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StarDancer arrives from afar
StarDancer arrives from afar

The magical and mysterious island of BALI in the heart of Indonesia was the source of inspiration for this piece. Sprawled out on canvas nearly eight feet high from head to toe, this is by far the largest of all the figures I've yet created.

Since it's bigger than life, this "Stardancing" Being seems to possess qualities that are Superhuman and Supernatural -- just like the enchanted land I had just returned from weeks earlier, where entire villages of people were dedicated sometimes for centuries to one or another specialized form of Creative Expression. I felt most at home there in a town called Ubud, which was definitely the center for painters and visual artists like myself.

Never before in this life have I ever anywhere on this earth felt so much at home as an artist, as well as recognized and celebrated in this capacity with such high esteem by both the sweet and innocent common people and some leading artists of this exotic, warm - hearted culture.

The one that made the strongest impression on me was the elder Dutch artist Aries Schmidt, who after seeing the brightness and exuberance of my full-bodied color schemes exclaimed "You belong to the family of Chagall; you share that similar philosophy and belief in Life with a wealth of possibilities fully available. Leave the land of the West where you come from -- it is the "Land of the Evening" --people's lives where you come from are crowded; they don't have room for each other anymore. Come, leave behind the world where you've come from -- your paintings are so filled with the joys and glories of a life bright and open to warmth and simple goodness like the hearts and souls of those who live here... You should visit such warm and tropical places as this as often as possible, for that indeed is your true nature as well."

Needless to say, you can imagine how moved I was by this wise, accomplished artist's impassioned plea to the soul and firey adventuresome spirit in me. His invitation and challenge are most tempting; when will I ever be ready to take this leap of faith? For now, I'm letting myself live in the question, as it simmers and brews deep inside me.

The entire month I stayed in Bali, I just painted and painted to my heart's delight, right by the rice patty terraced banks of the powerful Ayung river. Even in the burning heat of midday, mysterious forces lurked unseen; I had a sudden initiation into reverence when first arriving by being bitten by a thank-God-not-poisonous snake by the water's edge. And when the sun went down, it was as though someone had turned up the volume of sound all around.... As twilight merged into darkness, frogs and crickets and all manner of creatures from the deep unknown heralded songs and rhythmic chants that penetrated my body's living tissues and reverberated throughout the echo chambers housing Creative Spirit in my Being. Especially at nighttime, my aesthetic appetite felt fed and fueled -- I could barely sleep, my soul felt nurtured and tantalized all at once, my body revitalized with a raw, primal passion to recreate with colors and strokes, and bring to life the myriad of vast, eerie and earthy sounds and sights of awesome beauty surrounding me.