That “Third Thing” In Between


I recently took a vacation from all work, including painting. I camped, watched light and shadow dance on the leaves of trees, and read a very thick book to completion. All the while I felt a gnawing underbelly of pressure. 

Guilt, things I could and should be doing for life and an awareness of needing empty spaces inside to recharge. I was torn between two ways of being. Often we are caught between two things, writes Natalie Goldberg in her book, The True Secret of Writing. Pulled into a fray of right or wrong—should I do this, should I do that?—Natalie says that within a struggle, a third thing can be birthed, fueled by the extremes and fertilized into something that is unique to you and very real.

The Third Thing

I have experienced this very real phenomenon in the act of making an abstract painting. We don’t think our way to resolution, we find the space between. I’m not trying to “make“ it into anything, but I am wanting my emotions to lead the way. It’s a form of getting to the truth, our own truth.

I have found existentialist writer John Graham to be a wonderful resource in describing just those spaces in proclaiming what is art is in his manifesto from 1939 titled, Systems and Dialectics of Art.

He claims that the purpose of art is to re-establish relationship with the unconscious. He states that the “conscious mind is incapable of creating; and is only a clearing house for the powers of the unconscious and the best way to our unconscious is through our emotions.”

For me, I work with shadows, externally and internally. If I linger and not squint too hard, the shadows might come into focus or dissipate altogether.

John Graham has left me with questions. For instance, I usually talk about abstract works of art as creating movement that moves the eye just so. He makes a different statement claiming:

“A great work of art is always static. A dynamic state is the natural state of things and there is no accomplishment in falling in with eternal motion, the heroic feat is to arrest motion by stupendous effort  and to contemplate. An abstract painting is an argument drawn to a conclusion.”

Contemplation, a calm in a storm, the static within movement, all in search of our unique point of view.

Thank you for reading,


Sunday - July 14th
One Day Only Collectors Sale- 11:00 - 5:00 pm

A variety of small and large pieces will be made available at studio prices for purchase. I will give a talk at 2:00 pm.

September 26 & 27 in Santa Fe
I am teaching The Space Between Painting and Intuition with Stacy Philips. Just a few spots left!

Happy New Year

It was a whirlwind end of the year.

I hosted a student show from Art Workshops in Santa Fe in my studio in November. Eight local participants have been steadily working away for the last year. We had a fantastic turnout and an image of Laura Newmark's work "Pain Body" had a half-page print in the November issue of THE magazine, Santa Fe. The new year workshops have begun.

Wednesday Ongoing Painting: focused on your individual needs within a group 1-4 and beginning Feb. 23.

Tuesday Night Mixed Media 5 Week Intensive. 

Check out the workshop page—there is still room.

I am teaching a Drawing I class at Santa Fe Community College this term and will offer an acrylic and color course through continuing education at the Community College beginning April 5th.

May 23: I will be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Art Association teaching a 5-day Alchemy of Mixed Media.

I had a solo show open at Friesen Gallery Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho the day after Thanksgiving. This begins the official ski season in the area. The show, Intersections of Vast Things, is my first exhibit with Friesen and I am thrilled to be a part of them.

Friesen Gallery- Installation View

Friesen Gallery- Installation View

After a nice, long break, I am back in the studio. I am part of a group show at Chase Young Gallery in Boston in January 2016. I am finishing pieces for Mark Woolley Gallery opening in Portland, Orregon March 20, 2016. A peak at a piece (no title as of yet):

mixed media - 30x40 2016

mixed media - 30x40 2016

Life appears to be diving into depths of some unknown and known facets that are emerging through paint. Lightness of being seems to be temporarily on the shelf. Sometimes deadlines push me into gear. Other times, I freeze and all avenues to a groove of working seem to be nowhere in sight. Looking for the door, the shimmer of light, I pace. Pace around like a dog, looking for the perfect comfort spot in which to enter. I know this process. I have been here before, many times. Not quite sure why every time feels like the first time. The beauty is, once you’re in, the dialogue can begin, but the waiting is a form of magic. Painting is not done alone. There is a cohort that beckons. Sometimes it speaks through the painting itself, and I can enter into relationship. Sometimes it just comes where a harmonic symphony takes place with three or four pieces at once. I paint, waiting for just these moments.

I have been thinking a lot about how all this translates into teaching. How to communicate what happens in the studio. If I have left my process for a time—a week, a month—I have to search out the delicate balance between who I was when I left the door and who I am now in the moment: pick up and carry the conversation forward. Do the work. I just want all to know that we are not alone in this process.

John O’donohue said it so well in his book, Beauty:

“No person is a finished thing, regardless of how frozen or paralyzed their self image might be. Each one of us is in a state of perennial formation. Carried with the flow of time, you are coming to be who you are in every new emerging moment. Life is a journey that fills out your identity and yet the true nature of a journey remains largely invisible."