Thoughts and Quotations

Like Rosanne Cash (singer, composer)/ “ I have a worker - bee mentality.” In talking about building her career in the tough entertainment/music business, this is her credo: “ Just show up. Just do it. Even if you feel like shit and you think you’re terrible and you’ll never get better and your career will never go anywhere, Just show up and do it. And eventually something happens.” 



Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming 'WOOO HOOOOO what a ride!'


“Why does anybody tell a story, create art? It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.” - Madeline L’Engle ( Besides, it seems to be good therapy; creating things in clay seems to fill-up some empty space inside you that you didn't know needed filling - Fink)


Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) 


When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. 



Creativity is a way of thinking and a way of doing. The creative process is a kind of a probing, finding method at the service of a vague plan. The creative person is a person who turns himself over to it with no expectations - it is a supreme act of "faith," a leap in the dark, the act of “not knowing” - not knowing where you will end up, but recognizing its' completion when you get there. It is risk-taking of sorts, where any “mistakes” that materialize are forgiven, paid for by the revelations and the lessons learned. It is through this way of working, that the beauty that comes from connecting with your intentions- be it a beautiful and colorful painting, or that of the order and color you designed into your garden - this is the “payoff” you receive for the struggle to connect with the intended and the mystery of the unintended. This is an example of grace and a blessing.

 In accepting the “creative way” you are relieved of the fear of making errors, for in such things so subjective, we don’t know the final “answer” until we arrive at the conclusion. Learning this method is not easy, for some of us have been waiting our whole lives for questions to which we have alreadJunk to Arty prepared answers. 

 To create a work of art is to make an offering, symbolic of who and what you are about. Shakespeare said that art is a window to the soul. When you are completely open, and offer up your inner self, your spiritual self, the Creator, the Universe speaks to and through you. You have communicated from that place within, a sacred place. To create an art piece from a place of love, is to reach for the sacred. 

 Sacred art calls forth our own spirit, connecting us with the mystery of being and the hidden power of life. Such art is enabling: for it becomes a messenger and guide of the spirit. Inspired sacred art accompanies us on our individual and communal journeys. 

 John (Jack) Fink, artist/teacher

The Mystery of the Seen and the Unseen Reality of Life and Living: 

MOYERS: Art, especially poetry, gets to the unseen reality of our lives. 


CAMPBELL: That which is beyond even the concept of reality, that which transcends all thought. The myth puts you there all the time, gives you a line to connect with that mystery which you are. “The Power of Myth”, Bill Moyers interviews the Mythologist, Joseph Campbell

“Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

 Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

When you work at a job you love, you never work a day in your life. - Anonymous


We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell


When artists discover as children that they have inappropriate responses to events around them, they also find, as they learn to trust those responses, that these oddities are what constitutes their value to others. 

Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk


He got all “A’s” and flunked life. - Anon.


It’s not going to be easy to listen to God’s call. Your insecurity, your self-doubt, and your great need for affirmation make you lose trust in your inner voice and run away from your self. But you know that God speaks to you through your inner voice and that you will find joy and peace only if you follow it. 

 Henri Nouwen - The Inner Voice of Love


In the years since his death, the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has become widely known as one of the few Christian martyrs in a history otherwise stained by Christian complicity with Nazism. Executed in the Flossenbürg concentration camp on April 9, 1945 for his role in the resistance against Hitler, Bonhoeffer's letters and theological works still influence Christians throughout the world

 He said, "When they came to get the Jews, I kept silent, for I am not a Jew. When they came to get the Slavs I kept silent for I am not a Slav. When they came to get the Gypsies I kept silent for I am not a gypsy. When they came to get me no one could speak out for me because there was no-one left."


Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the presence of justice. - anon.


God is more interested in our character than in our comfort. We are here on Earth to develop our character in preparation for Eternity. We are here, perhaps, 60-90 years, but in Eternity for eons. Better get busy assessing where you’ve been, what you need to do to plan for the remaining “trip” while you are still here. It’s not to soon to start today! ( For, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else). - Paraphrased from Joseph Campbell, etc


Do you know the definition of BIBLE? It’s an acronym. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. 


Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction. --Thomas Jefferson 

Speak out words of encouragement, give voice to your convictions, speak out against injustice . . . . not only because it is the right thing to do . . . but because there are people waiting for your words, waiting for your unique way of doing things – be it your way with numbers, or perhaps your sense of organization, your persistence, your skills, your poems, your clay images.

 Never feel that your skills, your talents, your words were meant for you alone -- they belong to God, to the world, to all of us. You were meant to share them! So, get out there and exhibit your art work; write, protesting to an article in the newspaper, prepare a tasty meal for a friend! 

 This wish for you is not mine alone -- if you look into your heart you will know that you were specifically designed by the talents and gifts our Creator gave to you and to me. We are here for a purpose. Acknowledge all of those things you have to bring to the world - speak them, sing them, model them in clay, share them! All of them – through God’s grace - they were granted to you from the beginning! - J. Fink, artist/teacher



"This is a beautiful story a Sioux friend told me: The Creator gathered all of creation together and said, "I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality." The eagle said, "Give it to me, I will take it to the moon." The Creator said, "No, one day they will go there and find it." The salmon said, "I will hide it on the bottom of the ocean." "No, they will go there too." The buffalo said, "I will bury it on the great plains." The Creator said, "They will cut into the skin of the earth and will find it even there." Then Grandmother mole, who live in the breast of Mother Earth, who has no physical eyes, but sees with spiritual eyes, said, "Put it inside them."

And the Creator said, "It is done." - From "THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS" (physics) by Gary Zukav AND author of 

 "SEAT OF THE SOUL" (spiritual)

“ We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.” 

Erich Fromm, Psychologist 


(Non-artists are puzzled at the “dream-like” scenarios that we artists create in our work and in our playful conversation. But we are simply exploring what is possible in a world content with the status quo.)


In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught. (on a sign board in Yellowstone National Park). 



 ...............................................

Re. order and harmony . . 

The real test of a well-composed garden is not only how nicely it blooms but how beautifully it decomposes. It’s not about life or death,” he said, admiring the dark, twisting lines of the fennel. “It’s about looking good. Something is complete when everything works together.” Looking out over his perennial meadow, Mr. Oudolf articulated it this way: “You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.” Allowing the garden to decompose, he added, meets an emotional need in people.

 Dutch landscape designer, Piet Oudol , HUMMELO, The Netherlands

“Religion is the attempt to be in harmony with the unseen order of things.” -William James 

(Pehaps Bucky Fuller is right, “God is a verb, not a noun)


“. . . Buckminster Fuller furthered the revelation, “God is a verb, not a noun.” In his book, “NO MORE SECONDHAND GOD(1963) OPERATING MANUAL FOR THE SPACESHIP EARTH (1969), and EARTH, INC. (1973) in which he writes "In reality, the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon are nothing else than a most fantastically well-designed and space-programmed team of vehicles. All of us are, always have been, and so long as we exist, always will be--nothing else but--astronauts." Joseph Campbell



Re. Astronauts, reinventing yourself, and God . . . 

Those who not only create order in their life and their work, but who attempt to live it anew, re-ordering, growing and reinventing themselves, a leap of faith allows you to access the Life Forces of the Universe that are largely unseen by us. When you take such risks, reaching beyond your grasp, stretching and transforming yourself, some say you connect to God. In his movie, “Star Wars” George Lukas has his character speak the line, “ The Force be with you!” Or God be with you. – Joseph Campbell


“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends” Joseph Campbell

Gratitude Nothing new can come into your life without gratitude . . a deep appreciation for what you already have in your life.



It’s not enough to simply declare what you say you believe in. If you don’t practice it, take action on those beliefs, they don’t really mean much. Not acting, when you know it is the right thing to do, in the end leaves a hollow space within you. One may say,

 “ Well, I really tried and it didn’t work out.” Trying is failing with honor: and that’s OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. 

But what IS important is that you “risk” by continuing to try. In the creative way of thinking, any “mistakes” that materialize are forgiven, paid for by the revelations and the lessons learned. What a bonus ! - J.F.



Regarding Risk - " True risk is that sudden leap into the dark, the unknown; it can carry you into a state of grace. Coincidences, synchronicity, chance, karmic charm, it doesn't matter what you call it, there is a Positive Force [a Higher Power] that intervenes to 'cover your back,' to lift you up. Things click. It makes sense, because true risk is the only thing that forces spiritual and emotional growth so immediately, so dramatically. Some people approach risk as if its the enemy, when it is really fortune's accomplice." 

 - Sting (musician, actor)



“ Un-forgiveness is a form of self-abuse. Unwilling to forgive is like you taking poison expecting the other person to die.”


Re. Outdoor Art : . . . Artists who create this kind of art and the people who commission it, have transformed the perceptual environment – not just the physical space – although that is considerable - but one’s perceptual space by acknowledging the values expressed through the visual language of art. 


After all, the only space that is truly important is the one you fashion out of your language, your thoughts, your beliefs; what you say you “stand for” is shaped by your priorities, your spirit, your ideals and aspirations! Through these you create the essential space in which you live and work and you take them with you wherever you go. If you don't acknowledge and prioritize your values, if you don't live them, what you want to create, it won't come out of your hands with any distinction, spirit, or depth of substance - likewise, the emerging work of art that you call your life! This concept is the Source, the well from which you draw and communicate your unique point of view, expressing your authentic self . 

- J. Fink “ Introduction to the catalogue for Adelphi University’s Second Biennial Sculpture Exhibit 2002



Describing one of her sculptural compositions : “. . a stretched picture plane is held to the wall by the force of a forked branch and stone balanced under a tension wire so tight it rings out like a guitar string when plucked. Like much of my work, this piece is a self portrait of a life under tension between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds, between a life of teaching and making art. When the balance is right my life makes music." Winn Rea, Artist/Teacher re. one of her sculpture installations. 

The Healing Nature of Art - The creative process truly does something for the spirit and perhaps the body as well. I have often used the saying, " That if you have a job you love, you never work a day in your life." . . . well most days.


There is no question that the creative process, related to whatever activity, turns off the noise in and around you. You lose track of time; you are present, completely in the moment, for nothing else seems to matter when you turn yourself over to this kind of activity; it seems to celebrate and affirm your life and living. In making art, the emerging composition of the artwork is intuitive and has little or nothing to do with words or numbers, or related logical cognitive skills. Sometimes you get the feeling as if the artwork is doing itself.


There is much written about the mind, spirit, body connection . . . that if much of your life is in sync and on balance, that one tends to be more physically healthy, mentally at peace, or at the very least, one manages what dysfunction one has, much better. Immersion of yourself into the creative process is very much a form of meditation and part of balancing the "whole self." J. Fink

“From the viewpoint of an artist, take a look at the art you have made and will make, as a metaphor for you and your life (you are the vessel, the sculpture, and it you) i.e. ‘Like a ceramic water container, she filled herself to the brim with all sorts of ideas and beliefs.’ So . . if art is self-expression, then who is your “self”? What do you contain? Metaphorically, as a “vessel,” what is it you hold? What do you value that describes your identity as a person? What do you stand for? What are your character traits? What do you strive for presently? in the future? Do you have a plan? All this forms the substance and fuels the passion an artist brings to the work at hand.” - John Jack Fink, from the paper, “Ritual of Fire.”

When asked if he made a distinction between the arts and crafts, the artist Charles White responded: " I refuse to . One function of art is to celebrate life. Another is to give peoplea deeper insight into themselves and to their relationship with nature. It isn't important me , whether a person designs shapes with a rake in the sand, or arranges flowers or plants in a garden, or turns to more sophisticated forms of sculpture, pottery, drawing or painting. I can't separate crafts from other art forms. I see it all as a singular expression of a person's inquiry into his spiritual nature.


“ No one will remember you if you keep your thoughts secret. Force yourself to speak them.” - Gabriel García Marquez


Given more time on this earth I would value things not for what they are worth, but for what they represent.


"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.

If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

---Jesus, from The Gnostic Teachings



“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” 

 - Ray Bradbury, writer


Someone asked the anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978), "What is the first sign you look for, to tell you of an ancient civilization?" The interviewer had in mind a tool or article of clothing. Ms. Mead surprised him by answering, a "healed femur". When someone breaks a femur, they can't survive to hunt, fish or escape enemies unless they have help from someone else. Thus, a healed femur indicates that someone else helped that person, rather than abandoning them and saving themselves. Isn't that what we in philanthropy are all about? Healing femurs of one sort or another?


“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk, journalist


"Painting is so poetic, while sculpture is more logical and scientific and makes you worry about gravity." Damien Hirst


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead . . his eyes are closed. - Jean Dubuffet. artist 


"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference.



"She reminds us that dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors." on collumnist Molly Ivins who frequently skewed politicians and their back room dealings. 


Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” -Chuck Close

“So, what the hell is this thing? Never saw a sculpture like this! It doesn’t make sense!” 

“ Don’t talk to me about a person being able to make sense! It is the job of an artist, any creative thinker, to “ talk” non-sense! Making sense is the last refuge of thinking “within the box.” Creative thinkers stretch and distort the familiar, brainstorming the literal reality into a new, fresh reality through symbolic imagery.”


An artist keeps working at his craft, not so much for earning a living, but it is a way of life, really. Many would describe it as a sacred practice, a devotion, a ritual as it were. An artist is compelled, drawn to the mystery in the creative process; what I would describe as an attempt to connect with the divine. - John Fink



"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead . . his eyes are closed."

Jean Dubuffet. artist



-

Every single one of us can do things that no one else can do - can love things that no one else can love. We are like violins. We can be used for doorstops, or we can make music. You know what to do. 

Barbara Sher


When you play it too safe, you're taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we're given.

Barbara Sher



CUPS AND MUGS 

Why can't I just grab any two mugs for my morning coffee? I've created about a dozen of them and have them in my cupboard for the taking, but I seem to choose my favorite each time, washing it, even if it is not clean. I have two current favorites that seem to express the person I am these days. A subconscious search for meaning in one’s art perhaps explains my choosing. As we grow intellectually and spiritually we become different people; perhaps these two current favorites express the current version of John Fink as does my sculptural tribute to coffee and the pleasure of drinking ritual. Metaphorically,we are the cups of our lives, constantly and quietly being filled. Hopefullly, we will be mindful to tip ourselves over and let the good, beautiful stuff out. Get empty! Share your talents, your thoughts, your words. The world is waiting for them! 


A piece describing wine and maybe even friendship -


"Know me, stranger,

For I am thy life blood

and thy nectar.

I shall wet thy lips, parched

by the winds of deprivation.

And nourished shall be thy body,

dessicated by the scorching

inferno of temperance.

Rest thy head upon my bosom,

Lose thyself in the ecstasy of

my caresses,

And know me,

For I am your favorite bottle of wine. 



“Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” - William Butler Yeats


One thing didn't feel right about the "Seven Days in Utopia" script. (Robert) Duvall thought his character was a little too bland and neutral, not the kind of man who brings the wisdom of the world to back up his advice. He wanted his role to be a little less saint and more sinner.

"I told them there was only one Jesus so don't make the character so perfect. Give him some flaws," Duvall says. "You have to have obstacles to create drama." Actor Robert Duval


We either accept weaknesses in good people or we have to tear pages out of the Bible. Robert Duvall


“ When I sit at that typewriter, I have to be frightened of what I'm trying to do. I'm frightened by my own, belief that I can actually get a story down on paper. I still have that thing in my mind from childhood, "Who cares what you have to say?" So, my path is the same path. It's still a path through confusion and lack of self confidence, and struggle and embarrassment over all of my imperfection. But I would tell you at the same time, I have seen things that have dropped me to my knees in a state of awe, and when I know that that too is there, if I can find a way to build with language a bridge between a failure to believe and a witness to what is incomprehensible. If I can build that bridge and then do it again and then do it again. I would hope that at the end of my life, somebody would say, "Well, his life was useful. He helped." A key for me, in recent years, has been coming to a better understanding of the virtue of reverence than- I have ever had before. “ Barry Lopez (Interview with Bill Moyers)


And the fox said to the little prince: men have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author and aviator (1900-1945) 


My art should not be considered as manufactured objects but "spontaneous expressions of the psyche"



“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because Iwasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak upbecause I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left

to speak up.”—Martin Niemoeller, German Lutheran Pastor (1892-1984)


“Everything in the end will be alright. If it isn’t alright, then it is not the end.” 

Movie, “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”




“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.” Stephen Colbert, Humorist 


“Once an artist gets it in his/her mind that it's a blooming adventure, then, and only then, everything falls into place and starts to work”. - Joseph P. Blodgett (Adventure)


No one will remember you if you keep your thoughts, your art secret. Force yourself to share them. Believe me, the world is waiting for your images, for your words.



Sculpture theme: “Three-Part Harmony”

2006

Artist: John (Jack) Fink

Ceramic and mixed materials


“….we are one; insofar as you identify yourself with the consciousness that moves and lives in your body, you’ve identified with that which you share with me. And on the other hand, if you fix on yourself, and your tradition, and believe you’ve got It, then you’ve removed yourself from the rest of mankind. .”

From "An Open Life - Joseph Campbell in Conversation With Michael Toms"


She said, “You are marvelously talented, but no one gives a shit! If you are going to make it in this world of the arts, what matters is who you know and who you don’t know. “ – Tony Kushner , film writer



After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of a miracle. "There is only one miracle," he answered. "It is life."


Have you wept at anything during the past year?


Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty?


Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die?


More often than not , do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?


Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?


If your answer to all or most of these questions is No, the chances are that you're dead.


Frederick Buechner Center

frederickbuechner.com 



“We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of life is its urgency, 'here and now' without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point-blank.” ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset


BUECHNER ON TEACHERS: 

“ . . I have always believed, it is not so much their subjects that the great teachers teach as it is themselves. . . I see Reinhold Niebuhr, for instance, in a beret with the wind ballooning out his raincoat as he walks his poodle along Riverside Drive. I remember best, his gift for applying the insights of the Christian faith to the whole spectrum of politics, economics, international affairs. He was bald, owlish-looking, with deep frown-lines, a deep-cut, sardonic mouth. He had a nose quick to sniff out the irony and ambivalence of things in general and of piety in particular, an eye sharp to perceive that the children of darkness are apt to be not only wiser but often more appealing and plausible than the children of light. “ Frederick Buechner 


Something about her eyes or voice has always suggested the hint of a free spirit, trapped in a Peck and Peck cage, dreaming of making rude noises at public gatherings of Republicans.

Jeff Greenfield






Art has no function. It is not necessary. It has nothing to do with what anyone wants you to do or wants it to be, nothing but you and itself. The work generates itself and ideas and progress and learning come out of doing the work in a particular way. Creative art is a learning process for the artist and not a description of what is already known. An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work. The work needs concentration and one is often exhausted by it. It takes so much effort just to begin and although going on is mostly a pleasure it is also a great effort. The only thing for a creative artist to do is to do his chosen work. But really there is no choice. Nobody chooses. The only thing left for a creative artist to do is to do his chosen work in spite of everything and regardless of anything because when living draws to its end there are no excuses he can make to himself or to anyone else for not having done it. Either he did do it or he did not do it and very often he did not. Alas very often he did not.

Gertrude Stein

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” 

― Kalu Ndukwe Kalu



it is hard work to build a garden pathway, as you describe, Bernadette. I too have created garden paths. They surely have their functional value for level walking to a destination, but in my desire to provide a way to get to the other side of my garden plantings to better see their beauty, I unwittingly created much more: a means to contemplate on the walk down the path - about life's journey. The paths and the garden plantings, the sculpture, the fountains, a bench to sit along the way - stimuli and places of inspiration, for quiet intuitive introspection. Walking a garden path is not unrelated to walking a labyrinth. I've read some on the purpose of a labyrinth and Caroline Adams says it well: "Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."



"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. 


"Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” 


The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. Take your attention from the goal and learn to love the challenge of getting there.



“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Steve Jobs



The Author nails it when he says - "money is also how our culture defines value, and being told that what you do is of no ($0.00) value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing. Even sort of insulting. And of course when you live in a culture that treats your work as frivolous, you can’t help but internalize some of that devaluation and think of yourself as something less than a bona fide grown-up." “ Slaves of the Internet Unite.” NY Times


Re. being asked to repost a sympathy piece being circulated on f.b. that I feel reluctant to post. Not because I am unsympathetic and don't want to recognize the problems others are privately facing. To the contrary, am sorry if YOUR life is not working out as you would like it, but I don't want to be made feeling guilty for my posting a positive celebration. The "condition" of our lives change. Mine wasn't always positive like this posting above - sometimes it was frightening, sometimes without the people I loved who passed on and are no longer with me. I am sorry for those I know who are going through financial troubles, struggling with health issues, have family problems, and so on, but you do the best you can, while you can and work for change. If you are alive, you don't escape being human. That's why we are all here - our good souls were either sent here, or we chose to come here to experience what it means to be human. When life is over, we slip out of our "earth suits" and go back "home." Once there, I"m sure we'll get a chance to tell how it was. Perhaps some will choose to come back to take care of some unfinished business, to "get-it-right," while others will say, "No thanks!" While here, we have to play the cards we're dealt and get creative when we get a hand not to our liking - always, you gotta problem solve! And for some things, you can't do it alone. Some days you are the pigeon, some days the public statue. If you don't like the shit coming your way . . . do something about it. Do the best you can!


Itzhak Pearlman once broke a string at the start of a Lincoln Center recital. Rather than replacing it, he played the entire concert with a broken instrument. At the end he said, “Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.” That kind of humility honors God. This Thanksgiving, don’t dwell on what’s lost, but on what’s left.


“To know that there is love in the world is worth more than all the masterpieces ever created. I still believe that, have seen that , and hope there is enduring love in your lives too." Artist-friend Greg Tsontakis-Mally on why it was a very good year (2013)



You cannot do what you can't imagine. It is difficult to have abundance in your life when you are stuck in sameness. Creating art is yet another way to exercise your imagination. Hopefully, we apply that “exercise” into other facets of our lives. There are no such things as mistakes; only pauses on your way to connecting with your original intention. 


Sometimes a play or movie has in it lessons for living. The playwright Herb Gardner wrote a delightful comedy, “A Thousand Clowns”.The out-of-work Jason Robards character is fighting social services to retain custody of his nephew and delivers a heart-felt soliloquy of hope for his nephew, saying: 


In living your life, hopefully you will:

 “.. learn how not to be one of the nice dead people, one of the list 

 makers who want to know everything before it happens. 

 .. know and admit it when you are chickening out on yourself.

 .. know that special thing you are, or else you won't recognize it when 

 it starts to go.

 .. stay awake, pay attention and know who the phonies are.

 .. know how to holler and put up an argument.

 .. learn to let a little guts to show 

 .. learn to [love exploring] all of the wild possibilities.

 .. know that it is worth all of the trouble just to give the world a little 

 goosing once you get the chance.

 .. know all of the kinky, subtle reasons you were born a human being 

 and not a chair." 

 ( From the play (and movie) "A Thousand Clowns" by Herbert Gardner )



At times, when we are silent enough, still enough, we are able to take a step into the mystery, into the place of spirit. The process of creating art takes you there.



“Don't learn to do, but learn in doing.” ~ Samuel Butler


I hope that the people I love know that I do love them. I tell them as often as possible, and probably too often that they don't even hear it anymore. Well, too bad. 

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”

― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez


 A major truth of the Universe!





“The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.” Gordon B. Hinckley


Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams


You cannot do what you can't imagine. It is difficult to have abundance in your life when you are stuck in sameness. Creating art is yet another way to be mentally and spiritually fit, while influencing other facets of our lives. In the creative process, there are no such thing as mistakes; only pauses on your way to connecting with your original intention.


We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted, sculpted, formed pottery; it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, perhaps less expensively. Those who have invested themselves in the arts, know how to problem-solve and not in a conventional way.


Not long ago, we would have bought services as important to us as mail and news. Now, however, we get all those services for free — and we pay with our personal data, which is spliced and diced and bought and sold. Those who aren’t bothered by that exchange should keep in mind that our data is used not just for advertisements. It has also been used to charge people different prices based on their personal information. It has been used to provide different search results to different people based on their political interests.In our data-saturated economy, privacy is becoming a luxury good. After all, as the saying goes, if you aren’t paying for the product, you are

 the product. - Julia Angwin, N.Y. Times, MARCH 3, 2014

THE CREATIVE PROCESS . . . First you're looking for something creative to do. That's work. Then, while you're at it, your mind is fixed on the fun you're having. That's play. When you're done, and get past the sense of gratification, you start to look for meaning in what you've done. That's when it all comes together. - Tom de Gruyl, artist


The artist must have heightened senses to see the sublime in ordinary things, and must have command of the tools of expressive art. i do believe that creation is often a solitary act, and the artist must jealously guard their time, or nothing gets done. when our kids were little, Anna and I would hire babysitters so that we could work a few hours in our studios. an artist can be seized with crippling self doubt. that i do believe, but my good friend, the artist Dean Powell always used to say..."you have to turn off the inner critic", and yet without a system of self evaluation, nothing very good gets produced. perhaps the bullseye is "perfection" and like in the game of darts - rarely achieved. but you need a bullseye, or what game are you playing. most art goes back to two components - form and content. the form is the technique and the content the heart of the matter. the wellspring of the content is the subconscious. it is the the powerful place of dreams and visions and often defies logic. it is not doing a sum, but developing a beautiful thereom. Suzanne K. Langer says..."Art is feeling objectified". I do not know if "feeling" is the stuff of the subconscious, but i suspect so. i also suspect that this pantheon of feelings is why art speaks to us beyond the curtain of time. now the problem - is it any good? as an artist, i leave those judgements to others and the test of time is a good one. lately, there is a lot of art that seeks the shock of the new. the shock of the new is often confused by many to be evidence of creativity. i go along with Stravinsky on this one..."the more art is limited, worked over, and controlled - the more it is free" a surprising comment from the man who wrote the Rites of Spring. as an artist, i am not a slave to crippling self doubt and i do not suffer from extreme narcissism. - Greg Tsontakis Mally




John Jack Fink Well said, Greg. These things i've not devoted much time thinking about. God put me here with things to do in the making of art and right now I'm so far behind, I'll probably never die. But we don't do what we do alone . . to quote Gothe : “At the moment of commitment, the Universe conspires to assist you" And in that understanding, any self-doubt one may have, diminishes or disappears, and you are freed to take risks. And this phenomenon is there for anyone to plug into.

Stop all the clocks,cut off the telephone,prevent the dog from barking with a nice juicy bone,silence the pianos and with a muff " led drum bring out the coffin,let the mourners come. Let the airplanes circle moaning overhead scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead. Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves, let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South,my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest,my noon, my midnight,my talk,my song;I thought that love would last forever;I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; /;put out every one; pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nnothing now can come to any good." (W. H. Auden)




Questions Before Dark

by Jeanne Lohmann


Day ends, and before sleep

when the sky dies down, consider

your altered state: has this day

changed you? Are the corners

sharper or rounded off? Did you

live with death? Make decisions

that quieted? Find one clear word

that fit? At the sun's midpoint

did you notice a pitch of absence,

bewilderment that invites

the possible? What did you learn

from things you dropped and picked up

and dropped again? Did you set a straw

parallel to the river, let the flow

carry you downstream?


The aim of creating art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. - Aristotle 


"We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph." ~Elie Wiesel


No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction. – Charles Francis Adams


Never mistake motion for action. ~Ernest Hemingway


It came in the night when most of them were sleeping -- the man and the woman, the dog and the other dog. Only Cat saw the stinging nettle begin its campaign of terror. But his domain was the house, and he would not leave his post. This war was not his to fight. Twilight Zone version of Jesus' Parable of the Sower!


We need to realize that our path to transformation is through our mistakes. We're meant to make mistakes, recognize them, and move on to become unlimited.


Inspiraton : “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” -Chuck Close


“He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”- St Francis of Assisi 


Employers are crying out for recruits who are creative. The notion that arts and music are not seen as ‘hard’ enough subjects is damaging to the economy

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” ― Albert Einstein

 So why wouldn't businesses want someone with the ability to problem-solve in unconventional ways? Mis-informed. 


When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.


I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.


When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.


Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world. - Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.


" Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look." 


“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That's part of what it means to be alive. 




































































For me, pottery is much more than a craft. There is something deep and enduring about molding vessels by hand, something that connects me to people, to traditions and people reaching across time. 


“The saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about much at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there's nothing to make it last.” 

Nicholas Sparks, Dear John


If you have enemies: good! It means you stand for something. If people don't agree with you and hate you for it.....it's their loss: They just missed out on an interesting conversation and listening to a different point of view.“I


I've started to look at life differently. When you're thanking God for every little you - every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water - you can't help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.” ― A.J. Jacobs


I once read that many young readers asked E.B.White if his stories were true, to which he answered, "No, they are imaginary tales . . . But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination." 


They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. - Mexican proverb. 


"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." Twyla Tharp, choreographer


"Art is meant to disturb. Science reassures." 

Georges Braque, painter


"Art is what you can get away with." 

Andy Warhol


"Art does not reproduce what is visible; it makes things visible." 

Paul Klee, artist


I've started to look at life differently. When you're thanking God for every little you - every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water - you can't help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.” ― A.J. Jacobs


Questions Before Dark

by Jeanne Lohmann


Day ends, and before sleep

when the sky dies down, consider

your altered state: has this day

changed you? Are the corners

sharper or rounded off? Did you

live with death? Make decisions

that quieted? Find one clear word

that fit? At the sun's midpoint

did you notice a pitch of absence,

bewilderment that invites

the possible? What did you learn

from things you dropped and picked up

and dropped again? Did you set a straw

parallel to the river, let the flow

carry you downstream?


"Many people see artists as shamans, dreamers, outsiders, and rebels. In reality, the artist is a builder, an engineer, a research analyst, a human relations expert, a project manager, a communications specialist, and a salesman. The artist is all of those and more—combined with the imagination of an inventor and the courage of an explorer. Not a bad set of talents for any business challenged to innovate in a world of volatility, uncertainty, and change."


'Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.' - Martin Luther King


When the world says, "Give up,"

Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

~Author Unknown

But inside our heads - at least that's where I imagine it - there's a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library.” 

― Haruki Murakami, "Kafka on the Shore "

Tags: inner-life, life, missed-chances


CHUCK CLOSE -"In life, you have to deal with your fear, the part of you that says "I can't do it." You have to rely on the part of you that says, "Well it doesn't look THAT bad." And you have to keep going even though there are no guarantees. I've found a way to work for myself by breaking everything down to the smallest pieces. I just keep working at each little unit of painting. Today I'll do what I did yesterday and tomorrow I'll do what I did today, the same thing in pieces small enough for me to handle." -Chuck Close (from "The Right Words at the Right Time" by Marlo Thomas -a compilation of words that changed many people's lives i.e Carlos Santana, Paul McCartney, Martin Sheen,Twyla Tharp, Wendy Wasserstein, Mike Wallace, Tom Wolfe and on and on.)



Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?

Expediency asks the question - is it politic?

Vanity asks the question - is it popular?

But conscience asks the question - is it right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position

that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular;

but one must take it because it is right.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ― Edward Everett Hale


Our family stories have a secret power: they play a unique role in shaping our identity and our sense of our place in the world. They give us values, inspirations, warnings, and incentives. We need them. We use them. We keep them. They reverberate throughout our lives, affecting our choices in love, work, friendship, and lifestyle.- - Elizabeth Stone, “Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins” 

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Sheep-Kissing.../dp/076580588X


For the museum and gallery goer, art is fun and a pleasant diversion for a Saturday afternoon. For the "Sunday painter" art is a hobby and perhaps an entertaining and theraputic way to pass the time while copying some picture from a magazine. For a more serious student of the arts, and within the framework of a college art course, art might produce all or some of the above as a by-product, but, in the main, it is time consuming, disciplined, and hard work. And technique of how something is constructed, how it's made is the additional mix of concern. 


“ Well, I really tried and it didn’t work out.” Trying is failing with honor: and that’s OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. But what IS important is that you “risk” by continuing to try. In the creative way of thinking, any “mistakes” that materialize are forgiven, paid for by the revelations and the lessons learned. What a bonus ! - J.F.


"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver


And as Albert Einstein said: "Logic will get you from point A to point B but imagination will get you everywhere."


"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case." -Chuck Close


You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.

Friedrich Nietzsche


"I hope that my achievements in life shall be these -- that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need that I will have left the earth a better place for what I've done and who I've been."

C.Hoppe


"Trade your knowledge for bewilderment." It is good to be in awe of all that you have attracted into your life and the more you are grateful for that - the more that will flow freely into your life. - Wayne Dyer.


“Don't ever give up.

Don't ever give in.

Don't ever stop trying.

Don't ever sell out.

And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment,

pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off.

But never, ever, ever give up.”

― Richelle E. Goodrich, Eena, The Tempter's Snare



"Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results - the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless."

Elizabeth Gilbert



"There is always shame in the creation of an expressive work, whether it's a book or a clay pot. Every artist worries about how they will be seen by others through their work. When you create, you aspire to do justice to yourself, to remake yourself, and there is always the fear that you will expose the very thing that you hoped to transform."

Rachel Cusk









Scroll to the top of the page to navigate the menu.