Tuesday, January 12, 2016


"When you want something, the whole universe conspires with you to make it happen"
-Pablo Coehlo

After reading my last post, Deb mentioned that she really enjoyed the post because it wove together perfectly events and the emotions of this time of year. However, her querying as to "where" I got my ideas from to create my posts took me by complete surprise. I had simply [and mistakenly] taken for granted that sharing daily life with me would be revelation enough to sufficiently answer that question.

In considering the question further however, the answer became exceedingly more clear to me. Whether one is writing or painting, one is creating - privately within. Creation is driven by internal thought. In most cases, that internal thought is triggered by outside stimulation of one or more senses.

Our physical universe might viewed on one hand as being one which is shared by all humankind. Yet... there exist many other universes outside of our own... and those hold secrets that remain not yet revealed to any man at this juncture in human time. That same possibility exists in looking at the variety of human experiences in terms of artistic creation.

I believe and propose that within each of us... an individual "universe" exists which is as complex...varied and unique as the universe that houses the planets of our own solar system. The recognizable and familiar "planets" and "constellations" which stir my thoughts and actions daily... would certainly be quite alien to you and others who read my blog and observe my paintings.

These differences would then surely account for many of the differences of style and interest which are present and recognizable. That would be true looking in both directions. Earth indeed looks much different... from the International Space Station. Star Wars comes to mind.... EH???

At best, sharing these "Ideas"... or, as my post title today suggests... taking courage to "Crossover"... creates a window of opportunity to "star gaze" - to look beyond the limits of our own mini universes. In so doing our reaching out into the "space" of others offers each of the advantage of attaining and developing insights into how limiting our own "worlds" can become... if we simply "settle" for what we know [too] well. This act of crossing over also permits, promotes tolerance for the thoughts and values of others. We subtly influence each other... even though we may never  physically meet.

Pursuant to this new thinking theme, I once again reflected upon the content of the last post... Lighthouses. In considering this favorite subject of mine, the Universe(s)... both within and without provided yet another thread to extend the Lighthouse concept a bit further and to link it meaningfully to this "Crossover" focus.

It took very little "Imagineering" to ignite the actions which follow. What only remained to be structured was a plan surrounding the subject cum project which I wished to employ as the melding device. The physical universe provides the painting subject... while my imagination elevates and applies a kind of metaphysical overlay to the "Idea". That is not at all imply an intellectual thesis... but rather... an attempt to make sense of the events of my own life and to share my feelings openly with you... the readers.

Making... "The Crossover" 

My vibrant and gifted daughter, Allison's sudden and unexpected illness and struggle with breast cancer has totally reshaped the thinking and actions of all of us in her family. It has truly redefined goal-seeking and reality for Allison herself ... as one can well understand and accept.

It has at the same time shape-shifted my own values... goals and my persona even. Only lately... has the anger begun to subside. Only lately... has there been any relief from the constant fear of that dreaded "C" specter which now hovers over all of us. We must learn to live with that reality... and challenge it bravely and resolutely daily.

This is Allie "ringing the bell"... the tradition followed by all cancer treatment patients... to signify the passing out of the chemo and radiation sessions. My heart swelled with deep pride... and my eyes welled with tears of joy. "I"... no "We"... are deeply blessed... for the gift of Life... and each other!!!

However, I can report with Courage and Faith... that the "Crossover" has begun for Allison...now released from the painful and necessarily arduous treatment  campaign which bridged chemotherapy... with surgery and radiation.

Those ordeals are behind us and we have followed in unison... Allison's incredibly courageous choice to step out... and to live her life fully... in spite of the tyranny of pain and fear. I do so.. to keep step with her choices and hope to honor those choices by living a fuller and better life myself... each and every day of sand that I am given in my own hour glass.

This painting is the first in the series of paintings that I have always wanted to paint... for my Self only! These paintings are deeply personal and I feel go well beyond pure surface value. They address issues that I come upon which I interest... or even trouble me. For that reason... they are not always easy to simply paint. They represent a catharsis for me... an element of healing.

Based upon my previous Lighthouse post and theme... this largish canvas bridges two subject matter that I deeply admire and enjoy painting; historic lighthouse structures and waterfowl. They share the same environment and rigorous... even dangerous weather conditions. They are alive... living life under their own terms... to its fullest measure. Their existence is a full measure of their intended function. There exists a kind of immortality in that act.

It is not usually my practice... but may I impose upon you on this one occasion to "read" the painting the way that I intended it?

These sturdy American Goldeneye waterfowl winter all along the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes region. Their hardiness and adaptability allow them to not only survive... but thrive in the harshness of our deep and lengthy Canadian winter landscape.

In my long since passed water fowling days, my buddy Jack Wilson and I would haul out to the islands in search of these ducks. We were driven to break ice to get out to the stone cold blinds from which we awaited their morning flights. Despite our intent to hunt them... Jack and I spent co many of those early December fog and mist-shrouded mornings... simply sipping coffee... shotguns cased, while listening for that magical whistling sound made by their wings as they emerged out of the golden fog.

We call them "whistlers"... and their whistler music which I still listen for on the dock in the morning here in Rockport continues to send tingles down my spine... just as it did so many years ago. But I appreciate them in a different fashion... and now alone. I no longer hunt... and often regret having done so. Except... that  I "crossed over" in purpose so many years ago with Jack.

Jack "crossed over"...too soon at forty-six years of age. I miss "Him"... but this painting arrived at my hand because of my time with him... and the special love of these birds that we both cherished... beyond the parameters of the sport(??)

In closing out this post, I offer this perspective on life.... mine and perhaps yours. Live your life fully... day-by-day. Choose your path based upon your passion and willingness to commit to become a better person... and artist. Be thankful for the small blessings in your life - the ones that we often take for granted. Honor those who serve you and love you unconditionally. Travel only with positive influences.

"Cross Over" - dare to live in your own Truth and celebrate your uniqueness. There is but one of "You" in this Universe. Dare to dream... and then live out your dreams... accomplishing one at a time.

I wish to dedicate this post and the painting below to my beloved Jemima Puddleduck... Ms Pig Allison Morgan Sherman. Thank you for sharing your abiding love... generosity of spirit... support of my work... and for your gift of forgiveness. I love "You"...

Forever... "to the moon and back" Allison.

"We" have "Crossed Over"... you and I... together!!!!

"Crossing Over"... at Crossover Lighthouse, Hammond NY - oil on canvas 24 x 30 inches


Cross over Lighthouse on Crossover Island is the designated crossing, or turning point for Saint Lawrence Seaway freighter traffic from US waters... starting in Lake Ontario into Canadian waters all the way eastward via the Saint Lawrence River to Quebec. Passage beyond Quebec leads into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. The river proper... joining Lake Ontario to Quebec measures a distance of 1197 km, or 743.8 miles and is referred to as the Saint Lawrence International Seaway.


  1. Dear Bruce - just catching up with you friend. I am so glad to read that your daughter is through her treatments. Cancer does certainly give us a perspective on life. My father was just diagnosed with esophagus cancer and so I know what you went through - your painting "Crossing Over" is simply gorgeous as well as this thoughtful post. Take care and may 2016 bring you peace and joy. Hugs!

  2. Good evening Debbie!...Thank you for visiting and for sharing your thoughts and personal life experience. Cancer is such a dreadful disease... and gives no quarter... to any person or age group. I have witnessed that multiple times during Allie's treatment program.

    I wish your Dad complete healing and return to his earlier state of health. Our prayers are with all of you.

    Wishing your much Peace and Joy in 2016.

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Good morning Bruce. I like the idea of the painting as a "turning point", with the possibility of better things to come.

    I'm glad that Allison has reached her own "turning point" and is finished with the intensive treatment. I hope she continues to do well.

    All the best,

  4. Good morning Keith!... Thanks for your encouraging comments and visit!

    I believe that Allison and I have truly made the next year our common turning points. This painting is indeed a turning point because it represents a subject that I have had "on the back burner" for far too long.

    Procrastination is a terrible enemy for many of us... just as taking things ... like our gifts of health can be. We both head out into 2016... under full sail... but with firmer objectives... especially with the way we use our "Time".

    Stay tuned... and thanks for your words and thoughts Keith!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Greetings from Scotland Bruce! what a fine post this is, so much to listen to from all those inspired words of yours. Seize the day! be thankful for all of our blessings, I wish you and Alison a very Happy and creative year filled with sunshine!

  6. Good Morning Lass!... A nice warm to morning welcome from you on this frosty -15C morning here on the river! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment upon this post!

    Yes... do seize the day... and be grateful that you can! Each hour... of each day is a pure and simple blessing. Do what you can with each of them!

    Allison is well back into her duties at the university and is preparing to head off to Michigan State University soon to deliver "a talk". She is a remarkable young woman...so creative and committed to life and education. "We"... as a family... will indeed travel ... hand-in-hand to face life and life... hoping to both enjoy... and to create..."sunshine"!

    Shine on... in your own beautiful corner of the world Caroline.

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Dear Bruce...I am so glad that your Allison has completed her treatment. What a wonderful post, as always enlightening and inspiring. I continue to you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    And the painting is just lovely! Beautifully done!

    And thank you so much for your very kind words on Howie, I appreciate them so much.

    Take very good care and happy creating my friend!

  8. Hi there Suz!... Good to hear from! Thank you for your visit and very kind words!

    Happy too... that you liked the post and the painting. It doesn't surprise me that the words in the post are well understood and encourage "You" Suz... for "You" too... have not only "Crossed over"... but back n' forth/.... many times on your own journey. We share parallel journeys and belief systems Suz... and with that... great Faith and Hope... for the distinct possibility for and knowledge of... another plane of existence.

    About Howie; "he" is simply one in a long line of expressive and masterful portraits that you have exhibited here on Blogger... each one a rich and delectable "Berry"... Bravo!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,