I have a lot of faith in art because it’s one of the last ways we can explore and touch the experience of being human without any prejudice. It’s a way of having permission to feel and think and be aware of anything whatsoever in our minds, being completely open and sensitive to the experience of being in this world. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Sometimes that means becoming fascinated by something, a shape, a feeling, a memory, or a confusing thing I heard someone say. Every painting is a way of gathering and releasing all of what I’ve felt and experienced. My mind processes it all and then at some point turns it into the language of painting and gives it back.. like a channel or a conduit filtered in the language of painting, the poetry of oil paint.
Just to make paintings that show the beauty of this world without adorning them or trying to make them especially eventful or more than what is there. Just to suggest, Look, this is here. This world that we have forgotten about is always right here exactly as it is.
My hope is even to only make a couple paintings that really are good, that really do point to some kind of transcendent light in the world, some kind of peace and wonder about things.
If my painting is an attempt at anything, it's an attempt to point to the transcendent quality of my subject. It's easy to think of things in terms of matter and physicality. In a sense, our sciences have built an illusion around the idea of dead matter. But if painting has taught me anything it's that inside of everything there is some kind of light, some kind of goodness or divinity that can't really be named and if a few of my paintings are good it's because the light was present in the subject and somehow I found it despite my clumsiness. The light belongs to the subject, I'm just trying to point it out here and there.
Painting will always fascinate me like no other medium. How in the world can this colorful, oily substance on my palette appear to turn into a cloud? Or light on the leaves of a tree? Or a nameless emotion, a memory? It defies all explanation. It is this mystical potential in painting, to not know the most apparently obvious things, that truly is a gift. It’s easily missed if you think about it just as it’s easily taken for granted that the mundane is not exciting. It is in the act of painting itself that the apparently mundane becomes new and strange again. We should guard against trying to know what art is but we should simultaneously strive to know everything about it.
Don't ever let anyone tell you what your name is. You might miss all of what you really are.
I’m always trying to grow and discover my own work, and sometimes I find my deepest inspiration within the work of other artists. I’ll see paintings or photographs and performances that blow me away because they have something in them that is blazingly true and original. To see it is always to see a kind of bravery or courage. At times it is shockingly brilliant, sometimes deeply touching and vulnerable. It’s as though being met by a stranger who I immediately know as someone familiar. Art shares its story through our empathic humanity. We know truth in art because we’ve felt it in ourselves but it comes as a surprise because it comes as the Other who already knows the Same.
Through dreams in time slipping away things pass as moments of rapture
It took me years and years of unbalanced, clumsy, lost attempts to wake up. Finally I found a teacher who I trusted and I went for a retreat. It was during the winter in the Catskills and it was snowing. The snow brought a gentle silence into the world. I was so hungry to realize, hungry to wake up, I’d been trying and trying to break through for twenty years on my own and only ended up confused and frustrated. In the big huge beautiful zendo, my teacher, sitting in the front of the room gently reminded us all that we don’t need to try too hard to wake up. He slowly and evenly said ‘The snow. The mountains and the trees, they already know why you’re here. Trust them to show you....’.
Ave Maria and painting clouds tonight. It's so soothing to watch and feel the paint find its way across the surface in brushstrokes. As it meets and joins the layers below, Ave Maria sounds of the delight of it all and the space is filled with light and rhythm. Something beautiful happens when every part finds the same perfect rhythm.
Tonight the sky is slightly overcast and there are no stars out. The moon is glowing in a beautiful soft atmosphere. This world is so mind-blowingly amazing it's uncanny. I painted all day and still feel like I didn't get close to reaching my desire to share it.
Mon desir est fort et intemporel. Toujours c’est avec moi. I don’t live for a second without knowing it.
les nuages ne comprends-tu pas? ils sont mon coeur. ils sont si tendre.
Apporte-moi tes espions et je montrerai la lune
Apporte-moi tes peurs et je te tiendrai dans mes bras
respire doucement quand tu as peur
mais soyons gentils nous sommes tous des êtres humains
Tonight there were clouds in the sky and the moon was a little crescent of light glowing behind the clouds. I thought of how important it is just to know it's still there. Obscured, barely visible, just a sliver of light, but still up there doing everything it can for us. It's incredible.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent Van Gogh
Tonight the moon was a bright crescent hanging low in the dark sky.
Look at the moon and you will see my heart, you’ll see what color it glows, whether it’s full or half or just a sliver, covered by clouds or crystal clear. It is always so beautiful holding itself aloft in the night sky, brave and softly glowing, dignified and vulnerable. My lovely moon that thrills me.
One way that painting and buddhist practice support each other is that they're both dedicated ways of seeing exactly what is in right front of you... a kind of waking up to the unimaginable beauty right before your eyes... discovering ways of truly appreciating it, ways of feeling it with every bit of yourself, ways of opening to it and allowing it to find its true expression, and trusting it. That's where the expression of death comes from in buddhist practice. True closeness is a kind of trust and openness so profoundly intimate that both things die to themselves in that moment. We spend our lives skittering around intimacy and communication. As they say, the breath breathes itself but simultaneously I am the breath feeling itself breathe. It is the sensation and willingness to love that overwhelms the subject, an utterly vulnerable and private practice...the intimacy of death, rare and ecstatic.