The Heart of the Matter


On Aldous Huxley's Island, Mynah birds were trained to call, "Attention! Attention!"
"Attention to what?" one character asked. "To attention." was the reply.
There is nothing like a daub of warm red to attract the eye and demand attention. Using red to manipulate attention is a tried and true, centuries old painter's trick that cuts directly through our messy, busy thoughts and involves us involuntarily in the picture plane. The red connects directly to the rods and cones in our retinas and we respond physically.

It is relatively simple to deconstruct a picture plane — the plane is static and can be examined over a period of time. Living experience, operating physically in the world, interacting with other people in dynamic movement is far more complex to comprehend. And yet, practicing, learning about and understanding elements of the expressive arts contribute to our understanding of the human experience and situation.

The other day, I heard a snippet of radio interview with a man regularly called upon at year's end to forecast top stories for the coming year. The forecaster basically said that there are so many unknown variables and the ground is shifting so quickly, that forecasting what the new year may bring is no longer possible. When pressed for a forecast anyway, his first prediction was that it is no longer possible to forecast.

Think about that.

The big thing for this coming year and from here on out is to pay attention. Be here now. Develop and learn to highly tune your perceptive senses. Distract yourself and go unconscious at your own risk.

Life is fleeting, dynamic, surprising.

In the coming year, as I renovate my teaching programs, I am exploring the spiritual essence of the expressive arts. That's the heart of the matter.

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Visit the source at Suzanne McDermott

Aditya Hridayam

Aditya Hridayam
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches
$65 email me to purchase


I worked right through the solstice, on my feet for six hours straight. At the end of the day, after a fleeting thought about a drink (no, I would never make a painting), I stopped at the library and swept the spiritual section of audio CDs.

Ram Dass has been on my mind recently. In the early 90's, I was fortunate to sit up close with him at several occasions in Boston. Last night I listened to one of his much earlier talks —Here We All Are—that includes a bonus CD of his chanting recorded in the late 60's as Dr. Richard Alpert was making his transformation to Baba Ram Dass.

One of the recorded chants was
ADITYA HRIDAYAM PUNYAM
SARV SHATRU BENA SHENAM
that translates as
All evil vanishes from life for him who keeps the sun in his heart. —Ramayana
Aditya Hridayam is a Hindu hymn to the sun god. As I listened, I was finishing the second of two paintings made to celebrate the return of the light.

Another perfect confluence.

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Snowbound


Snowy Field
Watercolor, 5 x 7
$65 email me to purchase


Snow fell all yesterday afternoon, evening, overnight and into this morning. The temperature never made it out of the teens though the sun was bright and brilliant.

Fortunately, my calendar was completely clear today so I've enjoyed the day watching cars at a distance crawl along the icy side streets.

Slowly but surely, I am reorganizing my thoughts and activities to get back into blogging. I miss it now and all of you.

It may be dark and cold but I'm experiencing the spark of inspiration and the reawakening of that critical drive required to bring the sparkling forth.