Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Want to Be an Astronaut When I Grow Up

This is not the first time I've revealed my love for all things space-y, so I might as well say it myself, having been accused of being one:  I will forever be a space cadet. In third grade, I spent a good deal of time deep in a comic book, learning all about training to be an astronaut. Mrs. Vincent, my third-grade teacher, also fed my obsession via a capsule of information where we learned about John Glenn, what astronauts eat in space, what the Big Plans were, etc. I ate it up and begged for more: 'More space, please.'  I still can't get enough.

As my personal exploration of space, via the computer now (supplemented with lots of standing under the night sky and looking up in wonder), takes me deeper into space, I feel that my exploration of spirituality dovetails with it, in fact they seem to be interchangeable in many ways.  This is a subject I have written about before and will undoubtedly write about again, but today I want to share with you a link that my son, Coleman, sent to me this morning. These are photographs taken by Col. Douglas Wheelock, during his command of the International Space Station. Besides being an astronaut, he's one world-class photographer. And I do mean world-class. His photographs are astonishingly beautiful. His photograph above looks like something out of  "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. I would also venture to say he is one fine metaphysical writer. His captions are pure poetry. This is nature writing at its finest.

I may be prejudiced by my own love of space, but I hope you will click on the link below and will enjoy them as much as I did. Then, I urge you to click on the link to his biographical data in the introduction to them (an amazing look at what dedication to your chosen field can do) and to his twitter account. His full captions enhance the images with poetic descriptions of the incredible views he enjoyed from space.

This is art, this is science, this is spirituality, and it sets my heart on fire.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love: A Lone Crow and Wild Turkeys

During the past three weeks I have been giving considerable thought to the healing power of Love. Several weeks ago I bought a book many of you might be familiar with. It's titled, quite simply, The Power. It's a companion book to The Secret, the secret being not so secret, as it is about Source and the infinite supply we all have, without measure, of all that we need.  The Power is dedicated to the subject of Love, in all its manifestations, and how it meets our every need. Love, being divine Love, as expressed in and through us, has given me much food for thought.

I have not always followed my own principles regarding the expression of Love. I have fallen far short at times. I decided to examine my own shortcomings through a bit of retrospection and introspection, and to make a practice of doing better, to practice what I preach more consistently. During this brief hiatus, I've been having fun in my own backyard. And more than fun, it has been illuminating.

While on a walk yesterday, under a blue-blue sky and with fresh snow under my feet (I love how the blue sky is reflected in the snow), I opened my thought to how I might express love without hesitation and exception. I had to start with myself, the only place anything ever truly starts. I opened my thought and my mouth, speaking out loud how much I love my Life, my Perfect Self, the Self that God, divine Love knows, without condition or judgment. Then I went on to express out loud my love for all my friends, including any that appear to be lost to the past; I spoke of my love for my family, every member, without exception. I continued along these lines as I walked. As I did so, a lone crow sailed across the road, just above the treetops in front of me. I spoke to it, saying hello and thanking it for the gift of its presence. It flew a short distance, then banked to the right, flying back to me, almost appearing to pause in greeting as it approached me, completing a circle as it flew. It did this one more time, flying a short distance, then banking to the right, briefly hovering before completing another circle overhead, then sailing on, across that deep blue ocean of sky.

If you have been reading my writings for any time, you have probably noticed that I believe we receive signs everywhere, once we become alert to them. Signs from nature are among my favorites. This certainly seems to be a nice affirmation for the direction my thoughts have taken.

I received another nice "sign" this morning. I had just sent an email to someone expressing my thoughts about the healing power of love, when I walked down the hall and into the kitchen. There, under the bird feeder, were four wild turkeys. They are probably the same turkeys that visited me this past summer. I took a photo of them from inside, but could not resist the desire to photograph them outside. I walked around the corner of the house and managed to snap off a few photos as they moved back toward the little patch of woods they had taken refuge in this summer. I cannot explain it, but those turkeys felt like Love itself to me. Another gift of Love's ever-presence, expressed through nature.

Someday when men have conquered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The photographs are mine.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To the Playground

For the past several days, I've been getting the nudge to take a break from blogging. I feel the need to step away. Today, the sun is shining brilliantly, not a cloud in sight, and it seems to be mirroring my decision back to me. I am very grateful that I followed through on my desire to share the beautiful art of Katherine Bowling before doing so. What a perfect place to take a break. It might mean a few days, but my sense is it will be somewhat longer. I will be back, I'm quite certain, but now calls for something else. That something else? I think I've forgotten how to have fun. So, I'm going to change that. I don't know what that means yet, but I aim to find out. I'll let you know.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Katherine Bowling: The Subject is Grace

Once in awhile I come across a new artist, someone I have never seen nor heard of before, and they stop me in my tracks. Their paintings call up inexplicable emotion and I can't shake it. Such is the case with Katherine Bowling, whose work I saw in a magazine this fall. Here I am, three months later, and I'm still talking about it.

The wonderful thing about art is, that each person gets to bring their own particular set of emotions to it, drinking it in and walking away, taking with them what they will.

When I worked in the gallery, my favorite conversations with clients were around why people respond as they do to certain paintings. Whether it's a realistic scene, which brings up memories of a place we've been, something we've seen and the emotions associated with those memories, or more abstract work, it always comes down to emotions. We each respond with our own unique way of viewing the world, our own perceptions. And so I cannot say this will strike you as it did me. This is just me. For whatever reason, it's not going away.

Her titles are singular and carry with them their own grace notes, as in this one, simply titled, View:

They have an ethereal quality, perhaps reminding us of a dream we once had that sometimes returns, unbidden, called up by circumstance.

Yes, someplace we've been, but can't quite recall....

She spends part of each year in a 19th century farmhouse atop the Catskill Mountains, surrounded by woods and fields, painting what she refers to as "ordinary stuff."  Using oils, she paints in somewhat of a fresco style, layering vinyl spackle on wood, not unlike plaster, then beginning with a base coat of bright color, which creates in her paintings that sense of light emanating from within. She often turns the painting around, letting the drips form aspects of the work. It's as though Impressionism wed Abstraction and out of it something new was born, something wonderful, something extraordinary.

She notes the early work of photographer Edward Steichen as an influence. I have always loved his photographs. Perhaps that's one element that helps explain why I'm drawn to her work. Considered the most expensive photograph in the world, taken by Steichen on Long Island in 1904, the photograph below recently sold at auction for $2.9. That's million.


I had a devil of a time trying to pick which pieces I'd share with you. Actually, it was quite heavenly. Emotions, of course, ruled the day, and my decisions. Here are some more that sang to me. Sirens on the rocks, I'm telling you. And I gladly surrender.

I sent an email to Katherine Bowling, requesting permission to showcase her work in my blog, and received a generous response in return granting me permission to use whatever I like, along with  a nice comment on my blog. I am thrilled!  Such a lovely way to start my morning. Her most recent show, "Moments of Grace," is at the DC Moore Gallery in New York City.

I encourage you to click on each and view them somewhat larger. The titles are included there, as well. I can imagine how wonderful they must be in person.