24″ x 36″
Tag Archives: oil painting
This is from an old photo I took while in Real de Catorce Mexico back in 1989?
My heartfelt thanks to Lorin and Misty for getting me back to the easel again. And to Bella for being the perfect model!
I had an interesting experience the other day. I was meditating, as I do every morning, and it was going well. Unlike most days, I was not as distracted by memories, desires, or fictional characters from movies or books. I was in a peaceful state, approaching “no thought.” A feeling came upon me, along with an idea that in around 10 minutes some “event” was going to take place. Hmmm, I thought…what kind of event could occur? Probably the phone will ring, perhaps someone will knock on the door, or I suppose there could be a power outage. Sometimes when I finish meditating it is exactly at the half-hour mark, maybe that’s all it is. So I kept at peace for a space I felt was about 10 minutes, then I turned my head to look at the clock. It was 10:28. Well, I guess that’s close enough, I thought, so I stretched my legs and started getting the blood flowing again. Then the phone rang. Wow, I thought, that’s cool. I answered the phone, and it was Tchiya Amet, a fabulous indigenous reggae musician, who had never called me before, and we hadn’t communicated even by email in a couple of years. She said she had been trying to send an email for the last 15 minutes, but for some reason the computer wasn’t cooperating. She asked me if I would like to do the artwork for a new CD she is going to release soon. Well yeah! I would say that was a significant “event.”
I woke up around 6AM to sounds coming from the kitchen. I crawled out of my futon bed, which now has become our living room couch since we sold our sofa and loveseat in a big yard sale over the weekend. I went to the bathroom and began to shave, until I heard a tap on the door—my 8-year old son. I let him use the bathroom while I turned the light on above the fishtank and philodendron. After shaving I spent about 10 to 12 minutes warming up with Qi Gong exercises and a few dozen sit-ups, then I put on my winter cap and my alpaca coat before kneeling down for a few minutes of meditation. Almost everyone meditates in the lotus position (what my son calls “criss cross applesauce”) but I was taught meditating with the feet tucked under the buttocks back when I first took a karate class long ago, and its just more comfortable for me, at least until my legs fall asleep, then the lotus position wins. There wasn’t much to choose from for breakfast, so I just had a bowl of cereal with soy milk. I gave my son a big hug as he went off to the bus-stop, then settled down to a cup of hot tea to read a few pages from “The Cloud of Unknowing.” I checked email, Facebook, WordPress & RedBubble, then fed the fish and got dressed for the day’s event.
When my soon-to-be-ex-wife and I realized we were ahead of schedule, we stopped at the “Hot Rod Café,” the only eatery on a long stretch of automotive shops and other industrial businesses. Despite the charming décor and the NASCAR channel on, we got two croissants to go, and headed to downtown Tucson. After a brisk walk from the parking garage two blocks to the courthouse, we entered and immediately took off our coats and put all of our personal items in a container to be scanned. Just now I have realized that we never reclaimed the little credit-card-sized swiss tool kit they confiscated. Lord knows what havoc could have been wreaked with that inch-long pair of scissors. We turned in our papers at the clerks office and found a bench where we could eat our croissants and wait for our name to be called. We were called into the courtroom along with five other default cases and one name change—it was 10:40AM. By 11AM we were facing the judge, asked about a dozen yes or no obligatory questions…stamp, stamp, sign, sign, stamp. Voila’, we were divorced.
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, made some quick burritos for lunch, and napped while watching an old Pedro Infante movie on the PC (since we sold both TVs at the yard sale.) At 2:30PM I got up to practice my guitar for a while before showering and dressing for work. When I reached the street corner, I waved at my ex-wife who was waiting at the bus-stop for my son to arrive from school. I’ve been working as shift manager here at Arbys. Don’t ask me how I ended up in fast food, but I must say there is something satisfying about serving the public. I’ll never be tempted to volunteer at a soup kitchen—I’ve done my time. Oh sure, these folks aren’t homeless, but they are equally needy and forlorn in their own ways.
After the yard sale weekend and the divorce proceedings, I’ve been really tired this evening, but writing this post in my spare moments has kept me awake. Today wasn’t difficult, next week will be moreso: that’s when I have to put my son and ex on the plane bound for Peru, where they plan to live from now on. That will be hard. But tonight and tomorrow I get to rest up, then I’ll take my son up to Mt. Lemmon where he can play in the snow for the last time in who knows when. But really, who knows? If there is anything I’ve learned in half a century on this planet, its this: you never know.
It was at the end of my fifth year of elementary school that I was forced to choose between Art and Music. I remember standing at the bus-stop with Sam Saldivar and discussing it. We could only have one elective, and we wanted both. We ended up choosing Band, mostly because our friend Scott, a year older, was in Band. My public school education never allowed me the opportunity to pursue both Art and Music seriously. As a result, it wasn’t until I was 26 years old that I discovered a passion for painting.
I was sharing a condo with a fellow who took his TV with him when he moved out. For the first time in memory, I had no access to television, and I didn’t want to buy one. As an alternative form of visual entertainment, I started oil painting. My Mom had a set of brushes and paints from a class she’d taken years before. I actually started out painting on watercolor paper instead of canvas! With painting I’ve discovered how to achieve short-term dreams—I’ll get an idea, then I paint it, or try to. I am completely self-taught. My first idea was of an ocean seascape with a huge Sun in the sky. I was just having fun, but I liked how it turned out. Even though it was on watercolor paper, it has still survived to this day (mounted on foam-board.) My second painting was a truly visionary idea. I was admiring a black & white photo in the newspaper (remember those?) of a singer named Anneke. Then I noticed how the image was composed of a dot matrix—black dots on white, white dots on black, and several fascinating connections resulting from the variable size of the dots. I decided to translate the image (on paper again!) using blue for the black areas, and yellow for the white (except the lips had to be red.) At the time, I was painting for fun, so I didn’t worry about how long it would take. It took a long, long time. But I enjoyed it immensely, long after a new roommate arrived with a TV. I used a magnifying glass to count the dots and copy the shape of them. Thus I developed what I later coined “Matrix Pointelism.” It is terribly time-consuming, but it is a very meditative activity, which I find quite relaxing. Years later, when I showed a professional artist my work, he advised me not to market this material with my other work. Because it is so time-consuming, he was convinced I would go insane if the public demanded quantities of it. That is why I invented my alias—Luis Sabor, to represent me as the eccentric creator of all matrix pointelist works. Now Luis is the stage name I use for performing music. Interesting how everything connects to everything else, hmm?
So if you’ve been following my last few posts, you should have a good idea of what I mean when I say that dreams come from God. I like to think that before we are born, when we are experiencing Pure Consciousness with the One, we can see our entire life mapped out in front of us. Maybe we design our lives to achieve a specific goal. All the trials and tribulations (what is a tribulation, anyway?) are a part of a master plan to get us to certain places, meeting people we have to meet, learning things we need to know. With this scenario, dreams are like prompts from a GPS—if you ignore them it will take you much longer to arrive at your destination. Or you could get lost. This is just a cock-eyed idea of mine—ridiculous, right? Still, I enjoy contemplating this, rather than the thought that it is all meaningless.
My point is this: if it is all meaningless, and we are just evolved animals wandering around, where do these dreams come from? Why would we develop these ideas which reward us so handsomely if pursued? Well, sometimes the reward is a painful lesson learned, but I still cherish every adventure I’ve embarked upon. Doubtless, any psychoanalyst could give a perfectly rational explanation for the phenomenon. Rational is good. I think we should all live rationally on a day-by-day, instant-specific basis. But that kind of living might just get you nowhere, and maybe give you a dose of depression. Sometimes you have to contemplate your life as a whole, and find something fun to do with it. This is where dreams come to the rescue. They say, “ Now here’s an idea for you!” I say go for it.