Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bowie Paean

The myriad of personas that David Jones, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, donned on the stage and screen only begin to hint at his creative genius.

This past January, David Bowie died.  I began noticing articles in magazines about his death featuring pictures of his concert costumes and talking about his contribution to music, culture and the fashion world.  Many names of famous rock stars, musicians, fashion models and actors were listed as his collaborators.  I got caught up in reading about his music and then his lyrics and then about his fascinating life.

I’ve enjoyed watching one homage after another by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon on TV, and listening to them give him credit for the influence that he was in their lives.  He was an entertainer through and through.  And the entertainment they provided in his honor was flashy, bold and uniquely their own.

i am intrigued by descriptions of how he created a back story, lyrics, wardrobe and makeup for each new personality that he became while in the spotlight.  Over these past few months, I’ve been painting skulls.  I’ve become completely obsessed with them.  So I couldn’t resist painting one more.  In my skull painting tribute to him, I’ve combined some of the elements from his most famous photos.  This is my Bowie Paean.


Meditation?  I was encouraged to start a simple meditation for 15 minutes everyday. Immediately an image of a cross legged, religious person in robes sprang to mind.  No, no, forget any preconceived notions.  This is just you, by yourself.

Dress comfortably, I was told.  Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in, deeply, but comfortably (don’t try to hard), and then breathe out, feeling your breath move through your body.  These were simple instructions.  So I decided, this must be doable.

Initially, I set the timer on my phone, relaxed and settled into my breathing.  Then, thoughts, worries and to-do-lists, one by one, popped into my mind.  I was told this would happen and not to worry about it…..just recognize the thought, dismiss it and refocus on my breathing.

The first few weeks it seemed like I wasn’t making much progress; but, gradually, those thoughts were fewer and it became easier for me to refocus quickly.  The only reason I kept with it was the wonderful feeling that encompassed my upper arms and torso.  It was a sort of tingling feeling…..a very wonderful feeling.

The one caution I received was to meditate without an agenda.  Don’t expect answers to questions.  Do it with a completely open mind.  Do it to relax my body and allow my mind to connect with my source, my God, my soul.  What a beautiful thought.

I’ve known that there are activities that are meditative.  I recognize as I paint that often I’m lost in a place without thought.  Many people describe their experiences while concentrating on these sorts of activities as being in a time warp. They are so focused that it’s as if they’ve lost time.  Scientists, artists,  musicians, athletes, well, creative people in any area, talk about “coming to” and realizing they’ve been totally absorbed in their process for minutes, sometimes hours at a time.

In the Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra said, “During periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights that give so much joy and delight.”  I love that description.  I think he’s as much a poet as a physicist.

We all use words to try to interpret our experience, based on our belief system.  More and more, I’m using “intuitive mind”, imagination, inspiration, soul, source, God, inner being, and still small voice as descriptions of the same thing.  I want to listen.  I want to receive the inner peace and knowing that listening brings.  The problem, for me, is the noise, the everyday noise of everyone else, the radio, TV and my reaction to them.  That’s where meditating comes in.  It provides the quiet.

After months of meditating I can’t imagine ever stopping.  When all of me is quiet, wonderful ideas, exciting ideas burst onto my mindscape, sometimes as thoughts, sometimes as images. I get goosebumps all over my body.  I highly recommend it.

And, so, the thing I’ve learned and the thing I want to share with you is that meditating is fun.  After meditating, I feel more relaxed, happier, more clear about what I want and full of exciting and satisfying ideas.  What a blast!

Skulls Are Like Chocolates

One day last October, I walked my regular route up and down the hills in my neighborhood enjoying the fall colors and the crisp, cool air.  Many homes were decorated for Halloween so there were lots of pumpkins on porches and cobwebs stretched across doorways.

As I passed one home, the lawn decorations caught my eye…..crawling out of the ground was this happy-go-lucky gentleman, his fingers clawing at  the grass as he laughed at me.  I smiled back and asked him to pose for a picture. I explained that I wanted to paint his portrait.  He didn’t object.  In fact, he even held his pose as I walked around him to get a good shot and even as I finally disappeared down the street and around the corner.

For some reason his happy demeanor begged for bright colors.  Once I got started, he was mesmerizing.  His bone structure, his pearly whites, that glint in his eye kept my brush moving around his head.  I thought dark hollows would be more appropriate but no…..he was on fire.

Phosphorescence 22"x30"
Phosphorescence 22″x30″

I have found that skulls are like chocolates.  I can’t paint just one. By the time, I got mid-way through Phosphorescence, I already had another drawing finished.  It’s so much fun to have a subject become so interesting that the ideas just keep coming.

It’s infectious.  One by one, these skulls have materialized.  I know their thoughts, amusements and intentions.  I’m excited about their futures.

I have one final skull in the works.  David Bowie just died in January.  I’ve enjoyed watching tributes to him by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon.  And, so, my offering will be a paean to David Jones, Bowie and Ziggy Stardust.