Category Archives: Uncategorized

confluence amidst conflict

confluence amidst conflict | pastel, charcoal, paper | 11in x 14in

“It is because of the conflict in our own personal lives–and our willingness to face them and convert them into constructive dialogue–that we grow towards consciousness.” Robert Johnson, Inner Work

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please email me: stephen@stephensantore.com

 

such a Quest it is!

d23kj52 | India Ink and Pastels on Paper | 12″ x 18″

There is a special feeling that comes from pushing and pulling media, and looking and changing. The balance and imbalance of certainty and uncertainty that can be so very taxing yet so marvelously freeing. Such a quest it is! Reaching through time and space into a continuum of never diminishing energy…

This Day of Remembrance

d55tsd | graphite on recycled acid-free paper | 9in x 12 in

My heart and mind go out to all women and men that have suffered, and continue to suffer, the wars between all of us. One day, will we learn there is a better way? As the very imperfect man that I am, I certainly hope so.

Quiet Magnificence

Agave off of Sitio Lima | Archival Print | 32in x 48in

there are those moments, after the sun begins its travels to distant lands, that stillness settles into the fabric of time. it is no longer day, and it is not yet night. what mystery there is in these moments. sheets of subdued light find themselves softly kissing what exists. It is a slow sweet dance of quiet magnificence.

A View of Humanity

LK9YK5 | 36″ x 48″ | Oil on Canvas

When the Dalai Lama was asked what most surprised him about humanity, he answered: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

-From page 154 of “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper”, by Dana Sawyer. It is an extremely well written biography.

Drawings

d72lkp | Dry Leads on Rag Paper | 12 in x 9 in

Touching the surface of a piece paper to feel the tooth and the texture and to know that somehow, someway I can add material to its surface, and then take away that material, continually exercising the process, adding and subtracting, until it feels as if enough has been done, is quite a special experience. There is an energy and an awareness that arises from within that can be extraordinary. Please share any thoughts you may have with me.

Digital Imagings

di237 | Digital Imaging | Archival Print | 28 in x 48 in

There is something so uncommon and extraordinary about the images that can be found in the pixels that comprise digital images. Whether the images come from a camera or from something created in a digital program like Adobe Photoshop®, or everything in between and any other way, the images can be stirring, if just in the very nature of the process of investigating what they are and what they can be. Cropping, adding, blurring, re-coloring, de-coloring, ripping apart and piecing back together, just for starters. No limitations. No expectations. And somewhere during the process something happens. I don’t really have the words for what the image is. Perhaps it is nothing. Perhaps it is something. Whatever it is, it touches a part of me that smiles with the discovery. I don’t know how to categorize these images, so I rest now upon “digital imagings”. Please let me know what you think of them. Thank you in advance for doing so.

Clearing at the Beach

Ponto North 2788

Ponto North 2788 | Archival Print | 32in x 48in

It was raining yesterday. I have always loved the rain. And I have had this notion, for the past year or so, of driving down to the beach and sitting in the rain, no umbrella, watching the grey of the sky and the water, feeling the rain falling on me, listening to it beat softly onto the sand. And here was my chance. I excitedly gathered together a chair and a towel, for drying myself when coming home.

Off I was. A simple journey. Rain whipping onto the windshield, grey skies before me. Ah, yes, this was it. But, to my utter disappointment, as I came closer to the ocean, the sky ahead of me was clearing. Alone in the car I said out loud, “Oh, no, you’ve got to be kidding!”. Still traveling towards the shoreline, the droplets ceased to bounce and slide over the windshield. There it was. Light flowing through slivers of sunlit blue sky. The rain was no more. I looked behind me at the dark clouds. I thought of reaching up high into them and pulling the wet and grey back towards me and towards the ocean. I felt so frustrated. I wanted this to happen, just the way I wanted it to happen.

I continued onward towards the shore, parked and got out of the car. There was not even mist in the atmosphere. But, the smell of salt air was gorgeous. I grabbed the chair and walked down close to the ocean’s edge. There I stood for a while and looked up, down, over there and all around. And then I unfolded the chair and sat down. My hopes and expectations for what I wanted were dashed. “What a shame.”, I thought. Yet, when i looked around, it was still so beautiful. The sounds of the waves were so perfect. The contrast of grey skies and clearing blue was wonderful. My eye caught a pelican gracefully kissing the top of a long wave, flying swiftly and expertly along the crest. I watched a seagull from close above me fly what seemed effortlessly out towards the sea’s horizon until I could no longer see evidence of its existence. I looked down in front of me at the stones on the beach: Beautiful ovoid and triangular shapes wearing muted, delicious colors, not one alike. And the cracked shells that once protected life, now give of themselves for new beginnings. And I looked at the sand embracing the shells and the stones so purely. How fortunate I was to be able to experience all of this, within only minutes. How blessed to have health and vibrant senses. And to connect what was there with my mind and my heart. To look at those stones and realize that each is thousands of times larger than the grains of sand tickling their underbellies. And to think of each of us. In relation to the universe, we are smaller than grains of sand. As the water would rise up, over and around the stones, millions of grains of sand would shift and trade places with others. All in this dance of movement. This balancing act of continual change. This exquisite orchestration of evolution.

That moment on the way to the beach, when I realized the rain would not be there, I almost turned back. What I wished to occur, I believed was not going to occur. In my stubbornness and selfishness, I came so very close to missing this entire experience. What I found was a most precious and special gift. What a great loss had I not continued forward, if I had allowed my ever-present ego to lead me away, as it so many times does. I may want this and I may want that. But, I have around me, in this Divine system of existence, so much more than I need, if only i am willing to see and feel, unselfishly, with love in my heart for all. How long will I remember the great lessons of this short trip?

In what seemed the blink of an eye, what initially felt to be disappointment, became a grand life experience that has invoked true gratitude within me for what exists all around us.

Do You Title Your Paintings?

DSC_0499-Crppd-Sm

AAB24J | 48in x 60in | Oil on Canvas

The world of science, psychology and research has come to discover only a small part of the mysteries of our brain. Most agree that a portion of our brain (some refer to this as our “left brain”) will calculate solutions for everything we see. It will even fill in the gaps when there is little to see. Other major portions of our brain (some refer to these as our “right brain”) are often in a state of underuse, or “sleep”. Theory posits that these portions of our brain are chiefly responsible for creativity and imagination and wonder. My paintings are not about specific subject or techniques. They are uses of paint driven by emotion and intuition in a universe of limitless colors and motion and possibilities. It makes little sense for me to come up with “left brain” titles while my “right brain” is the driving force behind my work. It feels to me that giving them titles would limit what the images are and would direct your “left brain” to see something specific. So, in order to refer to a specific piece of work, I randomly come up with 6 or 7 numbers and letters, like the AAB24J that you see for the painting above.

Please look at these paintings with wonder. Let your eyes and your heart find what they mean to you. Your subject. Your reason. Your message. Your title. I hope while you are making this small trip through your imagination, that time will stop. And you will get lost in the moment, while unspoken words of color and paint reveal their meanings to your heart.

Through the Concrete

RLKR9E | 48in x 72in | Oil on Canvas

I struggle with these words, but will share a few.

There is so much to experience in this world we live in. The most seemingly unassuming of events can be so captivating. I look down and see a plant growing through a crack in concrete and learn so much. Life finds its way. I look closer and find magnificence. Stunning, living geometry presents itself. And I think of what we see when we look even closer. Of what the cellular structure might look like. And the atomic structure. And then, the sub atomic structure. This ultra micro view, infinitesimally small, is another vast universe with its particles as planets and stars. And what lies even further beyond, that we do not yet know?

There is just so much before us. And what about each one of us? There is the miracle of our bodies. And there is the miracle of our minds. What is there to see when we close our eyes and look into our minds? Each one of us connected. Each one of us a part of the other.

I twist the caps of these paint tubes, pushing out silken color. I open a can of pure turps and a bottle of linseed oil. The smells are like the closest of souls. And there in front of me is the field: stretched, rough, white, and waiting. What a grand sense of life there is in these moments. Moments that become hours, that seem as seconds. Mixing, spreading, changing, gazing, and finding. The possibilities are endless.

Maybe, just maybe, the work is like the tiny life that springs forth, through the concrete.