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. 



 

POST-ELECTION AND CREATIVITY 

HOW TO GET OFF THE HINDENBURG!

My mind is still spinning.   How did so many people drink the Kool Aid????   We’ve lost our minds.   

The challenge is existing in a country run by a narcissistic sexual predator for 4 years.   I’ve been afraid to post my feelings of this election but this is MY blog so I can do whatever I want.   However, I’m not going to give attention to the future “Not My President “.  

As an artist I am guided to help the pain in the world by creating beauty again.   I don’t want to do anything political in art.  I want to paint serenity in a time of darkness.  My art has never been motivated by politics.  My paintings are to escape insanity and to remind people that there is beauty.   

I’m a mature artist so I will leave politics for the younger generation.  The generation that tells me my art is “over the couch art “.   Great I’ll take that market.   I’m not proud.   A lot of people like pretty paintings. 

Anyway, my point is the lack of creativity and culture in our country created this mess.  A creative mind would never have been led down this path.  The mind that thinks creatively would see and hear the bullshit.  The way out was limited but the choice made was a misinformed one.   

A creative mind sees a bigger picture.  A creative mind experiences life with multiple options.  It is not led by others. That’s why people think artists are strange.   Different.   

My mission is to get people to start creating.  I want them to start to think like an artist.  No talent needed.  Just an open mind.  Unlock imagination.   Let go of fear and worry.  Look at beauty again.  Love people.  Stop comparing. Stop complaining.   The call to action is start thinking about what’s really important to you and your community.  Don’t go down the rabbit hole with toxic people.  No one has the power to take away your thinking. Your decisions.  Your life. Your country.   We gave over our power and listened to lies.  We only heard what we wanted.   

As an artist I have to get people to get their own minds back teaching them creativity.   I have to create paintings of beauty.   

THE WORLD CAN BE BEAUTIFUL AGAIN IF WE WORK TOGETHER. 

A few of my “over the couch” paintings. 



MORE INSPIRING ART FROM RIVERDALE 

Isabel is from Brazil. She can’t speak English and I don’t speak Brazilian!   We nod our heads and gesture wildly and in three months she is sensational painter. 

MORE EMERGING ARTISTS IN RIVERDALE 

Margie never painted and I think she is so talented. Here are her works after 3 months in my class. 

UNFINISHED

I kill a lot of paintings because I don’t know when to STOP.

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is exploring this artistic dilemma.  It is called “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible ” .  I t will run till September 4th.

UNFINISHED THOUGHTS

Exhibition at Met

I’m inspired now to show my unfinished art without shame but to celebrate their presence.  I am taking them out of hiding.

Will I ever finish them?   Maybe. Maybe not.  But they are just as important as finished art.

WHAT UNFINISHED ART ARE YOU HIDING?  

EVERYONE POST YOUR UNFINISHED ART AND WE WILL ALL CELEBRATE!!

THE NATIONAL ART CLUB BREAKING TRADITION-A TALK ON ARTISTS USING INSTAGRAM 

  
 I attended a talk about artists using Instagram to promote their work.   The National Art Club is an old traditional art organization.  I got married there in the 1980’s!  I have not kept up with the art they show in many years so I still think they are traditional. 

However, as I searched the Internet I found that they have been evolving.  I must tell on myself.  I’ve never been part of their art scene because I think I’m not good enough for them.  But I won’t let that thinking stop me from seeing what’s going on. 

So here’s what’s going on. 

A panel of 3 artists using Instagram.   

TANIA DEBONO Typography Artist and her website is called TheWriting. 


 
KENNETH SCHLENKER  Art Dealer and creator of an upscale art selling website called ArtList. 

  

SAM HORINE Photographer and Educator NYC

  

WHAT I LEARNED … it’s another venue for showing your artwork.  A bigger venue right now. 

ANOTHER THING I LEARNED … never sit next to artist savages.  Especially the elderly artists who are desperate to sell their work.  You feel the self seeking oozing from their pores.  

And Tania DeBono nipped that in the bud. She said trying to sell on social media is not going to work.  People are turned off by selling artists.  

I found that I am promoting my voice and story as an artist.  Be authentic and the money comes. 

SOME DAYS IT’S HARDER TO GET OUT OF THE CAVE 

THE CAVE … warm and dark … no people to drive you crazy … no expectations to meet!

  
I used to love the cave.  But the cave was a hide out from life.  Today I redecorated my cave.  I call it the castle of creativity. It’s not dark.  Large trees outside my window are active with squirrels running up and down for entertainment. My easel next to the window with canvas ready to paint.  Solitude is not hiding anymore. Solitude is art.