Artist, Writer, Lover of Life, Enjoying a Life of Active Sobriety that is Transformational, and Helping Others Do the Same! A few of my favorite living expressions are:
"The Walking Wounded Have Become the Wounded Healers." "We will love you until you learn to love yourself!" "There is a field out there beyond right and wrong....I will meet you there." "The greatest thing in all the world is to love and be loved."
I have been married to an amazing woman named Joan for 35 years, have two beautiful grown and married children, Paul and Leah, married to Reanna and Charles. Paul and Reanna have been blessed with Nora Jean, their first child of 17 months and soon to be born son.
”SPRING HAS SPRING!!!” There’s a remedy for “Cabin Fever” this Friday, Downtown, all along St Germain Street. I’ll be joining fellow artists Chuck Norwood and Samantha with the St Cloud Dance Ensemble at the Black Box Theatre (Next door to Sawatdee) from 5-9pm. Come Join Us for free eats and artistic treats!
Here is a sampling of my functional and decorative art works—wheel thrown, sculpted, and hand built from high fired stoneware clay (If you’re interested in any of these items and cannot make it to the Art Crawl, please write or call at: 320-259-5393, or, firstname.lastname@example.org), THANKS, Ken.
Re-Creating a Sacred Space & Place: Talk about Art Imitating Life!
I spent Labor Day weekend intensely laboring and cleaning out and throwing away and recycling and taking boxes of my pottery and more to the Goodwill. I look back and felt driven, to find that place and space again ~ re-creating my 3 season porch into not only a place to be still, unwind, and creative, but also a space, a presence, reflecting an inner peace that goes beyond physical place.
It’s that “inner space” that transcends the mundane, that peace in the midst of a storm, that gift/grace that passes all understanding, ever so elusive when seeking but bubbles up when still.
“B E S T I L L A N D K N O W . . .
I love what Blaise Pascal wrote:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
We need help from others as gifts to us . . . even simply applied, I was given this sunken lounge chair with foot rest the weekend before. I tried to give it to our children, not realizing it was a special piece of the sacred space puzzle that fit so well . . .
~ Outer Space, Inner Space, Sacred Place ~
This space is consecrated by inner creativity and outer creation. There’s personal art work and Lake Superior stones recently collected on a very “still” afternoon alone on the north shore.
. . . And the two personal life-masks span 40 years of physical recording when I was 20 and 60 years old . . . time waiting for no one, but older age as a gift if we lean from EVERYTHING we’ve gone through, nothing wasted, all recycled by The Great Recycler!
Our whole lives are opportunities to re-create and recreate in the LIGHT that is always trying to break through. I am thankful for another new beginning . . . It’s there, waiting for us all. Finding it, no, experiencing it on my better days, my growing days, my days of being still, alone, in a room . . .
GUSTAV KLIMT, the amazing, creative, controversial, always changing and growing as an artist Viennese Painter and a leader of the Art Nouveau/Symbolist Movement!
As an artist and student of art history I have been mesmerized for decades ~as has the world ~ by KLIMT and the Symbolist/Art Nouveau Movement. (Two of my favorite books on this period by Philippe Jullian are: “The Symbolists” and “Dreamers of Decadence”). In his 56 years of life and incredible artistic achievement, he was the consummate technician from his early traditional paintings and classical period through his extreme, sensual, brilliant provocative work breaking away from the current Viennese painting tradition (forming the Secessionist Movement). I’ve traced this movement in photos of his work below.
But the main reason for this post is not my ongoing love affair with KLIMT, but my ancestral roots on my mothers side, inspired to write this after viewing the 2015 new release on NETFLIX films of ” The Woman In Gold” ~ Here’s the Offical Trailer:
Again, this movie, as three others I’ve watched and re-watched this year (“Shindler’s List”: “The Remembrance”, and “Fugitive Pieces”) have thrown me back to my Jewish roots. My oldest sister did the genomic study “23 & Me” last year, not unlike Ancestry.com’s genomic study opportunity, and found out that our family is over 50% Ashkenazi Jew. That was quite a discovery when all our lives we are thinking German/Polish/Prussian/Russian mix. It made me reflect on my desire and enjoyment of learning Hebrew at seminary, and making 5 visits to Israel over the past 32 years, which included 5 gut-wrenching tours of Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum—Yad Vashem.
When my wife Joan spent over 100 hours two years ago researching, interviewing my mother, and receiving hundreds of pictures from my siblings to put together a beautiful video tribute and book for her 90th birthday, I began to see those roots more clearly. Here are a few beginning photos:
What a family! Ya gotta love the family goat the sisters took care of!!!
To complete this writing, here are Gustav KLIMT’S early, traditional paintings, evolving into his classical period and fully blossoming as a forerunner of the Art Nouveau period. You can see the influence of the European and Italian Renaissance masters, as well as how Gustav transformed the colors and patterns of Italy’s Ravenna Mosacis into his astounding abstract, erotic and later Symbolist art. Such an amazing talent and inspiration, not unlike Jackson Pollack for me and his evolution from traditional Regionalist style as taught by Thomas Hart Benton to his over the top, deeply abstract yet balanced pour paintings. I hope for such an ongoing artistic transformation.
I AM WRITING A SECOND BOOK, and I’d love to have you be a part of it. It’s called “GOD MOMENTS ~ The Reality of God’s Presence In Our Every Day Lives.” It will be a 366 day reflection book drawing from real life miracles that I’ve experienced, those of friends and family, and from events around the world.
Maybe “MIRACLES” is too strong of a word? How about these:
You know what Albert Einstein said about COINCIDENCES???
YOU THINK ABOUT IT! I’d LOVE to have your experience be a part of a year long book that can inspire others ~ letting them know they are not alone. As the philosopher Chardin stated:
FEEL FREE TO WRITE ME and pass on your “God Moment”, I’d love to to add it to my book, but even more so, I’d love to be encouraged by your experience. My email to write to is:
I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by the creative process, and having only recently vacationed in Italy, enjoying Rome, Florence, Venice, Assisi and more, the words of Michelangelo struck a chord:
Poems are made by fools like me….but only God can make a tree.”
It reminds me of the story about a bunch of scientists who were atheists and God appeared to them and said, “I know you don’t believe in me but let’s have a contest to see who can create life.” They jumped at the challenge and ran and grabbed some dirt and brought it into the lab. But God said, “Hey, wait a minute, that’s MY dirt!”
And speaking of dirt or clay, there’s that ahhhh-mazing creation story where in the beginning, God took some earth and created man. Michelangelo’s centerpiece on the glorious ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome depicts this scene:
In this context, there’s a difference between creation and inspiration, between giving birth and giving life. God first created everything out of nothing, then took what he created and formed a person, but that person was not fully alive, fully awakened. Then, the magical words from Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” There is the creating but then the breathing into, literally “inspiration” becoming a “living soul.” I love that. Does that shed new meaning on the phrase “merely existing or truly living”? “Get busy living or get busy dying”? As a friend of mine often said, “Our goal in life is to become fully conscious, fully awake.”
It had been forty years since I first visited, and I could not help but shed tears of awe walking through the renovated Sistine Chapel ~ Awe-Filled!!!
I am so thankful I’ve been blessed with the gift and time to create, to use dirt/clay, and breathe into my creations to help them live. And art does imitate life, as if the clay can speak, as we do, wondering what’s going on?? Why this suffering, why this pain??? And we hear the response of the only ONE that created us and chose to breathe and continues to lovingly breathe into us:
I BELIEVE God is the BANG behind “The Big Bang” and the best of Science continues to discover God’s footprints in His Universe. It is beyond human comprehension that this ever expanding Power creating everything out of nothing became flesh that first Christmas morn.
The Magic/Miracle of Christmas is not that God was born but that God can be born in us, the miracle of faith. I believe the greatest miracle is not that a man born blind can receives his sight, but that any of us can be brought from darkness to LIGHT. That is God’s will, God’s love, God’s amazing grace…….
I am honored to be chosen as one of two artist to display our work this week in the Rotunda of the Stearns County Courthouse, St. Cloud, MN, celebrating May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
There is definitely a stigma surrounding mental health issues, from depression to bipolar, borderline personality disorder, suicidal and so many more labels we often tag people with so we can put them into a kind of box and distance ourselves from them. Some of the greatest artists and individuals struggled in these areas throughout history and not only survived but even thrived through them.
Having been living in “active sobriety” for the past nine and a half years, attending meetings and support groups each week and sponsoring a number of men in recovery, I have felt and seen mental health issues close up. Art is therapeutic and healing. My “Artist Statement” speaks of the way our understanding of a Higher Power chooses to recycle and work through everything in our lives in amazing creative ways. I am joined by painter Artist Sadie Wolf who has a powerful Artist Statement and amazingly creative and colorful creations!
I will include photos of many of my works below that are represented in this display ~ all of which express healing and growth, not ashamed of what so many go through from mental health issues, but allowing the shame and pain to be a catalyst of healing through creativity. In so doing the phrase that is a guiding light for my life keeps living itself out:
“The Walking Wounded are becoming the Wounded Healers!”
If you have any questions of my art work regarding theme and understanding or pricing towards purchase, please contact me at:
I’ve created many burial for loved ones, friends and acquaintances over the years. I was sitting in a meeting once when a woman found out I was an artist/potter/sculptor and she blurted out:”I’ve had my mom’s ashes in a pickle jar for five years!!!” I made sure her mother had a final resting place! The ones that touch me the most are those who are doing well physically, having perhaps many decades to live, but want to have ‘things in place’. They often end up enjoying their urns for many years before they die. They are not fearful or superstitious, thinking if they have their urn they will die soon. For me, it goes back to that phrase “Until you begin to deal with your death you can’t really begin to live.” I created my personal urn (photo at the top of page) years ago, and it feels good. It s a beautiful work of art while I’m alive and it will long outlive me and even future generations.
My 91 year old mother has taken care of all her arrangements a few years ago. I made her a burial urn about 10 years ago but the lid sealed on in the firing and we took that as a sign that heaven can wait! She just wanted a simple pot with a cross on it, so I created it with her favorite blue colors in the glaze, but added a little gold to her cross. She loves it and is now saying “Ohhh, I think it’s too beautiful to be placed in the ground.” I told her that it doesn’t have to be, and her children and grand children can enjoy it’s beauty for years to come!
Some friends have used their urns simply as a decorative piece in their homes, while for others it served as a way to have “The Talk” with family members about end of life decisions. Still others simply use it for a cookie jar…..maybe kind of weird, but why not??? A younger woman who has cut my hair for 15 years does it in trade for pottery. She and her husband have enjoyed their decorative artistic urns for years.
The reason I’m even writing this post is that a friend asked me if I had a website with photos of burial urns for her to choose from, so here it is (below) with current burial urns for sale. (If interested in the prices, please email be at: email@example.com, leave a note below or call me at 320-259-5393).
Its a blessing to offer affordable urns for those wanting them, or cookie jars, or works of art in their homes! (And by the way, the last time I priced burial urns at a funeral home, the least expensive equivalent ones were $400 – $800.00 ~ sadly exorbitant pricing when a person is in grief).
Here’s to a Celebration of Life, and LIFE after life!!!
This is a concept piece shaped like a large di holding dice but can also work well to hold ashes for a burial urn. Obviously this larger urn has holes in it which works beautifully for a candle with the light shining out of the jar, and for an urn, the ashes would be placed in a sealed glass jar and placed inside.
After creating art for many decades, always wedged in between other full time employment, these past few years can best be described as emerging as a professional artist. Thanks to the Central Minnesota Arts Board (centralmnartsboard.org), there is an art grant that imitates life, known as an emerging artist grant or “Individual Artist Award”. Grants and award do imitate life and I submitted the required paperwork and the following six art works created over the past five years for my application: