Dear John

Dear John

dear John

I was  so happy you reached out. That period of our life was quite something….hanging with Soul 2 Soul, Julian Marley and the Skatalites.

I completely forgot about it. Happy to rekindle the memories.

I am glad that you are pulling through. However what you went through in india was harrowing. So you go out there to find yourself and you’re waiting by a canal for three days alone, waiting for your close friend to resurface after drowning. Christ had it easy with 40 days in the desert compared to that. If I read that strap line in a pitch…….

I cannot imagine what you went through. Alone, in fact I could never think of anything so lonely.

It stuck in my mind. I have had 3 near death experiences out here. One crossing the Pacific. A horrendous car accident and a profound experience with a Shaman, lets say DiMiTri was there too.

What I can deduce from all of that is that death is momentary. I once asked my Tibetan Lama…

there is a zen saying….a snowflake never falls in the wrong place…..he agreed that everything is the way it should be. I then followed another question; what about a bomb falling on some kid in Gaza. He also said that this is the same sentiment.

It was Bobs time to go. I was looking through his photos and I remember him being a kind, bright lad with his whole life ahead of him.

I don’t think anyone can ponder someone else’s Karma. Karma is not a punishment, which is a mistaken concept.

recently a major Tibetan Lama was murdered, which blew his students minds. How could someone with such pure actions, highly realized, incredibly compassionate have something like that happen to him. It has to be understood that it was his time. Who knows where and why he had to go somewhere else.

Bob was probably having the time of his life, when it happened. My sister sat in a leukemia ward for two years, watching the other three die, in the one in four chance. She is alive and well, but appreciates every moment. Which we all should do.

which is what you should focus on. Take one day at a time. Create good music. love your friends and family. Reach out to Pablo, reach out to the SheepDaddy.

And anytime you feel like chatting, even if you are sitting back on that river bank, in fact especially then, I will be there.

lots of love

and have an amazing new year.

Painting Hangover

Painting Hangover

Perhaps its a result of inhaling varnish fumes of the detail and the strain on my eyes. However, head hurts and feel groggy. The varnish is taking extra long to dry as the weather is damp. Scottish weather. I like it, the weather. So the year starts to spiral down the plughole. Seems to spin quicker, the less of it there is.

Class yesterday was great. It gives me a warm feeling when they call me MR.Roderick. Such an endorsement. It says out of all the chaos that I am doing something right. They are so talented. All these cool little people, characters.

I teach another class today. Then the life drawing class tomorrow. Deliver the painting to Cesar. I love making the painting look old. Putting years of patine on the surface. It is difficult to be that fused to a piece, then its gone.

Getting into the morning habit of getting my coffee; watching the menagerie of coffee drinkers. Their little rituals. A sense of the familiar in an unfamiliar world.

This particular Starbucks is a little edgy. This was the very place a regular morning group of coffee addicts were somewhat surprised when a homeless person stumbled out of the restroom on fire.

That would certainly wake you up. There are a few cracked customers.

I gold leafed the mermaid and did my Buddha and protector at the same time. That was important for me to sparkle up an ancient belief. Pay the respect to the lineage. Going inward for salvation. The outside world heaves and sighs.

I am beginning to focus on the foundations for the new year. I want a studio. Surrounded by serious artists. I want to be teaching. Both these situations are palpably close.

On Monday, I have to get processed by Immigration. Just procedure. But having no documentation worried me. Now I am street legal. The Van is going well. I should give it some love. It has looked after me and is an asset. Having the freedom to just go anywhere is sweet.

The seer said many things 25 years ago. I remember her words as if it were yesterday; Extremely controversial, Exploding the myths of society, creating great beauty, no need to convince people of who I am …show them by being me. The pain, hold up the pain for it is a light, that she hadn’t seen guys like me since the sixties.  Spiritual wealth. Connection with my root guru is deep. Swimming with swans once I connect with the ugly duckling. And of course, not to get too involved with other peoples opinions.

Lets face it, there are about 3 people in this world that I pay attention to as something I regard as insight as to who I am. I respect my peers of course, my students. But there is a large ambiguous soup where You become how people see you. And there is a dissatisfaction to that. There is something within acknowledging that limited point of view. But there is something much deeper and supersedes that.

My lamas and my shaman and my work.

I have learnt that people see what they want to see in me. A conventional Scotsman from a good family. A wayward brother who doesn’t give a shit. An artist. so on and so forth. Its all illusory.

Even though I can understand the mechanics of conflict. My only course is to create. To paint. Channel whatever worldly conflict into that.That is being compassionate. Not engaging in conflict is compassionate. Maybe regarded as aloof or arrogant. But I don’t want to get involved. Family is slightly different. I was involved kind of early on. Be in the world but not of it and all that jazz.



The Caravaggio Project

The Caravaggio Project

The studio awaits for a final surge. I have to say this painting has pushed me to limits, both technically and in the mind. I think the theme of the execution of it is focus. Even though surrounded by worldly limitations and people who indulge in these limitations, the painting tells me to let go and push deeper into it. To such an extreme point where nothing in the world matters apart from the next stroke and where it leads to.

I was hanging out with a Shaman. When confronted with Shunyata, emptiness, I asked him if I would see the deities of tibetan Buddhism. He explained that it would be the light behind the deities. I remarked or compared it to the film in a movie projector. He agreed that this was a perfect analogy.

When I am painting, it feels like I am going into my projector; like open heart surgery.  When the painting is complete. I have transcended something. Processed something.

I once came up with the analogy that imagine a projector and a screen. The projector project an image of ripped fabric on the screen. People usually try  to sew up the screen.

I varnished and aged the mermaid. A sort of dry run, for the Caravaggio. She looks ancient now, and now gold leafing the frame for Melrose place. I have thinned down the content. Focussing on doodles for that show.

So my day starts off with the larger cat banging down the door at sunrise. I get up and the other animals get wind that food is going to happen. Like dr. Dolittle, but really like Dr. DoAlot. 4 cats, pit bull and a wolf. I really enjoy their company. Its the teenagers that are testing.

I keep dreaming of my family. Last night I was selecting a good shirt to wear. Guess I am getting prepared.

So don’t get too involved in other peoples opinions the Seer said to me. I have to keep that close to my heart right now. I walk into a family situation. I walk into a lot of opinions. I walk into a lot of resent for not being there for the past 6 years. Every wedding, every funeral, every smile, every birth. I cant carry that. I am not going to. I have gone beyond this. The venom in my brothers words made things really absurd. To the point I have become detached from it. But will navigate over to just sit with my parents.



fahrenheit 450

fahrenheit 450

Its been a while since I have written. I was out with my Professor friend at an art opening and he said I should write a book. I was telling him about something I went through. I was saying I am reluctant to write because people get upset. Very upset when I just write down what I see and feel. You know who you are.

Even if I went to extreme lengths to cover it up with fake names and locations, they would still recognize themselves as the TRUTH would resonate.

Just imagine if Dostoyevski was writing in real time: he would probably end up being murdered.

Perhaps I will change my name, write the book of all books. My criticisms will become observations. My expression becoming unleashed instead of this restraint that has been smashed into me.

Fahrenheit 450…that will be the title. names will be changed, sentiment will be the same. On the verge of getting incinerated.

I recall Francis Bacon writing acidic letters to a boss in a store. Never were they meant to be read. A means of getting his frustration out. But one day his boss found them and read them. Could you imagine getting taken apart by Bacon. I am relieved that he thought I was a nice boy.

So I will…go off and create a Nom de plume and sign off from this blogging business.

So back to painting a  less controversial act; ‘Who’s ever heard of a revolution made with a paintbrush?’




painting for sale, slightly used

painting for sale, slightly used

It seems these days its easier to paint. Its less controversial. Words have caused a few storms. I can’t even refer to anything specific. I even had someone ask me to take down art before!?

I stand by what I have written. Its how I felt. I am not going back and pulling anything down.

So I am to sit in the corner and be quiet or locked in a cupboard under the stairs where most convenient?

All I can do is paint. Who’s ever heard of a revolution made with a paintbrush.


Hawaii was nothing but a dream. The universe unceremoniously and quite impressively showed me that. I was catfished by some chick. She kept up the pretense for over a year and a half. The realization that this was a fake person on the internet came about at an airport.

When the flight dumped out and I am there with a painting I did for her, after a good while I had that moment of realization ; a bit like the movie Angel Heart when the detective realizes he is looking for himself. Or Sixth Sense we he realizes that he has been dead all that time. The Scooby Doo flashback sequence. All the clues were there.

I was devastated.  Sent her a picture of the painting ‘painting for sale, slightly used’

She cooked up this story about her grandmother dying. I had painted this image in her honor. details of her day to day life….The pictures of what she had been eating. Her view from work, all these glamorous shots. In retrospect, it was all there. She had travelled to Bali. So have I …I asked her where she hung out, there was no answer. This girls talents were wasted on fucking somebodies head up, a real Rembrandt.

After  volley of messages that were rather colorful. I went on line and traced her internet providers address. Of course it wasn’t Hawaii. Of course it wasn’t New York.


last message read

“Sunnyvale, I am right outside your house!’

I have been fucked with in the past. But this takes the Oscar. Bleeding heart therapists will ask me to consider what energy I was emitting to go through this. I will be asking myself that for quite some time.

Perhaps it was one last purge of my ex wife and that energy. Flash job, flash car good looking and rotten to the core.

It initiated me sorting out my green card replacement. Best part of a grand that cost me. But it indicates that I am to return from my visit to my family.

Couldnt give a fuck about money…good looks and glamor .

here endeth the lesson








It was perhaps 3 years ago I stood at this spot in the painting in Hawaii . I had put my faith in the universe and left an abusive marriage, or mirage as I see it now.  The following day we sailed 3500 sea miles to California. I arrived back in LA fearless and with $80 in my bank. Slept on a park bench and within a few days, the Universe gave me a place to stay and an income. I am eternally grateful for that. It was a leap of faith.

Recently I have been pondering my future. Long term. Obviously I have to go back to the old country. Then what?

I was only in Hawaii for 3 days but felt a deep connection with the islands. I noticed in the studio that I have referenced the vibe several times. As I put together the art for the exhibition it is beginning to tell a story. My story.

Beyond words of course. Words can be limited.

I cant see myself much longer in LA. I fought so hard for my green card, then why not go to a corner of paradise in the States. It turns out there is a need for qualified teachers in the community and I am looking into that right now.

When I think about it my resume has been padded out in that direction. Teaching kids, adults; selling work from time to time. All of it will stand me in good stead.  I have lived in the Bahamas and Indonesia doing as much and in my recollection there were happy times. I love the ocean. My first memories were on a boat.

I was watching some intense documentaries on you tube regarding Tibetan Buddhism . The Book of the Dead, Bardo Thodal. Which is basically a guide book when you die. Favorable rebirths. Then I think of where I landed up. A caring family in a safe environment. Opportunities were there. I connected with The Tibetan Monks early on. In fact I skyped my lama the other day to help me navigate through my family issues. It was good to hear his voice.

It was as if we had not been apart. He was driving up to teach meditation in Scotland. We laughed that I was sitting in 105 degrees where he was freezing in the weather there.

The long and the short of it I am on the right path. Path of creativity. I have put a note in my diary for going out. And with regards to my brother, well its best to speak to him in person.

I have my YMCA class today where I will be teaching about 40 kids the art of abstract expressionism. Then on Friday I am live painting with some local artists at the Universe Collides event. I feel like I am living the life of an artist. Perhaps I am.

I am going to give up drinking. I feel my body is rejecting alcohol. Perhaps after working in a brewery has taken a tax from my body. I drop in from time to time. Mainly for my class. I had the best of times there and made some long lasting connections and friends.

there is too much going on. The head brewer was kind of nasty to me. Apparently jealous of me. Now hes all smiles and saying hello. I don’t buy it. And probably not beer. My bodies decision, not my mind.

there are moments in the studio when I had had a few. The right music and I am completely within the world of painting. I have never been drinking to numb a pain. Be someone else. But turning into Jack Sparrow.