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Thoughts & Notes

On the subjects I paint

The Joy of Making Art; Forms & Functions

Thinking & Exploring Life Through the Making of Art

Journal Entry: Structure & Form in Life, My Art & Creative Thinking

Reading Time: 10 minutes

The Joy of Making Art; Forms & Functions


“Reality is what does not go away when you stop believing in it.”Philip K. Dick

Spheres of Influence

Art & Thinking

Analogous Concepts United as One

I believe, to think and make art are analogous. As an artist, I can’t imagine doing one without the other. This Journal Entry: Structure & Form, seems as good a place as any to further explore this feeling.

The paintings I’ve included in this post will hopefully help illuminate the path I am exploring. My artwork does, after all, provide you with an inside look at how I look at life. To view my artwork is to see my passions and concerns in this world. But, ultimately, you will interpret it through your own unique set of lenses.

My art and life are inseparable. I have made art when it is painful to do so. At both the height of despair and when feeling joy. At times I feel broken and battered. There is room for creative freedom in both states, but life and thought have dictating influences. Mindfulness in all of this, I find, is important – although I often fail miserably at it.

Accordingly, ideas take shape and then evolve from what may be the most undefined sketches. Both in thought and in form. I do not feel organized in artmaking, however, I have been told otherwise. But, for me it always seems chaotic.

Grasping and reaching my way through this, I try and allow art some space to grow. I look for seeds to cultivate but, what sprouts can be as surprising to me as to anyone else.

Art and thought beget one-another. As a matter of fact, they lead, inextricably, to each other. It is a one track lane and, together, they form a base from which I approach my everyday. They linger always in the back of my mind. I sometimes imagine them to be noisey kids on a schoolbus.

The roots of art and thought run deep. Through my life and the world around me. They flower into philosophical inquiries in some beautiful ways. Conceptually, art and thought both exist in the Noosphere (evolutionary stage dominated by consciousness). This awarenews, adds depth and meaning to my art practice.

Making Decisions

Both Conscious & Otherwise

I enjoy spontaneity. It can be a real challenge for me, however. Certainly, I make conscious decisions. They happen continuously from the beginning to end of every project. As I work, corrective adjustments are constantly made, and sometimes what I end up with is not where I thought I was going.

I imagine artmaking to be similar to the evolutionary process. Life makes changes in relation to the environment. I make changes in relation to what is taking shape on the surface in front of me.

But, putting all this aside, I suspect there are many more decisions that happen at an unconscious level. From conception, I assume an increasing complexity will evolve in my artwork. Experience has taught me this. Sometimes, I realize, I have not pushed my work far enough in a given direction. I’ve taken a safe route.

I like to see my thoughts on paper as well as on canvas. This began to take on more importance after I was diagnosed with HIV and permanently injured on a job. After some writing workshops, I began to work more on telling my story instead of the stories of others, as I had been doing working as a journalist.

So, here I am – here you are. In this journal, I can step back and think about what I’m doing in a way different than what happens when at the easel. Much like a viral infection, the ideas conceived are capable of spreading to other bodies of artwork.

Are there overriding strands of thought in my creative process? If so, what are these and where do they lead?

Journal Entry: Structure & Form

What Makes a Series?

Determining where a series of works begins and were it ends often seems a bit arbitrary. I feel at times, I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of the box lid. This is where the framework of a journal has proven useful. Just writing down my thoughts helps clarify and illuminate.

Writing helps give some structure and form to what appears to be a chaotic creative process. Here, I can formulate ideas and sketch a roadmap in the search and discovery of what ultimately drives me.

These journal entries always begin as notes. I’ve ended up with so many of them I had to start putting them on index cards and filing them under sources. Whether anyone else reads these posts hasn’t been a primary motivator, but I strive to be clear.

This Journal Entry: Structure & Form is a capturing of these notes, these thoughts, in a structured manner. Otherwise they would all just amount to a long list of unconnected observations. For me, a series acts as another form of classification.

“Human beings are ultimately nothing but carriers – passageways – for genes. They ride us into the ground like racehorses from generation to generation. Genes don’t think about what constitutes good or evil. They don’t care whether we are happy or unhappy. We’re just a means to an end for them. The only thing they think about is what is most efficient for them.”

Haruki Murakami, IQ84

Beneath a Microscope

The Madness of Art in Detail

My understanding of the complexity of the Biosphere and Ecosphere have deepened overtime. This has happened in the sciences as well.

The methods I’ve chosen to explore each of these things has definately broadened. I like to imagine what might be observable beneath a microscope when I do this. I like to apply that same type of detailed look. I do so, with the intention of enlarging and expanding on it, however. Making what I see bigger than life-size and subject to creative whim.

When I look at nature and the structural forms of life, I am amazed by the incredible complexity I see. Even those things that initially seem relatively simple can be surprising in form and connected relationships. In the ecosphere, the micro becomes the macro whether we see it or not.

A general definition of the Ecosphere, or Biosphere is the global ecological system. This system integrates all living beings and their relationships. Therefore, it includes their interactions with the elements of the lithosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and the atmosphere.

I have been seduced by science. Unlike science-fiction, science-fact hasn’t always arrive at neat and tiding endings. We can’t dictate to nature. Genius minds among us, have left milestones scattered across the pages of history in comprehending much.

Science has arrived at definite conclusions. But each day, more is brought to light as we look deeper, farther, and ever smaller. As our vision becomes more penetrating, our questions have only grown, and our designs have increased in scale and grandor.


“Neither science nor the arts can be complete without combining their separate strengths. Science needs the invitation and metaphoric power of the arts, and the arts need the fresh blood of science.”E. O. Wilson

Orange Crush

Chain of Reasoning

Thinking & Making Art

All manner of thoughts come to mind when I am working. I am visited by the wanted and the unwanted. I think about the structures of molecules and cells. At other times, an insect or cloud may hold my attention.

My art reveals my interests in the structural properties of flowers, fish and landscapes. If that interest wasn’t there I wouldn’t make them. Ultimately, they are only representational approximations and fall short of the real thing.

I like to look at all of these subjects and imagine them at the sub-atomic level. Here similarities can abound, unseen by the unaided human eye. I struggle to find the words to convey this.

Conceptually, I perceive this same type of organization happening with my artwork. At times I need help in seeing it, but the weaving of this creative rainbow keeps the different directions my work takes, bound together.

Form Follows Function

Some of the prime ecological forces explored in my work are represented by free-floating forms of color, shape, and texture. My work assumes meaning and emotion through intentional use of materials. This Journal Entry: Structure & Form, explores it, but you can find similar strands of thought elsewhere in these pages.

I notice patterns emerge. Some paintings lead me to places paved with a specific pattern that developes. I expound on it in new works and in words. At times, no predetermined direction leads me. It either works or it doesn’t. I’ve probably had more failed paintings than ones I think successful. An acceptance of this fact orients me to seeing these works as tools in learning.

Sometimes a path that leads nowhere is exactly what is needed. I would be less than honest if I said, not having something tangible to show for spent time spent can be frustrating.

An interesting experiment and challenge that any of us can take, is to allow ourselves room to make mistakes. It isn’t necessarily what I think the structure of our societies pushes us toward.

Making a mistake, can be a blatant challenge to both outer and inner voices screaming orders to be productive, producing, and constantly sure of myself. Perfection as a direction can only lead to misery. I battle this … it is where the gauntlet has been thrown to the ground.

“When our minds undergo sudden, and profound alterations – in opinion, or belief, in love or in what is called artistic inspiration – what is the ultimate cause? We see the results but grasp the chain of reasoning at a look well below the hook from which it hangs.”

– Jacques Barzun : From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

Think Art, Structure Forms

A Metabolic Process

My paintings, this Journal Entry: Structure & Form, exist abstractly in a metabolic process. It is one of breath, life and artist. The series Structures and Forms,’ continues along a creative curve that can be found throughout my body of work.

The series evolved out of some initial ideas formulated in ‘Clones and Replicants.’ And it serves as an expansion of molecular and cellular structure interpretations.

I further expand on these ideas in the series Life Takes Shape. These all lead inevitably, to the more complex forms of life I paint. And, they lead to complex systems like Landscapes. Whatever the form taken, they document my exploration of self.

Biology is Art

Art Invites Science

“We know that bacteria and other sorts of microbial cells (microbe is a generic term for all microscopic organisms that can live as single cells) are by far the most numerous life forms on earth. They inhabit every environment, from the high atmosphere to the depths of the earth’s crust. Without them, life would come to a standstill. They break down waste, build soils, recycle nutrients and capture from the air the nitrogen that plants and animals need to grow. And when scientists look at our own bodies, they see that for each and every one of our 30-trillion or more human cells, we have at least one microbial cell. You – and every other human being – are not an isolated, individual entity, but a huge and constantly changing colony made up of human and non-human cells.”

– Paul Nurse : What Is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology

Stardust & Cells

A Biocentric Design

The human body contains over 100-trillion cells. As one, in thought and action, I attempt to mindfully apply mine to creating and forming art woven together with intertwining lines of process and concept.

I am not always successful controlling my thoughts. Sometimes, I feel like I am trying to herd cats. That is the wild mind at work.

I am inspired by scientific knowledge. A cliche, perhaps, to say we are the stuff of stars, but I love the idea that every carbon atom in my body formed long ago in the nuclear furnace of a distant star.

I am humbled by the knowledge that my mind and body are only one example of the many complex structures and intricate forms in existence and rooted in this cosmic process.

“Recent experiments show conclusively that the brain’s electromagnetic connections, it’s neural impulses traveling at 240 miles per hour, cause decisions to be made faster than we are even aware of them. In other words, the brain and mind, too operate all by itself, without need for external meddling by our thoughts, which incidentally occur by themselves. So, control, is largely an illusion. As Einstein put it, ‘We can will ourselves to act, but we cannot will ourselves to will’.”

Robert Lanza with Bob Berman; Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

“I don’t deny that one can develop habits of rigor in the pursuit of the arts and humanities. But in science and technology you acquire an exacting attitude more quickly, and you learn, that deviations will be punished.”Miroslav Holub

Cell: Yellow with Blue

There are 100 distinct sub-atomic particles of which three, the proton, neutron and electron, form stable associations. This associations form atoms comprising the 92 naturally occurring elements. In the human body, 99.4% of the atoms are the elements nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen or carbon.


These are the things I think about gazing into the night sky.

Stardust is Elemental

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people near us. Our task must be to widen our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

Journal Entry: Structure & Form

Abstract Notions

“Yet another way of appreciating the vacuity of space is the modern finding that seeming emptiness seethes with almost unimaginable energy, which manifests as virtual particles of physical matter jumping in and out of reality like trained fleas. The seemingly empty matrix upon which the storybook of reality is set is actually a living, animated ‘field’, a powerful entity that is anything but empty.”

– Robert Lanza with Bob Berman: Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Painting in abstraction is an elemental action where I search for stability. It is the point from which I move towards and away from reality. In fully encompassing what I clearly see before me an altered abstracted form emerges.

These paintings individually explore and play with many ideas. The scale feels cosmological, although that is probably only in my head. It is a little bit of a mind game I play with myself. Questioning my work each step of the way and still finding acceptance.

Dark Matter

In Search of What I Cannot See

Each singular painting is an element that acts like a compound in a larger amorphous work. I see it as a non-living, non-organic organism and I am the living center.

I try and keep my thoughts ahead of the impulses or I would never finish anything. Absorbing what I can in a conscious matter, I let things take their unintended directions as they develop. I try and constrain some of this for unity’s sake.

Working at being mindful, reminds me at times of the dark matter and energy of the universe. It’s what you cannot see that holds the most power. Nature and life, add shape and structure to thinking and the making of art.

“The percentage of energy in dark matter is about 26%. In ordinary matter about 5%, and in dark energy about 69%. Most of the energy of ordinary matter is carried by ‘atom’ and ‘ordinary matter’ interchangeably. In other words, dark matter carries five times the energy of ordinary matter, meaning it carries 85% of the energy of matter in the universe.”

Lisa Randall: Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

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