Friday

Retrospective

"My Bowl of Fruit"
Oil on Canvas
I am always hearing from European collectors asking when I plan on exhibiting in Europe again.  I would love to organize another European exhibition but honestly an international traveling exhibition is actually a "huge" undertaking for me not only in terms of time but also in terms of energy.  Organizing a international traveling exhibition also takes everything out of me, especially getting so many paintings on the planes, and such things as having to cut through all the red tape in getting through international customs with a large traveling art collection.  An international art exhibition actually requires the genuine support of a large team of art professionals.  At some point, however, I do plan on having an exhibition in America because that is much more realistic for me.  In fact, I would love to have a retrospective, but I just haven't found the right venue that is large enough.  I'm open to suggestions... Thanks for asking though.  In the meantime, a collector in Switzerland keeps inquiring about this oil painting in particular hanging in the gallery with my "American in Paris" collection.  So I thought I'd go ahead and post it here.

Monday

"The Spirit of Love"

"The Spirit of Love"

I started this work of art in 2011 and have just spent the last three days finally completing it.  I know taking 5 years to complete a painting may seem like a long time to some of you, but unless I take the time to explain by writing it won’t make sense.  First of all, creating art is a spiritual process for me.  I really don’t like to write about or interpret my work because I have a terrible fear that my writings will lead to my becoming a professional writer and I don’t ever want to lose, betray, or jeopardize the deep and personal connection with the source of my creative spirit.  The thing I love most about being an artist is that at times I know I am having an internal dialogue with “another spiritual presence”.   Even though I have gone through many phases in my life, for me there is nothing else that can compare to being on this “spiritual path” and having this sacred practice.  So today I will just write about the “human condition” and what it’s like for me experiencing life as a human being in this odd and also wonderful planet...  Therefore, I am only going to use this painting as a means of being intimate with you and sharing something very personal from my own life experience.  Writing about this actually makes me feel extremely uncomfortable to think, let alone, go public for anyone in the world to see into the depths of my own humanity.  

If you've been reading my recent posts, you know that I have been terribly hurt by the recent violence and tragedies in the world.  This has made me think of a time when I too have experienced tragedy.  I grew up in Arizona, so naturally, I love America especially the natural and beautiful landscape and countryside where I live.  However, I have a very deep and personal affinity with France because I would never have become the artist I am today were it not for my life experience there.  It was a time when I was young and very “impressionable” and first fell in love with art and the city of Paris.  That's when I first introduced to the influence of Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Matisse, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and so many others.  During this time I was young and carefree and also had so much fun running through the streets of Paris with artists and performers.  I am also very fortunate to have travelled to the south of France, Provence, Avignon, Brittany, the French coast, and also spent time in Nice.  So naturally France has left a lasting impression on me as “An American in Paris” artist.

I am only an artist who wants to live in a world filled with love.  One of my most recent personal tragedies was when I lost my beloved and only brother Bobby in his battle with cancer in October 2011.  It was emotionally devasting!!!   If you have ever lost a love one, I am sure you can relate.  For me, losing my brother Bobby felt like I was being punched in the stomach knocking out the air from my lungs and being unable to breath.  Emotionally, I also could not get up, or even function.  At least that’s how I experienced this personal tragedy in my life.  He and I were complete opposites.  Unlike me, he never got into any trouble.  He was also a good Christian, got married very young and stayed in Arizona to raise a family.  I on the other hand wanted to run away from my small town in the Arizona desert and go out and see the world.  Even though I've always been creative and "spiritual" at heart.  I always had "magical" and "unexplained" experiences that apparently other people around me weren't even aware really existed...  So naturally I saw the world very "differently".  For me life was fascinating!!!  So I was always out having "fun" and being talked about because people in my small town thought I was "eccentric".  They just didn't know that the town was simply too small for me...  The universe and the levels of experience were fascinating to me.  I get "vibrations" and "frequencies".  So I knew I couldn't stay in a small town where people didn't have an "awareness" of what I was personally experiencing.  My spiritual voice in my head told me to leave town before it was too late.  So I ran away from home and loved having interesting experiences and meeting other fascinating people from different cultures and backgrounds and traveling around the world.  Back home my family called me "Marco Polo".

Anyway, Bobby's birthday was just a few days ago, and my deep sense of loss was unresolved. Likewise, the painting I had started five years ago in his honor was also incomplete and also unresolved.  Fortunately, on his birthday, I felt my spiritual guide clearly forcing me into my studio to come to terms with the tragedy of his death and the emotional impact it has had on me losing my only brother.  As I started working on this work of art, I immediately started to feel the affects of the healing powers of art as I used the painting to work through this deep, personal, and emotional tragedy in my life.

Given that I am an “expressionist” at heart, as you can imagine I had left the painting in such a dark state.  That’s why I could not get beyond it or even stand to look at the painting because it also represented my “unresolved emotions”.  So naturally, I couldn’t get myself to start working on it.  Fortunately, I mustered the strength within me.  I called upon the spirit.  As I do this regularly, I guess I am a type of shaman.  Shamanism is really not that unusual.  It is a spiritual link that belongs to all of humanity that has always been with us.  I am not the first.  Ancient cultures, not only native "Americans", have been dancing to call upon the spirit to heal and solve problems within the tribe since the beginning of civilization.  That's why I too often dance to invoke the spirit of my creativity and lift my own spirits into a place where I am living fully connected and at one with the universe and the divine spirit of my own creator.  

Anyway after three long and hard days of work, praying and having an internal dialogue with the spirit of my creativity and thinking of my brother Bobby I finally had a break through.  Instead of focusing on his death, I found myself focusing on his life and used the painting as inspiration to the inspiration he was to me.  That’s when I was guided by my spirit to paint outdoors “in the light” on the third and final day.  Even when I make mistakes because I don't listen to this voice in my head, I know things will work out, the answer will just come at a later time.  Naturally, as I was thinking about my brother in the ground creating this painting brought up all my raw and unresolved emotions.  Suddenly in the distance a dark storm also approached and told me the time had come. As it spoke to me I knew the time was now.  It was time to make my mark.  I now had to complete the painting with my own personal stamp.  As I did then, as if a miracle, the storm broke and I suddenly saw bright rays of burning sunshine breaking through the clouds. So I did the same by adding brighter colors to the painting and was finally able to put closure to having placed my brother’s body into the ground.  I realized Bobby spirit was still very much alive. That’s why the painting depicts the soul's loving spirit rising out of the cross.  I felt the spirit giving me strength not only to complete the painting but to heal from the pain this tragedy has caused in my heart.  The spirit now conveyed bright colors in the sky to convey the state of my heath, and the healing powers of art.  It was "The Spirit of Love".

I hope you can see why I don’t ever want to stop creating art.  In my life experience, art has the power to heal the human condition.  During difficult times in my life, art has always saved me.  In that sense, art has been my own personal salvation. So now you understand why I spent the last few days working on the painting and why it took me five years to finally complete.  

As many of you know, I genuinely try my best to use my works of art and writings as a means of being inspirational to others.  Needless to say, sharing of myself like this takes courage.  So I hope my taking the time to be intimate and writing about my own life experience has in some way been useful or inspirational to you.  If so, it's always nice to know.  I am only one person with a profound faith in majestic power of art and the bliss and wonder of life.  In fact, there are also times when even I question whether I should even be spending so much time writing and sharing my personal life experience trying to lift the spirit of others and being a source of strength and inspiration.  It's during these times when I would much prefer focusing my time and energy being solely in communion with my spiritual practice and creating works of art.  So if I have inspired you in any way, please don't hesitate to take a minute to drop me a note to let me know.  We all influence each other.  So please don't underestimate the impact of sharing your words of kindness and thoughtfulness has on me...  In fact, often your kind words are also a great source of inspiration that keeps me going, especially because at times I often feel like I am only one person truly giving of myself and "the spirit of love" trying to raise the consciousness of humanity in this beautiful, precious, and sacred world of ours.  You can also email me at Zermeno@ZermenoGallery.com.

Friday

How I conquer violence and hatred!


When I am troubled by the things out of my control, especially like all the violence hatred especially against women and innocent children going on in the world being broadcasted day and night on television, rather than letting the stress of it all eat at my mind, personally I find it particularly soothing for my "spirit" to walk my dog, go for a walk in the forest or spend time walking along the beach or sitting in front of the ocean.  Nature is all around us!  Even human nature...  Whatever, as long as I find it "peaceful" "serene" and gives my common senses a strong dose of the importance of appreciating the beauty of nature, especially the world within my own "human nature".  So I just took these pictures because they inspire me and I am hoping that by sharing my own life experience will also be inspirational to you.


So, just as a suggestion, if you, too, have been watching too much violence on television and find yourself feeling all the stress over the violence in turmoil being shown when you are at home, perhaps you could also benefit from simply just turning off the television and find something relaxing activity to do instead.  It's just a thought... For example, as you can see, I just took a walk in the forest to commune with nature and was absolutely inspired by appreciating all the leaves, fauna, and beauty that exists in the "natural habitat" around me.


I know it seems awfully simple, but unfortunately it is such a "tragedy" that some people will never even learn the profound value of truly "connecting with nature".  If only everyone would respect and appreciate nature, than their own human nature could never possibly imagine killing another precious human being.  If it were up to me, I would send everyone fighting to take off their clothes and go swimming together in a pond, lake, or the ocean...  I have several ponds, rivers, lakes and even an ocean near me.  In fact, as I was just walking around the pond, I made a choice to get into the water to baptize my senses because I decided to transplant these wild lilies from the pond to my own pond where they can continue to inspire me.  The noise of the television now has NO POWER OVER ME... The noise in my head is completely gone!  Instead I now feel so pure, cleansed,  renewed and as wholesome as the day I was born.   The sights of sounds of appreciating nature is so phenomenally "precious"...  I only share this with all of you because I hope my own experience also inspires you to finally TURN OF THE TV!  And instead fill your mind and spirit with the beauty that also exists all around and more importantly "within you".  It doesn't require any guns or military fatigues.  Just "becoming aware" of the sounds of birds, colors and hues of the sky, the shapes of clouds, the feel of rain drops, a breeze, a old woman's smile, or the innocent face and eyes of a child.   Even a barking dog, can be a sign that it is a time to start paying closer attention to the awareness of how wonderful and precious the spirit of love feels inside with all the wonderful and sensations of the oxygen and blood circulating through our flesh and blood as we accept the precious value of the tingling sensations tickling the surface of our human skin.  Do you remember what it felt to feel like to be in your body as a child?  Aren't we all children really?  What can I say, simple pleasures go a long way with me...  But what do I know?  I am only a crazy artist...  Anyway, I hope my taking the time to share my own experience for how I conquer violence and hatred has been useful if not inspirational to your own mind and spirit...

Viva La France!

"Viva La France!" 
Pen & Ink

With the past tragedies not only in Paris but most recently in Nice, it personally hurts me very deeply that France, the country I absolutely love and adore to the core, has come under some more very serious and devastating tragedies, so I just thought I would personally counter that sadness by writing a simple but personal heartfelt note of support for the French people and the nation of France.  Please know that in America there is a little artist who will always love you!  And to the entire nation of France, I say "Merci Beaucoup!"  I shall always be grateful for the influence that you have personally had in my life, especially during my young formative years in Paris.  As an artist, the influence from "My Life & Times" in Paris never ceases to be a source of heartfelt love, admiration, enrichment, and profound inspiration to me.  During this time of national grief and profound sadness, I share in your grief.  But in my anger and remorse, I absolutely refuse to let anyone conquer the loving spirit of my humanity by choosing to live with hatred in my heart.  I shall not relinquish that power over me!  So though I am deeply angry and cannot deny my personal grief, instead I choose to wipe the tears from my face because this is a time to stand up and show how truly strong we really are!  So I would also like to remind the people of Nice, Paris and the entire nation of France to please stand tall for this too shall pass...  As "An American in Paris" artist I stand by you.  And as a token of my love and solidarity, I scribble my little American chicken scratches in pen and ink of a strong woman celebrating "Freedom, Strength and Liberty" to express my love for La Republique franc├žaise and shout out here from across the pond: "Viva La France!"

Peace for Nice, France & The World

La Paix Pour Nice, La France, et Le Monde

My deepest condolences to the citizens of Nice, the French people and all good hearted loving citizens of the world.  Each time these world tragedies happen, whether in France, America, the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, a piece of my idealist and hopeful artist heart breaks off and bleeds for the possibility of living in a world inspired by love, peace, joy, harmony, art, and beauty.  Today, unfortunately, my heart bleeds for all the innocent people of Nice, the people of France, and the entire world...

Also, please forgive me.  I know I am only a tiny drop of love in the great shattering waves of the terribly turbulent and treacherous oceans of danger crashing down as a violent tsunami of hatred against our humanity.   In fact, I just found out about these acts of violence against our humanity in France because in order to protect my own spirit of idealism as an artist, I now rarely ever watch television.  I confess my tiny world is filled with a deep love for art and music.  So, naturally, I am no longer up to date on current and dangerous affairs against our world.  Nonetheless, at times like these I realize how truly small and insignificant and powerless I am in preventing such atrocious acts of violence against humanity, especially the brutal violence against mothers and even innocent children.  Is life not meant to celebrate?  So these families were simply having a day of celebration in the great nation of France.  As much as I hate to admit it, it is during these times that I TOO have to admit we are living in a dangerous world.   However, even during these times, I try to remind myself of this:

"The worst crime we can commit is give up hope for a better future.  For if we let acts of violence wipe out the love in our hearts, then truly we have lost the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon us as human beings"

Knowing the value of how truly precious each breath we take as human beings is with a genuine love and concern not only for ourselves but for all of humanity should be a requirement of WISDOM passed on not only from the sages and the great prophets.  No!  The VALUE OF LOVE IN OUR HEARTS should be a yearly REQUIREMENT STARTING IN KINDERGARTEN!!!.  So start today, by turning the hate of others into LOVE!  We must also educate our own children by example that love begins at home, not by teaching hate...  Love is easier.  But it starts from "within".  Only then does it ever spread out to touch the hearts of others.  Only then will respect, sacredness, and sanctity of a possible world of love be possible.  So, despite my insignificance, in my own small way, though I know I fail miserable, at least I still do my best to inspire living in a world of love, peace, joy, harmony and if you want to forget about art and beauty, fine!  But most of all PLEASE AT LEAST learn the VALUE OF LOVE FOR HUMANITY!!!  That is my hope for the world even if I often feel I am going at it all alone like Don Quixote chasing unsurmountable windmills in my own insane mind of impossible dreams...  Again please forgive me.  As an artist, I confess to not watching television but it is only in my hopes of shielding and protecting my spirit of love and hope in my heart from letting the hate and violence broadcasted on televisions to affect the love in my own heart.  At times like this when there is such violence not only in France but all the world, I am thrown off my center and into the midst of darkness and unstable reality of this new world playing out on television screens across the world.   God help us!!! What have we really taught our children?  What wisdom of love and hope do we have in our hearts to offer the children of the world?  Instead of teaching recurring violence imagine if we passed on the wisdom of knowing the true value of having love in our hearts, not only for ourselves but also our LOVE for ALL of humanity.

It's just a thought, but I now leave you with these great lyrics from the great Louis Armstrong.

"What A Wonderful World"


I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white

The bright blessed day and the dark sacred night

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow

So pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces
Of people goin' by

I see friends shakin' hands

Sayin', "How do you do?"

They're really sayin'
"I love you"

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow

They'll learn much more than I'll ever know

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Don't you think Satchmo was right?

What a wonderful world

You were right, Pops

Friday

Over 20 Years!

The Expressive Ballerina

I started this little painting of a ballerina over 20 years ago.  So I have had it for as long as I can remember.  So today I resolved to spend time doing my final "touch ups" because there was something about this little ballerina that I loved and wanted to finally frame.  If this little ballerina had been my daughter, she would now be married with her own daughters taking ballerina classes...  Anyway, I now find it actually very amusing that it is such a small work of art and yet still I'm ashamed to admit that it took me over 20 years to finally complete.  What can I say?  "C'est la vie!'  That's the life of an artist...  One of the reasons I hadn't completed it before was because hated admitting to myself that I actually admired how truly loving, "childlike" and expressive and beautiful she already was just "as is".  So I loved having it on display just for myself all these years to enjoy for my own guilty pleasure.  Another reason it took so many years to finally accept that I am never going to be "realist" artist and finally just learn to love and embrace my own unique style of art, even if I'm never going to be perfect in the eyes of others.  I'm sharing my own story with all of you because I think there's a valuable lesson in this for all of us...  And just in case you aren't understanding my message as an artist, let me just state it more clearly for you: "Love yourself"!  As many of you know, one of the goals as an artist is always to use art as means of inspiring you.  So, as always, before I sign off my dear friends, I hope my taking the time to write this message has at least in my own small way been useful and as meaningful to you as it is to me....   Until next time, I send you my love!  :)