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infant_sleepingA baby sleeps peacefully in what looks to be a muddy estuary, odd shaped dark clouds on the horizon with a lone raven watching over.  The precarious situation of the baby coincides with our own dwindling chance of survival because of our lack of respect for nature. The raven “guardian” is symbolic of nature continuing to sustain us in spite of our failure as caretakers. One might wonder just how long a raven might hang around before he becomes bored with his role as guardian. A soft light emanates from behind the clouds offering a slight ray of hope?



Death has always intrigued me. I think we all realize that any concept we come up with to try and explain it ends up ultimately being unsatisfactory. It seems impossible to establish complete security as a separate being with the mystery of death a constant companion.
Seeing a dead gull in the sand often reminds me of my own fleeting existence. I felt a dead seagull transitioning in the bardo evoked the sense of mystery I feel around death.

the-path-lgThere are times in life when a clear path seems to open up in front of us. We seem to anticipate changes before they occur. Without doubt we’re living our life in perfect union with creation. Naked awareness, fearlessly allowing each moment to unfold into the next.

It’s amazing when we consider we weren’t in control while the events and elements came together to create us. Our parents attraction for each other which led to our conception. The embryo’s development in the womb and our birth all took place without the slightest amount of planning on our part. The path and the individual are inseparable.

lovebirds-web6They look a little sad and distant don’t they? I started out with just the single bird then decided to add another as the idea began to evolve. These “lovebirds” are like so many couples who grow apart over the years. They’ve lost interest in each other. The love, trust and unspoiled innocence are gradually replaced with mental images built-up over the years. I painted the musty yellow, cloudy sky because it kind of adds to the forlorn feeling of the painting. I added the Chinese character for love as a reminder of what has been lost and long forgotten in the relationship between this couple.

Most of us bring a load of expectations along with us when we enter a relationship. We want our partners to protect us from loneliness and meet our many perceived needs. We become dependent and controlling.  We forget that our self-centered concerns might at times be contrary to the wants and desires of the person we claim to love. Our “love” becomes conditional. The Buddhists call this “businessman’s love”.


Ravens are all over the place here in Northern California. I see dozens of them at the end of my street where there are a number of walnut trees. They fly up into the air with a walnut and repeatedly drop it on the street until the shell cracks open.

Even though I see them in groups, Ravens have a wise solitary aura about them. When I look at this painting with its isolated farmhouse at dusk it reminds me of my own sense of aloneness. It’s not an isolated loneliness that desires connection. The best way I could describe it would be a momentary surrender of the mind’s obsession with the future and personal security.

Sri Nisargadatta said, “you are the child of a barren woman. When someone asked him, “what am I going to do with my life”… he replied, “now you’re making plans for the child of a barren woman”.

sandpiper-lgI painted the bird first and then spent quite a bit of time debating the background. I tried a couple of approaches that ultimately I wasn’t happy with before I decided to take a break. I find that sometimes distancing myself from a painting gives me a new perspective. The circular swirling multi-hued water just sort of evolved on it’s own.

For myself those timeless, spontaneous moments when thought takes a break and the muse steps in are more rewarding than the completed painting.

August 2018
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