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On my Process of Painting

"Do you meditate?"

"Drawing and painting are a form of meditation."

This exchange occurred with a stranger four decades ago, while I was drawing in a class at the San Francisco Art Institute.  My spontaneous answer puzzled me because I had never tried to meditate before.

People recognized in my imagery, archetypal forms and inner worlds from the unconscious.  They saw my paintings as inherently spiritual.  Then I discovered C.G. Jung's ideas about the collective unconscious, which seemed to me the plausible source of my images, since they did not come from my direct observations or experience.  They were symbolic like the language and imagery of dreams and came from a shared inner world that could be meaningful to not only myself, but to humanity.  Painting helped me to understand myself in a deep sense and hopefully help others to see profound depths of the human collective psyche. 

I discovered Evelyn Underhill's books about mysticism and recognized the connection between the spiritual, inner life and the images that evolved while painting in a state of receptivity to the unknown.  Each series of painting began with an awareness of my own feelings about life, death and the struggle to understand change and growth.  Nature and the cosmos appears frequently in my paintings.  I asked the big questions, while raising four children and losing friends and relatives to suffering and death.

Although many individuals in the sixties were using drugs to contact the spiritual reality, I did not try any since my active imagination was a natural connection to the inner world.  Following an experience of deep surrender, I had a spontaneous vision of oneness with all that is.  I was drawn to study physics and attempted to translate the concepts of quantum physics and evolution into visual images of change that I might understand. That work inspired the cosmic series.

Over a period of fifty-six years, my research and experiments with several methods of sitting meditation eventually lead me to the Blue Mountain Meditation group and a very satisfying discipline learned from "Passage Meditation" by Eknath Easwaran.

All these influences; art, psychology, spirituality, meditation, nature and contemporary physics have become synthesized with my earlier academic and scientific interests to produce paintings meaningful to me and hopefully to humanity.  They come from the heart and the deep psyche.

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