Ordeal or Adventure

17 Sep

Deserted farmhouse

Deserted farmhouse

I like to think that the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is simply attitude. If I were a refugee who had no option but to leave home, and travel for thousands of miles to safety and comfort, it might well be an ordeal. The distance might be the same, but a Hawaiian jungle hike is an adventure,

I know a photographer who has recently had an operation to try to remove a cancer from his brain. It was diagnosed after he noticed that he was seeing double. Medical investigation showed that a tumor was pressing on the optic nerve, causing him to see double. Suddenly, it seemed, it was all over.

Sean Connor, photojournalist, never gave up. Sent hundreds of miles to Vancouver, for emergency surgery, he took his camera and made photographs to be proud of. Although his existence changed from a wage-earning visual artist to a recovering patient, he just kept going.

Sean keeps going. He recently got involved in the Facebook adventure. You can follow his medical journey on Facebook at:


The group is called: Sean to Vancouver Adventure. I see an attitude in play here. This is a guy who takes the cards he is dealt and plays with them. He might feel like giving up, but he doesn’t.

Part of his story is documented at:


The story is not over. Sean can’t work, so has no income. His cancer is not gone; he needs at least one further operation, available only in New York and California. He has no money for transportation to Loma Linda, California or for living expenses for him and his wife.

Don Sipos, a long-time friend of Sean’s has stepped up, to try and raise the necessary funds. Don doesn’t know how to not do this. He is a stroke survivor and suffers from a devastating arthritis of the back (Ankylosing spondylitis), but he continues, working hard to help his friend, Sean.

Don has approached quite a few potential corporate sponsors, and he reports some success. He got the idea that an auction of photographs and other artwork could help. So he organized that too. I realized that I knew nothing about fundraising, but I can write and I can make photographs. So, in support, of Sean and Don, I have written this and I am planning to donate at least one giclee on canvas fine art print, which I made to hang over the fireplace in my living room.

If I can find more that I like well enough, I’ll donate them as well. How can you help? Maybe you can tell everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Maybe you can send him money by PayPal. Don has set up his Paypal to deposit money into a bank account for Sean. It is:


Please forward to everyone you know and ask them to do the same…


Promote your art – an eMail for Carol

9 Sep

Snow on a creek-bed.

I just got an email from Carol, an artist, and another not long before that from another artist, a man. They are making really nice art and struggling. Carol was asking me about online galleries, selling websites, where she has had limited success. He is wondering if he is an artist. (He sure is, pretty good too.) My answer:

I am developing my own website, but that is just the beginning. We have to do everything possible to find customers and friends who will assist us in finding them. Promote, promote, promote. And don’t give up. The most common mistake a person can make is to give up.

Jay Conrad Levinson has written a great book: “Guerrilla Social Media Marketing” which I think you ought to get. If the library doesn’t have one, your local bookstore should be able to sell you one. This book is the key to the city. It tells you what you can do and how you should do it.

I just finished sending another email, in which I said that I couldn’t send my copy because I was helping other people. The beauty in Mr. Levinson’s methods is that you spend little if any cash. Nice. Very nice.

Back to the good site question: eBay. I think that might be the one. Then, you should really know what you are doing before you get into that. You can lose money and waste time if you don’t get it right.

Word blocked, empty head.

8 Sep

Tugboat and 2 bridges...

When is my page blank? Before I find it. Before I start to think. Before I start to feel.

When I can’t seem to get started with writing, the words and subject I want just eluding me, I can start writing anything, and keep on going. Writing about nothing helps me find the words and the thoughts I want.

When I want to make a photograph, and I cannot see what I want to show you, I change lenses and look for something entirely different from what it was I wanted to photograph.

I have to think about my dreams and nightmares to reach in behind them and find a beautiful surprise to share with you.

Naked before God

7 Sep

Ke'e beach, Kauai, HI

Ke'e beach, Kauai, HI

When we look inside ourselves, as artists, we cannot see with our eyes or hear with our ears. It is dark and it is silent. Inside the dark and silence there are peaceful shadows and gentle echoes. We have to look and listen with greater sensitivity. Look, listen; there is something there, something beautiful. It is the source of our art. We do not see it clearly; we do not understand it; we do not own it. It belongs to god.

     What we can learn, if we pay sufficient attention, is about beauty. Inside us all, I believe, is the beautiful child that we were. It is the person we were when we were small and wonderful. The person that adults always wanted to pick up and hold on their laps. They smiled when we spoke, when we said beautiful, unexpected things.

     They loved the beauty that is so transparent in a young child and we basked in the glow of their love. We are still the same people, with a few more experiences, a series of shells, with a few more protective layers, a bit more time. That beauty, inside us, is ourselves, the artists that we are, the source of art.  And this is what will be left of us when we die. We need to find this thing inside ourselves and be this beautiful thing, every day, every moment.

Reaching out.

3 Sep

When we create art, it is an internal process. It is very hard to share the making of art, even when it is a collaboration. We can cooperate with others, but the creation is internal. So it is a lonely thing. And often people around us don’t get it, especially when they don’t make art.

The best way to share ideas and understand our creative selves is to reach out to other artists. You want to find people whose work you admire. Tell them. It doesn’t hurt. Don’t pretend to admire anything. Just say what you think.

If you like another artist for his or her thinking or personality, base any friendship on that. There is such a wide variety of tastes, someone will probably like what they are doing, even if it is only their mother.

Competing with past masters…

31 Aug

Taro fields in the Hanalei valley.I have been planning to give a fine art landscape photograph of the Hanalei Valley in Hawaii to the Kauai museum in Lihue. I was told that someone had photographed the valley with a large format camera, many decades ago.

When I spoke with the curator today, it seems, she saw my version for the first time. Sounded like she liked it a lot. Okay, I like it too. And they would like to show my new color photograph with the old black and white one. So I’m donating. My print will by in the mail soon.

If you want a print, look for it on http://www.etsy.com as made by “mUrRaYr3”. (My own name was already in use.)

Making art…

28 Aug

Bunches of Lilies

Lilies in springtime

Here is a stereotype I discovered. It is a stereotype because it is true for most artists. We started making art in the same way as everyone else. We don’t exactly remember this, because we were too small and it was so long ago we can’t quite remember.

One sunny day, you (and I) were playing outside. We saw a big bright flower in our mother’s garden and tore it off the bush or out of the ground. We marched it proudly and with love, into the house and presented it to her. She looked at us and saw a cute kid, who she loved, a beautiful flower and a couple of years of gardening destroyed. She cried, for all of those reasons.

We still make art for the same reasons we had for ripping up mom’s garden. We don’t destroy gardens any more, I hope. We don’t do it to make our mothers cry. With love and pride, we discover beauty and share it with those around us.