Size: 18 x 24 x 2 inches.
One early morning I found myself sitting on the edge of a creek, in pristine forest, with a friend, staring into the eyes of a Grizzly bear. This following what had been for me a 3 day paint exploration. Hold on! So….what exactly is a paint exploration? Well, it begins with a friend named Bruce. He figured I might like this electronica festival near Boston Bar, British Columbia, Canada. It was my first time to this particular festival. The place is a real gem. Misty mornings, warm sunny days and mountains flanked by thick forest, pristine for a city slicker, beautiful air to breathe, and Earth to feel. Three days no sleep, art experiment, social experiment, in a public situation. We arrived on a Thursday night, I set my paint kit aside and leaned a fresh gessoed board against a tree, a real easel if you know what I mean, living. The trees seemed happy. I was happy. I made some preliminary marks, the exploration was about to commence, full surrender to the creative process. What this means is you give up fear. Fear that you wont know what to paint, fear of what people will think, fear of cold, fear of going hungry, fear. Following a celebratory night cap my lids grew heavy as the forest lullaby put me magically to sleep. What I didn’t know at the time was that it would be my last sleep, for a while. I woke up the following the morning, fresh, chipper, ready. I walked to my paint kit, happy. The next three days was a blur, I literally painted non stop for the whole duration, with the exception of one night allotted to dancing and a few small social experiments. Painting in public settings is a very intense experience, it is very much an ‘in the moment’ process for me. What happened in the three days was amazing. People made the difference. When I began the painting only I knew what I was doing, I had not been invited to paint by the festival, I was the unknown soldier. The creative soldier, and I was there because I was coming to terms with a major betrayal in my life, the kind that leaves exactly the kind of marks I would like to live without, those that go against your heart. As it goes I spent three days rediscovering who I was. Throughout the experience I worked with adults, I worked with little people, who I love to work with, they bring a realness to the table that most adults lose for this or that reason. They are ‘know it alls’, because they do know. They are already fine tuned beings and the kind of creativity I witnessed in some of the little folks who participated in my little social experiment was incredible. I painted with a legend, Soul Feather, the comradery was outstanding. I was gifted a snake skin, gifted food, in exchange for the service of creativity. At one point I wanted to test both myself and people around me, so I simply went from painting to placing a bucket over my head and began walking forward. I had to trust my instincts, and what an amazing thing, people noticed me wearing a bucket and called out as to guide me forward, it was very uplifting. I painted in the rain, in the sun and in the mist. I set up in various locations, though I spent most of my time near the mess hall. So it went for three days. On the last day I went dancing, this after being dressed up by a local seamstress who specialized in making tutus, she had a whole outfit made for me to wear. I swallowed my pride and went ahead with it. I trusted it would work out. It did. I also received a painted face from a talented artist named Spirit, it was a shamanic looking face, it was perfect. That night I danced to my friends sounds; Beatfarmer https://soundcloud.com/beatfarmer, and Blue Lunar Monkey https://soundcloud.com/bluelunarmonkey, either of which I can’t say enough of how amazing these artist/producers/visionaries are, it was a night of medicine for the soul. It would conclude my paintathon, paintamentary, this exploration would soon be done. Now, I have to back up just a bit here, do be patient please. I forgot to mention a couple of things. Throughout the festival I received several indications, literal signs if you will, of what I was about to experience. I had also painted the subject of this blog in to the live painting I had made up to this point. I think you can remember that at the beginning of the story I was sitting next to a creek, in a beautiful pristine forest, away from the festival grounds, with a friend. okay, well we are sitting and taking it all in, and wouldn’t you know it, I am saying something to my friend and I began to sense a presence. I looked left, over my shoulder and saw nothing. I proceeded to speak with my friend, and we discussed the fact I felt a presence, she agreed, and we said a couple more words, and than I look left, and no more than 20 feet, and staring me right in the eye is a Grizzly bear, perhaps 2 or 3 years old, big enough to be concerned and also experience the fear of ‘what do I do?!’ Now perhaps we were emitting beautiful energy and the bear recognized this and went on his way, or maybe we were upwind, perhaps it was my destiny, the fact is that the bear and I looked deeply into each others eyes, curious and intently, the bear than turned suddenly after shaking its head a few times and ran, and I mean fast, back through the forest, in the direction it had come from, and disappeared before anyone could say a word. Moments later a hummingbird came through in the most extraordinary flight pattern and the wind blew through the trees and we calmly gathered our things and we made our way back to the festival. I fell asleep after that, and barely told a soul what happened. It is not every day I run into a bear in such unusual circumstances! Eventually I decided to paint the experience in the studio, which would become the ‘Buddhabear’ painting. To me the experience was bear medicine, and a reminder that we live on this world with the animals, we are not separate, so lets do our best to get along.
Fotomahaloness -some neat images of the three day creative exploration including the painting I worked on and than gifted to the land owner following my bear medicine.