Monday, May 31, 2010

Mushrooms, Balloons, and UBOs

This drawing evolved from the ink washes mindlessly applied to the page. The rest derives from my RoarShock associations with forms and may have something to do with my time as a seminarian.
Below: Another wash beginning. Fruit, cuckoo bird and balloons Must go somewhere ...

I made this drawing a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, while paging through Carl Jung's Red Book at a friend's house, I saw a similar sharp toothed creature eating.

We attended a Multiple Sclerosis informational dinner last week during which the speaker, Dr. Aungdin, told us that MRI brain scans show not only the black holes of demyelination, but also UBOs. The meaning of these Unidentified Bright Objects is unknown. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tanda Impostors to P Q

Click to enlarge.
Seeking the unconscious can be mind numbing. Just when you think you've arrived, con men trickle out of the forest to pimp the impostors. Later you realize these interpretations are only ways to affirm that sanity exists ... somewhere.

If one expects reason to prevail during ink therapy doodling sessions ...  hahahahaha!

This doodle makes me think about the many good things that come out of nowhere. Of course those good things are hidden in symbols that my affectionate readers can only guess at. So please go ahead and interpret the rest of these ink therapy doodles for yourself. The best story wins a free print.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Toltec Mysteries and Education

My understanding of Toltec mysteries derives mainly from inking meditations (ink therapy) with Tanda, who has transformed himself, below, into a black bird perched atop widely-spread Omega legs. 

As a Toltecian skeptic, I must question all forms in this world. This inking session points to 9 Mitote mysteries which simply state: life is not always what it appears to be.

Click to enlarge.

9 Toltec Mysteries

The sensory world is fractured into endless dualities: matter and spirit, light and dark, day and night, positive and negative, hot and cold, conscious and unconscious, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. 

The education of Toltec Warriors and Artists began with learning how to navigate the dualities of right-brain vs left-brain and to recognize the world of Mitote. 
Narcissus und Goldmund Path

The Toltec Empire and leaders created an unmatched mystique in the minds of the Central American people. The Toltec leaders were thought of as being alongside deities. Later cultures often revered them and copied their legends, art, buildings and religion. Many future rulers of other cultures, including Mayan leaders and Aztec emperors, claimed to be descended from the Toltecs.
Comments are invited below

Monday, May 24, 2010

The View from Below

Here's another delicate moment of equilibrium: The view from Tanda's lair, the underside of the paper's surface. Tanda, pen-headed representative of the unconscious world, exposes alter egos; the mirrored pool looks back at Narcissus.

Tanda Exposes Alter Egos

Tanda is such an attractive and helpful underworld guide that it's easy to forget the dangers involved in the conscious world.

Cinco De Mayo

Click to enlarge drawings. Drink to enlarge head.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Threads of the Unconscious Mind

Dear Brother,

You may recall my interest in and tales of artists who tap their unconscious in ways which turn out to prophetize their demise. I've known two such artists personally; a painter of underwater scenes who drowned in Lake of the Isles and a sculptor specializing in bronze heads who loses his head to a machete. 

Well, last week I came across another powerful example of such an artistic irony in Raleigh at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Here stands the elemental death mask of Michael Richards, sculptor. Michael posed for his own sculpture emtitled "Tar Baby vs St. Sebastian"; a commentary on the shabby treatment afforded the heroic members of WW II's all black, Tuskeegee Airmen upon their return home from the War.

"Tar Baby vs St. Sebastian", Michael Richards, 1999

     Michael Richards died in the World Trade Towers on 9/11/2001.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Equilibrium Means Temporary

All of my inquiries into Oriental philosophy have informed me that CHANGE is at the Center of the Universe. 

I recall a similar physical science maxim: Equilibrium is a temporary stage in the life process of a river. Of course, I know that because I have drawn many profiles of a river’s life.

Here are another few profiles … 

Click to enlarge.

The Wader
Don't worry, Tanda. The wader has your bill.

Tanda’s links to the unconscious mind are being courted, it seems. It’s transparent that the wader must love to pay the bill for change.

Batman’s Guano
Batman’s guano sofas made Tanda sleepy

It seems there exists two kinds of wisdom in the world and one kind is bat wisdom. That is why humor is the only Virtue one must defend to the death. 

Sous-chef Tanda
The subconscious mind does not have to worry. That’s the rooster’s job. This should clarify the blending for a peaceful mind.

pax vosbiscum

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Brief Photo Vacation for All 300 Subscribers

A brief respite from my pen and ink drawings ... 

The past few days of rain have brought our Jacaranda Tree (started from a few pods 20 years ago) into a conjunction with my favorite automobile, The elegant Beverly, a 1990 Buick LeSabre. 

Here are a few views of that union:

Click to enlarge.
Beverly LeSabre

Windshield view

Faithful MAC view

In the garden ark

With the Firecracker plants

That's all Folks!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Conflict Resolved

The other day I had the great, good fortune to sit down with Carl Jung’s Red Book for a few minutes. Within three or four pages I came across the description of Carl’s latter years during which he forsook directed thinking to explore the fantasies of the unconscious mind. 

Carl took the same intended journey that occupies my drawing labors, but over a hundred years earlier than I. Jung’s drawings are in color, while mine favor the black ink of an old map maker. Jung’s drawings tend to be geometrical and iconic. My drawings erupt from the who-knows-where with surprises for my startled eyes.

Old conflicts resolved, some clarity appears on the page ... for the moment. Tanda Shadowself’s inky blackness drains into a gravy boat crucible where it awaits further transformations, while my bloody fingerprints give texture to the leafy tops of skinny trees. 

Click picture to enlarge.

Tanda's Ink. My Blood.

I never know where an ink drawing will start. If I can’t find an area to begin doodling, I might pour an ink wash onto the paper, then start looking for shapes to extend.

Like Jung pointed out, I’ve noticed my thinking switching back-and-forth between directed and associative or imagistic thinking. I am aiming to convene with my unconscious mind while drawing. This kind of drawing feels like a dance for equilibrium. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Listen

Ink Therapy sessions 4, 5, and 6 were awash with the struggle to relax my attitudes toward white space. 

In session 4, I had to start with written words again. Not my idea of what should be happening. A few more scratches here and there. A few more words. A couple of ink washes. 

Tanda was no help this time; he kept his distance. Back and forth I went with myself. I struggled with me. We struggled with we. The result: a muddy, complicated story hardly worth interpretation. Looks like my muse is getting raped by a story line stork! 

No sure way to experience a resurrection. No impeccable inkings here. 

Click drawing to enlarge
The devil is in the details.

Session 5 began with a few small rivers of ink wash, an oil slick. I searched for continuations of these image streams, but few appeared. 

First to appear was the horned bull. Next was the dweeb hunkering under the Roman helmet. The dog showed me his backside was nothing more than my fingerprint. A pineapple like vase erupted in faceless heads as if their identities were all tied up.

After the beacon of help shone from the lighthouse, a space age Tanda pretender appeared in a small water craft. Inking was pretty stupid today, I thought.

At last go, the notion of Time did present itself with a meter’s hand protruding from a black ink peninsula. 

Click drawing to enlarge
Oil Slick

During session 6 things began to make sense; I began to get some of the story I was looking for. 

It appears my muse is energizing Mitote, the human and cultural fog Toltecs tell us we are born into. Life has been hijacked by vested interests pretending to offer Truth, pensions, and possibly the favors of Lady Gaga. How much of that hogwash did we blindly accept?

Time reappears like soggy pizzas afloat in rolling seas. Tanda is afloat, seemingly brain dead. There is no Cogito ergo sum; sum is dead and buried. Mitote wins.

It’s time for a Revolution to begin.

Click drawing to enlarge

In Mitote we trust.

Next time: Conflict Resolution

Patience is a Virtue when Courted

My third, self-administered ink therapy session started with great enthusiasms. Fantastic things were about to happen. Or, so I thought. 

It turned out that habitual thinking was locking me out of the drawing space I wanted to occupy for most of the night. I was poised above the paper, but the ink pen did not want to move of its own accord.

Blank-minded and anxious to start, I finally borrowed a pattern from one of Pam’s latest art quilts. Thereafter, I turned the beautiful abstract pueblos of the quilt into a winless kind of tic-tac-toe game. 

Sheesh! What to do? 

I called on the Cavalry. Soon my old, pen-headed friend Tanda appeared, but almost begrudgingly he stood at the edge of the page. We stared at each other for a long while. 

My representative of the subconscious mind was not ready for my prime time. Just before bed time, however, Tanda’s tan tien opened into a flower out of which a snake-like, pixie-eared muse came forward to show her/his face. Was this a message from my subconscious regarding mind games?

Click on drawing to enlarge.

Did you notice that the pixie-eared muse has one eye closed and the other eye only partly open? 

It seems the intended collaborators in this ink therapy session (the conscious and subconscious minds of Gerry Zeck) were not working in unison for much of the evening; we struggled with control issues for hours.

At the end of the session, this ink drawing seems to be telling me two things: 1. Sometimes enthusiasm can destroy equilibrium and, 2. Sometimes the subconscious knows better than the conscious mind. 

Next: Learning to listen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ink Therapy Resurrects Old Friends

My hope is that Ink Therapy saves us from this crazy, greedy, violent world. And that's just as good a reason as any to spend hours doodling with black ink on white paper.

My second inking session (Doubting Tanda) started at the top of the page with a series of short, parallel lines that eventually turned into a wooley creature with a noble probiscus. How do these things happen? Do these wooly creatures inhabit my brain? yours?

Grab a pen and paper and start doodling. Just make marks. Lines, circles, chevrons, dots, whatever feels good. Don't think too much. My ink therapy is not an activity that depends on plans or forethought or ego. Just the opposite; I simply doodle until the pen starts moving by itself.

Click on image to enlarge.

Before long a formally attired, pen-headed character and his strange dog-like buddy appear at the bottom of the page. Nothing too intimidating for a 70 year old inkster with viagra in his pocket, however. 

The pen-headed character is Tanda, an old friend from previous ink therapy sessions. Tanda always shows up with weird baggage; that’s his nature. Tanda is my psychological Shadow; his full name: Tanda Lobit Shadowself. He's here to amuse me.

But Tanda's first appearance was one of uncertainty on the page. He was dubiously amused when he showed me how he's changed during the past 16 years. He had been resting in a near visible sofa world waiting to make a reappearance in india ink. 

I told him he looks like a full professor on his way to a brandy sniffing party. 

Toltec Rising and The Four Agreements

About a month ago a dear friend of mine offered me a small book purported to contain ancient Toltec wisdom. The Four Agreements by nagual Don Miguel Ruiz was subtitledA Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book). 

How could any fan of Carlos Castaneda’s writings decline such a title? I accepted the book as my next reading assignment.

The book was an ideal fit with my lazy self; Here was a small, simple book that could be breezily read. It provided the perfect momentary diversion, I thought, to reclaim some kind of sanity in this crazy world.

Before concluding the book, I had decided to follow the path of the Toltec Warrior, as best I could, by adopting the Four Agreements.

The Agreements were obviously roaming through my mind when I recently decided to reenter pen and ink art therapy sessions again after a layoff of sixteen years. The difficulties of facing a blank white page were initially resolved with words. Then shapes began to emerge.

Here is my first pen and ink doodle-drawing of the year. Subsequent drawings will explore the mysteries of this Toltec Rising.

COMMENTS invited. Scroll down.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pen & Ink Drawings as Art Therapy

I think of my pen & ink work as a necessary art therapy. I have to pick up the pen and ink every fifteen years or so. This work doesn’t produce high art; It involves the making of marks that are little more than doodles at their beginnings. 

I also like to play with my Shadow self. We are shameless trollops, Shadow and me. These days we work on plain white paper where nobody can really get hurt. Together in ink, we work toward a sense of agreement and renewal.

“Dancing for Julio” (below) is a self-portrait. It comes from the last art therapy session I did with pen and ink in 1994.

At the time I made this drawing, our house had been for sale for nearly two years without the prospect of a buyer. (The inverted statue of St. Joseph buried near the mango tree didn’t seem to be working.) 

One day in February a young man showed up to look at the vacancy in our grandfathered garage apartment. The prospective renter, a young Peruvian employed by one of the finer restaurants in Sarasota, had a patron. The patron wanted improvements made to the garage apartment and was willing to pay the expenses of new floor tiles, etcetera.

Hence, I elected to accept the gracious offer that paid material expenses and I gathered my tools for the renovation project that would lead to the completion of Ink Therapy Session 1.

Shortly thereafter the renovations, the house sold.

Any questions?

Ink Therapy for Bloggers

Reflection is the prime utility of blank walls; One pours one's thoughts out and those thoughts are reflected by the wall. During the course of 123 blog writing encounters with the blank wall, I have learned a smidgen about organizing words and pictures in ways that feel comfortable for me. And I have experienced the palpable loneliness and futility of projecting thoughts through electronic space. 

What is lacking in the creation of a blog is the tangible taste and feel of a physical object; a  bumpy sheet of watercolor paper, an emulsion rich photographic print, or the earthy scent and feel of clay. That physicality has always been a sensual part of the creative process for me. 

Electronic blogging can talk about creativity, but it cannot provide the satisfaction of applying india ink on a blank sheet of white paper. So a blog is like the life of a brain without a body; it may be good for reporting, but it’s not good for the body or soul that seeks nourishment.  

Nonetheless, I shall return to the electronic blog wall soon with some old and new pen & ink drawings. See you soon!