More on the Ideas That Inspired My Paintings
New Science: Observer’s Paradox, A Dip in the Fabric of Time, Greater than the Sum of its Parts, String Theory
These paintings are largely based on three books about scientific ideas written for the general public. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1979) by Gary Zukav is a classic. It examines the discoveries of 20th century physics in clear language with all of the wonder of the ideas but without the math. The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems (1996) by Fritjof Capra is a mind-blowing exploration of the ideas and implications of Systems Theory. Although Capra is a physicist, his writing is relatively accessible to the non-scientist. And my all-time favorite, A Short History of Nearly Everything (2004) by the very talented Bill Bryson. In this book Bryson is seeking answers to all the big questions: who are we, where did we come from, where are we going…in short… “what’s it all about, Alfie?” Based on solid research, this profound and witty book explains some of the most difficult ideas in New Science in the most engaging way.
Birthing Modern English: Caedmon’s Hymn, Vengeance Rising, Debate in Spring, After the Kiss or the True Source of Marital Bliss
As a volunteer for the Pikes Peak Library District, I tutor people who speak English as a second (or third or fourth) language. Often the questions I get about our rather confusing language really make me stop and wonder, why do we say this and not that? How did we come to order sentences the way we do or spell some words in such puzzling ways? So, I took a Teaching Company course, The History of the English Language, 2nd edition, with Professor Seth Lerer. This course has given me a lot of insight into these questions and their answers. I have always loved reading about English; how it got the way it is and what it is becoming. These paintings are based on the first four compositions written in English as described by Dr. Lerer.
The Journey: The Call, The Quest, The Dark Night, The Return
Joseph Campbell, the highly influential cross-cultural mythologist, was interviewed by Bill Moyers in the PBS series, The Power of Myth (1988). Watching this series literally changed my life. I was spellbound! It opened me to possibilities that eventually became realities for me that I had never imagined before I saw the series and then read everything by Campbell that I could find. In fact, his work became the inspiration for my doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He was the first to describe the great monomyth of the Hero’s Journey. Across the world, in all times, some version of the Hero’s Journey appears. In spite of culturally-specific elements, the Hero’s Journey has a characteristic form. I have taken four of the major elements of this great myth as the subject for these paintings. In one way or another, I have painted this story many times. I have also used this idea in my work as a psychiatric-mental health nurse and nurse educator, characterizing patients not as the victims of their illness, but as the heroes of their life stories. The Hero’s Journey has given meaning to my own life story as I am sure it must for anyone who takes the time to study it.