Tag Archives: painting


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Michael Parkes is my favorite living artist.  He renders images that I remember, dimly, from distantly past eons of my own existence as an Immortal Spiritual Being, and revivifies them in the present moment.  These moments, for me, as nothing less than magical!  The following video is an interview with Michael Parkes in his studio in Southern Spain wherein he discusses some of his painting processes and techniques.  And, the “stillness” and harmony that permeate both his paintings and his personal life.

As human beings, we limit our sense of perception to what is generally comfortable and present in everyday life. In limiting our perceptions to suit our individuality, we miss the vastness of other perceptions and the doors they represent. Though we have been conditioned to perceive nothing except our own world, this does not mean we cannot enter other realms.” – Michael Parkes

Michael Parkes — A Personal History of A Living Master

Parkes could draw even before he could read and write.  He was an only child, raised in Canalou , Missouri , a typical American Midwest town in the fifties.  He attended art school where he met the woman, artist and musician to whom he remains married more than three decades later, Maria Sedoff.  Parkes taught college level Art History as the young couple made their way in the Vietnam era.  Parkes has been a serious and lifelong student of spirituality and esoterica. Together in the 1970’s, Michael and Maria set off on a spiritual journey where they found excellent teachers and a lifelong passion for India .  Returning to Spain soon after their only daughter was born, Michael and Maria worked together to form a financially stable venture in art, beginning with humbly making and selling leather belts to tourists to achieving the internationally prestigious recognition as a master that Parkes enjoys today.  Parkes remains humble and as much like your favorite neighbor as the sage weaver of myth and dreams whom we know through his art.  Ultimately forming a publishing company to independently represent his art work, Michael and Maria now live and work in Spain.




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The roses of Heliogabalus

Nothing is as aesthetically harmless as a shower of rose petals.  So it is with the decadent opulence and aesthetic excesses of a declining empire.  In the western world the “peasants” are smothered with glitz and glamorous televised special effects, entertainments, athletic spectacles and indulged in gluttonous festivals on a daily basis. Conversely, during the Black Death plague that wiped out 2/3 of European civilization, people wore flowers around their necks to disguise the smell of their rotting flesh, just before they died.  This is the origin of the children’s song “Ring Around The Rosey, Pocket Full of Poseys, All Fall Down“.

We are the very same beings who lived in Rome.  We died.  We were reincarnated.  This process repeated, again, and again, and again, explains the rise and fall of human civilizations on Planet Earth.  So far, EVERY civilization on Earth has failed and disappeared.  Without exceptions.  Why is that?  Simple: we are the people our mothers warned us about.  It does not matter whether you “believe” it, or not.  What is, is.  What will be, will be.  Unless each one of us decides to change our personal behavior.  Unless we create a sustainable civilization for everyone, every day, our civilization declines and disappears.  When we allow criminals and maniacs to rule our lives (Secret Societies, Private Bankers and Politicians) we are doomed to repeat the same decay and death we’ve already endured a thousand times.  Personally, I’m tired of it.  It’s too fucking boring and absurd!

Last year I read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (27 April 1737– 16 January 1794) which was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788.  I am also a painter and a student of art history. The decadent murder attempt rendered beautifully in the painting titled, The Roses of Heliogabalus”  was painted in 1888 by the Anglo-Dutch academician Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

“According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens.  They had become weak, outsourcing their duties to defend their Empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, had become effeminate, unwilling to live a tougher, “manly” military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. He also believed its comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age.”  (Wikipedia.org)

Any student of history, especially of the Roman Empire, cannot be otherwise than overwhelmed by the nearly identical parallels in the decay and decline of the American Empire.  This principle difference is that the American deterioration has taken only 200 years, whereas the collapse of Rome took about 1500.  I cannot resist commenting on the decadent, aesthetic irony embodied by this painting:  It is based on an episode in the life of the Roman emperor Heliogabalus, (204–222), taken from the Augustan History.  He is portrayed attempting   to smother his unsuspecting guests in rose-petals released from false ceiling panels.  “In a banqueting room with a reversible ceiling he once overwhelmed his parasites with violets and other flowers, so that some were actually smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top.”

The emperor was cut to pieces by swords at the age of 18, by the Praetorian Guard, — at the instigation of his own grandmother — who was outraged and incensed by the perverse sexual and political behavior of this boy-emperor.  Heliogabalus was bi-sexual, rampantly promiscuous, and unabashedly disrespectful of Roman Law and moral codes.

Members of the Praetorian Guard attacked Heliogabalus and his mother: So he made an attempt to flee, and would have got away somewhere by being placed in a chest, had he not been discovered and slain, at the age of 18.  His mother, who embraced him and clung tightly to him, perished with him; their heads were cut off and their bodies, after being stripped naked, were first dragged all over the city, and then the mother’s body was cast aside somewhere or other, while his was thrown into the river.”

What do you think  the Praetorian Guard might do with Emperors, Wall Street Banksters and Congressmen today?

How much longer do you think American civilization will endure before it is smothered in its own decadence? 


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I own a video cassette copy of a film (The Mystery of Picasso) showing Pablo Picasso painting on a plate of glass, filmed from the opposite side.  As an oil painter myself, I found it utterly mesmerizing!  I was delighted when I found an earlier film on YouTube (in 2 parts below) showing similar footage of Picasso at work in his studio sixty-three year ago, in 1949.  (This film is nearly as old as I am!)

Visit to Picasso is a Belgian documentary film from 1949 directed by Belgian filmmaker Paul Haesaerts. In an effort to capture the nature of Picasso’s creative process, Paul Haesaerts asked the Spanish painter to apply his magical brushstrokes to large glass plates as Haesaerts filmed from the other side. This actually predates the more famous art film The Mystery of Picasso (1956) by Henri-Georges Clouzot in which Picasso also paints to large transparent canvases as the director films from the other side. The filming took place in Picasso’s studio in Vallauris. In 1951 Visit to Picasso was nominated for best documentary by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).  Even if you are not an artist or art connoisseur, you may appreciate this film.

Vivre la vie avec un esprit de l’art de!


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Alex Alemany-GB Shaw

( See more Magical Paintings by the Spanish artist, Alex Alemany  on his website — http://www.alexalemany.com )

QUOTE:  George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems with a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw’s attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles.  Shaw was noted for expressing his views in uncompromising language, whether on vegetarianism (branding his own pre-vegetarian self a “cannibal”), the development of the human race (his own brand of eugenics).

~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw