PAINTINGS FROM THE DEAD: THE SPIRITUALIST ARTISTS

You can’t make this stuff up! Artists who created paintings from the spirit world!

It was called the “Second Great Awakening “. The American Spiritualism Movement originated in Lily Dale and Rochester New York in the early 19th century teaching communion with the dead. Reflecting on “Romanticism ” it was based on enthusiasm, emotion and an appeal to the “Supernatural “. The clergy were mediums – lay folk who believed they had the ability to speak for loved ones who had passed.

I have known about seances, table-rapping, ghost photos,etc. However, I just learned there were mediums capable of creating paintings through the spirits of the dead. This group of artists deserve to have their stories told. I will be posting a series on these artists. Today the Campbell brothers.

CAMPBELL BROTHERS – 1898 – 1926

In the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York the Campbell brothers Allan and Charles found their calling as mediums. Not truly brothers, Charles was born Charles Shourds, it was believed by many they were a gay couple. But the Spiritualist Movement of Enlightenment accepted all especially the psychically gifted.

The brothers talents included spirit portraits created in pastel or oils. Allan acquired a spiritual guide called Azur. In 1898 during a session Allan channeled Azur’s spirit on a 40″ x 60″ oil painting. He never touched the canvas. The room was dark with a minimum light enough for those present to witness the portrait emerging. To ensure there was no fraud each guest was encouraged to place personal marks on the back of the canvas. Allan, in a trance, commanded Azur’s portrait and during this time it gradually developed as the guests watched in awe. I have to say Allan/Azur were fast. The portrait appeared in great detail in 90 minutes! I thought I was fast working in 2 hours. Here is the portrait.

The Campbells were never arrested for fraud as some other mediums were. The paintings are in the Lily Dale museum. Was it a hoax??? I kind of like believing it is not. Oh well.

Can I conjure up a spirit painting???

The book “Precipitated Spirit Paintings ” by Ron Nagy goes in depth on spiritual painters. Check it out on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Precipitated-Spirit-Paintings-Ron-Nagy/dp/1931942277/ref=pd_sim_14_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=417YDJAY66BXTZ5M9V6K

MIND OF AN ARTIST: STUDY A BLADE OF GRASS

My mind is a monkey mind.

I know it's my ADHD. There is a quality of my life that resembles a circus. I'm always trying to train those monkeys to perform the right way. Okay you guys get yourselves in order.

I actually become the lion tamer trying to force my creativity to perform. Not only to perform but to kick ass perform.

Here's where pressure to be a creative genius sets in. In other words here comes the artist block! I HAVE TO DO THE BEST PAINTING OR DO NOTHING! So I do nothing.

The monkeys are doing nothing so out of boredom they start to act out. Avoidance creates havoc and chaos. I end up hating myself for being unproductive. It's a great big circus ring ready to explode.

My thinking is creativity needs to be a high experience with lots of bells and whistles going off. There's no sanity. There's no peace. Every work of art has to be created from a psychedelic experience. Don't forget I come from the original hippie lifestyle. The Magical Mystery tour. But it's becoming clear that flying by the seat of exploding pants is not working.

So that is why I am choosing to study a blade of grass. Slow down get off the merry go round. Be a quiet painter. I cannot be a superhuman artist. Study a blade of grass.

Here are plein air paintings done with the mindset of "study a blade of grass ".

START WITH A DOODLE:  WATERCOLOR PAINTING 

So again I have been in a creative block.  I was reminded of the quote by artist Chuck Close regarding artistic inspiration.  

“AMATEURS LOOK FOR INSPIRATION, THE REST OF US JUST GET UP AND GO TO WORK “

Can’t argue with that!!!   So I called upon my formula for breaking paralysis… START WITH A DOODLE!

I have a wonderful portable watercolor kit created to take anywhere.  A pouch filled with portable brushes and an assortment of wonderful pots of special paints.  An inexpensive set of watercolors.  Tiny tubes of gouache. Paper towels. And a 9″ x 12″ pad of cold pressed watercolor paper. Easy travel and easy clean up.  


Here is the doodle and I really got into working and playing the colors and the liquid flow of the medium.   And from the doodle two exciting and free expressive paintings. 



 

THERE IS NO COLOR


I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind.  As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here.   How do I use art to heal this broken world?

The world is broken because we don’t think creatively.   Every person has this ability to be naturally creative.  It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything.   Schools don’t engage students to think.  They memorize to pass tests.  The individual is lost. 

Art has been tossed out of people’s lives.   Not important.  Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used.  Just color in someone else’s creativity.  

There is a fear of being creative.  Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”.  Not following the pack. 

I am mentoring a young woman artist.  A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art.  I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently. 

I’m going to get her to think like an artist. 

SHOULDN’T EVERYONE?

PEACE TO THE WORLD 


3:00am PART II

I was jolted out of sleep with this compelling phrase:

“STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF”.  The title of a 1962 Broadway show starring Anthony Newly. 

 Why did this phrase wake me up?  I’ve never seen this show but that title is running through my brain cells lately.  Of course now that I’m awake I Googled the synopsis of the play.  It’s about a average guy called Littlechap who gets the daughter of a wealthy family pregnant.  Doing the right thing, he marries her but doesn’t love her.  They have a family and he becomes a upperclass man due to his wife’s family.  And he never is involved with his wife or family. He realizes how he’s lived a empty deceitful life and comes to his senses. That is basically my synopsis. 

Interesting, it’s always a story of reaching VIP status.  The desire to enjoy the view from the top.  In the end missing life’s true treasures of relationships. 

As an artist I have been challenged supporting myself in my art.  I was teaching painting but I only had a few dedicated students.  There was no interest and the class was cancelled.  But I realized that I teach a very special type of painting class. I’m a very professional artist and I have the ability to get people to explore their inner artist. They replaced my class with a coloring book class!  The world is so broken 

But today people want to wallow in their problems and they are watching news and getting sick from the politics of the presidential campaign.   I have no TV and I don’t read newspapers.  There’s nothing I need to know and my friends usually let me know.   So the point of this is to keep trying to reach the suffering souls. 

I a working on a group of paintings around the theme of escaping into landscapes.  It is a new vision where I have now put people into my landscapes.  We all need peace and quiet.   Stop the chatter.  Nature heals.  

Experimenting with iPad to insert figures into orignal art

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Experimenting with iPad to insert figures into orignal art

So that’s where I’m at for today. 

Enjoy Anthony Newly singing “Once In a Lifetime” from Stop the World  

THE DR. SEUSS THEORY OF MY LIFE

I purchased Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” 15 years ago.  It’s my favorite inspirational book for what life is about.   So this morning my daily writing practice turned to the voice of Dr. Seuss.  

“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO…” 

Oh the people 

you’ll meet 

It’s a journey worth taking 

But it’s not a small feat 

Though you may want to quit 

Hide your head in the sand

If the fear takes over

You can hold someone’s hand

So be courageous and go towards the light 

Never use avoidance 

To deal with your plight 

This world isn’t pretty 

In fact it is sad

When you keep giving to others 

It negates some of the bad


As an artist standing at the turning point 

Not knowing how far

Keep being creative 

Be the artist you are

A QUICK PAINTING SKETCH 

I love the simplicity of the quick painting sketch. Less details .

PLAYING WITH AN ACRYLIC PAINTING ON MY IPHONE 

I painted a still life (not my best work – done during my class in 2 hours).  I started to play with it on my subway ride with my iPhone. Here’s the results:

original acrylic painting

INSPIRING ART IN RIVERDALE

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My mission to engage people in creativity is finally happening! My painting classes at the Riverdale Senior Center have now begun their 3rd session!! This post is to show the incredible art from people who never painted before.

And a new student who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s has joined. Robert is a professional artist who studied at the Art Students League. He has a studio upstate New York. However, since his mental decline he has not done art for a long time. I told him the first day that he is still an artist and he can create just like Monet when his eyesight went bad.

My painting classes are not about skill. I do not teach technique. There is a very spiritual connection to art and one student, Margery, has exceptional talent.

So here’s to Riverdale’s emerging artists. And please do not refer to them as seniors dabbling in art. Their work is fearless and vibrant. Totally alive and ageless!

The following are by Robert who has Alzheimer’s:


STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO