The creative obligation


Dear Artist,

Yesterday, I received an email from Bruce Wilcox of Denver, USA. I’ve included his full letter here, but here’s part of it:

“As we move to the end of the Piscean Age, the dynamics of living creatively are changing. This is because the Aquarian Age isn’t about the old patterns of self-denial and self-sacrifice of the last 2000 years. This next Age is about each of us recognizing the Inner Fire of Creativity at the core of our being, and living and creating very different life experiences by being focused enough to make the connections to spirit.”

I thanked Bruce for his insight and told him I thought a lot of us are vibrating on the same frequency. Aquarian or not, we are indeed stepping into a new world — a place of plurality, community, and the potential for shared humanity. As artists, a distinct obligation is now offered to us. Through art, and through the collective art spirit, there’s opportunity to reduce the effects of fear, ignorance, poverty, prejudice, even hatred among our human family. This very medium through which we millions now communicate — the internet — enables, informs, uplifts and gives hope to neighbors as never before. Our neighborhood is as yet small — but it has big eyes and ears. Art has always been the conscience of civilizations. As we visit an Iranian sculptor, an Irish painter or an Inuit print-maker, we see that our branch of civilization is really part of a world-wide project which happens to draw on the same spirit. Paris, New York or Rome are no longer the temples or the homes of this understanding. Home is where the spirit is. We are our own priests and priestesses. Just as the pen can be mightier than the sword, ours too can be a power-center of gentle persuasion. Wherever in the corners of our sphere we see fit to put up our easels, this is the home and temple of creative obligation.

Best regards,


PS: “In our age the common religious perception should be the consciousness of our brotherhood and sisterhood. Our well-being lies in this union. Art should transform this perception into feeling.” (Leo N. Tolstoy)

Esoterica: “Help children to get through their childhood and out of it without shutting down their creativity or their inner spiritual connections. Help adults to reconnect to their creativity if it is in your realm to do so. Help yourself by doing whatever you need to do to get clear of all cultural suggestions that you cannot succeed at your Art. Never give up. By fully connecting to our Fire Nature and Passion for Life, all things are possible.” (J Bruce Wilcox)


Privilege to create
by Sonja Picard


artwork by Sonja Picard

We should never forget on those days of frustration… am I getting the right colour?… or is the painting finished?… should I sell this one?… It’s trivial when we can remember (and never forget) that the miracle of being able to create is a privilege, and an honor to one’s own spirit and to our community. This letter is one I will print out and display in my studio.





Warning for Aquarians
by Elle Fagan, Rockville, CT, USA


painting by Elle Fagan

Today’s letter on the age of Aquarius is lovely… the sun is in loving Libra today, and I experienced it as a present from my Libran father, to my Aquarian brother… I will send a copy to him. But if we do not get busy with the construction crews Aquarius the Water-pourer will have the Mega-Tsunamis to his credit — rather than interstellar colonization.



Gives “Life Readings”
by Salanda (sa-lawn-dah), Oregon, USA


by Salanda (sa-lawn-dah)

Those quotations from Bruce Wilcox on the Age of Aquarius validates what’s going on with me. Being an Aquarian somehow adds to the import of the moment and I hope once I have seen and healed my childhood-stuff now surfacing, I’ll be back more fully empowered to assist humanity. I will incorporate art into what I’ll be doing in service to others. I’m already enabled to do soul-to-soul communications. I call them “Life Readings.” They simply pour through me as I sit at my keyboard. There is only one per lifetime/human being. They are not in any way a psychic reading for they are not predictive in nature but very loving and peaceful and connected. This may turn out to be my greatest means of sharing. I shall simply allow it to unfold like a good artist must do with their God-given ability.


New Humanity
by Tricia Migdoll, Byron Bay, Australia


painting by Lynne La Fontaine

Meher Baba talks of the “New Humanity” that is about to emerge. He says that as lust, anger and greed reach their zenith — so too will love, compassion and spirituality — and the latter will win over the former. I see much more of the latter than the former where I live — let’s hope it is the same where you live.

This painting “Harmonia” that depicts your theme here, is by Lynne La Fontaine of Canada.




What’s hot is not
by Linda K Blondheim, Florida, USA


painting by Linda K Blondheim

I agree that we are no longer dependent on what New York, Paris, Rome or LA says about culture and art. We have become both international and regional at the same time. I travel constantly, painting throughout the south. I meet many artists and gallery directors. Some of them specialize in International and European painters. Most of them show works that relate to our southern heritage, culture and environment. They are no longer concerned about what is hot in New York.


Photographic humanity
by Anonymous, UK

We may well be entering the Age of Aquarius but we are also still in the Age of Reason. This idea started in the 1700s and is the dominant philosophy today. This intellectual awakening which has taken us to technological wonders, marginalizes religious fanaticism and the killing of people as a method of solving problems. But we still have a long way to go. The Art of Photography and its offshoots have done more than any other art to bring our shared humanity home to us. Photography is the preferred form of “shooting” for Aquarians.


Craftsmen working in unison
by Anonymous, UK

The need for the individual artist ego may now be replaced by the more mediaeval concept of independent craftsmen working in unison to produce great edifices. Through the interface of the internet we keep track of our mutual progress and thought. This Painter’s Keys Community is by far the best stimulation currently on the net. It neither insults the intelligence nor preaches a doctrine. It is democratic without wasting time and is totally suited as a conduit for the New Age that Bruce Wilcox would wish upon us.

(RG note) Regarding anonymous letters, sometimes artists request anonymity and we honour this. In the event that a reader wishes to communicate with the writer of an anonymous piece — you can pass it on to us and we will safely forward it. With the increased amount of spam that’s around these days, writers who allow their email addresses to be published open themselves to the possibility of getting spam. Spam cannot get into your inbox by subscribing to the twice-weekly letter. Ours is what is called a “permission based” mailing list. It is personalized and your name and email address are guarded secrets in our secure database. People who try to buy our list are turned down. Spam only arrives after you put your address out there on the internet for the world to see. Wired Magazine reports that by this time next year our email will be over 50% spam. Hopefully, by then, there will be more jurisdictions with legislation against it.


Always a bridge
by Gerti Hilfert, Langenfeld, Germany


drawing by Gerti Hilfert

I always look forward to your letter. I find so much hope and understanding in reading it. What thoughts and ideas other artists explore about one theme or title — amazing! You keep on rolling the stones in my inner self. It must be the hidden diamonds reminding me to clean them up and bring them out. Yours is an important message: discover your talents, keep them, save them and take yourself as you are, go on developing by experiences and never give up though other people nearby may not respect you, your work, and ideas. Trust yourself and your talents: there is always a bridge to come over — you just have to discover it.


Fired up
by Cristen Vanchieri

I have been stalled with my art. My rhythm is all out of sync. New changes in life sometimes bring about new rhythms. Our youngest has just moved away to college and I have been wanting to dive into my painting and have felt stalled by something unexplainable. On returning from an East Coast party where my hair caught fire when I backed into some candles — I read your About fire letter and had to laugh. This is a new beginning and the fire sign is in my corner!


Alla prima voice
by Faith Puleston, Wetter, Germany


painting by Faith Puleston

As a singing instructor I find the most curious and baffling part is where does the fire come from — this inspiration to sing? I expect many have a supernatural explanation, but then you would have to ask why talent is so unevenly (and unfairly) spread! One thing is sure — this aspect of voice makes it into a creative process. Though the singer actually reproduces the music sung, the voice itself has to be produced instantaneously as required, and no stepping back 3 meters to see if the proportions or perspectives are right! This may be the reason why singers call themselves “artists” — by instinct. “Alla prima” (all at once) is a less familiar definition in singing, but it fits.


Determined to be fearless
by Janet Warrick, Chicago, Illinois USA


painting by Janet Warrick

My uncle, who had given me my first set of oil paints for my sixteenth birthday, passed away several months ago at the age of seventy-two. He loved art and had painted a little in his youth. I believe he had talent. While helping my aunt clean out the house I came across a few of his drawings, and a Picasso-esque painting that he had done in college. When I asked my aunt why he had never pursued it, she replied that he’d said there was no money in it. He joined the police force instead. I wondered why he hadn’t at least painted in his spare time, since he had always been so drawn to art. I believe the answer is fear. I think he was afraid to try, afraid to fail, afraid that he wouldn’t measure up. He was angry a lot, and I wonder if that anger stemmed from not feeding an inner need to be creative. Whatever the reason, it’s too bad that he never allowed himself the pleasure of doing something that he so obviously loved. I have determined to be fearless in my own artistic endeavors, to follow my own course and see where it leads. When I take my last breath, I want to know that I gave it my best, no matter the outcome. If I do that, I’ll have no regrets.


Painting on a violin
by Sandy Sandy, Tabernacle, NJ, USA


photo by Sandy Sandy

I’ve been commissioned, along with other artists, to paint on a violin for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. The group of transformed violins will go on tour throughout the state and will be displayed at many locations and events for 6 months and then will be raffled off on June 30th of 2004. Also the finished pieces will be photographed along with a painting by each artist to be included in a 12-month calendar. I intend to paint it in acrylic. How should I prime and prepare the violin? Would it be best to prime the instrument with several coats of gesso, lightly sanding in-between coats, or would it be better to use some kind of a good quality water based house paint type of primer?

(RG note) The finish on a violin (generally varnish) is an important part of the sound that comes out of the instrument. I take it these violins need to be played at some time — so I would be inclined to keep priming and paint to a minimum. Find out what the instrument is already painted with — and see if a single coat of clear acrylic medium used as a sealer would suffice. Perhaps a very light wet-and-dry sanding will be needed. I think acrylic painted in your distinctive loose and whimsical watercolour style would be ideal for this fun project.







Quang Ho
Denver, CO, USA


painting by Quang Ho
Denver, CO, USA







Vengeance is his Mind

stonecut print by Mona Ohoveluk


You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2003.

That includes Shari Jones who wrote, “Your letters are my shot-in-the-arm each week as I work alone at home. The response letters, especially with images, are my gallery tour and inspiration.”


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