…expectations based on the work itself are the most useful tool the artist possesses. What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. There is no other such book, and it is yours alone. it functions this way for no one else. Your finger prints are all over your work, and you alone know how they got there. Your work tells you about your working methods, your discipline, your strengths and weaknesses, your habitual gestures, your willingness to embrace.
The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly—without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child.
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through. Listen to the music. Hafiz
I love Jesus who said to us: ‘Heaven and earth will pass away. When heaven and earth have passed away my word will remain.’ What was your word, Jesus? Love? Affection? Forgiveness? All your words were one word: Wakeup. Antonio Machado
Everything with black tones has duende and there is no truth greater… These black tones are mystery itself whose roots are held fast in the mulch we all know and ignore, but where we arrive at all that is substantial in art. [Black tones are a] mysterious power which everyone feels but which no philosopher can explain.
So then duende is a power not a method. The duende is not in the singers throat, the duende rises inside from the soles of one’s feet—it is not a question of ability but of possessing an authentic living style… it is in short the spirit of the earth.
The arrival of duende always presupposes a radical transformation on every plane. It produces a feeling of totally unedited freshness. It bears the quality of a newly crafted rose, of a miracle that produces an almost religious enthusiasm.
I know I love the day. The sun on the mountain, the Pacific shiny and accomplishing itself in breakers. But I know I live half alive in this world, Half my life belongs to the wild darkness. Galway Kinnell
In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow in the deepening shade. Roethke
the marks of wildness are: a love of nature—especially silence… a voice box free to say spontaneous things… an exuberance… a love of the edge… Robert Bly
These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.