I have a very brief description of my creative life and a longer version for those with more time and interest.
The Brief One:
I studied art at Clemson University, the University of Santa Barbara and Chico State University for over eight years, extending over a period of time from 1969 to 1985. I also apprenticed under the nationally known artist Richard Goetz in the mid-seventies for a short time. I moved away from the gallery/museum scene in 1996 to delve deeply into the study of perception and its relationship to the creative process. I wanted to focus on creating a body of work free of any influence of the art market. This journey into the study of perception would extend beyond the next two decades through long periods of focused awareness and open-eyed meditation as I studied the landscapes before me, sometimes eight or more hours a day. I continued to paint during this time to express the realizations I was having and to integrate them into my educational art website I was creating. This marriage of the concepts on the website coupled with my art felt like a Rubik’s cube coming together into one beautiful integrated whole. I sensed the website becoming a linchpin—a center from which my creative expressions could radiating out. In September of 2017, I started to exhibit my work publicly for the first time since 1996. It started with the Sausalito Art Festival, and the HarmonyUs Festival in 2017, the Edgewater Gallery in 2018, and the HarmonyUs Festival in 2018 and 2019.
My illustrated book, Tōbē and the River Is arose out of my website as an alternative way to help people move into revelations of these heightened levels of perception through the experiences of the protagonist, Tō•bē. Since its release in 2016, it has won The Nautilus Book Award, The Ben Franklin Award, The Global eBook Award, and The New Apple Book Award.
The Longer Version:
I was born on October 28th, 1950, and raised in a dairy-farm community in Wisconsin. All our relatives were farmers and my father a country preacher. I loved the farms of my childhood, the green lush fields, the taste of fresh milk, the fragrance of the cheese sheds, the maple trees, and their syrup, haylofts to play in, all the animals with light in their eyes, and winter sleigh rides wrapped in warm blankets next to grandpa.
I was six years old when my father joined the US Army as a chaplain and we moved to France. Our family traveled, visiting the great museums and cathedrals throughout Europe. My world view expanded as we experienced the art and customs of many different cultures. To go from the cow barns of Wisconsin to the gold and marble of the Vatican—to see the chiseled veins of Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses was a mind-opening experience for a child and one I still see clearly in my mind today.
We returned to the United States when I was close to eleven years old and we lived in North Carolina until the beginning of high school when we moved to the Monterey area in California. I didn’t have much interest in art during these early formative years, for when I would attempt to do art I was never able to achieve what I envisioned, and I would put down the brushes or colored pencils once again dissatisfied. But my relationship with art would completely change when I went to college.
I attended Clemson University in 1969 for engineering. Looking at a large-scale model of a bridge one day in the Engineering Department, I came to a long list of formulas used to build the bridge. The list stretched from near the ceiling almost to the floor. My heart sunk. Everything was so predetermined, so “logical.” My spirit ached for something else, a career with fire—for action arising out of a more heartfelt inspiration and vision. Architecture came to mind so that day I changed my major. I was fortunate that in the Architecture major Art Studio was a required course.
When I walked into my first art class I felt this amazing sense of freedom from the students in what they were doing and in their conversations. Whatever one envisioned one could pursue with total enthusiasm. I changed my major once again and for the last time to Art Studio. This sense of freedom and the creative spirit I felt so prevalent in the art studio would be my guiding star for the rest of my life. While at Clemson University I married my first wife, Maria.
My grade point average, though rising since my first semester in engineering from a dismal .8 to an acceptable 3.0, did not rise fast enough to keep me out of the draft and in 1971 I was drafted into the US Army. While I was in basic training at Fort Ord, California, my son, Justin was born. The military decided they could use my skills as an illustrator on the General’s Staff at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and there I stayed until my discharge in 1973.
A month before my discharge I met Richard Goetz, a nationally known artist, who was a preeminent colorist and painter. Amazingly, he was teaching a class at the local Community Center where I signed up for the painting class. He asked if I would like to become an apprentice for him and his wife, Edith. They were going to have their annual summer workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico right after my discharge from the military. The timing was perfect.
It was a glorious time in Santa Fe. People came from all over the country to paint the colorful landscapes and light of New Mexico with Richard and to draw the human figure under Edith’s tutelage in the afternoon, inside when the monsoon rains would come. To be a young artist, painting in the high desert of New Mexico felt so exhilarating and romantic.
After the summer workshop, we returned to Oklahoma and Richard said to me that he would make me a nationally known artist within five years (he had a lot of connections and influence in the art world). I held in my hands the possibility of recognition as well as financial security, what so many artists long for, yet a feeling was gnawing at me that I had much to learn and experience about life yet. I knew that I would have to leave Richard and Edith and find my own way—to find my own unique visual “voice”—no matter how difficult that road might be.
I returned to Monterey, California, painting when I was able while having full-time jobs. But one day a pivotal experience occurred, what some would call a “spiritual experience.” In the revelation, I understood the need for a deeper commitment to my art. I quit my job and moved to Santa Barbara and enrolled in the City College there, followed by the University of California, taking art studio and art history classes, painting sometimes eight or ten hours a day and sometimes more.
In 1982 I moved to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains and through 1985 I continued my art education at Chico State University, Chico, California. Over the years my work was displayed in a number of galleries and a couple of museums, but overall, a modest resumé.
During this period I was becoming increasingly aware that there were levels of perception influencing my painting. In 1995, now married to my second wife, Diana, we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I made the important decision in 1996 to pull away from the commercial art scene altogether to pursue an exploration into these levels of perception. This journey I was about to embark on became the foundation of my art and life. Little did I suspect this journey would eventually extend beyond the next two decades.
It was during this time that I found employment doing late afternoon to midnight work as a security officer at the Federal Sites in Santa Fe and later at Los Alamos National Laboratory where I was basically getting paid to be alert and observant. This aligned perfectly with my aim to go into the in-depth study of levels of perception. I would go to very profound levels during the eight-hour shifts, taking notes or drawing on a little pad what I was experiencing in my patrol vehicle or post, and I would paint my experiences in my studio in the following mornings or early afternoons before I would have to go to work again.
As I went deeper into the study of perception, four main levels of perception started to stand out. They are “The Emanations of Objects,” “The Force of Objects,” “Objects in a Dimension”, and “Objects in the Unified Field.” I started writing out what I discovered about these four levels of perception and developing this educational website, combining my paintings with the words that described my experiences. I was taken over by a new enthusiasm to create a body of paintings that would express these profound levels of perception.
I felt my art website becoming a linchpin—a center from which my creative expressions could radiate out. It felt like a Rubik’s cube finally revealing a tight, integrated pattern of many pieces of my creative work in one perfect unified whole.
I started showing the website to others and I soon realized some people needed a more entertaining/emotional approach to hold their attention and to experience what I was trying to pass on. Then the idea came to take the same principles in the website and put them into an illustrated fairytale book, so the reader could experience these aspects of perception through the eyes of the protagonist. The book, Tobe and the River Is was published in 2016, and it has already won The Nautilus Book Award, The Ben Franklin Award, The Global Ebook Award, and The New Apple Book Award. The Nautilus Award is particularly significant because it is in the Memoir Category, which meant they understand that my book is based on actual experience; it is not just a made-up fairytale.
I retired from the Lab in 2015, and in 2016 I went on a road trip through eight western states, doing painting studies to bring back to my new studio that was soon to open up in Santa Fe. The trip extended over weeks, visiting many of the state and national parks. Working my way down the coast from Puget Sound, Washington, I arrived at the coastal area near Mendocino, California and I received a text that my new studio was no longer available. Remarkably, within a matter of hours, a studio place presented itself in Mendocino and the quaint village became my new home.
In September of 2017, I started to exhibit my work publicly for the first time since 1996. It started with the Sausalito Art Festival, then the HarmonyUs Festival followed eventually in 2018 by the Edgewater Gallery. It was at the HarmonyUs Festival that my traveling museum exhibit idea was birthed ( https://www.perception4u.com/museumexhibit ) when four different individuals came up to me over the next few hours and said that my paintings belonged in museums. By the fourth person, I could not help but feel that that was the direction I was to pursue next. As soon as in my mind I agreed to this new challenge an inspired thought came to combine my paintings with the quotes of theoretical physicists. I had seen over time how the more intuitive physicists point beautifully to the world I experience. (I also describe how one physicist, in particular, had a profound effect on this marriage of my art with theoretical physics in “How This Exhibit Came to Be” section of the Traveling Museum Exhibit at the end of the paintings.
My main focus now is on preparing the paintings for the museum exhibit as well as continuing the process of contacting museums. But I am looking forward to getting back out and doing some more plein air painting and exploring deeper levels of perception and fresh, new expression.
Thank you for giving your attention to this website. The possibility of offering you something that may inspire you gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction.
With Grandpa Outside the Barn
June 2019 HarmonyUs Caspar, California
June 2018 HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
June 2018 Edgewater Gallery, Fort Bragg, California
Sept 2017 HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
Oct 1996 - Sept 2017 I left the commercial art scene to concentrate on creating a large body of paintings
for my art website, wwwperception4u.com.
Aug 1995 - Sept 1996 Gallery Americas, Carrboro, North Carolina
Feb 1993 - Feb 1995 Helen Jones Gallery, Sacramento, California
May 1995 - Jan 1996 Paragon Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Nov 1991 - Jun 1992 Gallery Audacious, Nevada City, California
Mar 1991 Micro Gallery, Nevada City, California
Oct 1990 NIAD Gallery, Richmond, California
Feb - Mar 1990 Barbara McDonald Gallery, Sacramento, California
Apr 1988 Durovich Gallery, Sacramento, California
Jun 1987 Landell Gallery, Carmel, California
Sept 2017 Sausalito Art Festival Sausalito, California
Oct - Nov 1995 Associated Artists, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
May - Aug 1995 Artspace, Raleigh, North Carolina
Jan 1993 - Oct 1996 Eastwick Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Mar - Apr 1993 International Artist Group, Ibaraki, Japan
Jul 1992 - Jan 1995 Wilde Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
Apr 1991 Open Arts Circle, Oakland, California
Apr - May 1991 Crocker Kingsley Annual, Sacramento, California
Sept 1990 Sausalito Art Festival Sausalito, California
May 1989 “Landscape of the Spirit” Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connetticut
Mar 1986 Victoria Monroe Gallery, New York, New York
TALKS ON MY ART
Coming up in Sept 2018 ”Quantum Physics and the New Perception Center for Spiritual Living Fort Bragg, California
June 30, 2018 “The Expression of Spirit In Art“ HarmonyUs, Caspar, California
May 2, 2018 “Awakening Through Art” Spirit House, Fort Bragg, California
SELECTED PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Menahem Presler, Bloomington, Indiana
E. F. Hutton, New York, New York
SAS Institute Raleigh, North Carolina
1981 to Present Group and Private Instruction, beginning to advanced:
Painting the Figure, Awakening the Artist’s Eye, Depicting Landscape and Levels of Perception,
Figure Drawing and Anatomy.
Feb – May 1997 Fine Art Painting Instructor, Wake Tech Community College, Raleigh, North Carolina
Mar - Apr 1990 Art Therapy Workshop, Family Services, Chico, California
Aug 1969 – May 1971 Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Major: Art Studio and Architecture
May - Sept 1973 Apprenticed under nationally known artist, Richard Goetz, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Aug 1979 – June 1980 Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara, California
Major: Art Studio
Aug 1980 – May 1981 University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, California
Major: Art Studio
June 1982 - May 1983 California State University, Chico Chico, California
Major: Art Studio
ABOUT the ARTIST/AUTHOR