Sometimes I am asked what guidelines I establish for myself while painting. The short answer is that I don't especially separate my life's values from those that I incorporate into a piece of artwork. And they need to be strong enough to withstand the challenges. After all, Woody Allen will tell you, life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.

definition of manifesto
black dogs

Do you have a personal manifesto?

Was it the full moon last night or the question of how I was going to write about a personal manifesto that kept me awake all night. It is the word itself -- manifesto -- that worries me. Somehow it sounds so rigid and controlling that I am almost scared to box myself in with intellectual concepts. But if you are an artist, paint your worst picture once in a while because in life there are bad days. The chaos in your worst picture and the black dogs in life are only the necessary counterpoints to the abundant moments of delight to be received every day, often on your canvas.

black dogs

from Michelangelo's sculpture, David

I believe there is truth in art. But I don't believe you need to match your socks to your tie. But matching the socks you are wearing to each other could possibly be effective in avoiding concern. Truth in art means recognizing the difference between judging a work of art from personal taste versus the inherent quality in a work of art. Who could dispute the quality of Michelangelo's sculptures?

Add some color and contrast. I think right action is informed by one's intuition if it is supported in life as a good thing. It is how I try to paint and live. I have discovered that there is an easy way and a hard way to do both of these things and having faith in your ability to perceive what's really already there is easiest. I am trying to find out who I am so I can be who I am. Being involved in the creative process through painting provides both a mirror and an energy that carries you along in a guided way.

It is good for the immune system to show compassion for all living things but I admit I am abusive to my house plants. When did I have time to do everything? But time must always be made for nature: “In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I believe in love and agree with the Beatles, love is all you need, love is all you need. All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

song by the Beatles
leaf skeleton

The Bodhi Leaf
pigment ink on aluminum 16 x 20 in.
© W. Skog

I have learned that the natural design of living things and the way the universe can guide you through a certain sequential architecture are the same secure structures. It seems to me that it is based on a geometric formula discovered by the early Greek civilization.

golden section rectangle

The proportions of this rectangle, called the golden section make it possible for it to be divided into a perfect square and another golden section rectangle, repeated indefinitely. It also has a correlation with the Fibonacci number sequence which defines natural incremental growth of all living things. A divine pattern?

SOMA Gallery in Vancouver

I want to live in a world where the air is fresh, the water is clean, no one is hungry, pain is transcended, and connections with fellow beings are inspiring. As an artist I aspire to be inspiring. If collectively we can be happier through a clean and safe environment it would be good for creativity. Think what could be favorably accomplished if all the hostile negative warfaring energy in the world was directed in the other direction. But it is difficult sometimes to catch the flow because it is so buried in the high stimulus world. For anyone who turns away from that and immerses into another perceptual reality, it couldn't be a mistake. Of course there is always the six o'clock news so you can't escape completely.

Here's what I know for sure:


Trying to balance 'less' and 'more' seems to be a good exercise in crazy=making activity, but the confusion it generates is a great way to get lost for awhile. Best to put your dreams in a safe place, then stay in the present moment. Don't spend all your time texting if there are real people all around to talk to. Don't spend all your money on art but some would be good. Floss regularly. Safety pin your cash to your bra on airplanes. Don't worry if you can't sleep, the world needs insomniacs to populate all night grocery stores.

banksy Painting

painting by Banksy

may happiness and bliss follow you around always.

See more blog posts by Canadian artist Wendy Skog.

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