Tad Spurgeon oil paintings


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A Sunday look at process and product.
An overview of finished work from the last few years is now here.

april 11

      Mostly sunny, the heyday of the magnolia tree across the street, the sidewalk below now covered with giant petals. One gently warm afternoon, now rainy and a little chilly, Lily wanted to get under the covers this morning, I make a tent for her by raising my knees and she scoots in, always comical. Last week of the moon, usually a more quiet time for the work, but got a little bit done and liked what happened. In larger terms, well, the struggle goes on. It still feels like what's actually happening and what is being presented as happening are two very different things. I still expect to see the Ever Given become newsworthy again in the days to come.


      New moon in the first few hours of tomorrow, the asteroids closely involved with this one are pretty intense. The closest asteroid to the Sun-Moon conjunction is Askalaphus. He was the orchard keeper in the underworld who told on Persephone eating a few seeds of pomegranate, and was first buried alive by Persephone's mother Ceres (Demeter), then turned into a screech owl after Hercules released him. But of course, Askalaphus was telling the truth, Persephone did not literally keep the agreement she had made with Hades. So, this asteroid has to do with knowing highly awkward things, and the question of what to do about them. When is the truth helpful, when is it, figuratively if not literally, tale bearing? So, the fine points of this might be focal this month, especially since both Ceres and Persephone are quite close to Askalaphus, and Kassandra, who told the Trojans to leave that horse alone, is conjunct Mercury (forget to put this one in the image), ruler of all forms of communication. So here we have a warning about trickery that goes unheeded. The next closest asteroid is Eris, the Greek Goddess of Discord who threw the Golden Apple, which led to the fateful Judgement of Paris. So, this influence is about the opposite of unity, the willful promotion, or plotting, of separation. The Sun-Moon conjunction also makes a Grand Cross with three other asteroids, this amplifies the active energy of the situation. Atropos is one of the three Fates, the eldest, the one who cuts the cord, so to speak. House usually has to do literally with where someone lives, this might have to do with America discovering that the White House is now uninhabited, it's life as a symbol ended. Magdalena is about Mary Magdalene, the supression of the the Divine Feminine principle in consensus culture and religion, and it's consequences. Orius is not technically an asteroid, but a Centaur like the more well-known Chiron, and a Trans-Neptunian. My experience with the Trans-Neptunians has been that they act slowly but surely on the subconscious to create a larger version of the personality, whether the ego like it or not. The Centaurs as a group are often characterized as troublemakers, but it would be more accurate to say they their directness, or 'wildness,' asks questions in places, and demand answers in places, that society generally finds problematic. Could find little on Orius, the definition of the Universe has expanded so vastly in the last few decades in terms of these smaller bodies that astrology hasn't really caught up. Anyway, this moon is pretty powerful, and not the easiest to grok, positive and negative potentials pretty closely intertwined. Being in Aries, it's going to feature a new beginning, but also some potentially ram-like or combative energy. My hope it offers greater transparency, more of an opportunity to perceive what is really going on. Whether this opportunity gets capitalized on or not is, of course, another story. The horse is is assumed to be a symbol of victory, and is therefore willingly brought within the gates. But the horse but contains something unexpected that leads to sudden defeat.


      The correlation between drying speed and yellowing potential is well-known with painting oil. For example, linseed oil has the most potential to dry quickly, and also the most potential to yellow in lower quality oil, or under stress such as low light or humidity. At the other end of the spectrum, there are oils that are very low yellowing, but also very slow drying, sometimes even called semi-drying oils. Poppy is the traditional oil in this category, but poppy oil has run into availability issues due to coming from same plant that produces opium. The coatings industry has latched onto the inexpensive safflower oil, but conservation of 20th century paintings is already showing evidence of issues with raw safflower oil making a weak film. Grapeseed oil is also in this category. Many years ago now, I got a bottle of grapeseed oil that was green from the grocery store in Vermont. I just let it autoxidize, and used that in small amounts in a medium to offset the potential yellowing of linseed oil. The fatty acid ratios are so different that it takes very little grapeseed oil to give linseed oil a profile similar to walnut oil. Over the years, at least ten now I think, this oil thickened until it was about the same thickness as stand oil, but more mobile. This oil surfaced recently in an email exchange with my friend Roland, who pointed out politely that using grapeseed oil in a medium would be a problem because it does not dry. When I pointed out that I had been doing this now for at least seven years without any issues, Roland looked further into the behavior of grapeseed oil. And it turns out that, because of the number of different grape cultivars that exist, the total PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids, the ones that dry well) amount in grapeseed oil is quite variable! Grapeseed always has less than 1% of C18:3, the fastest drying fatty acid, but can be up to 75% C18:2, the other PUFA. So, I'm pointing this out because decent quality (green) grapeseed oil with no additives is readily available now as a healthy skincare product. You want to stay away from cheap clear grapeseed oil that is made from wine grapes. If you live in a sunny location, you can make sun oil from it this summer. Yes, it may well take all summer, but you then have something NON-YELLOWING to use instead of stand oil. If you want to use small amounts of it right away, you can heat polymerize it, though you need to be very careful with this, do it outside, in a protected area, etc. as the temperature involved is about 180C. But two hours at this temperature is enough. Or you can go the Zen way and let it thicken on it's own. Once it's nice and thick, you can then heat it gently to release the byproducts of oxidation. This happens at 150C and slightly above, and heat-polymerizes the oil a reasonable amount for the time involved, making it more slippery and somewhat gelatinous. It also makes the oil darker, as in the jar on top above. There's more on this procedure on the Just Oils page of this site. But, and this is the other point I wanted to make here, this 'wet' colour is absolutely fugitive, it has nothing to do with the dry colour of the oil. This is true of ALL DRYING OILS. So, don't worry about the 'wet' colour of your linseed oil, do tests and worry about the dry colour. Everybody loves 'pale' oil, and is willing to pay for it, but it means absolutely nothing! You can make garbage linseed oil pale just by exposing it to light and oxygen. Does that mean it suddenly dries without yellowing? No, it doesn't.


      This table in the kitchen had becomes Lily's territory, usually covered with catnip, which she likes to eat, then scatters from the plate with her tail. But it became where I worked this winter. The light was better, and Lily liked to sleep in her studio window berth in the daytime, which was next to the easel, so it gave us more space, and I packed up the studio when I was done. But now the sun is getting higher and the table is getting direct sunlight, so, as Lily slowly moves her operation more outside, I'm starting to spend more time in the studio again.


       The tempera experiments from last week were helpful, but all dried with a lot of paint film tension. This is fine on panels, but not so fine on paper. Considering this led to trying a new version of the original medium that was leaner and set more strongly. This allowed the more spontaneous paint application of the experiments, but without the strong film tension. Existing paint could be modified in a subtler way, or could be removed more cleanly, both of which are helpful for the final stage of these. So, suddenly taking the system apart last week led to some chaos, but it was what wanted to happen, and quickly allowed the system to come back together in a different way, one which I hadn't considered as a possibility before. About 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      This is the first half of the system I used above, but applied over a very lean and thin underpainting done a few weeks ago. So, still on the lean side, will get the look of the painting above in the next layer. It could have gone on, the paint sets quickly, but, very near the end of the moon, I felt lucky to get this far. Like the key of the colour most, the lower right quadrant features pieces that are too similar and either needs to be more different or more integrated.About 10x11.5 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      I'd like to do these on panels, but the ones I did on panel last year weren't organized enough and didn't work out. But, over the course of the year, this situation led to the entire system being reorganized. A quiet year, it was something to do. In this one I tried grinding the first layer back hard and applying a thin coat of an opaque, relatively stable blue, PB36, which is similar to cerulean. Wondered if I could shave the entire thing back down to gesso, but the answer to that was not by me. I used to think of this type of experience as a failure, but these small studies on panels from last winter were the catalyst for the rebirth of the whole system in a way I like much better.


      So, started making panels again this week towards the end, I love working with blue gesso, and want to try one of these with the dry pigment-water-base tempera system from last week. I sort of dismissed the first iteration of this, but now it seems like it has more to offer than I first thought: not a unique experience! It's not that I think this is better, but it's a look to learn more about. In some ways it's fussier, but in others it's more forgiving. You know, it's funny. I've looked at paint from both sides now, from fat and lean, and still somehow, it's paint's illusions I recall. I really don't know paint at all.

april 4

      Colder again this week, we didn't get any snow but Friday was bright and brisk. Third week of the moon, usually this is a little quieter but the work began some larger changes last week and decided they weren't large enough this week. So, things were a little chaotic, but it's always interesting to tag along and see what happens next.


      Started here, third layer on this one. Didn't like where it had gone that much, so had to get creative, which felt right. The danger of layers seems to be that paint goes on, but nothing really happens. It looked pretty good at the end, but felt it would dry down -- not that much paint, relatively large changes in colour and value -- and it did.


      Responded to this by making a new one. This one sort of pushed the existing envelope, and has some interesting moments -- some additions to the lexicon, things I would do again -- but didn't really coalesce in larger terms, might be termed Mannerist, urgh. A number of factors contributed to this, always interesting to analyze these, but not sure it makes any difference. Just start over again with a new plan.


      Decided to begin with new type of composition, and liked this one as a point of departure. Also decided to work with a new type of paint.


      Made a water-base tempera medium, mixed this with some dry pigments, and did a small study with it.


      I liked this paint because it was more about the pigment, and I liked the way the different type of composition operated. But this paint had some limitations, and did not want to get into details with a brush, so decided to just stop this and rethink the whole thing. About 7x9 inches, tempera on gessoed paper.


      Made a new version of the medium that was denser, could be used with knives.


      Used some different pigments, tried this a little larger, at the usual scale, added some lean putty to the medium to give it a longer open time. It still dried really quickly. This began to dictate what could happen, which I was a little slow to pick up on, then enjoyed because a lot could happen quickly and anything I didn't want could be changed over and over. So, though a complete mess with a number of oddities, some of which worked better than others, this was a great deal of fun. Stopped it because the paper was beginning to buckle from the combination of the water getting into the gesso and the film tension of the paint as it dried. Weighted it overnight and it looks like it will become flat again, but made another version of the medium to fix this. About 10x12.75 inches, tempera on gessoed paper.


      Decided not to make this one water- phase to get a little more control. It was less of a slugfest, but, as usual, probably moved the pendulum too far the other way. It ended up looking more like the old way, but set more, layered more, and will probably dry brighter than it is today. The sun is getting higher in the sky, so this set up is less ideal than it was in the winter. But it won't be long before Lily vacates the studio for the great outdoors and I can move back in. But it was a good move, gave us both more privacy during the time when she's mostly inside.


      More finished, still an assortment of oddities, some of which worked out better than others. But this one feels more in the ballpark in terms of the medium, the changes will be smaller now. This was more spontaneous than the all oil method I started with this week, and the proportion of the water-base medium to the oil base medium can be changed to more water-base, less oil base if need be to get a little more nuttiness back. A lot happened between Friday and today. About 10x12.75 inches, tempera on gessoed paper.


      Earlier this week: 'It's sunny but where did the warm go?' Today it's headed towards 65 and she's out, wahoo!

march 28

      Slowly getting more Spring-like here, more bulbs in flower, cherry blossoms starting to come out, a few warm sunny days, Lily has started to spend all night outside, and she's so much happier. First week of the new solar year, waxing moon, full moon today, not without complexity, but with pretty positive energy. Some interesting new things happened in the work, nothing resolved yet but the process is on its way somewhere new. I like it when things resolve, but every definition of finished has proven to be temporary, so it's become easier to just move on. Had some progress with deep breathing this week, it was always positive but has become more so with experience. No altered state experiences, but can see how that could happen. The larger focus is still about less doing more being, abandoning judgement, aka the dance of right and wrong, examining any jagged leftovers as they come up, making them smooth, and sending them on their way. In conventional terms, this is all sort of boring, because it's about leaving all conventional terms behind. But conventional terms always bored me, so it's exciting to find ways to go further into a definition of life that is more personally appealing. This process has been going on for years now, but has started gaining momentum in larger increments. It's like an electron gaining speed for the quantum leap to another orbital. What happens when all the conditioning, the myriad consensus boxes for consciousness, are finally gone? Who is in there really, who is left when everything is forgiven, everything is healed, the endless background chatter of the past finally ended? And why do I have the feeling that my own identity will come as a total surprise?


      Chart of the full moon, 2:45 this afternoon on the East Coast. Featuring a close triple conjunction of the Sun, Venus, and Chiron in 8 Aries, opposite the Moon in 8 Libra. Chiron is usually thought of as being about the need to heal the wound, whether personally or collectively, Aries means the pain is about a beginning, or a battle, or some combination of both, conjunct Venus makes it easier to move quickly into healing. The asteroids closest to the Sun-Chiron-Venus Sun-Moon conjunction are Kassandra just before it, and Achilles just after it. Kassandra was the seer in the Iliad who warned the Trojans not to bring the horse the Greeks left within the walls, but they didn't listen to her. Achilles, of course, was also in the Iliad, the warrior with one fatal flaw where Thetis held him by the ankle when she dipped him in the Styx as an infant to make him invincible. The Moon is conjunct Logos, which is a TNO (transneptuian object), not an asteriod. The TNOs are sort of far out compared to the asteriods; they seem to be about various ways of moving beyond the world of the mundane personality: the quick way, the slow way, the easy way, the hard way, etc. The meanings given for Logos (also the root of logic) usually have to so with the ability to speak the Word with a larger or cosmic level of truth and order. This speaking would be heartfelt (the Moon) and have to do with balance (Libra). Interesting to see how this energy manifests, if it does so tangibly at all. Speaking of tangibly, I wonder about the Evergreen cargo ship trapped in the Suez Canal: a situation that is finally a little too big to hide. What's in the containers on that ship that we didn't think could possibly be in the containers on that ship?


      The co-op had both coconut oil and olive oil on sale so it seemed time to make more soap. This recipe was about one third each of coconut, olive, and linseed, with a little castor oil added. Three pounds of oil, about all the crockpot will do, took less than an hour to make it once everything was together. Cuttable, but still pretty soft the next day because of the castor oil. They'll harden fully over over the next few days and the castor oil will, in theory, balance out the strong cleansing of the coconut oil a little more. Either way, another year of simple, chemical-free clean.


      Remade the lean and fat putty in the medium last week, this was the first week of using them. The fat putty worked very well, the soda-hardened beeswax instead of regular beeswax made it tighter, as you can see from the photo. Needed to make the lean putty tighter as well, but a new system is now underway that I like better.


      Printed out one of the small drawings that I liked, it was interesting to see it blown up to the 8.5x11 size. Used this to start the next painting, but simplified it, made it less curve-oriented overall.


      This is one way they can start. Began with lighter colours and more variety to force more balance-by-layering in the colour and make the composition need later balancing with specific colour details. This sort of worked out, but sort of didn't.


      In a way I liked the underpainting too much, and began to just augment the original colours instead of changing them. This may also have been because this was the first image with the new version of the medium, and, in spite of the fat medium being so dense it was hard to squeeze out of the tube, the lean medium was so mobile it cancelled all of this out. So, became involved with figuring out what this combination would and wouldn't do, and how to fix it going forward. Because the paint was so mobile, the detailing was relatively easy to do, and easy to remove: began to get more comfortable taking chances because they were easy to change. This process tends to start a larger life for the piece, another dimension comes in through fixing or reconciling the changes that don't work out. But of course I don't realize this in any given image until I run out of the known and begin to ask about the unknown. I like this overall, but it also feels a little hands off, like I was more in the plan than the image. But that was also because the paint was so loose, had to be careful of edges instead of shoving them around. Will return to working from this composition again at some point in different colours, with a different set of details over the larger shapes. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Wanted to make some drawings that were more scruffy to balance the careful meditative-lapidary approach I'd been exploring, and became sort of locked into. I liked this one most, but also knew that, compared to the more complete approach, there were lots of things that were unresolved in it. Also saw this in colours that were a little scruffier, sort of that Bay Area feeling. Have not used any black in any of these for three years, thought this one might be a logical place to start. But, ha-ha, the paint had other ideas.


      Tightened the paint for this one by adding more chalk to the medium. This meant that it layered a little more densely, but could still be picked up or maneuvered more easily than where I started a few years ago. Now, if you look carefully, you can see that this in fact started with the set of large shapes that are in the drawing. But then it kind of took off, and ended up with everything in it but the Easter bunny. Which was fine: every now and then, usually towards the full moon, one of these happens: the paint says out of my way and does what it wants to do. This one also got into a new territory in terms of equivocal space, feels like looking through a 3D chess game. It was exciting to make, and mapped out a great many possibilities to explore in the year to come. As opposed to the more balanced or in-control images of last few weeks, so many new things happened that they couldn't coalesce in an extended alla prima time frame. So, relatively nutty, a place that recurs, but not usually with this much energy. At the same time, that sense of being too new to fit any of the existing boxes seems appropriate for right now. The process is really stirred up, would not be surprised if more large swings of the style pendulum occur before it settles down again. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Clean sheets!

march 21

      First week of the moon, more seasonally cool then warmer yesterday, lots of crocuses, some trees beginning to bud. The beginning of the actual new year yesterday on the equinox. Quiet week for the work, did a variety of drawings but feel at sixes and sevens about them. This is probably not their fault, but symptomatic of a larger change in progress. Made some interesting new materials last week I'd like to work with in paint, but the gentle, pervasive fog that became so familiar last year has returned, just have to be patient. I'd like to keep defining creativity the old way, as heroic, unrelenting effort, but get the feeling this is not what life has in mind. At the same time, there's no alternative on offer, so I'm left wondering. A test of faith? Well, it feels like an epic novel, and it's not an epic novel without a test of faith. As the increasingly bizarre movie of consensus reality flickers noisily on, I do get discouraged sometimes, but am getting better at moving this along. The most basic difficulty has to do with the will to consciously understand. I keep giving ground on this one, but it's in the hope of regrouping and mounting a new offensive. It would be great to find a way to surrender understanding once and for all. This is certainly not what I want, so it must be next.


      Chart of the equinox, sun at zero degrees of Aries, this is also called the Aries Ingress and is often used to analyze the mundane year to come, a set of techniques I know nothing about. I'm interested in the way the asteriods supply relevant details, and looked for asteroids that were in close aspect to the sun, and found Child conjunct it, and Narcissus opposite it. Sounds about right to me! Also looked at the asteroids that were within two degrees of zero of any of the signs, this turned up lots of Greek mythology: Klotho, Sisyphus, Tantalus, Asclepius, Ixion, the ruler who was put on permanent display for this trangressions, among others, adding detail to the Sun conjunct Child opposite Narcissus axis.


      Life is infinite, and so, naturally presents us with infinite variety and infinite choices. To keep this situation from feeling chaotic, we have organized it. We create daily routines, and we also create mental and psychological routines. These act as frames of reference, or boxes, in which we live. We each have a personal set of boxes as individuals, but also belong to a family with shared boxes, a workplace with shared boxes, a country with shared boxes. There are also boxes the genders share, boxes age groups share, boxes the wealthy share, boxes the poor share, boxes professions share, etcetera. All these boxes include some things, and exclude others. In a way, they are about discernment, and in another way, they are about judgement. Boxes are designed to create boundaries, a sense of both identity and security. And, to an extent, they do. But they also create a sense of limitation, of being trapped in a box, or even lost in a maze of boxes. We tend to accept this as simply how life is. Whatever it is, we have created a box for it: our purchases come in boxes, we even put our food in boxes. We have created conceptual boxes that are sacrosanct: some people now question the box labelled 'religion,' but for many centuries this was a good way to get yourself killed. Even now, who dares to question the authority of boxes labelled 'government,' 'medicine,' 'science,' or the most recent addition, 'TV news.' These boxes make life feel manageable, or under control, but they also, inevitably, dumb life down. This is because life is outside the box: any box. Life is a spiral, it has no right angles, and cannot be put in a box. We defend our boxes because life is too complicated without them. But who created all this complication in the first place? How did we go from simple hunter-gathers living in Nature to where we are today? What have we gained, and what have we lost, in the complex series of developments that have now led us to being sequestered indefinitely, wondering what is really going on in our culture on any number of levels? This question could be answered interminably in terms of the choices we have made, or perhaps in the lies we have had foisted on us by various authorities, over centuries of linear time. But the endless details of that answer are in the past and don't really matter. Right here, right now, a specific choice has become focal. To some extent this choice has always been available, but its existence has been progressively obscured by the proliferation of boxes. Now, it is being made increasingly clear by the larger perspective inherent in the pause we are experiencing. The choice is to return to the original blueprint of life, the spiral, or to remain within the human labyrinth of various boxes. There is no right or wrong choice, there is just a fork in the road, leading to a choice of one path or another. This means it's either-or: we can't take a few of our most favorite boxes along with the spiral, or use a little spiral to round off the boxes. It isn't something we're going to think about: some people will naturally want what the spiral has to offer, some people will naturally want to continue with frame of reference of the boxes. It's a personal choice, and it may be hard to accept that people will naturally make a choice that, from our perspective, seems not in their best interests. But, just as we don't breathe for anyone else, we don't chose for anyone else. Our perspective begins, and ends, with our choice. There is no right or wrong choice, there is just a choice.



march 14

      Some warm sunny days this week, and a new moon yesterday, all featuring a gentle expansive Lovin' Spoonful sort of feeling. Which was unexpected, but made sense. Made a lot of different materials this week, always interesting to see what comes up, what wants to happen next. Only got one painting done before the waning moon enforced a rest, an ongoing struggle with being and doing in this department. Liked this painting, yet it seems like this particular mini-pyramid of the process is complete. Concentrated more on drawing, the message of the lines and shapes before the colours arrive. This vocabulary feels less evolved than the colour or paint vocabulary, but wants to catch up, be more involved in the next structure of the process.


      Moment of the new moon early yesterday morning here, overview of the feeling energy of the next month. The longer term stressful square aspect between Uranus and Saturn is lessening, with Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces supplying the Lovin' Spoonful feeling. Details of this are in the asteroids that are in closest aspect to the Sun and Moon. Iris is the Greek goddess of the rainbow, symbol of renascent hope, the storm ended, the divine covenant, but was also the original messenger of the Greek gods, before that role was played by Hermes or Mercury. This is opposite Sphinx in Virgo, which has to do with the unknown, a mystery, something hidden: in Virgo this would mean something hidden very carefully, fastidiously, in great detail. Points in opposition always supply a kind of balance, although it can be quite tense as it plays out. In this case it might be a larger positive message coming into collective consciousness through a rainbow-type event, balanced by growing awareness of that which has been hidden, underground, so to speak, responsible for the events that led to the storm in the first place. Sometimes people lose faith when it isn't easy. Sometimes people develop greater faith when it isn't easy.

      Some channeled messages I liked from this week. A new pattern is forming in this information, emphasizing not just our infinite potential to become more, but the fact that we already are far more than we consciously know. This one explains the process that we're involved in very simply, which isn't easy to do! This one emphasizes how vast we actually are as beings beyond our 3D human identity, something that is being brought out more and more. This one is an overview of the dark versus light situation, focusing both on what is going to happen next, and why it is taking a while to manifest. This one is about getting us in touch with our infinite intrinsic worthiness.


      Continuing to refine the snow oil, just not enough seemed to come out of this particular batch based on prior experience. This is now being shaken with distilled water with some pool sand, the mucilage is beginning to emerge in large shards.


      Remade the fused damar medium that I use for character and saturation this week, still had some of the last batch but wanted to try a few changes. Mostly I wanted to use less commercially polymerized oil, and see if this would dry brighter over time, but then I switched the beeswax as well to the soda-hardened or Punic version. This is beeswax with most of the fatty acids removed, was made to mix with oil to coat the paint on statues in the very warm Mediterranean climate, so it is denser, stickier, does not slide the way regular beeswax does in warmer weather. Was surprised that this came out looking so similar to the earlier version, a little tighter if anything. So, with a new batch of glue-gessoed paper, and a new batch of both the fat and leans mediums, things are ready to be renewed this week.


      Continued with the nocturnal drawings, these are slowly developing a more articulate vocabulary of details. Am not sure how applicable this approach is to the paintings beyond the composition, don't want to get into formal patterns in paint, but they seem to just happen in line. Earlier one above, later one below, both of these are a little centered but there's a quality of motion in the puzzle pieces that's fun. These are awfully small, and while that's part of their charm for just exploring whatever, have a feeling they would be more useful at a larger scale. 3x3.625 inches, ink on paper.


      Similar palette and composition to the one from last week, but this one feels like it knows what it's doing more. I used to get all tangled up trying to know a lot about what was going to happen beforehand, but now it seems like it's only important to respond to everything that happens, say yes or no, add or subtract, layer or excavate, until it looks like it's supposed to look. This is always about how much it's balanced, and how much it's imbalanced; too balanced is uninteresting, like what used to be called elevator music, too imbalanced is chaotic, like heavy metal. I have to establish the rules on the one hand, the visual logic, but then bend and even break them in ways that are fun. 8.75x10.5 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      This is the type of system I've been working with for the last few years. It came about because I wanted to understand the various combinations of saturation, colour brightness, and the ability to remain bright, or not, over time; all of which are a function of how lean or fat the paint film is in relation to other factors like relative humidity and light levels. Coupling this with recently doing these in layers, instead of alla prima only, showed me over time that, in the interest of having more charismatic or painterly paint handling, the system had drifted into being too saturated for the level of colour brightness it required. It would still be nice to get some of that handling back, and, given that the system is about 66% as fat as it used to be, this should be possible to an extent. Keeping track of the ratio of lean to fat putty in the medium will allow this to be really incremental and replicable. Each of these ratios creates a paint with a specific look and handling character. But without a system for exploring them, the number of increments in the system tends to be less, the changes larger. This is just fun because the quality of the paint this week was something I'd never seen before. Now, I just remade both of the mediums involved, so that's another factor to the next step with this. The lean medium stayed quite similar, just a little denser, but the fat medium had some significant changes in it. Although it looks very similar in the new-old photo above, it may handle in ways that are different, especially by using hardened beeswax, a much denser material than regular wax, with no tendency to slide. We'll see, there's no destination with this, it's just about exploring the materials process further. Changes often move the pendulum too far in the other direction, so this new version may be too adhesive. But that's easy to fix with a little bone ash.

march 7

      Waning moon, milder then colder, one blustery day, some warmer weather coming soon. Worked on painting when I could, but was asked to put the emphasis on being for most of the week. There were a few days when I could feel my older sense of personality just dissolving. This is only odd since I still don't know who is going to replace this person I worked so hard to become for so long. I mean, I can understand why that approach has to go, no argument there. Still, it would be nice to have more of a clue about the next step. At the same time, it's hard to tell what is outside the frame of reference when you're living inside it. I can usually tell this type of day from the beginning, it's not unpleasant, but kind of like suddenly being on vacation, a good type of day to take a long walk on a beach, for example. Usually this type of day features high Schumann Resonance activity, it used to come in these dense chunks that could be really enervating, but this week it began to come in comb-like bursts that are different somehow, kind of jumpy. Wake up, wake up, wake up. I got as far as determining there's a lot of energy coming here right now from solar activity before deciding it doesn't really matter, the best thing is to just learn how to work with it. Am slowly getting better at staying in the neutral zone, watching the movie instead of being sucked into it, not getting triggered by any of the usual things from the past, and at identifying an opportunity to experience duality or imbalance as it unfolds in the present. I still have issues when people don't tell me the truth, but that is necessarily by my definition of the truth. And if they're actually lying, isn't that their problem, not mine? After so many years of simply reacting constantly to the accumulated inner imbalance as it once again remanifests, it's also been a very slow process to excavate it all, air it all out, but this means I'm always excited about making any progress. The Wim Hof Tummo style deep breathing is really helpful for this, there's another guy on YouTube named Dan Vadnais with some very nice breathing videos too, a little more active technique. But the whole thing is about getting more oxygen to the cells, and while this is good for the immune system, it also makes for a more positive general outlook. Also had a helpful shift this week in the concept of time. There's a change I've been waiting for, for a few years now, have discussed it here ad nauseum. It feels inevitable, it's just a question of when. And I believe that when it happens, it will be a very good thing. But, of course, not everyone will feel that way. It's been a challenge not to dwell on it, to want to figure out a date. But what became clear this week is that this waiting approach, even waiting oh so patiently, traps the process in the future, a state of always being not yet. And that this frame of reference for time, considering it as a line, is limited. The whole attraction of working with paint, colour, and space has always been that the process places consciousness outside of linear time. So, when I consider this event as having already happened, the feeling is much better, because now I'm actively within it, being happy for it. This attracts it towards me, as opposed to passively waiting for it, which effectively pushes it away. I mention this because there are so many things that we have all been taught are 'true' from day one that, when examined in terms of actual experience, are traps that limit our ability to perceive the cosmic structure of who we really are, and what is really there. These frames of reference are always squares: consensus boundaries that make us feel superficially safe, but also imprison the possibilities. The cosmic frame of reference is always round, and therefore moves and flows naturally beyond itself. It is not an accident that all natural bodies, from galaxies to planets to electrons, spin counter-clockwise. Mechanical time is not natural. After taking it's own little vacation this week, the work sort of made a shift that is small in some ways, but larger in its implications. What happened was unexpected, and I'm not sure yet how I feel about it. But it happened in order to explore it further. If it came out perfectly the first time, what fun would that be?


      Different look to the Schumann Resonance graph this week.


      Took the snow oil out of the freezer after a month and let it thaw. Decided to keep going with this, am now shaking it each day with the melted snow and the mucilage, both of which should be at least somewhat pro-oxidant. Will then freeze it, pour the oil off, and give it a wash with distilled water. In theory the month frozen with snow is enough, and in the past I've usually felt this to be true, but somehow, not this time, maybe because there was so much ice in the snow. It would be interesting to freeze it again with snow and see what happened, but that will have to wait until next winter.


      Did some more work this week with making commercial oil paint into a water-phase tempera grassa. This seems to always work best with the simplest paint: no stearate or other modern additives. But also, some pigments seem to work better than others, not quite sure why. In theory, this can be done by adding a greater amount of a thicker water-base binder to oil paint and mixing them until emulsified. The ones I've used most have been starch, hide glue, and methyl cellulose. Did this one with a thick methyl cellulose gel mixed with some marble dust. Mashed this into the oil paint at about two parts to one oil paint, then thinned it further with water. It worked, is convenient, was more painterly than literal unless quite thin, but I think just starting with pigment, oil and MC gel makes a better -- that is, easier to work with, more versatile -- paint.


      First layer on this study was done in watercolour over glue gesso, followed this with slightly more emphatic colour in the MC tempera grassa. Need to fiddle with the top of the cup still, it doesn't grow enough as it rises, but otherwise, just wanted to get this mapped in a way that avoided getting too literal. Dipping my little toe back into realism, but this may not be new enough. 8x14 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      This small marker drawing provided the basis for the next MC tempera test.


      Doing this was fun and interesting, didn't use white, the paint seemed to want to be applied more loosely and thickly in some places.


      First layer in oil, made yesterday so wet photo, the paint is drying a little higher or lighter but the slightly darker transparent layers that came first now have more influence on how it looks. Made the medium more rich or 'fat' for this by using a little bit of some walnut oil that I'd cooked last year for four hours at about 190C. It's been autoxidizing since then and is now about as thick as stand oil, but less sticky. It's definitely going to be less yellowing over time, and conservation is also finding that, because it is heated for such a long time to such a high temperature, stand oil contributes to metal soap formation. But otherwise, it is similar to stand oil in terms of relaxing the theology of the medium. I compensated with increased marble dust, but this paint was still zooming around. It was also setting pretty quickly because the MC tempera beneath it was relatively lean and absorbent. I love it when things change spontaneously, but, as is often the case with something new, what was going on took a little getting used to. Was able to layer it more than I thought, but am not sure about the overall look. It's hard to say, because, although this was really fun to do, neither the colour or the composition feel done, and it somehow got more anthropomorphic when I was hoping to make it less. Ha-ha, best to leave it alone, too many things I'd like to change. But, it was fun to return to the more rococo energy of lots of paint, and it will be fun to see where this approach leads. And it's always interesting when the system reinvents itself. What is it asking me to learn? 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Slightly smaller alla prima one, same palette and medium, did add more marble dust to make it tighter. Started with a development of the composition but changed it a lot, kind of a response the image above. Mostly wanted to avoid any stylistic references to realism, let it return to that different world of colour and space altogether. A few more of these might be in order, but, we'll see. 8.75x10.5 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Lily's tummy looks like a field of harvest wheat with polka dots. I mean, who designed these creatures? This sensitive area is ritually off limits when we play, those unwise enough to test this rule inevitably realize who was born to hunt, and who was not. Her tummy gets sort of barrel-like in the winter, a clear response to the cold, to the point where she looks a lot like a Bosc pear sitting down. But she still zooms around and makes unlikely wide receiver leaps when we play, or prances or skips around like a lamb, which she seems to do out of sheer excess joy. When it begins to warm up she suddenly stops eating so much, and that happened this week. She abandoned her studio berth a few weeks ago and is now bunking with me again. Before she curls up behind my knees, she likes to make biscuits on an acupuncture point on the back of my calf, just below the knee. She must somehow know about it, it is unfailing. It used to seem that, were the bed as big as Rhode Island, she would find a way to hog it, but recently she's doing less of that. The other night we had a rare mouse alert, and she went flying off the bed three different times into the closet after it. The second time occurred while my elderly upstairs neighbor had a visit from her granddaughter, and they were both talking and moving around right above us, so there was lots of ancillary noise in the room. But Lily still heard the mouse, which I of course have yet to hear.

february 28

      Week of the full moon, that was yesterday, kind of a quietly positive one. Generally much warmer, some sun, a more positive feeling there ass well. Lily finally went out again a few days ago, when she came back in I could tell she was much happier, she played that evening jumping around like a wide receiver. Not that much progress in the work given the full moon, but a lot of change. Did lots of small drawings, am learning more about this approach, but am not sure that these are directly applicable to the paintings. That is, that the greatest relevance of the drawings, at least so far, is in defining what doesn't really work. But that at least suggests to set out in the opposite direction. Dealt with yet another round of internal purging, working with those pesky jagged emotional leftovers until they become more smooth. This is always all about forgiveness, not my strongest suit with Saturn in Scorpio, but remembering my real identity as an infinite fractal of the Divine, currently having a uniquely challenging growth experience as a human being, always helps. Ha-ha, especially in traffic. No point in getting into the gory details, but will say that writing out a declaration of independence from a given experience or influence has been surprisingly effective. The magic of the written word. Can feel when each of these storms is past, it's always great to return to that vast internal spaciousness outside of duality, whew, a little more stable each time.

      Am not interested in the political, us vs. them version of what is going on, except that, against the apparent run of play, major positive change seems increasingly inevitable. A large boom, so to speak. This is being suggested regularly in channeled messages, with the caveat that pesky things like balance and moderation will still count. This is also echoed in a recent channeled précis of the planetary situation by the Creator. The other pesky thing is that everything that has been so carefully hidden has to come out, and the truth about what the matrix concealed is not going to be easy for much of humanity to hear. A more avuncular facet of the Creator discussing the upcoming quantum moment, chaos as the prelude to freedom. The big picture, as above, so below, as within, so without, from the Galaxy. Finally, something both playful and inspiring for those of you who also find the perspective of unlikely highly evolved beings fascinating.


      More new snow this week, not sure this is the best snow image, but the degradation effect is improving.


      Explored working with a specific grammar of shapes, liked this idea best with the inclusion of half circles, but this is the only one with colour. Adding colour to these is sort of therapeutic, like being a little kid, and also sort of unforgiving, but it all adds up to learning more about what goes where, and when. Something like this would be easier to develop in watercolour, but I also like just having to choose, accept the results, adapt, and choose again. These drawings are all bedtime projects, about 4.5x5.5 inches.


      A few strong shapes and colours, wanted to work with balancing imbalance. This approach is interesting, but also a minefield of whether less is more, or less is just plain less. Would logically lead to working with cut-outs that could be coloured and positioned precisely.


      Reaction to the above approach, less formal, more motion, more pastoral or floral.


      Flattening or interrupting the pinwheel or vortex, about how much to play along with, how much to subvert, the implied visual conventions. Best of several of these, a concept that could be explored for a lifetime.


      Fiddling with the above image digitally, asking about colours I don't tend to work with in paint. Kind of nutty, cohesion sacrificed to chroma, but I like the goofy things that happen in the process. Might be an interesting place to start another physical version.


      Third layer on this one from early in 2020, wanted to try something more austere, and it had, no surprise, become too austere. Not done, I kept wondering about the upper left but by the time everything else was done it was time to stop. On its way to somewhere more interesting, will transform it again in a few months. 10.5x11 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      First layer on the one above. Alla prima composition is about live and learn, and one thing I learned with these was to beware of anything that smacked of a square, a right angle, or a grid. I liked the koi so much, tried to keep it in the second layer, but really, as a singular singleton, it had to go. Have a feeling it will return someday, though, in a different context.


      Second layer on a more recent start, went to hotter colour overall with the idea of softening, covering and excavating, etc., in the next layer. 10x12 inches, oil on gessoed paper.


      Years ago I did these at the half sheet scale and it is in some ways preferable, pretty spacious feeling in comparison to the quarter sheet scale. So, one of these at this scale in a limited palette in acrylic. Chose an earlier composition idea that had some issues, but that seems to force more present tense energy. This has required patience, putting a series of thin veils on, letting these dry, correcting them, then subtractive correction in white, next will start the additive process over. Moving in the opposite direction of the small drawings, this is necessarily crude but feels positive in terms of creating that mysterious portal into the next step with this work. 15x18 inches, acrylic on paper.

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.




      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.



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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