Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Golden Dawn-Step 1 The big bright uncertainty

 Dearest Readers,
This is the summer of painting through uncertainty–diving in instead of holding back; risking ruin in my Peacham, Vermont studio (with the help of a glass of wine and loud music for moral support at the final phase.) Ursula LeGuin’s new translation of the ancient verses of the Tao Te Ching has offered me some parallels on my artist’s Way. This week the notion of “Not Knowing” frames my work. I’m trying to say something in paint about a recent wellspring of essential being that is bubbling up from inside. The inner spark has both its dark and light incarnations. Unlike last summer’s hole digging, this force manifests by rising up, not delving down.
So, join me as I approach a painting entitled Golden Dawn, begun in April at home in Georgia, then worked and reworked in my mountainside studio until it seems to give voice to this tangled mystery inside. Click on any image to enlarge.
First, here's Lao Tzu's poem that served as inspiration for the process:

Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.

Triply undifferentiated,
It merges into oneness,
Not bright above,
Not dark below.

Never, oh! never
Can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
To unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
The image of no image.

Call it unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.

Holding fast to the old Way,
We can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
We hold the thread of the Tao.
-Lao Tzu

Golden Dawn-Step 2 Something rises like segmented wings
3. Stripped down and transparent
4. solid and blocked
5. Adding different voices

 6. Too Much Chatter

7. Moving backwards

8. Adding a limited language of pink
9. Now some yellow blending with the background + turquoise striped centers

10. Final addition of 2 rough, intertwined swaths of black, stirring up the mystery that I'm feeling.
It's finished.


  1. Your work is profound. And you express your ideas so well. I am moved beyond words. I can say that I am so happy for you and so happy that you are here making my world richer by the art you create and the way you talk about your journey making it.

    1. Thanks Ruth for saying this, and for sharing this blog on the Daily Creative Practice Page. Diving into Not Knowing is somewhat like you sailing ahead on the Pilgrim into new adventurous waters in art and life. (I'm having fun with the boat metaphor!)