The Wells From Which We Drink

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Water is essential to life but water can be noxious to a living being if it is taken from a contaminated source. This is the same with spirituality. We can inadvertently contaminate our own spiritual wells with qualities of doubt, fear, arrogance, boastfulness, divisiveness, hate, condescension and judgment. It is bad enough when these sediments slip into our own spiritual wells but it is far worse to take water from that same well and share it with others. So be ever so mindful of what seeps into the waters that fill your spiritual wells. You may unknowingly contaminate a whole village.

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

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Whenever I think about quiting, to give up on my own dreams and succumb to the hum drum, I think about this elderly West Indies lady I met back in college. She was waiting on public transit to come pick her up from after classes and I was just waiting for the rain to let up so that I could get to my car. She was gitty and full of joy and in a polite moment of chit chat, she informed me that she was 57 years old and that she was graduating come May with her Associates. I offered her my congratulations. She went on to tell me how she came to this country with two children in tow and a aging mother. That she worked a full time job, cared for her mother and her children and had been taking classes in the evening whenever she could. It was her dream to get a college degree and after 13 years of taking classes here and there, while working full time and caring for her family, she was on the cusp of achieving that dream. I was genuinely happy for her. I never knew her name and I don’t recall ever seeing her after that brief encounter but I always remember her whenever I get discouraged. In a world where we want things to happen yesterday and we don’t have the patience for tomorrow, she stands as a testimony that we shouldn’t put time limits on our dreams. That no matter what we should keep working towards them even when our efforts seem miniscule. Eventually with time all those little efforts will add up to achieving our goal.

A Few Of My Favorite Artists

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…the key word here is “few”, because there really are many.

Andrea Joseph – Her work is filled with the simplicity of everyday things. Cars, keys, stamps, laundry, you name it. I’m fascinated with the fact that she takes things that can be found in our everyday lives and make beautiful drawings out of them with nothing but ballpoint pens and moleskines.

Kurt Halsey – His work is sweet, tender, emotive and touches the romantic in me.

Audrey Kawasaki – There is such a delicate softness and femininity in her work that I often wish I could capture in my own. Her style has a unique elegance to it that can’t be duplicated yet I’ve seen others try.

Paul Davey – I love all the earth tones and details in his work. I can look at the same piece over and over again and always find something new about it.

Gris Grimly – He is my Tim Burton of visual arts. (I’m a Tim Burton fan.) Having to explain why I like Grimly’s work often leaves me speechless. I just like it, that’s all I can say.

Early Influences: Edward Gorey

I have quite a few early influences. Some still influence me ’til this day and some only fueled my artistic interests for a particular period in my life. As with most influences there’s always that first one; the one that gets a young mind’s creative juices flowing. So I got to thinking about who was that first one for me, that one artistic muse that kicked off my love for the pen and ink?

Digging way back into the recesses of my mind, back into my childhood where I spent lazy Sunday afternoons staring aimlessly at a tv waiting for something halfway interesting to come on. Sundays were notorious for boring tv viewing especially with the few channels that were available at the time. For no reason in particular the tv always ended up on PBS which is where I first saw the tv series Mystery! I’m sure I probably just dated myself. But in case you don’t remember or weren’t born yet, Mystery! was a spin off of PBS Masterpiece Theater featuring British crime dramas that aired from 1980 to 2006. (Growing up in Alaska I watched a lot of British tv series…and Justin Wilson, you know, that Cajun cook but I’m sure that was more so my moms doing.)

Anywho, now I’m not really all that into crime and mystery stories, my thing has always been scifi and fantasy, so it wasn’t the content of the series that I found myself waiting to see each Sunday after my initial discovery of the show. It was the opening sequence that held my attention. At the beginning of each episode was an animated title sequence featuring the original pen and ink drawings of none other than Edward Gorey. Well, I actually didn’t learn that the artist was Edward Gorey until decades later when I came across a book of his work at the bookstore. But even though I didn’t know who the artist was I always remembered his work. I loved the simple use of just black ink on white paper, the manner of detail in his linework and his ability to take such a simple yet unforgiving medium to create emotive illustrations to fit the theme of his works. Gorey captured my young mind in that animated sequence each Sunday afternoon and was the first to stir my artistic interest in drawing and particularly drawing in pen and ink. I still enjoy his works ’til this day and I still have this thing for opening sequences to shows and movies.

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