Spring 2010

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” 
–  Dalai Lama
I spent much of the Winter living in my childhood home in Georgia.  Betsy came down for a while. We’d walk around Weracoba Park in the evenings. We developed a little mantra, “Laugh More, Skip More.” We’d skip and laugh our way around the park. We discovered that just the act of skipping makes one smile. Man and Eliot came down for Christmas, which we celebrated at my sister’s farm with the whole family, all the nephews and great-grandkids. We went to The First Baptist Church every Sunday morning and listened to Jimmy Elder preach, afterwards we’d have brunch at Minnie’s. I had dinner with my parents every night. My Dad and I did the crossword puzzle while my mother prepared dinner. I worked on a portrait of my parents. I did small paintings on panels of the house, inside and out; studies for larger pieces or finished pieces unto themselves. The paintings will be in my upcoming New York show at PPOW in October.

So much is happening so fast in our world. With The Large Hadron Collider up and running, and hopes of finding the Higgs Boson and the recent discovery by scientists that particles in the visible world are governed by the same mysterious laws as particles in the quantum world, suggesting that everything is simultaneously both a  wave and a particle, (perhaps, even your cat) we are left with some serious questions regarding the nature of reality, of duality, and the way the human brain processes information. Are the right and left hemispheres of the brain the cause of duality. Is belief the top quark. Are there multiple coexisting realities. Is willing our desired reality just a manifestation away, or not. Always, two roads diverge. 
We all know that we have two choices of everything, wave particle, on-off, happy sad, black white, right wrong, right- left, up or down, North South, East West, PC or Mac, Coke or Pepsi, Republican or Democrat. 
President Obama has said, ”There is not a conservative America and a liberal America, there is the United States of America.” And yet, while President Obama is signing ground breaking nuclear treaties and passing moderate health care reform, the rhetoric and partisanship has grown more ardent and nastierfrom the opposition. 
Sometimes I receive these politically lop-sided emails, which end with the terse command, ‘if you agree pass it on, if you don’t, delete it.’ Why do we have to take sides and buy into ‘group think’, why is it ‘agree or disagree with my opinion’ what about being curious about someone else’s beliefs, what about looking the story up on Snopes.com, or researching the topic from another source. 
Ken Wilber doesn’t seem to think that we need “bi-partisanship”, but instead, a kind of “trans-partisanship” which would move us beyond ‘this or that’ thinking. Actually, this is what Barack represents and it makes everybody uncomfortable. Right and Left. An integral president. There are many things that we share and have in common. Some issues don’t have to be politicized. The mail, our highways, education, civil rights, a right to good health-care, all should be basic rights in a free civilized society without the barnacled baggage of partisanship or wacky catcalls about socialism. The problem is that duality demands sides. And it seems to be a basic human trait that we want to be on the winning side, the right side, of every issue, debate, game, argument, and conflict. It is tribal, and we have a very difficult time trying to ‘be’ any other way. Evolution is a long slow process, and those who are capable are called upon to find the connective tissue and common ground between all beings. 
But, the tea baggers rage on and The Southern Poverty Law center reports a dramatic increase in militia and hate groups. 
And Palin continues using gun imagery on her website.
When will the madness end. When will we realize that fear breeds fear. The right to bear arms is a holdover from a fading paradigm. The early settlers had muskets, not semi-automatic weapons nor concealed handguns. Some may try to hold dear to their guns and religion, but both the Constitution and the Bible are living documents, always open to interpretation and re-evaluation.
Guns will not make us safer. More guns are not the solution. 
Ultimately, the tea bag campaign isn’t about health-care or abortion or gun rights. It’s about fear; fear of evolution. The rants are just growing pains. Change has come and the old guard doesn’t like it.

As artists in this kaleidoscopic universe, we have an infinite number of choices, mediums, styles, subjects, forms; we can be antagonistic, angry, overwhelmed, provocateurs, trying to shock, doing performance pieces to awaken a response, or protesting or optimistic, thought provoking, beauty seeking, calm and centered, transcendent, we can be giddy and enthusiastic or lethargic and cynical, but in the end we are left with only one choice. Make Art. 
Don’t be afraid. Find your truth and speak it. Making Art is the middle way. You may feel like a lone voice in the wilderness, but you are a part of the great evolving. Make Art, and…
Laugh More, Skip More. 
Vashon Island Washington