Monthly Archives: January 2012

God is….

Dear God, God bless you, OMG, gosh darn it—the word is ubiquitous, and yet people rarely speak of the subject itself anymore, mostly because one is so easily misunderstood.  Touchy subject, lots of beliefs and interpretations.  They say that religion is on the decline, maybe so, but I don’t think that necessarily means that people are atheists, or even agnostics.  It’s just that everyone has a different view of who or what God is, and don’t feel comfortable having someone tell them they will be eternally damned for disagreeing with them.  One doesn’t choose what to believe, honestly, one believes what one believes.  If you can find a religion that conforms completely with your personal beliefs, well, you are blessed.  Also, there is that phenomenon known as blind faith.

            Lately I’ve heard the term “personal God” used, as in “…don’t believe in a…”  I think I know what they mean, but that term doesn’t work for me.  I would rather say I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic God.  That is to say that, to me, God is so much bigger and more complicated than a human that it is extremely vain to assume God could be encapsulated in our form.  I could say that God is the Universe—that’s pretty big.  Lately, however, I’ve heard that quantum physicists are considering the possibility that there are more than one—a Multiverse if you will.

            I enjoy contemplating Infinity, something rather difficult for our little human minds to comprehend.  If you look at our galaxy, there are more stars than we could possibly count.  Then, if you look at the Universe, there are countless galaxies!  Looking inward is just as daunting.  No matter how small a particle the physicists find, there appears to be something smaller, and with more empty space in between.  Infinity means there is no end—to anything.  Consider this:  it is mathematically possible for anything we can imagine to exist, somewhere out there in Infinity.  Then, if you consider the possibility of other dimensions, ones that may not conform to our “laws” of physics, well, there is an infinite number of possibilities.  This is God’s realm of existence.

 

original oil available at artbylowell.com

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Do you KNOW what I mean?

Ahh, semantics. This is a major stumbling block in the world today. Communication is the key, everyone agrees, but how can we know what each other mean when we all have different meanings for the same words? Take the word “semantics” itself—I know what I mean, but I don’t even know the definition. Let me look it up: semantics n. – the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc. Yup, pretty much what I thought, how about you? I like the bit about “an interpretation of the meaning”— you see, that’s where it gets goofed up. We all have to make a rapid interpretation of everything we hear. So rapid in fact that we couldn’t possibly think, consciously, about meanings as we hear them. We have to rely, with incredible faith, on what our brain “feels” about what was said. “Feels?” yeah, I had to stop and think a moment after writing that. We have an extremely complex structure of associations, memories and emotions attached to every word we have learned. The common ones are so ingrained with repetition that their meanings are fairly secure, but others might actually remind you of the person or group with which you first heard them utilized. Yet we have to rely on a split-second interpretation of these words within the context of the situation. From this accomplishment alone I believe we all deserve some respect!
Now let me be chauvinist for a moment (whoa! Emotions! How do you feel about that word?) I’ve noticed, in my near half-century on the planet, that you ladies tend to make far more rapid interpretations of words than the average guy. That can be really great when the interpretation is correct. Unfortunately for me, I’ve often chosen the wrong word and find myself hearing a response to something I didn’t mean to say. This is one reason I’ve enjoyed being a foreigner amongst foreigners—we are less likely to assume we understand what each other mean.

 The emotional associations are what make communication difficult, especially with words that have a plethora (like that?) of connotations. This is why a person can hardly use the word “God” in society anymore—there are just too many possible meanings, and way too much emotion attached. Then there are hot-button words, like “liberal” and “conservative” (you just got an attitude, didn’t you?) Words are such fun, charming, gay, sincere, ubiquitous, colloquial, mystical, numinous, sublime inventions. Know what I mean?

original oil painting available at artbylowell.com


For anyone who has not seen this is the easiest explanation I have found…

If you have the patience, all will be explained

TIGERGROVE

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A Dream Realized

The difference between good dreaming and fantasizing is thinking and planning.  Let me give you an example of one of my earliest successful dream accomplishments.  It was somewhere around the summer of ’84 and some friends of mine had just spent 3 months touring Europe.  Of course I couldn’t do that, but my brother Nathan was in the USAF at the time, stationed in England, and I was wishing I could go visit him.  I had no money, but I was waiting tables at Chuys and could make $100 in tips on a good day.  I was thinking—where does all the money go?  Well, most of it went to pay rent and utilities.  If I could somehow not have those expenses, even for a month, I could save enough for a trip to England, staying at my brother’s place.  Hmmm….if I didn’t have a place to live, where could I sleep? In my car? 

            Well, I did it.  I packed up what little furniture I had and stored it at my parents’ house.  I spent weekends there too.  I remember a night on the beach at Port Aransas.  I did what one hippy waitress at Chuys called “the couch circuit.”  Funny thing is I only remember two nights spent on friends’ couches, and only one in my car.  Where did I stay the rest of the time?  Nowhere remarkable I guess, good or bad.  Next thing you know, I’m huddled under my leather jacket with an English girl at the Monsters of Rock concert at Castle Donnington.  So serendipitous.  It seems the Universe applauds you when you commit to your dream.  Of course I hadn’t planned everything perfectly, hence my finding myself alone in a train station at 2AM in the English hinterlands waiting for the morning connection to anywhere.  Here’s some more synchronicity:  on the way back to Texas, I’m at the airport in Newark when up walks Danielle, the waitress at Chuys I just happen to be in love with at the time.  And our seats were next to each other flying back to Austin, well, her boyfriend was between us, but still….what was the Universe saying?  I dunno, maybe  “ look what you could have if you weren’t so stoned?” 

One of my more surreal works.


Make your Dream Real

            Alright, so you have this dream.  Maybe it came out of the blue, from God, or maybe its been gestating for years, or maybe its just always been there.  But this dream is far beyond your present self, so far it doesn’t seem possible, it’s just too fantastic.  Well, you need to think about it—a lot.  Decide which are the ridiculous parts and discard them, then look at what’s left, maybe pick one aspect that does seem possible.  Now here is the crucial part—think of one thing you can do at this moment that puts you just one step closer to your dream.  Do that thing.  Leave the next step to tomorrow’s self.  Just do something to commit yourself to achieving your dream.  This is how you make it real.

             I’ll give an example of how not to do it:  When I was in High School in Victoria, TX I traveled to Austin to see my first concert—Yes.  They were playing the Erwin Center on a rotating circular stage—it was awesome.  For some reason, I didn’t smoke or drink anything that day, and yet I got so high from the music.  It was the closest thing to a religious experience I’d had since my baptism.  I recognize the dream now—I wanted that, but I didn’t know what exactly.  I dismissed it as not practical and pursued pragmatic academics.  But the dream was still there, subconsciously drawing me towards that, first to Austin, then to the recording industry and various bands as a bass player.  But the dream was bigger than that—I wanted to be the music—be Jon Anderson letting the Muse carry the audience into another dimension.  Heh, heh, still got a long way to go with that.

check my art out at http://www.artbylowell.com


Space Time

We exist in space-time.  We humans are aware of four dimensions, the fourth being time.  Now quantum physicists declare that more dimensions exist, indeed they must exist for their mathematical formulae to work.  I don’t want to get into the implications of that now, but it certainly puts an interesting twist on things doesn’t it?  So here we are in space-time, forever and ever.  That’s right, each point in space-time exists forever…. well, forever is a temporal term, but what I mean to say is that we are fixed—everything is just the way it always (oops, temporal) is at this moment in space-time.  I am writing this here and now—its what I do.  Interestingly, these words exist in a much larger point in space-time, not only here and now, but also when and where you are reading them.  That’s what makes words so powerful—they can occupy vast expanses of space-time.

 Where I am trying to go with this is to show that you and I are who we are right now.  I am not the boy sitting in a tree or the young man jumping naked off of a cliff, I just have memories of those guys.  Those guys are not me, but they were instrumental in forming who I am, just as I have the responsibility of leading myself towards another person at another point in space-time, the future.  So one of the key elements of good dreaming is to visualize the needs of your future self, which is not so easy.  Just try not to screw yourself.  Don’t give this future person a hangover or an enemy just to please your id or your ego.

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Dream Reality

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. — Marsha Norman

 I wanted to name my blog Dream Reality (but it was taken) because that reflects on the way I have lived my life, and best describes the purpose for which I am speaking to you here.  All my life I have been blessed by a vivid imagination, especially with regards to my future.  I have always been contemplative, and remember my favorite childhood moments as when I was up in a tree or under a bush, just being.  Most of my life I have been very disappointed, if not outright depressed, by my situation at present.  In contemplating how to better my life, I thought out various possible future scenarios.  This is what I call good dreaming, for there are many ways and types of dreams.   There are night dreams, fantasy dreams, dreams of lust and envy, and even self-destructive dreams.  What I am speaking to you about here are good, constructive dreams, which lead you to where you want to, or at least need to be.  I have come to believe that these dreams do not originate from our intellect, but from God.  OK, now that you’ve rolled your eyes, let me point out that everyone has their own beliefs on what and what not God is.  I personally do not believe in an anthropomorphic God (look it up.)  I could just as easily say Universe, or Great Spirit, but these are all semantics, and therefore will be misunderstood to some degree regardless.  I could go on about God and Semantics, and plan to on future entries, but for now I don’t want to digress.

What I want to say now is that, looking back on my life, I can see what a profound effect dreams have had on my life.  They are what made me who I am, and I am the result of following these dreams.  Along the way, spending my time contemplating reality and life, I have fallen into the camp of believing that Everything is a Dream.  If you’ve studied the least bit of quantum mechanics, then this point of view actually makes sense.  So I hope I can convince you to read my blog and through these words, consider the powerful effects of dreams on our lives, for we all dream, because that’s what this life is all about.  And if you are not satisfied with the way your life is going, I hope I can shed some little ray of light on how you can improve your own good dreaming.  May your personal dream come true.

Painting from a photo I took while visiting Real de Catorce, Mexico


Adobe #11

                        Here is one of the many Adobe paintings I’ve made the past few years, inspired by the beautiful landscapes of Tucson, Arizona.  This particular one shows a rather new method I was fooling around with at the time.  For lack of a better description I called it Cubism, but lately I’ve decided its more like Synthetism, a style Gauguin and friends developed.  I’m open to suggestions for a better description.


Remembering Cuba

In December ’98 I was lucky enough to travel to Havana with the band Ache’ Pa’ Ti for the Annual Jazz Festival.  It was so awesome, I stayed for a full month. We got to watch some world-class acts up close, even back-stage like Los Van Van here.   Here’s a great video.


I Dream of Zihuatanejo

I Dream of Zihuatanejo

Around 1988 I spent a month living in Zihuatanejo Mexico, just hanging out and sometimes surfing with friends, and a serendipitous sailing trip up to Manzanillo. This is from a sketch I made of my favorite part of town.
This is also the very first painting I ever sold on Ebay. I can see what was appealing, and have tried to angle my work towards this surrealist feel.


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