• Art Making
  • Women and Painting

    In the words of Marlene Dumas: I paint because I am a woman. (It’s a logical necessity.) If painting is female and insanity is a female malady, then all women painters are mad and all male painters are women. I paint because I am an artificial blonde woman. (Brunettes have no excuse.) If all good […]

  • Nature
  • The Impertinence of our Preconceptions

    Another memorable insight from Thomas Merton by way of Louie Louie: To look too directly at anything is to see something else because we force it to submit to the impertinence of our preconceptions. The difference between seeing and looking. The disconnectedness of habitual viewing. Impertinence is the perfect word to describe how we can […]

  • Art Making
  • Keeping Your Head Down

    Do not depend on the hope of results…you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to that you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results […]

  • Art Making
  • Craving the Lightning

    A few lines to remember during those times when things don’t seem to be coming together: I haven’t written a single poem in months. I’ve lived humbly, reading the paper, pondering the riddle of power and the reasons for obedience. I’ve watched sunsets (crimson, anxious), I’ve heard the birds grow quiet and night’s muteness. I’ve […]

  • Art Making
  • What’s Next?

    In When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron tells a story about Trungpa Rinpoche: He was traveling with his attendants to a monastery he’d never seen before. As they neared the gates, he saw a large guard dog with huge teeth and red eyes. It was growling ferociously and struggling to get free from the chain […]

  • What if
  • Viral Yellow

    One yellow door, on one house. It was a reasonable wake up accent for an otherwise understated facade. But when yellow showed up just a few houses down, the understated gave way to garish. Gerald Horne, architect and friend, has long advocated for “architecture insurance”–a way to protect us from really bad decisions made by […]

  • Art/Language
  • Quiet Disasters

    Fall of Icarus, by Breughel Musee des Beux Arts About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well, they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, […]

  • Art Making
  • Flow Comes to Town

    The positive psychology movement contends that people are most content when they are fully engaged in a task for which they are well suited. Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi calls this state flow. According to his research, the best way to achieve happiness is to view it as a “by-product of absorption.” And as Csikzentmihalyi points out, it […]

  • Creativity
  • Hiding, and Seeking

    From Adam Zagajewski’s poem, The Self: It is small and no more visible than a cricket in August. It likes to dress up, to masquerade, as all dwarves do. It lodges between granite blocks, between serviceable truths. It even fits under a bandage, under adhesive. Neither custom officers nor their beautiful dogs will find it. […]