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Post 17: The River Is Flowing through the World

Detail of Illustration: Tobe’s Sketch of the River Is and the World

from “Tobe and the River Is”

In my book, “Tobe and the River Is,” after the main character Tobe goes for a swim in the mighty River Is, he becomes inspired to attempt to draw a picture of It flowing in the world. He was not sure if it could even be done. This was something that had never been attempted before in the magical land of Inlăkesh.

Writing this scene was one of the many enjoyable moments in the creation of the book. It captured in a very direct and beautiful way my experience as a visual artist and the essence of my relationship to art.

Starting decades ago, when I would be out painting a landscaping, I would get this overpowering sensation that this world existed in a dimension of some kind, and in this dimension, forms were not solid at all. I wanted to somehow depict this truth and pass it on to others through my art, yet, like Tobe, I was not sure if that was even possible.

Then the question became how do I proceed. The answer I describe in Tobe’s process as he creates his drawing of the River Is. It was identical to my own method, except instead of paper I was often painting on a canvas primed in black. The following is a passage from this section of the book.

Then, out of his backpack, he (Tobe) pulled a simple piece of black paper. He held it out, musing over its deep, rich blackness.

“Here, Auriel, look at this paper; its blackness…the deepest essence of the River Is, beyond all form. Do you see how still It is? Do you feel Its bottomless peace?” He smiled in wonderment at the simplicity of truth.

“Amazing, like magic,” said Auriel. “The black paper says it perfectly. And you haven’t even done anything yet!”

On his palette, Tobe squeezed out a splotch of gold paint from a tube. In two wide, bold, wavy strokes he brushed on the iridescent gold, all glittery against the deep black of the paper.

“Ah, there…. That expresses It even better—the radiant, ever-flowing life of the River Is in all Its glory!” said Tobe, in awe at how simple it was to paint the incomprehensible River in just a couple of strokes. Auriel seemed impressed too.

Tobe grew still as he looked upon the River’s splendor. In firm vertical lines, he drew Its will and power. He drew Its clear, conscious energy with wavy lines, with curlicues, and dancing specs of energy, changing colors as he went; and he drew the peace of the River in horizontal lines—with a slow and gentle hand. Next, he started painting the River flowing around and through everything, with quick washes of color—turquoise, purple, and blue—all transparent.

Then, with a light hand, Tobe started drawing the forms of the world—clouds, birds, mountains and mesas, trees, a stable and farmhouse, horses in the meadow with ducks, and someone tending their garden. Then, with washes of color, he painted them, transparent here and there, the way they seem to be now and then when one is swimming in the River.

The description goes on as Tobe continues the process a little while longer until the image is complete.

As an artist, I was not sure if my paintings communicated to others these more transcendent levels of feeling and seeing, but I did know that it gave a powerful purpose and direction to my art. It also made the process of painting much more rewarding, encouraging me to stay in a higher level of perception.

If you wish to get a deeper, closer look at my depictions of the River and this world in a dimension, go to my art website!__iii-dimension And have fun imagining how you, too, could depict your higher states through art. Visual communication is wide open, and the heart combined with vision can accomplish amazing things. Consider also that these truths can even be portrayed energetically in an abstract way. (There are examples of that too on my website.) You can capture these truths with little or no art training if you but embrace the simplicity and sincerity of the expression.

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