Part 1 of The Search For Beauty Video Series – Introduction

Here’s part one of my video series, ‘The Search For Beauty.’


This episode serves as an introduction to the series.  In each part, I look at the root of a word: art, form, muse, perception and revelation, and how if affects our relationship to beauty.  We take a lot of these words for granted, and I find it incredibly interesting where they come from, and why we use them the way we do.

You can find the rest of the series on my vimeo page:

Artists I Like #1: Fedor Zakharov


46″ x 54″, oil on canvas

I am perpetually inspired by the work of other artists I encounter.  This is the first in my “Artists I Like” series; a chance for me to put a spotlight on the works that have influenced me.  Let’s begin with the work of Russian/Ukrainian painter Fedor Zakharov.

In painting representational art you play two things off one another. The representation and the marks that create that representation. You can hide all the marks and enhance the illusion but suck life out of the expression. Or you can so emphasize the marks the illusion gets lost. I am most attracted to a harmony between the two, where we are completely aware of the illusion and at the same time marvel at the freshness and boldness of the calligraphy that created it. Continue reading

The Search For Beauty 3.0


On May 1 two years ago I posted that I had finished a draft of my book The Search for Beauty. My wife and I went to our favorite restaurant and I ordered a glass of champagne. I posted a picture of that glass.

I sent the draft to my editor. Compared to the vision of what I felt beauty is and how it affects us, her response was underwhelming. I realized I had to go deeper.

In all things creative, we have process, and we have product. A creative life can guarantee process. Not necessarily a product, at least one living up to our vision. Since finishing that draft I’ve rewritten it twice but something just wasn’t matching my vision. I realized to give expression to beauty words alone for me may not be enough. I have filmed a video series on beauty, and given a couple of talks. I’ve read, made notes and continued to paint and draw. I’ve been busy and now I feel the threads of all this process reforming into a book as much about images as text and crafted and designed to be beautiful in itself. Continue reading

The Vessel for the Mystic Journey

I finished the boat. Or at least the model — 65 inches long. Crafted of 1/8″ birch plywood and basswood and glue. I had intended to cover it. I tried several tests with heat-shrink dacron. I would have had to construct the vessel differently to allow that to work. Then I thought of veneer. Either large pieces or thin strips. I abandoned that too. As it happened the more I looked at the skeleton structure of the vessel the more liked it.

I took photos all the way through construction. I want to make a slide show of that, quickly showing the fabrication.

vessel for the mystic journeyvessel for the mystic journey #1

The Muses

I am building a boat. Not a fine wooden skiff for sailing the marina. Nor a ketch to circle the world. Mine: a vessel for the mystic journey. Thin, sleek and I hope beautiful. Yet useless, at least as a vessel to navigate water.

Why, you might ask? I have to blame the muses. The idea surfaced in 1986 — long, over 18 feet and made of cedar strip. The complications, craftsmanship and time required all undermined its creation.

Yet every few years the idea resurfaces. Until this spring. Having surfaced again, I gave in.


Below the drawing you can see the four large circles and then intersecting smaller ones that dictate the placement of the ribs of the boat.

Below the drawing you can see the four large circles and then intersecting smaller ones that dictate the placement of the ribs of the boat.

Boat Drawing from 1987

Boat Drawing from 1987

Continue reading

Finding Authenticity

Heading home tomorrow after almost five weeks in Provence teaching painting workshops

This is another short video on authenticity. Sometimes the question, posted on the screen, gets cut. It’s “Is there an antidote [to not being authentic]?”

I’ve got one or two more of these interview videos. Then I’ll have a few paintings from Provence this year.


Another short video clip from the whispered interview. Two minutes. For some reason the first few seconds get deleted from the video, where the question is posed. The question here was, Is mastery of any sort a process to creative authenticity?

I’m posting these clips because to my mind a strong co-relation exists between expressing beauty in an art form and finding a deep communion with spirit within,  the foundation of our authenticity