"Miracle of Connecting" is the name of an exhibition of paintings by my husband and myself at Gallery DeForest, in Ashland, Oregon, November 2-28, 2005. The prior year, I was living in San Francisco, Craig in Ashland: both of us had painted for over 25 years, unknown to each other. We were over 60 years old and single again, but young enough to try Internet dating. I emailed Craig an image of one of my paintings--a brilliantly colored jungle filled with bats, thorn-covered leaves and people with bones and arteries exposed. I thought to myself, “My recent work is pretty bold: if he doesn’t like it, a relationship is unlikely.” Craig wrote back, “Your painting made my scalp tingle. Reminds me of Pablo Ameringo’s visionary paintings from the Amazon.” We were off to a good start.
I had lived in San Francisco most of my life, building a career as a designer of museum exhibitions, graphics, and interactive educational software, always drawing and painting for my own pleasure. In 1999 I began channeling my creativity into “intuitive painting” as described by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley in their book Life, Paint, and Passion. In 2003 the Canessa Gallery in San Francisco exhibited a series of my intuitive paintings under the title, “Infinite Worlds Within”.
Craig had spent nearly all his adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, first as a graduate student at Stanford, then as program director at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, a center for social action research and a free-standing graduate school of clinical and social psychology. Later he was director of the Ark Foundation, with the goal of helping to end the Cold War. He co-edited several books: Sanctions for Evil, Citizen Summitry, and Securing Our Planet. Later he turned to coaching authors and continues to do so (www.bookcreationcoach.com).
When we met in person, we embarked on a spontaneous collaborative painting. On a blank piece of paper, I made the first few strokes, then handed the palette and brush to Craig, who added to, played against, elaborated on what I had done. Then it was my turn again. We were doing a jazz riff in images. One of our collaborative paintings, “Homage to Black Rider,” appeared in the exhibition "Miracle of Connecting."
My work is inspired by forms in nature, biological forms, fractal patterns. Within my paintings dwell plants and animals, humans, plus creatures from the shadow side of the psyche.
Craig’s paintings are more abstract; he is intrigued by things arising out of what mystics called the “plenum void,” or rather by the energetic shapes that condense into things. Both of us have chosen to work mainly on paper, Craig with acrylics, I with gouache. We appreciate each other’s ability to see beyond “consensual reality” and to celebrate the intricacy and interconnectedness of all things.
At the end of 2004, I moved to Ashland, where Craig and I share our lives and various loves, including art and literature. In our living room, “Imaginary Rainforest” hangs next to “Ten Thousand Things.” First-time visitors to our house ask, “Did you paint these after you met?” and are surprised to learn that the paintings were created before Craig and I ever connected either online or in person. Such is the miracle of our connecting.