exploring mindscape, discovering enlightenment
when i was a young boy in Jr. High, or maybe earlier, i was certain i could write and that i wanted to write 'cause i thought i had something to say and my parents taught me good language skills. i found drawing challenging and unrewarding. i was not pleased with the results. i was trying to draw a thing, but the drawing did not look like the thing. my grandma painted, and i enjoyed being with her , and i think i remember being with her while she painted, and her showing me what she was learning. because i needed elective credits and i was afraid of art or music i took mechanical drawing. i learned to use drawing tools. i could understand the principles and was able to draw precise renditions of the assignments. so oddly, my grandma asked me for advice on perspective drawing, so she could achieve the distance between her subject and the horizon. i entered university with the intent to become an architect. the first year of university was an unsettling, disruptive experience. the pursuit of social experience became the dominant use of my time and emotional resources. 1970 university culture pulled off the veil of lies i had been fiercely loyal to until then and shook me lose of my goals and purpose. i became religious, rebellious, mystical, adventurous, and reckless. just party, talk, and try to find a sexual partner. attendance in class fell off, classes were dropped and schedules changed regularly according to whim or fashion. when the first year ended i was enrolling in a self designed literature program, and avoiding as much class work as i was able to. i managed to bull my way into a second year of this unknown, (independent, self structured,), literary degree. my first wife was enrolled in art ed, and i use to go to the studios with her. i found new fun in the free expression of un-evaluated work, (play). a personality began to emerge that could engage the present with complete abandon. i became prone to extreme, random choice and lost any decision making skills i may have acquired growing up. when i left the university i was a devote to the art of being. my mentor was Aethelred Eldridge. all i required of myself was to pursue desire, write and draw in a journal. my choices were challenged on every front by the expectations held by my community to demonstrate the responsible behavior of adulthood. the emotional conflict almost destroyed me. finally i abandoned all expectations and ran away from normalcy and my family. i never learned how to draw, i just scribbled and explored shape, and black and white interaction. i tried to draw things more than ideas, but i always had the goal to illuminate my verses. mary was the first person who told me i could achieve my desires. i went to Toronto, where she made certain i had tools, materials, encouragement and time. she believed i was an artist and that art first was the correct path for me to follow. i got some training in brush work and watercolor techniques. but mostly i allowed myself to play. my poetry was focusing on a short form and i believed i could create the book of illuminated poetry i envisioned. over time i became influenced by children, and C.K Bliss, and i began to experiment with ways i could remove the text entirely from the picture to achieve greater, intuitive, communication. much of the time i was painting with no direct goal. i was doing many things at once while painting and the painting, (or art), was the lowest priority on the list. first i was usually caring for children. i believed that children can enjoy painting shapes without a goal, (that was apparent to me), but when they talked about the painting, they had a very detailed story most of the time. now i have a personality quirk called "waste not". often when children are done painting they leave a big mess. if the paint is in cups, the cups are all blended into odd colors. if i show them how to use a pallet, the pallet would be left full of paint. my "cleanup" procedure involved first spreading all the paint onto sheets of paper or card board. i not only enjoyed this but people often liked these "paintings" when they saw them in the stack. i did like the results also. i was learning an unrestrained style without knowing it. one other thing that became an unplanned part of my process was that i kept starting painting projects or painting clubs. in this respect painting was becoming a social event. this process began to form a philosophy about painting that became more important to my purpose. the more i was asked for advice the more value i found in what the artist was experiencing. eventually when i reached the privilege of painting alone, in my studio, the enjoyment of the practice and the experience of exploring my own thoughts in the found shapes i follow into form, leads me to wonder about revelation. i play my way into a painting. usually i am pleased with the results i achieve in most of my paintings, but i always enjoy painting them. the point of this essay is not to tell how i developed a style. it is that at the end of the experience, art is important because it is the practice of discovering thought. i may have a very sophisticated purpose to the subject and the action i plan, but my experience painting, is of discovery and enlightenment. i believe that everyone is able to benefit from the practice of painting, aside from the purpose of art. the purpose of art is doing it, not finishing it. that may just be zen, or anti-capitalistic, but the medium is not the message, the message is the medium. the message is personal. the message is what you get out of your experience. i may never deliver the message to culture that i am trying to, but i can always discover it newly.