Ravens are magic. Ravens are creators. Ravens are talkers. Ravens are harbingers. Ravens are partners. Ravens are family. Ravens are stories. Ravens are wonder. Ravens are mystery.
Ravens have inspired me for years. From the first, Thought and Memory, that advise Odin Norse god of the Runes, to the Native American stories about raven as creator, magician and trickster. Ravens are everywhere in my world. The sit in the trees outside my studio speaking, often early in the morning, of the necessary work to come. And while my favorites here are mostly negative image ravens with geometry and sacred glyphs, ravens illuminate the darkest reaches of our world so we can create something new every day.
Each of these images are available in prints, cards and some are still available in original form. Contact me for more information.
May raven magic be with you.
Bears have wandered through my work for years. From a young boy to the present, these spirit bears guide the work and inform my understanding of life. The following gallery is in order from oldest to newest as they were created.
The bear is often associated with dreams. Because she sleeps for a significant part of the year the bear is always re-dreaming the world. Hibernation is the word often used in relation to bears, but bears actually do not hibernate because they do not produce the chemistry to stop or slow their bodies. Rather they dream. But going further, the bear searches for medicines and advised the ancients were to find the roots which can heal. In reality the bear is a highly dangerous animal and not a friend of man. Rather, the ancients saw that the bear’s danger was the greatest teacher about power. Thus the iconic image of the bear has haunted me and continues to intrigue me throughout time.
Nothing excites me more than a new paper. Strathmore came out with a new print making paper for etching and relief. It is 100% cotton with internal sizing. For those of you that don’t know paper, sizing keeps the paper together, aka it will not reduce to pulp when re-hydrated. So I tried my hand at soaking this paper.
One of the great joys of traveling around this region of the planet is the vast range of landscapes that can be seen. This work is a recapping of these journeys. The monoliths of the southwest to the majestic mountains of Colorado to the seashore in Mexico, all are present within this work. The grander of a night under the stars far from the lights of the city can also be seen here. And of course, the tree of life.
Over 30 years, I have always tried to find new and interesting ways to bring elements to my paintings. Paint is more than color to me. It is texture, process, product, inspiration and the medium itself. Golden offers one of the best lines of mediums, gels, inclusions and products to produce an infinite number of results. The more I play the more I learn about this medium.
In a workshop I named, The Medium is the Message, we have students explore the range of media and how their voice can be brought forward on canvas, board, paper and numerous surfaces. When we understand the basic workings of the polymer, we can build interesting works… the medium literally mixes with our voice and shouts a fresh new perspective all the time.
I share the following samples from the workshop and a bit of what these are:
This work developed after completing The Power of Silence by Carlos Casteneda. Conceived with a limited palette of color, the book is bound onto strings, suggestive of the lines of intent that the book illuminates. Brained tanned leather covers the case. Within the three folios each share a specific idea from Silence. Selected Quotes are added to the work for greater illumination.
These are the details of the cover:
In my younger life, I fancied that I would be a composer. Taking classes on music and composition, I found that music inspired me to see images. While drawing all the time, it was music that often inspires the artwork that I create. This work is inspired by Philip Glass a long time favorite who has inspired many of my paintings. His work is in a minimalist category, but truly he stands alone.
Here the cover is green, a reference to mother earth, and then lined with amate fibers from Mexico. The case remains open to see the knots which tied the sections together.
Long ago in a place not too far, a group of men gathered and shared a ceremony with a sacred elder. The elder, Masca, brought these men on a long night’s journey with drum and chanting and prayer. Around him were these four men, a man of action, a dreamer, a messenger, and a dark man. The elder began to spin and chant. And as he did these four discovered a pathway to the dream time. These four sat in the directions and held to the mountains where they felt called to go. Thus the Bridge was inspired in ceremony.
As an artist there are certain moments in our lives that generate so many ideas that the sum total can overwhelm. This ceremony was one such life changing event. The bridge thus has become a 16 year journey to bring this form of art into the world. In its original version, created within weeks of the ceremony, it was created in graphite. I went on to create 5 other works which relate to this central theme. Each man in the ceremony has these within their possession.
With time, I grew restless and began to search for deeper meanings and creations. Then over the next four years for greater understanding. For four years I walked the beauty path and came to understand what the Navajo elder was attempting to teach us. This did not end my deeper quest. One walks the beauty way over and over. Each direction manifest in all the others. What was four years became seven and from there sixteen, and from there a lifetime of creating art in this way. Meeting my benefactor significantly changed the direction of the work and my reflections on the ceremony we shared long ago. He taught me about the earth, the ceremonies of his tradition and gave me access to a love of life that is incomprehensible. My other half joined me in this walk. We both came to understand the bridge in ways too numerous to put into words. And through this, we committed to walk our lineage into the world.
I returned to school and found inspiration in book arts, printing and again in color. Discovering the effects of acrylic ink on BFK paper through a printing process this led to staining papers. And from there to a re-exploration of the bridge, but now in color. The above came into existence when I left the halls of school and lived near the rocky mountains. The stain, itself only the first layer, can be seen vibrating through the red, blue and yellow energies which merge to create the backdrop for the drawing and painting that came later. Each element of this work took months and years to develop and perfect. Exploring ideas in other works, I returned to this work over and over until it was completed, a full four-year walk around the wheel of time is what this took.