• Language

Riding Solo

Humanity has found itself divided. Literally. We’re all hiding in our separate spaces, maintaining a healthy distance from one another. On a larger level though, we’re all coming together, doing our part to beat back the threat at the door. Covid-19 has spread across the world. This is undoubtedly a time when fear and loneliness are easy to find, but we can also use this opportunity to find our center.

Bluejay visits pond.

This is a chance for us to remember what is really important in life. Health is one obvious answer—the importance of our own health, the health of our family and friends, the health of strangers bound to us through community, and yes, the health of our planet.

I’m lucky to be spending my time in isolation in a house with a large backyard—a nice sized space at the back of a cul-de-sac with several large pines and a beautiful, tall locust. At the back of the yard my wife has built a stone pond and waterfall. Blue Jays sometimes come here to feed and drink. They’re an aggressive bird and aren’t afraid to take their place at the water. I love watching them.

While waiting for the world to restart, I’m using the additional studio time to draw this beautiful bird. It’s part of my Aviary Nouveau series which blends both realistic and stylistic elements. I’m not a healthcare worker. (Believe me, they have my most earnest thoughts and prayers). What I am is an artist and creating, even in the face of tragedy, is what I can do. Birds are creatures both of earth and sky—emissaries to the heavens. I’m sending up this one as my prayer for healing.

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16 Doors: A Visual Journal on Creativity

16 Doors ImageOver the course of fours weeks this winter, I created a visual art journal dealing with my understanding of the creative process. I used the themes of alchemy and journey as metaphor and peppered the pages with recurring symbols.  Mostly, I had fun!

What I found at the end of the project is that my chops for drawing from imagination had improved.  I also rediscovered my love for writing.

You can download a .pdf file by clicking the link below.  Hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

16 Doors: A Visual Journal on Creativity

Skipping Through Darkness

Traveler:                  This place seems familiar. Have I been here before?

Oberon:                   (looking up from the slow-moving river to take in the traveler) Where are you comparing it to?

Traveler:                  I was walking along a riverbank very much like this one. And suddenly there was this shadow.

Oberon:                   Excuse me, did you say shadow?

Traveler:                  Well, not so much a shadow as a rustling of leaves. I mean it was a rustling of leaves until the moment it wasn’t. And then it was a shadow.

Oberon:                   And this rustling of leaves brought you here?

Traveler:                  Yes. I mean, no. It was a shadow. Although I’m not quite sure where here is. I mean, it’s night instead of day. It’s cool instead of warm. It’s quiet here, and that’s different too—the silence.

Oberon:                   Where exactly do you think you came from?

Traveler:                  I’m . . . not sure. Someplace else.

Oberon:                   And you’re quite sure of that?

Traveler:                  Well yes, of course I’m sure. Do you only ask questions?

Oberon:                   You think I ask too many questions?

Traveler:                  I’m just trying to understand how I got here. I mean, I was standing by the river, looking up at a beautiful blue sky, then suddenly I’m here with you looking up at stars.

Oberon:                   (gazing upward) Haven’t the stars always been there?

Traveler:                  No. It was daylight, you know, blue sky and clouds.

Oberon:                   (picks up a stone and skips it along the river’s surface. splashes illuminate with a trail of starlight through the night.)

Traveler:                  So (clearing his throat) where am I and how do I get back?

Oberon:                   (Oberon moves to a fallen tree, sits and pours two glasses of wine) Please sit and wait with me.

Traveler:                  Very well, but what are we waiting for?

Oberon:                   The next skip of the stone.

Oberon and the Traveler drift through the night. Sipping on their wine, they look up at the passing stars.

  • Image–charcoal and pastel on paper by sw pisciotta