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In this gallery I've called The Womb of Creativity I explore my responsibility as an artist who is communicating to my world family through the powerful visual-symbolic imagery of spiritual experiences and insight. In 1989 I took eighteen of my paintings done during the previous nine years and re-examined each image with the eyes of my original intention, creating an intimate story, poem or personal mythic journey to place the work within a context of the transformational process. The inspiration point from which each painting evolves is personally unique and varied but relevant to common human experience: an ecstatic timeless moment, the attempt to grasp a paradox, a dance with the higher imagination or the retrieval of a part of myself long ago lost in the shadow landscape. Each writing arose to the occasion of this rebirth of intention and followed the path of transition to the place of power. The wise words of a courageous spiritual trailblazer, whose understanding and realization have inspired or challenged me over the years and whose words encapsulate in a precise jewel my glimpse into the realm of truth, begin and end each written piece.

Modern western society is removed from the world of myth, dreamtime and symbols. Our conditioning does not allow us to understand that to absorb or resonate with a painting, a tree, a flower or another human being you don't need to have taken five years of art history, botany or psychology. The essence of that which we see as outside of ourselves, "the other," can be experienced by slowing down a bit, relaxing our guard, really looking at the other with our eyes, reaching out with all our senses and curiosity. You receive precisely what you give to a painting, a tree or another being. It is from this whole-hearted place of communion with life that wonder and magic begin to pervade each moment with a sense of the sacred.

My personal practice of this mindfullness meditation process and my concern around communicating the gifts received to others, guided me into an attempt to be present with my own artwork in this way. It might be presumed that I would find immediate intimacy and interconnection with a piece of art that I've spent hours-weeks-months wooing into existence. It is my experience that this is not the case, in fact it seems even more difficult when the subject of concern is something or someone you already think you know well. As I sit here relishing my bran muffin at the Tassajara Bakery I realize that we forget that every chair in the neighborhood coffee shop, even though mass-produced and similar, looks different depending on what's reflected in the chrome arms at that particular moment; light, color, movement or shapes. The chairs' appearance changes based on how I'm feeling at that particular time in space. Is it inviting or hard, old and battered, desirable or undesirable or couldn't I care less, my attention consumed by my inner dialogue? As I looked at my artwork it seemed familiar, yet every painting had a unique voice revealing some message, relevant and undiscovered. My preconceptions and expectations had previously veiled and muffled the song, choking the joyful interconnection that comes with establishing intimacy and truth. Opening to "the other" requires the courageous act of becoming vulnerable, considering the other's importance as at least equal to one's own. I thank all those of courage who have led the way into the unknown and revealed the path of transformation from their own experience and unique perspective. These guides are invaluable to use at a time in history when the obstacles to being our best selves often seem insurmountable.

I propose that the transformational-spiritual-visionary art that comes from the "mystical"(1) experience of an inspired artists--creates a current mythic map to guide human beings through change and suffering on the personal and mass level. Herein lies its' relevance to modern man, woman and child. I choose to describe the inspired artists in the words of a contemporary mystic Paul Brunton:

"Turning to the meaning of the world "inspiration" what more can one say than that it is the "in-breathing" -- the in-breathing of a spiritual quality that raises a work or person above the commonplace order of things? I do not mean that a work is inspired when it is cheaply glamorous or that a man is inspired when he is rhetorically aggressive or that a mind is inspired when it indulges in clever intellectual jugglery. It is my standpoint that all inspired art is the expression at most or a product at least of spiritual experience, although the latter may not be well understood by its experiencer. The experience must come first. Art is movement and noise, whereas the spirit out of which it arises is hushed stillness and invulnerable silence."(2)

Art of this nature is not understood or valued by this society and I believe the responsibility for this contingent ignorance lies on the shoulders of the artist, gallery owner, museum director and mass media for the form and context of its' presentation, as well as in the responsibility of the viewer to bring more than a haphazard attention to the realm of the sacred.

Insight into the ethical accountability of the inspired artist in relation to their world family has come to me through extensive reflection on the profound and often negative effect images or concepts can have on the perceiver if presented in a profane fragmented way out of the context of the whole sacred mythic story or environment. Times have changed and we often do not naturally have the mythical or ethical framework within which to intuit consciously all the pieces of a transformational story within one piece of art when we walk off the city street into a commercial gallery or museum and encounter it. The gallery environment is not set up as a sacred space, not do we undergo any ritual or preparation as we enter that would help us leave our worldly everyday mind behind and engage with the art in a more open sensitive manner. Images that portray the transformational-spiritual-psychological journey are powerful in their message and more often than not impact us on a deeply unconscious level. We walk quickly back into the street, away from the profane context of the gallery's presentation and get into a fight with our spouse, not even beginning to glimpse the profound challenge to our reality that has actually taken place. Art of great merit and revelation is rejected, and we hang insipid decoration on our walls. Our environment is plagued with unrelenting media: T.V., movies, newspapers, radio, commercials, billboards etc., that consistently reopen our deepest wounds; memories of defeat, grief, fear, betrayal, lust or hate without offering any real avenue of healing. It is an overwhelming deluge, for we are already thrown into those experiences continually with everyday life. Our need is the myth, the rituals, the inspired arts and the appropriate sacred context within which to experience these maps of the unconscious, so they can show us how to make changes or live peacefully with our own truth.

"Translating my visions into words. A quest into the earth-spirit continuum." This is my present response, as revealed in these writings, to this infinite challenge of the creative mind: to go beyond boundaries, labels and conditioning that define the role of an artist and limit her ability to relevantly communicate about the realm of myth and the sacred to her society. I challenge the outworn belief system that says an artist is limited to visual media if she paints and should not talk about her work, that this somehow taints the images' power or impact. Creativity is a way of "Being" in the world, a way of Being whole and in harmony with life. Why cut out our tongue and put our eyes on a pedestal?

Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put a swing: all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees, and it never winds down.

Angels, animals, humans, insects by the million, also the wheeling sun and moon; ages go by, and it goes on.

Everything is swinging: heaven, earth, water, fire, and the secret one slowly growing a body.

Kabir saw that for fifteen seconds, and it made him a servant for life 1.



1. Brunton,. Inspiration and The Overself, p. back cover

Mystical -- "There are swift elusive moments that every real artist knows, and every deep lover experiences, when the faculty of concentration unites with the emotion of joy and creates an indescribable sense of balanced being. Such moments are of a mystical character."

2. Ibid., p. 39.

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