Sketchbook & Starlight


Eye of the Eagle

There are side effect benefits to the practice of art. I’m talking merit here, keen eye development and intensified brain wave acuity.

Imagine that an ever increasing, expanding ability to see more, and thereby experience more of life, is at your fingertips, right now, immediately, without getting up, going to the gym, or enrolling in an institute of any kind of learning.

I’m confining this, at the moment, to drawing, and the magic in store as a result of immersion. Call it fine tuning the existing senses. Or adding to what you’ve got in the certainty that none of us have to put up with what we’ve got as all there is or may ever be.

Drawing is about the cheifest direct contact to the brain and the subconscious, extended out to the immediate environment, I’ve ever found. It will put you in touch with what you’re feeling, and your relationship to the rest of what is in view and what is beyond. It is a way of understanding ourselves.

With all the discoveries based on our need to adapt to and improve on this whirling anchor in outer space we still don’t know why we’re here or how we got here or what to do Tuesday next. Why God wanted to make human beings the eternal questioners and seekers, with such extraordinary layers of inner complexity, is equally unknown. How can a hundred plus pounds of flesh have so much going on. Migrating animals have something very specific in mind when they leave for the coast. Compare that to a human who has no idea what’s in store when leaving the familiar behind, or what will be done there, and that it’s bound to be thrilling. And what is the unidentified gene that makes us the only sentient life with literally endless ideas on how to build suitable shelter. I mean, you take a beaver from his river in Idaho and put him in a river he never met in Michigan and he’s going to build the same house every time. The casual onlooker can identify a bear’s den, a fox’s hole, a rabbit’s warren from encyclopaedic descriptions that do not vary. There are some birds who will refuse to mate if the nest isn’t just so, the way it’s expected. Contrary-wise, the human animal is scorned for fabricating row houses and tract homes and houses make of ticky-tacky. Variety, change, and originality count big with us and we sure have got it in us.

Pen. Paper. Current internal equipment. Hand. Eye. Endless possibilities. Freedom.

Up Next: Training the hand as receptor

The Gallery Bell

The Hawks Perch of Big Sur

Long day yesterday. Around 9 I was starting dinner and glad for the respite from business in the gallery. I was up to the third Poirot mystery on the set of 3 from Big Sur library and looking forward to watching the remarkable Belgium detective do his stuff, all symmetry and little gray cells at work.

I have installed a doorbell on the gallery downstairs that rings upstairs, and a bit of a peculiar contraption that urges visitors to ring if the shop’s closed. PUSH ME printed on a big yellow wooden one-time cart handle, that adjusts to the ringer’s height and predilection. It’s been a delightful solution to painting in the studio and not missing customers.

Around 10pm as Hercule Poirot was solving murders in 1939 near Egypt’s pyramids, that very same bell rang. I trotted out and peered over the balcony.

A fine young man, reveling with buddies at The Maiden Pub next door, glass of beer in hand, wanted to go through the gallery and buy something. Sweet. I went down and opened the doors to him and turned on the lights.

He was all bright-lit himself with cross country adventure, the kind of glow I’ve seen often from voyagers to Big Sur who can’t believe they made it or believe how perfectly wonderful it is. Tall and strapping, looking like transplanted mid-America farm and ranch. A total delight whose name is Dylan. He hadn’t seen his parents for close to a year and his mom was on her way for a visit and he wanted to get her a present and he was up front right away, he had ten bucks for it.

We did some searching and negotiating and came in on budget. I gift-wrapped, we hugged, Dylan returned to the pub, an ebullient spirit of good nature and fine character who is clearly finding answers to his liberating dreams at the blossoming start of youth.

As for this painter, it’s become the kind of experience that never ceases to amaze or sweep me with strong emotion. The pleasures found at the other end of a small red bell on a chunk of yellow wood with PUSH ME writ large on it are awesome and sweet.