"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. I lived 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 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, “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 her 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 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 a 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. They were doing a jazz riff in images. One of our collaborative paintings, “Homage to Black Rider,” appears in the exhibition.
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.
Eventually I moved to Ashland, where Craig and I share our lives and various loves, including art and literature. In our living room, “Radiant Wonder” hangs next to “Ten Thousand Things.” Visitors have asked “Did you paint these after you met?” and are surprised that the paintings were created before the artists’ meeting and connecting. Viewers to the exhibition will have the opportunity to find their own connections to the two artists’ work.