Notes Made on Art and Spirituality at Camp

Notes Made on Art and Spirituality at Camp

art and spirituality

I love Creative Arts Camp in Maine. The people are terrific: the convergence of art with Christian Science is an amazing combination. Also the place is beautiful, and I laugh harder than I do any time the rest of the year. Below are some of the bits I want to think about more going forward (in no particular order):

• It is all about Love and movement
• Be the tree in order to paint it; the essence of the rock is very different.
• Let your brush “run and disport itself.”
• Moonlight comes over the water directly to each person specifically. Light comes to us, is within us.
• Like a cake needs all its ingredients to be a cake, a painting needs all of its ingredients to be a painting: color, composition, light, tension and release.
• There is a Principle behind all good composition.
• Put white only in the last step.
• A painting should be primal, simple and profound. A painting should have a buffet table of energy going on. Painting is awareness. It is listening, revealed. Painting is an act of love. Painting is honesty.
• Mixing a great purple in oil: magenta and ultramarine blue with a little bit of white.
• In watercolor mixing raw sienna and ultramarine blue makes a better green for foliage than anything out of the tube.
• Composition is all about tension and release. There should be quiet areas and busy areas, rest and energy both present. We need to harness and release energy in every painting. This is a game plan for every successful painting. Harness energy and then release it. Explode off the canvas while being contained. Convey point and counterpoint. And there has to be some movement.
• Shapes, shapes, shapes, nothing but shapes. Let the details come later. Eat all your vegetables and protein before you start on dessert.
• Look at the blank canvas to see what is there.
• “You are not doing anything; you are being done.” Wayne Dyer
• The opposite of good is inconceivable.
• Work from your core. What is your core?
• God is not one dimensional.
• “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”Hebrews 11:3
• It is not about how to paint celestial light but more about how to paint your inner light. Let the light come within first. Light is not seen but felt. Light is energy. That which is felt first will be seen. “Ye are the light of the world.” Matt 5:14
• Pause before you take each step. Let the Christ go in before you.
• Hymn 46: “Day by day the manna fell, O to learn this lesson well.” Inspiration is sufficient for each day. You can’t collect it for any other day; you can only use today’s worth and trust that tomorrow’s worth will be there.
• The canvas is a little shrine, a holy place.
• See the music and hear the line.
• No masterpiece is ever planned. They only showed up and were in tune with the divine.
• Light is the shimmering effect of complimentary colors juxtaposing. The impressionists were light gatherers. A painting doesn’t need to be detailed. Just nail the light. There is no mud in painting light: complimentary colors are not mixed but next to one another, (especially purples and golds.)
• Go to a museum to study light, or study the work of Frederick Church.
• Walnut oil alkyd medium by Graham (1/2) mixed with 1/4 turpinoid (or Gamsol) and 1/4 linseed oil for top layers instead of Liquin which darkens.
• At the end spray retouch varnish so you don’t have to wait so long for the painting to dry before varnishing.
• Put the sky in first and it will set the tone for the whole painting.
• See the movie Tim’s Vermeer. Also see the movie Copying Beethoven. (The movie Brother Where art Thou, as well as the film Nebraska were also recommended by these folks.)
• Check out Paul Serusier’s painting The Talisman. It was the first abstract and it changed history.
• “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalms 23:4
• “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:” Ecclesiastes 3:11
• God let go after the first chapter of Genesis; we can have trust and courage because the first chapter of Genesis is already there.
• See the color not seen with your eyes; a photograph is a vehicle; it doesn’t mean it is Truth.
• What does the museum show of your life work say up on the wall? What is your larger contribution to art?
• When you take yourself out of the equation, you find yourself.
• Painting is stratification. It should be an excavation of your soul.
• Attack the canvas all at once with complete unbridled raw utter abandon.
• Make each day a masterpiece.
• We are the light-show.


I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


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