Sunday, November 6, 2016

"A Pilgrim's Progress"... Part One

"Symbiosis" - canvas 24 x 24 inches

All species relate and depend upon the other's existence... in the chain of life.

Symbiosis, by definition describes a mutual relationship between two species that demonstrates a common accord of agreement to support each other in the process of survival. Would I unfairly be stretching the point today to allude that Canada and the United States have lived under such an agreement in terms of foreign policies... trade and creed for almost two hundred years???

Can Art speak and cross even political borders... without offending???

I wonder...

My borrowing of the above title from John Bunyon's allegorical masterpiece of the English language
is very timely and appropriate in so many ways to situations currently in my own personal and artistic lives. Stranger still, it is, as well most appropriate and meaningful to the American people who will head to the polls to collectively (?) on Tuesday. Their common mandate is to jointly elect a new president and leader for their country. That's the way of a democracy... right???... EH???

We, as Canadian neighbours and the world at large sit precariously perched on that same abyss of change all hoping - no... praying that the American people will continue to make use of and follow those same beliefs and principles upon which their country was founded to choose America's Destiny:

"In God we trust"... and... "ALL men are created equal with the same inalienable rights".

Whatever the name of the "God" that you choose to worship, it is incumbent upon you to embrace the teachings of that deity. In my own pilgrimage, I have sought out truth from many sources and in many places using my own intellect and conscience to guide my choices and my path. I have not always found accord with many "organized" religions because the simple fact repeats that they are organized by human beings who are fallible... and often politically-driven to serve their own visions and needs.

The fact that I cannot lay claim to any membership in one particular faith does not deter me from seeing that common principles and teachings in each faith exist which lead me to believe and to put into practise... tolerance for each of the others. We are indeed all sons and daughters of Mankind... and/or "God"... whatever you wish to believe.

I also have come to understand and believe that a radical point of view, along with advocates and their actions which embrace that radicalism exists in ever aspect of human thought or action. Strangely enough, like a cancer radicals lay hidden, but active within an otherwise very healthy mind or body. It is ever so obvious in this political race leading up to the presidency that neither candidate totally, or even in the smallest particle matches the kind of integrity that we "believe"founded "and built the Republic.

Each president faced terrible decisions in their presidencies. Many made mistakes that took generations to adequately address, or resolve. For many, their stands and decisions even cost them their very lives. Despite those mistakes and tragedies, America has risen to assume a place as a world power. Like it, or not... your country faces a true crossroad as a viable and trusted world leader. How you vote, as a people will largely determine whether you can continue forward in that capacity. Or will the world with people of conscience who have previously held out their hands in trust and friendship withdraw... and become adversaries.

I wonder...

In closing out this post, I would offer some favourite art images... paintings made by iconic Americans who taught me about "Ideas"... who pushed me to "Imagineer"... who offered me their thoughts and experiences to guide my own vision.

The first comes from the romantic brushwork of the iconic and beloved classic illustrator... head of the Wyeth family art dynasty, N.C Wyeth. Its subject... though highly romanticized and "sanitized" it clearly presents the perceived origin of the American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving.

Note also... that the First Nations presence seems rather "token" at the table of Puritan blood... and that he "vaguely" bears a striking resemblance to the hotly under fire logo for Cleveland Indians. Hmmmmmmm...

The second image is currently on the November page of my calendar. It is a reproduction that appeared on the cover of Life Magazine on November 17th, 1921.Painted by America's beloved illustrator and story teller of the "American Way"... Norman Rockwell. His work was considered by readers of this era to be "as American as apple pie".

At the very early age of three, I eagerly waited for the Saturday Evening Post issues that arrived with regularity at our home. Some of these still reside on the dusty shelves of bookcases among the treasured collection of favourite book Friends".  I consider him an important mentor in my artistic pursuits.

Here, in this timeless Thanksgiving tribute, Rockwell's playfully active rendering reveals a rather differing view of Pilgrim - First People relationships at the first Thanksgiving. It irreverently and tongue-in-cheekily pokes fun at Wyeth's sanitized and Puritanistic diorama.

I am in no way intending to condemn either of these artists, their work, or their views. Neither am supporting any current preoccupation by many to be "politically correct". That is in itself a societal attempt to sanitize what was embraced in earlier history. I merely offer a personal view and perspective that History is a living thing. It shrinks and grows. It comes and goes. It morphs and changes... as the veils of Time shroud it more deeply in the Past... until at last it either changes or disappears from use.

I would encourage all Americans to add their vote. It is your voice... it marks your only chance to have a say about not only your own future, but the future of your children and grandchildren. It even has dire implications for all other peoples on this planet.

Who will you put behind the infamous "red button" at that critical moment?  Remember the rhetoric contained in each one of the debates. The clear answer is contained there.

Who do you think best represents the legacies and consciences of Washington, Franklin, Lincoln, King, Kennedy and Carter???

"The Power of One"... commences on Tuesday with your single vote. Use your own conscience... but DO cast your own vote!

Good Painting!... Good luck... and God speed ...




  1. Dear Bruce thank you friend for your thoughts regarding our country. We are certainly seeing huge concerns. Prayers are very much needed. I of course have already voted. It is still a privilege and I am grateful to be able to do so. Love your Symbiosis painting.

  2. Good evening Deborah!... Good for you for exercising your right and franchise! Lets' hope that others like you... of sound conscience do likewise!

    Prayers and Hope sent your way! God bless America with his blessings and countenance. May justice prevail...good will and trust be restored in this horrid mud-slinging display!

    Warmest regards,