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

THE ART OF HUMILITY: THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE

Disclaimer: this is a post with a political opinion that is my own. Please do not continue if you agree with President Trump’s recent comments on Charlottesville. I accept everyone’s right to their beliefs.

My blog is an artist blog and after the events of Charlottesville last weekend I saw the President in an Oscar Wilde novel called “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. It’s a classic story of a corrupt narcissistic young man who barters a deal with the devil to remain youthful and handsome forever. It’s a story of “it’s better to look good than feel good “. Dorian Gray has no humility. A wealthy society man who cares only about himself he commissions a portrait of himself. He fantasizes about how great it would be if he could remain youthful while the painting would age as each year passes.

I recommend the 1945 film with George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

Dorian and Trump are no different and I am watching the President deteriorate as each day passes. Dorian becomes more self centered and corrupt. He is engaged to a society woman but she is too proper to deflower before marriage. He engages a lower class show girl to satisfy his sexual needs lying about his intention to marry her. When she becomes pregnant he murders her. His portrait meanwhile gets more grotesque as he becomes more evil. He hides the painting in the attic to avoid seeing the truth of who he is.

I see this happening to Trump. The murder of Heather Heyer is the blood on his hands because he has dog whistled the neo nazis, the white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan to become bolder. And how narcissistic of Trump to not acknowledge her death. To not go to Charlottesville to speak to her parents. He said more good things about the extremists and not one word about Heather. SHAME ON YOU NARCISSISTIC TRUMP. YOUR PORTRAIT IS SHOWING YOUR SINS.

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. 



 

SUMMER PAINTINGS-A RETROSPECTIVE 

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

T

 

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 

NIGHT PAINTING 

I’m playing with painting night. Acrylic paintings and iPhone art. 

   
    
 

CELEBRATING THE ARTIST D. E. GAYARD 

This is very difficult to write about.  A fellow artist in the NYC Subway platform surrounded by his artwork. I didn’t notice the whole picture and just quickly dismissed him as a general homeless man.  Then I really looked and felt my gut clench because I was staring at the true “starving artist “.  I had a moment of fear and didn’t want to see this.  It was painful.  It could be me!!   And let me tell you some months cash flow is not plentiful. 

But I was drawn to his art. He was good and had talent.  I fearlessly approached him and hoped I could tell him how good his art is.  You never know if people are insane or if the art was stolen.  What followed was the most engaging conversation with a talented fellow artist on hard times.  At one time he was successful in Florida. He had traveled all over the world doing art. Studied at the National Academy of Art.  This was a man on hard times showing his work no matter what. He wasn’t complaining about his situation.  He wasn’t asking for MONEY.  He was a very happy man sketching in the subway engaged in creating. 

I am blessed to have met this fellow artist. The train came and we shook hands good bye.  I felt D. E. Gayard was a true fearless artist.  He blessed me that day.  The only gift I can give this artist is to celebrate him on my blog and tell my followers and the internet world of his existence in the world of art.  

Please pass this post to everyone you know. Spread the name and art of D. E. Gayard.  Don’t let this special artist fall through the cracks of anonymity. 

   
    
 

“REAL ART”

A friend wanted to know what art museums were good to go to in the city. She wanted to take a a out of town friend who loves art to a museum but she had no idea what art is about or where to take her. Of course she rattled off MOMA, the MET, and the Whitney.  Some big names. I thought it would be interesting to have them over for tea and a chat on art and her friend could see my process as a professional artist.  

SILENCE … followed by “She wants to see “real art”. 

It’s a good thing I have a tough skin in these situations. However, this is not an isolated feeling from one person.  The majority of people think living artists who are not making a fortune in the art market are not “real artists “.   This is a very sad state of affairs today.  And my friend actually purchased postcards of my art to use to write to people because she loved the painting.  

ART DOESN’T HAVE TO BE IN A MUSEUM OR BE HANGING ON THE WALLS OF WEALTHY INVESTMENT BANKERS.  ARTISTS DON’T HAVE TO BE STRANGE AND MYSTERIOUS LIKE BANKSY.  BUT PEOPLE WANT TO SEE FAMOUS ART BECAUSE THEY NEED TO BE TOLD WHAT GOOD ART IS. 

It’s not about taste or getting a feeling of the artwork, it’s the need to be told what is good art.  If it’s in a museum it must be good.  I have seen a lot of awful art in museums.  I personally don’t like MOMA.  I’m not into installation art.   I never understand what the artist vision is in those long art speak descriptions they post.  WHAT ARE THEY SAYING??  SPEAK TO ME IN WORDS THAT DON’T REQUIRE ME TO BRING A DICTIONARY TO THE MUSEUM!!

ARGHH!!!!