear friends the mainstream media will be doing everything possible to create disinformation and discord from this opportunity. But if you want to get a jump on what 2021 is going to be about, consider making an effort to be peace or unity consciousness instead. This means choosing not to choose sides, and is the fastest way to neutralize discord or conflict, as well as creating a more positive experience for us when we practice it than descending into fighting fire with fire mode. But this is exactly why it is so powerful to go in the opposite direction, vibrationally, of yet another round of artificially amplified discord. You may think that you don't matter. But that is another basic lie we've been schooled here to think. Each of us is equal, and has the same weight in the eyes of the Universe, so what each of us does matters the same to the outcome. When we choose not to go through the door of duality, we enter a different space. This is often called the zero-point field, which is a term from quantum physics and has become contemporary codespeak for the Creator. Because we are all fractals of the Creator, this is a real place in consciousness, yours and mine, and the origin of all creativity because it exists beyond, and without, judgement. This is where ALL the new stuff comes from. So, it from here that we can exert a tangible influence on the events of the next few weeks. But the thing is, this place can't be faked. It's about transforming the forms of judgement we each contain into non-judgement. On the surface this is a tall order, but the support we have in this process is tremendous. Infinite.


      I used to sit down for the alla prima version of these, decided to try standing up to give more energy to the process when it is necessarily more systematic due to the three separate stages. Moved into the kitchen table since there's better light there now in the morning and Lily is often asleep in her berth in the studio window. I'm working from a photo of the acrylic underpainting from 12-20 below, but with the colours radically altered. Don't want these carnival type colours, but thought their energy was fun. So starting here means I can't get too involved in copying it.


      The completed underpainting, there are a few puzzles still but nothing major. Have a feeling these are going to end up looking more and more sketchy or incomplete, as a way to leave more white space for luminosity, and to carve back to. Also, the colour in this stage doesn't necessarily matter that much, can be quite simple. The goal of this stage seems to be mostly about balancing logic and goofiness in the way the shapes interact. The knife tends to simplify and geometricize shapes, so the more organic and curvy they are at this point, the better. Looking at this type of underpainting for a few days as it dries also naturally suggests different ways of tweaking the shapes and their relationships, which is fun. Serious and austere abstraction this is not! 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second layer on the first lean, ultra-sketchy beginning from last week. Used the same medium as for the small Cotman study, more saturated than the first layer, but still designed to dry matte. Felt good about how this worked, and how it looked when dry. Built in lots of small colour glitches as these will be subdued by the thicker, fatter, smoother final layer. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second layer on the second underpainting from last week. This one departed more from the model, left it in a simpler place than the first one. Will one approach seem be better, or will they just lead to a different type of final layer? The original technique was all wet-in-wet layering. This three part version is getting involved with learning new things about layering colour over dry paint. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Second layer on a third underpainting. Another development of an older composition, this one will get lots of strong changes in the next layer. Tried inserting an element here, the red stripey stuff, that will be submerged in the next layer, then carved back to see some of it again. Learning how to do this type of thing will take trial an error, but I really like the idea of the final layer, the one where it all has to come together and be finished, happening with a new, full day's worth of choices. This is where the old system became difficult: needing to finish something that already had several hours of work in it, and sometimes not having the same degree of resources for the end as the beginning. Am sort of concerned that the surface of these may get too opaque, so held back the amount of paint on this one. This is two layers of paint that are about 1/64th of an inch total, pretty thin. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.

december 27

      Nutty weather, the snow melted, then we had a very windy rainstorm, then more intense cold. Christmas sort of died years ago with my parents, more sad than bad for about a decade, but had the most neutral post-parental Christmas yet, which felt good, the work I've been doing this year on informed neutrality passing a recurring test. The post-solstice energies continue to be very strong, positive but also a little nutty, or maybe just different, into territory that is new in a new way, if that makes sense. What if we each had further dimensions to our consciousness and they began to come online bit by bit? It feels like that, like biting into an apple but having the apple taste more complex, and better, than it ever tasted before. Continue to work on letting go of duality, polarity, and judgement, this is truly halfway to the wall forever, but this year the progress increased. This is exciting because the present moment is where all the creativity is, but nothing pulls me out of the present moment faster than judgement. Spent a lot of time this year thinking I had to be informed about what was really happening, but the more I found out, the more incommunicable it all became. It's interesting to have old friends act like you've become a lunatic, but that was just another one of the interesting tests of this year: to let everyone come to their own conclusions, that everyone's version of the truth is equal, even if some are based on lies. I always thought the truth mattered, but it was just my version of it I was championing. And of course, there is no other version for any of us, so this issue really becomes an exercise in the paradox of maintaining our own perspective, and maintaining unity at the same time. Was able to get some painting done this week, things were a little rocky at first, but led to progress. Have never had to wait as long I did this year, exciting to begin again as a beginner.


      Chart for the moment of the solstice, Sun in 00.00.00 Capricorn, did it for here but it would be pretty similar in New York or Washington DC, the wheel shifted a little bit, but not the planetary relationships. This chart is also called the Capricorn Ingress, and these are often used in mundane or predictive astrology to explore what is going to happen in the coming year. Began to explore it that way this week, and it told a surprisingly cogent story. We have the official beginning of the Age of Aquarius in Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Aquarius in the second house, which is about values. What we value mundanely, like possessions, but also what we value as attitudes or behaviors. So, both the structure of our values (Saturn), and their application for greater good (Jupiter), will be shifting from more material and business oriented Capricorn values to more collective and global Aquarian values in the year to come, although Pluto is still in Capricorn and will be for three more years. Both Capricorn and Aquarius tend to be oversimplified in these discussions. Yes, Aquarius values will introduce lots of new ideas that are helpful to everyone, not just people who can afford them. But Capricorn is organized and methodical compared to Aquarius, and we are very used to that. The intense Aquarius desire for change can lead to intolerance and chaos before a new order is established. This chart has a close square between Pluto in Capricorn and Mars in Aries, meaning a lot of tension between the old established values and a very strong desire for something new to begin. Both of these planets are in close conjunction to bodies that are very much about about disharmony: the asteriod Lilith (1151) for Pluto and the dwarf planet Eris (goddess of discord who tossed the golden apple in the Judgement of Paris myth) for Mars. In contemporary astrology, these are often labelled as troublemakers, but this is not necessarily 'bad,' in that disharmony points out what is either hidden or not working, and, as always, these energies occur in octaves. So, especially for an individual, it's all about how the energy is used. On the other hand, in terms of the collective, the lowest octave is capable of the most intense discord, so this, and coping with it, will be part of 2021. Still, the Moon in Pisces is 60 degrees (sextile) from Pluto, and 30 degrees (semi-sextile) away from Mars. The sextile is harmonious, the semi-sextile less so, in that it seeks to relate energies that are very different, and, in this case, planets that are quite different as well. The Moon is the collective emotional field or subconcious, and Pisces, as the last sign, tends to be about learning to let go, or see things in larger terms. The Moon is conjunct Neptune, which is the collective unconscious, so this makes the activities quite deep in the fourth house of home or the unconscious. The Moon is also closely conjunct the asteroid Persephone, which gives the option to be in psychological winter, or summer. There are three asteroids opposite the Moon in the tenth house of outer manifestation: Sphinx, which is about mysteries, or the unknowable, Atlantis, which is about technical and spiritual elitism and fear of destruction, and Minerva, which is similar to Athena, the wisdom goddess who solves problems. So, a variety of possibilities for how the Moon conjunct Neptune energies will manifest. Positive possibilities are enhanced by the applying energies of the dwarf planet Orcus on the midheaven, which is out near Pluto with a similar elliptical orbit but slanted the opposite way, and rebuilds a new structure once Pluto has destroyed the old one. The asteroid closest to the ascendant in the first degree of freedom-loving Sagittarius is Astrea (5), which has to do with having difficulties letting go, and exact conjunction here. So, given that America freaked out over the potential loss of Twinkies, Orcus has its work cut out for it in 2021. Summing up: to the extent that this chart broadly represents the collective energies of 2021, it is sort of balanced between the perennial doom and gloom of the MSM, and the endlessly receding cosmic carrot of bliss the channeled material I read depicts; that is, because we make our own reality, everything is fine if we envision it that way. This makes sense in terms of the choice in the chart of how the Pluto energy is used: discordantly through Mars (as in the recent car bomb in Nashville, and 'inexplicable' explosion of the hydroxychloroquine factory) or more harmoniously through the Moon and Neptune. So, in the year to come, the polarity choice we each made long ago will begin to manifest in two types of experience: one that is more, and one that is less, harmonious. The more harmony we can generate, the more harmony we can project. Once again, as usual, forever and ever, in a free-will Universe it's all up to us.


      Decided to try developing one of the more equivocal acrylic underpaintings further in acrylic instead of oil. As was often the case when I worked in acrylic a long time ago, the process moves so quickly that interesting things can become lost: the second version seems to be the most interesting to me now, but is long gone. I like solving the puzzle of how to get the last one to work, but wasn't sure I liked how the paint itself looked being so opaque. This is also a recurring issue with this approach: the version I like has the most transparency. The underpainting creates unity but this also compromises the colours. And, perhaps most importantly, the option to carve the top paint back exits very quickly. So, overwhelmed with things I had taken for granted in the oil process with these, it seemed best to move on to something else!


      Small study in oil from last summer that I ended up liking. 9x10 inches, oil on Arches Huile.


      Decided to use it as a point of departure for something in acrylic with a different medium concoction. Felt like this would provide more functional awareness of the difference between the two types of paint. Ended up liking the look of this paint better, but it still dried pretty quickly. I sped up to compensate and liked the idea of putting in lots of small color glitches in one layer that might or might not be covered in the next one. But overall, I still ended up feeling kind of rushed. Which I didn't like. Well, this could be solved by using a retarder, but it felt like I'd learned what I needed to learn from acrylic for the time being. Don't feel this is done, but it's further along than anything else made in acrylic this year, which seems to be more about exploring questions than providing answers. Which is not a criticism. May come back to it at some point, see if I can keep it from mutating completely into something else, but it feels like the impetus of the process is somewhere else. 10x11.75 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      So then I went back to oil, with the idea of using an underpainting that was as thin and lean as possible to set up the composition on the first day, then finish it on the second or third day. Just as working in acrylic was a great relief for a while, working in oil again was a great relief after working in acrylic. This is a good example of how the process really doesn't care about destinations, it meanders around like a river but learns much more that way than by going in a straight line. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Did another underpainting in oil, using two of the studies from 2019 as references. Began this in primary colors, made a few secondary colors from there. Pausing at this point gives the question of how to develop it next more time and space. It's interesting to review the options now, before they've happened, instead of reviewing them while they were all going on, which is what I did before. Nothing bad about that, but I wonder what these will look like if the completion pressure is spread out over more time. It may just lead back to doing them alla prima again, but with a different sense of the sequence. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.



december 20

      First week of the moon, winter arrived here abruptly with a storm. This featured a mix of snow and rain that might have turned the neighborhood into a giant ice rink, but thankfully didn't. Did some shoveling early the next morning, it was sunny and felt very much like Vermont outside. Which was very nice, but a surprise since there are three times as many people in this county as in that state. But, for a while anyway, nature prevailed here over the all too human malaise, and the few other people who were out walking dogs or shoveling seemed to feel the same way. Had to take a book to the post office, but knew it would be okay because of having four wheel drive. I get to actually use this about once a year, but it's fun. The post office was just getting set up, so they were more informal than usual, kind of excited about their snow day, this was also fun. The energy of the morning was so unusually positive that I checked the planets, and this was in fact the first morning that Saturn was in Aquarius. So, that was a high point, of course more than balanced by the lengthening shadow of election result anxiety, several packages that are now weeks late, and a sense that the people are going to wake up to what has really gone on this year, to what it means going forward, very, very slowly. There's been a lot of hype recently about the solstice tomorrow, as a turning point: mass meditations for peace, a higher timeline, etc., and this is fine. But this is just one more station on a journey away from centuries of lies and distraction, back towards the truth of who we are. Perhaps as a result of having consistently hoped for way too much reveal from 2020, I am now reluctantly accepting that 2021 will necessarily also be hopelessly slow. Wouldn't want anyone to miss their sitcom. Still, there are some clues emerging about what might be termed the larger plan. There is an interesting discussion of this here. More mundanely, it is always a good idea to know where the aircraft carriers are. Home for the holidays!


      Started some new work this week, that was fun after such a long wait this year, but sort of asked as many questions as it answered. It felt like the most important thing was to work on the process itself. The importance of the composition to this work led to overemphasis on it sometimes, they felt too static. Yet shifting to more loose paint and execution didn't quite do what I wanted. How to keep the composition strong, yet be more fluid, able to evolve more within the process? Did a few of these loose underpaintings in thin, dilute acrylic to establish something dynamic, but not have it be too tight. At first this one seemed to have a nice balance of information, not too much, not too little. But as the week went on, they became simpler. So, the next step is to develop a group of these in oil, and see what happens in that stage. This type of underpainting is a different stage, and may need some fiddling to integrate, but feels like it will offer more to the whole process.

december 13

      Last week of the moon, another week of very mild weather, nice but a little bizarre. Lower energy the last few days, new moon on Monday, will be very interested to see how this one feels. A foot of snow is predicted for Wednesday, that's a lot for here and it looks like it will actually be around for a few days. Got to make a small painting this week, a nice feeling after so long. In larger terms, the next two weeks may get intense as the great election melodrama is played out for all to see. I feel the election was stolen and the results will be overturned. Just as the 'pandemic' was actually a cover for something else, so is the 'election.' At this point the final act of 2020 will begin, the big wake up call for everyone who is still hypnotized by Tell Lie Vision. So the chances are it's not exactly going to be subtle. No matter what seems, or is 'reported,' to be happening, the important thing is to stay calm and focused in the positive. Differentiate between outer lies and inner truth. If they want to keep lying, let them lie one last time. Up until the Solstice on the 21st, the days get shorter. But after that we are headed out of the darkness, and into the light.


      Have wanted to try a specific shift in the medium for a while, less saturation, more mobility, realized this approach would probably make a nice realistic study medium, so tried this composition, the top half of a Cotman watercolour. Which was sort of a surprise. Yet, could not get myself to make it more in the semi-decorative or planar Cotman style, which was what had interested me in the first place. So just worked on it until I couldn't see anything anymore: an approach familiar from a lot of outdoor landscape work long ago. Had planned to work on it a second day, but it was dry the second day, which was sort of a surprise. At least it was matte, which is was supposed to be. Felt rusty but this was sort of fun. I miss this kind of nature, which was part of my life for so long in Vermont, is part of my ideal world. The familiar sense of lots more to go, but not sure when it will happen, am more interested in using this paint to do something else. At least, ha-ha, I think I am. Ideas about what happens next are always forming, but it's also always proven best to let the energy of the process direct the show. About 7.5x10 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Lily and I are playing a lot at night these days. She's been getting me up at 12:30 to play out in the hall, she hops up on top of a stack of cardboard boxes and we go several rounds with my hands and various toys. She gets this great pugnacious look, and we're not done until that goes away. I used to have to be pretty careful when we played, wore gloves and an old sweatshirt sometimes, both of which she shredded over time. Now she's more careful with me, just takes a shadow bite when I make a mistake and she gets a chance. This is another favorite spot, up on top of a stack of old paintings in boxes on the shelf unit next to the desk, she's above me, attacking down, a favorite of hers.


      More casual hunting occurs in in the afternoon. She likes this piece of doubled clothesline, it didn't take her long to figure out how to get both ends with one paw. She'll get up on her hind legs for this too, but that's mostly at night.


      She lets loose a little more when my hand isn't involved. Yikes.


      Still infinite. Still here.

      Which you is the most important? The you that you are, the you that you have been, or the you that you are becoming?

december 6

      Waning moon, a quiet week, time to be, not do. Everyone needs to do it their own way. Sometimes this is hard to watch, especially if their own way is actually someone else's way, and based on lies, lies, lies. One of the things I learned early was that it's very difficult to make anyone aware of their own program, the program being the limitations that they have adopted and called 'reality.' Surprise: no one wants anyone else's advice! I then realized that it was possible, just barely possible now and then, to work on my own program, or rut, and have concentrated on that over time, because, when anyone expands, this gives everyone the opportunity to expand. Last year an awareness began that my personality program was beginning to disintegrate, and this year the process ramped up considerably. Instead of being on the inside of the personality, looking out, I'm on the outside of the personality, looking in: a really different perspective. I can see now how who I defined as 'me' was a role I assumed in order to learn a pretty detailed set of lessons. In a way, those lessons are still active, but they also seem more optional now, no longer compelling in the same way. It's been interesting to feel both panic and relief about this over the last few months: relief because the all too familiar program was clearly ending, panic because the rut was my rut, and all I had ever known. My instinct is to try to do something about it, when the whole point is that obsession with doing, with fixing things, was all part of the program. Yet, here I am, still, in this prolonged lull. At the same time, it could well be that this is about the end of one cycle, admittedly a pretty large one, before the beginning of the next one. So it will be interesting to see what the next few months bring in terms of change. It would be really fun to see the old program, the massive labyrinth of materialist lies, finally disintegrate, and real life, in collective terms, based on universal opportunity and equality, begin. Our intentions create reality, so the more we envision, and believe in, a new way, the likelier it is to occur. Yes, the most fantastic irony of all: it is as simple as that. Who dares defy the apocalyptic Tell Lie Vision, and hope?


      This week is Lily's anniversary. She arrived under the porch five years ago, this is the first picture I took of her. Little did I know! Did she know? Oh yes, I think she knew.

november 29

      Waxing moon, full moon early Monday morning here. Another oddly gentle and still week, some really interesting colours in the remaining leaves. In spite of the general murkiness, the incipient fog of war, things became a little more creative this week. Not much, but heard some tectonic plate creaking that feels promising. Seven weeks until someone is inaugurated as the next President, the suspense was challenging at first given the potential of this situation to generate chaos, but I'm getting used to it. Came to the conclusion that hoping for the best for the country was better than hoping for a specific candidate, more on that 'non-dualistic' process below. Had a personal revelation, namely, that I've always looked to create quality results, and assumed that this would create quality time, rather than creating quality time, and allowing this to create quality results. This happened when I was making something utilitarian in the basement on the tablesaw that took longer, and was more fiddley, than I had planned on, which typically would have bugged me, at least somewhat, as a 'waste of time.' But I didn't care, just liked doing it, let it take as long as it needed to. Wow! A small thing, but also a huge thing. Of course, as reported a few times, Lily has been working on this all year with me using the staircase. I would tend to just take her up the stairs when she came in, but she started to stop, and stop again, all the way up, to make me stop too and consider the stairs as both a place and an experience, rather than as just a conduit. Anyway, something is finally shifting there, which is really exciting for me. I could see that being slowed this year, then stopped, then beginning to dissolve, might be part of the plan, yet that didn't make it any more fun. Now I can at least see that the way forward is to put the quality of the time itself first. Which means that being now officially comes before doing, oh no! Well, I would have said that I knew this, but really, I only knew it in my head, not my body. This is interesting because, in the book, I had the sense to stress the physical, as opposed to mental, or intellectual, aspect of painting so dear to the 20th century, but didn't realize I had only scratched the surface. There's always more, but sometimes it occurs in a place that is sort of subterranean, and less obvious. The deeper the place where it occurs, the more it changes the layers on top of it. There's always more, but sometimes you have to wait. There's always more, and the wait tests your faith. But there's always more.


      Thought about taking the paint shard idea in another direction, and made a few 'sheets' of colour with acrylic paint on freezer paper. But it stuck better than I thought it would, and the formula for the paint itself didn't have a lot of elasticity or the right look. So, this wasn't is the right approach either, but it gave me a different idea. I'm going to keep working on developing this, the concept of working with pieces of dry colour seems really interesting as as a way to balance colour that has always been wet.


      Lily in her recently more cold-proofed sleep area during the day, and at night, below.

november 22

      Well, I lived through it, never any doubt of that really. But don't know where to start as far as explaining what happened this week. Probably for the best! Fall down seven times, get up eight. The news will return next week for more fun and frolic. Some odds and ends below, and links to places I visit daily for information about the bigger picture.


      Have been making a semi-sun oil for a couple years now on the front windowsill in small jars covered with cheesecloth. This is the refined Italian walnut oil from Jedwards, about as thick as stand oil after a year or so. Full sun would of course be much faster, but this works too once you're somewhat ahead. Took a pretty thick film off the top, below, scraped it with the palette knife for oil that was still liquid. This level of yellowing is pretty good for a walnut oil of this thickness.


      Have wanted to try something using shards of dry paint for a while. This was fun and there's something here but I'm probably not going to explore it further.


      Lily liked to spend the night outside over the summer. Then she began waking me up sometimes by sending me a dream. It was always variations of the same image: her standing up with her front paws on the bed and whacking me on the wrist: just what she does in life. When I went to the front door, she was always there waiting. Recently it's been been so warm that she started to stay out all night again. And early one morning she woke me up with a dream again. This one was a little different. I was already dreaming, one of those detailed but arbitrary cinematic scenes that sometimes occur, sort of like treading dream-water, when her trademark image interrupted. It was like an early video game version of Lily, 8 bit, not that many pixels, very funny. I went down to the front door and she was right there. Another Lily dream: in this one, she had wings, sort of early Renaissance, with varied earth colours in stripes near the base. She was navigating her favorite wood shelf unit: the wings blurred like hummingbird wings and took her from one shelf to another. So, I don't know how much Lily is in charge of presentation with these dreams, but there's an element of comedy in them that's strangely consistent with how she operates.


      There was quite a celebration here about the projected election results the evening after they were announced, and when I went out to let Lily out early the next morning, someone was asleep in the old wicker sofa on the front porch, with Lily's blanket over him. We said good morning to each other. Lily looked at me from a few feet away from the door, as if to point out that this was not exactly normal, and to get my take on it. I wondered if she was concerned, and told her she could come inside if she wanted, which she quickly did. I was upstairs considering what to do about the guy on the porch, when other people nearby got involved via the phone. When I got back out again about fifteen minutes later, he was gone, and Lily's blanket was folded up on her chair again. Which I thought was a nice gesture. Anyway, to make a long story I had nothing to do with short, we now have new lights with motion detectors on the front porch. It got colder this week, and I thought about making Lily's chair nest a little more protected: the more she can stay out over the winter, balance outside with being inside, the better it is for her, and for us. So I put two cardboard boxes together with duct tape, then put her blanket in there, with a folded up scrunchy bathroom rug beneath it to make up for losing the padding from the chair to the box. I like it better, but I wonder if she'll go for it. She might not like the depth of the enclosure, the way it is both a nest and a prison: this is the kind of thing she is really sensitive to. So, it may be better to cut the top off: less protection from the weather, but she can hop out quickly to the right or left. Once I get something I know she likes it might be fun to do it more permanently in plywood, with foamboard insulation. On the other hand, I kind of like the 2020 look of this. Anyway, this is the first time she's been out since I set it up. When I left she was sort of checking it out, so I went and got the camera, then took this photo through the thick plexiglass over the glass on the front door.


      Some natural beeswax I put in water to bleach a few years ago in a semi-sunny window, procedure from the Xavier Langlais book, suggested by my friend Roland. The wax began between yellow and brown, but became reasonably white over time, and is the same colour on the inside as the outside. This process would probably work better, and faster, in a sunnier window.


      Amazing photo taken through a microscope by my friend Roland of the intricate interactions between natural silica beach sand, salt, linseed oil, and water created by the refining process.


      What a look! The mighty huntress during a more contemplative moment: to pounce, or not to pounce? Lily loves this spot because she can attack from so many angles, yet she is always secure. This gets very comical and is our current favorite sport.




      Checked the cherry tree at the post office again and it has a new batch of gum, this stuff isn't even hard yet. Cherry gum was used in European painting very early, mentioned in the 8th century. Of all of water-based additions used in small amounts in older oil painting, this is the strongest in terms of making the paint seize, 2-3% in the paint film causes a revolution.

in the labyrinth

      Once upon a time, there was a Labyrinth. It was not a traditional labyrinth, constructed of stone in one plane, but a Labyrinth made up of ideas and beliefs, and it had many dimensions. Two people were given the task of solving the Labyrinth. One of them was called Mind, the other was called Heart. They were, in one sense, related, but in another sense, they were very different. As they stood before the massive Labyrinth, Mind took charge and said, 'Okay, leave this to me. This is exactly what I'm good at. You'll only get lost and slow us down.' Heart thought a second, then asked, 'Are you sure you know what this is?' Mind said, 'What do you mean? Use your eyes, it's a giant Labyrinth!' 'Do you remember when we…' Heart began. 'We don't have time for this!' Mind interrupted importantly. 'Look, we've got a job to do, and I'm going to do it. Just follow me and we’ll be in and out in no time.'

       And so, Mind set off boldly into the Labyrinth, with Heart following a little way behind. The complexity of the Labyrinth was staggering. It went up, down, sideways, diagonally. It was full of signs pointing out where to go, and how long it would take to get there. But these were clearly not accurate. In the Labyrinth, things were often topsy-turvy. Up was down, and dark was light. 'Wow,' said Mind, 'Whoever built this was a total genius!' 'I'm not sure we're getting anywhere,' Heart said. 'We're doing just fine!' Mind responded, 'This thing is complicated! Just follow me and we'll be out of here in no time.' 'Do you remember when we…' Heart began. 'FOLLOW ME!' Mind shouted, and started running down a new corridor.

      And so, on it went in the Labyrinth, year after year. Mind made diagrams and kept copious notes, which were comforting, but didn’t seem to actually be helpful. Finally one day Mind stopped, looked around and said quietly, 'You know, I think we've been here before.' 'Yes, we have,' Heart agreed, 'Twenty-seven times.' Mind took a deep breath and said 'We haven't tried this way, that must be it.' 'You said that last time,' Heart said, 'And we have tried that way.' 'Okay, okay,' Mind said, 'Just give me a second here, I'll figure this out.' Heart waited patiently. Suddenly, Mind began to pound on the walls of the Labyrinth, shouting, 'Get me out of here! Get me out of here! I can't figure this out!' Heart now took a deep breath, and then asked, 'Is it okay if I show you something?' 'How can you show me anything?' Mind asked impatiently. 'You don't think, you just feel.'

      Heart raised an eyebrow, then walked right through the wall that Mind had just been pounding on. 'What?!?' Mind said, 'You can't do that! Why, that's cheating! You have to play by the rules!' Mind then seemed puzzled, thought a moment, and added, 'Wait, HOW did you do that?' Heart walked calmly back through the wall. 'You believe what you see is real,' Heart explained, 'So the Labyrinth is real to you. I could feel that the Labyrinth wasn't real as soon as we got in here. It's made up of lies in costume, so they look like the truth. The key to the Labyrinth is not to believe what it’s telling us, but to look beneath the surface.' There was a pause. 'You knew this all along?' Mind then asked. 'I felt it all along,' Heart said. 'Why didn't you tell me?' Mind asked. 'I learned a long time ago that I can't tell you anything until you're ready to hear it,' Heart said. 'So, you can get us out of here?' Mind asked hopefully. 'Follow me," Heart said.

      And so, with Heart leading, and Mind following, they emerged from the Labyrinth a few seconds later. The sun was shining. Birds were singing. It was an unusually beautiful day. ‘I can’t believe we wasted so much time in there,’ Mind said, looking around distractedly. ‘We have forever,’ Heart explained. ‘There was something we had to learn in there.’ ‘Who would build such a thing?’ Mind asked. ‘It wasn’t a Labyrinth, it was a Trap.’ ‘It was a teaching tool,’ Heart said. ‘The important thing is what we learned from it.’ ‘Well, I learned that you’re a lot smarter than I thought you were!’ Mind said admiringly. ‘Well, that’s one way of looking at it,’ Heart said, laughing. Mind took a deep breath, then sighed. 'Okay," Mind said. 'I learned that I have limitations, and that those limitations can be used to fool me completely. I thought I was smarter, or better, but that's exactly what got us so lost. I see now that I need you, that we were designed to be equals.'

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