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New Beginings

So first of all happy 2008 everyone


Second: I apologize for not being very active on this blog during the last bit of 2007 as some of you may know, I have been very active on my flickr sight. So much so that I have neglected this space. I'll be updating here about once a week (that's the plan) and then you might want to see my flickr sight for the day to day activity


Where are we going?

Is it just coincidence that I have been deeply immersed in philosophical thought here at the
beginning of the new year. I did not make a conscious effort to reconsider the state of the Universe and question our directions. But that seems to have bubbled up on my mind never the less. And as usual these questions often manifest for me in a visual form and then I articulate the meaning after the fact. So its an election year, for better or for worse, and lots of people will be making 'road trips' across our nation.  I'm thinking here in broader terms, and the word nation is meant to embrace the nation of our planet, our human species.  With issues of climate change, escalating world conflict, and economic strains, I feel we are at a crossroads in many ways. We must always ask the questions on our road trip, where are we going?, have we chosen the right road? Will we try to keep the tank full or just drive until we run out? Sometimes the act of asking the questions can be more important than the answers. So I invite all of you to exercise that activity humans are notoriously bad at: thinking Long term! Ask questions not just about where your life is going, but about where your grandchildren will be going.  These answers what ever they are will be of more value than to have never asked the questions in the first place.

And then enjoy the scenery!




Found Art; Duchamp's legacy

In 1915 Marcel Duchamp presented objects in galleries that he had not created but rather 'identified' as having artistic merit. Since then, this very modern sensibility of seeing the mundane and taken for granted as unique artistic expression has  had a great legacy in the arts. To me, This spirit of 'seeing'  forms one of the essential pillars in the foundation of photography.  When we focus our lens on the world we are making statements about what we think is important and significant in the world.




I saw this wall in a little town of Bagnoregio, Italy about 15 miles southwest of Orvieto. Not far from the place I shot Dark Dream of Umbria  dark-dream-of-umbria.jpgAt the time I was amazed by the richness of texture and form on a wall that the owners I'm sure considered very utilitarian and perhaps even an embarrassment. If the light had been not falling so fast I might have lingered for close ups, there is a veritable universe of landscapes nascent in this one wall of accidental frescoes and ready made objects.  Some many facts and stories can be derived from this image. This is an old building with solid stone and plaster walls. To add electricity or plumbing it is usually necessary to run the wiring on either the inner our outer surface, because running it through the stone itself is highly impractical. Here we see electrical wires phone lines and perhaps internet connections lacing from room to room in an abstract pattern that shows an attempt at some order and neatness. I have seen other walls where every wire just sort of shoots on different random vectors from hole to hole, giving another style of abstraction entirely. So we know that some attempt at aesthetics was made here. The light tones of plaster probably demark where new plumbing was added--we can imagine jack hammers carving troughs for pipes that bring hot water to a structure that was built in a time of chamber pots and cisterns. StrangeWallOrignial.jpgAlso the decision was made to protect the inner surfaces of this house at the price of 'violating' the outer surface. So one can assume that the inside of this dwelling might be very nicely decorated and quite the opposite of what we see here. Perhaps all these decisions were made when the wall was nicely covered by the neighbors house which was torn/ fell down, a humorous and embarrassing unveiling of family secrets, rather like having the walls of your garage go suddenly transparent. Here's the original image from the camera. What do you think?  

The nice curtains in the upper window also suggest a pleasant interior space.  And each window here also tells a story. The owners have a nice existence on the upper floors, rent out the lower left to a nice student and  Benzo the village ogre lives in the shadows behind the lower right. We can go on forever making up stories about who lives here and how.

I could even see moving this entire wall to MOMA to make a monumental ready-made statement. In the meantime I offer you this photograph. Since it was taken 10 years ago, one can only imagine what new  additions have been added to this utilitarian jambalaya, or perhaps a new building hides this wall or maybe the building is gone all together. Ahah! Sounds like a good adventure to go find out and a great excuse to go back to beautiful Italy!




Abundance of life; Ho River Rainforest

So much of landscape photography has to do with life and it's complex ecological configurations.  Even the desert, which we associate with the absence of life, presents a rarified abundance for those who look closely. In my region we have the temperate Rainforest of the Olympic peninsula which gets over 200 inches of rain a year, sometimes much more. This image is from the Ho River valley in Olympic National Park



On lucky days in summer you can see it all aglow in sunlight filtered through the myriad leaves and branches of the canopy.  The magical combination of light and water in abundance, creates an environment where every niche of of the ecosystem is teaming with green life.  Here we can see the plethora of water flora. The black and white tones do not convey the myriad shades of green, emerald to bright chartreuse that fills the eye of visitor. Grasses, trees, ferns, water plants, they all thrive. Every inch of branch and limb is also covered with wispy moss and textured lichens. It is actually quite overwhelming in its complexity to the eye. This image is made up of five wide angle black and white negatives, giving a very wide angle of view; something about the size of the trees and scale of this place requires this ultra wide viewpoint to fully depict the essence of the landscape



I am happy to be able to tell you that I have just been interviewed at humana maelstrom zine

I was asked a very interesting series of questions by  Hélène Deroubaix, who is a wonderful artist in her own write and and avid writer and blogger. Check out her site too. I very happy with the result of the interview and I think it gives some good insight into my creative process and thoughts.


In making this piece, which I call Acceptance, I had a chance to meditate on the amazing power of nature to be patient but make great changes. The rocks in this stream that feed into the Nooksack river in Mt. Baker National Forest, have been aged smooth over the millennia by the constant flow of water, a process almost unimaginable in human time scales. I had this vision of lion left in this stream and the piece came to fruition. Its easy to say after the fact that this about acceptance of the inevitable will of nature but also about how great changes will come if we are patient etc., but the truth is when I saw this stream the image of the stone lion in with the boulders just came like a vision or a dream. I am always thankful for these visions!






Autumn Aproaches: The mood is in the air.

This is one of my favorite times of year. Summer is waning but still gives a bit of its warmth. Winter is coming but to timid yet to spoil any fun. the result is this dreaming time between extremes. Good for hikes in the woods and lazing about in meadows full of pulsing crickets, and of course moonlight walks by the trees. And good for art too, at least for me this year. I'm getting ready for a show in California now, so don't think my blogs will be to long. But I'll try to give you some tidbits as I go.


Later That Evening  Archival inkjet print 24" x 24 "




Inspiration: Where does it come from?

Since antiquity, Artists have had a mysterious relationship with the source of their art. There is no unified field theory for creativity, not yet anyway. Inspiration comes and goes, waxes and wanes in its intensity and forms. August 2007 was a very inspiring month for me and it has me reflecting the source if it all. Clicking on this image will take you to a large version uploaded onto my flickr sight.


 So Silent You Can Hear the Earth Breathe  22 x 50 archival inkjet print


Here are words from the script on this piece.

Awaiting your return
Stilled with anticipation
So silent you can hear the earth breathe
So still
Let the warmth of memory arise
I cannot grow cold
Even in the dark of night
So pure the light of dawn
When the light will strike me yet again
Her warm invisible hands
Slowly melting the stone in my heart

I am not my art
I am not my words
I am not my face

I am all of this

I am unknowable

The ancient Greeks created the idea of the muse, a female personification of this vector of creativity that pushes its way into our minds. I suppose there can be male muses too.  'Will she come or will she go now?' The line from the classic punk rock song by the clash comes to mind. Perhaps it was fickle nature of love and human relationships that inspired this association. In fact the triangle between creativity, love and sexuality describes a territory of wonder beauty and mystery. The Creative fire of art and love intertwine in myth and in our daily lives and if you let it, these experiences can transcend from mere emotion and experience into the realm of art.   Right now I like to think of this creative life force that flows through us as a fire in the wilderness, something that supports our souls and keeps us going, it must be attended to, this fire, fed new experiences and gently fanned with the breath of reverence, patience, excitement and understanding. And so much more! Happy creations to you


Flickr Energy; Back to my blog

After a bit of a hiatus here, I'm finally posting again. I've been off on Flickr, setting up my account there and having an amazing experience with not only the art but the community of artists that exists there. It's given me a great boost of energy and I've been creating like crazy. Including this image below:


Epiphany in the Desert. Archival Inkjet print. 2007, 35" x 35"

The delirious burst of Goddess energy flashed for a moment beyond the horizon, turning the pilgrim to stone and then back to flesh again. In only an instant the Universe had changed.

I guess I'm a bit of a mystic at heart, but this image is also a homage to one of my favorite 19nth Century Artists, Odilon Redon. Do you know him? If not, your in for a treat. One of my most profound experiences in viewing art took place at the Redon room at the Musée d'Orsay, where his chromatic pastels float in a dark space like aquarium views into the most deliriously colorful world of art and imagination. (Don't miss this if you go to Paris) But despite his chromatic work, Redon also was master of  somber monotone etchings He had a strong mystical thread running throughout his work.


This art also reflects somewhat my sense of having received a great burst of energy  from flickr. I've met a lot of artists there  who freely use a lot of PS processing very effectively  and it has inspired me to push my process work even further. For a long time I felt like a voice in the wilderness with my Digital Art, and now more and more, their is a great acceptance that digital manipulation is just another tool, to be used––wisely or not––In the artists box of mediums. It's very exciting. Check out my Flickr photo-stream where you will find and even larger selection of my art than on this site. Cheers!