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At the August Fusionart retreat, I had the most fun painting that I can ever remember. My old friend Mehrdad and I spent the day just playing. Free from structure and restrictions, we painted without trying to make anything happen. We were creating the process of creating. The work just flowed, and the fun and laughter abounded. Mehrdad and I talked so much that I was afraid Rassouli, our teacher, was going to through us out of the class.

When Rassouli paints, he gets into such a connection with the canvas it is as if nothing else exists but him and the paint, rag, and canvas. Rassouli, Mehrdad and I all have totally different styles, and yet we share a connection to the process. It is not in our minds, it is more our souls connecting with the canvas and the creative process. We are allowing the painting to express itself through us rather than be created by us. We don't do it the same way, but I sense the same essence in what we are doing.

I believe that everyone has an inner connection with the creative process, whether we realize it or not. Like the wide variety of brushes one sees in the paint store, each one of us makes a different mark on the canvas of life. It is almost like we all possess the same power to create, and yet we all do it differently. Creative expression is part of what makes us unique individuals. The Universe created us all to be part of the painting of life on the canvas of the earth. It is our responsibility to make our mark in such a way that the world is a better place for us having been here. That is my wish and my dream and the purpose for my art.
Tagged in: art artists fusionart play
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My fellow artist, Bonnie Landau, teaches a class called "Anyone Can Paint." She invited me to attend a couple of weeks ago, and encouraged me to share my technique with her students.

Maybe Bonnie should call the class "Anyone Can Teach!" I wasn't sure how to prepare for the class, and this got me to thinking about how I approach painting and how I have developed my process over time. Here's what I figured out about myself:

Early in my career, I had a lot to learn. I studied with Rassouli and Fusionart and learned the things I needed to know. Now I am at the point in my art where the important thing is for me to forget those basics, and paint without constraints. Painting through forgetting gives me power and unlimited access to my talent.

Discipline, media, form and function; these comprise the ground rules of art. True talent is the ability to simultaneously know and break the rules. Painting from knowing the rules and breaking through them is power. Painting from not knowing the rules is merely accidental. There is a world of distinction between the two.

Think about some familiar paintings. It's obvious when the artist has learned the rules, and then found an expressive path that bypasses convention. Obvious examples include Picasso, Van Gogh and Modigliani. Each took something recognizable and transformed it into something that surpassed its reality. Each artist was a major rule-breaker!

Now when I paint, I ignore the rules. They are there, but at arms length. I have no expectation for my work to look like anything or be compared to anyone else's. I don't think; I DO. And when I'm done, I am amazed at what I've created.

Realizing this, I put away the worry of how to prepare for Bonnie's class. Other than knowing I had canvas and paint, I had no expectation of how to teach people to create. I invented the class as I went along, and we were all very much in the moment. We used our hands, brushes, sticks, anything we liked to put the paint on the canvas. We didn't worry about going over someone else's work or about "getting it right". We played, secure in our basic knowledge of creativity. The result was astounding; a rich, textural painting that is alive with all our energy. Thanks to Bonnie Landau, Claudine Manning, Christina Maria, Orma Hammond, Hope Goss, Sonia Madixx and Shain Requicha. We were able to forget the rules and create without limits!
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This painting is the collaboration of two old friends who were surprised to discover that they shared a passion for art. I have known Mehrdad Dabbagh for 18 years, but in a completely different context - the world of business. I really did not know Mehrdad’s spirit until I met him in one of Rassouli's classes three years ago. No one can describe the expression on his face when he first saw me in the art class. It was like seeing someone from another world that you never imagined you would see in the world of art.

I have lived my life as a non artist. I am an engineer. An analytical business consultant who helps people design their businesses for profit. I help people design the systems and structures that make a business run and make money. I have been doing this for the past 18 years. I have been an entrepreneur for over 50 years. No one in my life, including myself, and certainly not Mehrdad, ever expected me to make the transformation into being a painter and artist.

Through the teaching of the Master Rassouli, I have bridged the gap and made that transition. In the process I have found a new friend in my old acquaintance Mehrdad. I found him to be a talented artist who paints with passion and emotion. This painting began with the two of us playing in class one day. We just started sharing the canvas. We each worked on one side, and then we turned the canvas and we worked on top of each other's work. There was no plan. There was no drawing. There was no blueprint. (Mehrdad also happens to be an architect.) We just kept playing and having fun. As the music changed the beating of our brushes on the canvas got faster and faster. The energy was jumping as we raced to place more paint on the canvas.

I consider this to be an example of the meeting of two worlds. Two people from different countries with different backgrounds. Even though for years they thought they knew each other, they did not. Their souls met through a mutual experience on canvas with brush and paint. I have placed the value of this painting at $10,000 - the highest price in my collection. It is the painting that took the longest time and most distance traveled to create. This is an example of the meaning of our Fusionart Movement. When we all surrender to the creative process; that is when the journey begins. This painting is a celebration of that transformation and the connection we can all share through art.
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My fellow Fusionartist Diane Bulgatz painted this thought-provoking and serenely engaging work. It is called "The Quest". I was looking at Diane's painting this week and was struck by the fact that it captures my own recent journeys of the soul. My quest has been one of letting go.

This week my life has been a case study in letting go of the past. I had a garage sale and sold off numerous old, unwanted items. Why I had felt the need to keep them, I don't know. The sale made me feel complete with parts of the past. I cleaned my studio and shredded papers. Fixed my computer and deleted old files that were cluttering my hard drive. I cleaned my closet and even washed my car.

Creation starts with letting go. You have to surrender a little bit to the realization that in order to create art, something has to be released from your spirit. My mentor, Rassouli, says that art is about creating and destroying. Paint something and then destroy it by painting over it. Keep making it new; be in the space of getting rid of old habits, ideas, and obstacles. This keeps you prepared for the new and the next.

It doesn't always have to result in a painting. We are changing the Fusionart International website, creating and destroying, to better showcase the awe inspiring talent of our artists. Change is the only thing constant in life, and art is the perfect medium to reflect change. As artists we are trusted with the responsibility of capturing the moment and creating the future on the same canvas. We channel creativity through our soul and into our work as a demonstration of the Universe's infinite possibilities. This opportunity is both a gift and a heavy responsibility. As we go about our creative process, we must stay true to the authentic inspiration and not let too much "thinking" take over the project.

This week I invite you to let go and create your most spectacular example of you. Have fun and joy in the process. Remember, if you are not having fun, you are thinking about it too much. Let go, create, destroy, and transform your art into a true expression of your soul.
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There are times when I just don't feel like painting. I don't know what to paint, and I lack the energy to commit creation to canvas. These times can last from a day to two months.
My mind starts to wonder if I have lost the desire or the talent to paint. My mentor, Rassouli, says that I am building up bewilderment. It feels like a teakettle. You don't sense much happening as it simmers along on the stove. Then all of a sudden things burst forth with a trumpet blare and a release of imaginative action.

In the beginning, I worried about how long my creative juices would lie dormant and when the teakettle would sing. Now I just go with the flow. I have seen these down times as periods of major growth in my technique. While I continue to create and develop myself, I know I will never arrive at what some may call perfection. I choose to define mastery as the art of seeking perfection knowing that you will never get there. The soul must be willing to pursue the destination as well as the result.

This has been the first time in my life that I have given myself permission to let the work come at its own pace. In my business, I drive and direct and take constant action to make things happen. In my painting, art is in the driver’s seat. It’s as though I live in two different worlds that each run parallel in my existence. They must have been there my entire life and I just didn’t know. I think often of Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled”, and I feel that both those roads exist within my spirit. Sometimes I choose the one less traveled, and that fuels my creative side.

I am so grateful to have found access to the other side of myself, to my inner road less traveled. It gives me the freedom to express myself without having to meet a standard or reach a goal or be good enough. I really don't even have to have done my best.

This week, look for your own road less traveled, and take a few baby steps toward your artistic destiny. Relish the rest and rejuvenation that comes with not knowing what to paint. Allow yourself to be led by your spirit, and let the journey inspire and delight you.
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The process of creating is not exact. Art occurs in its own time. When you create something, you begin to fall in love with it before it ever exists. The creative process; the thinking, the experimentation, the starting over – all these are part of the joy of artistic endeavor. Sometimes inspiration comes fast and sometimes it comes slow. The trick is to not impose your own expectations on the result.

As an artist, you are merely the vehicle for the creative process. What I love about my art is that I never know what it is going to be. Even after it is done, I resist the temptation to categorize or judge it. I paint until the painting tells me we are done. Then I stand back and discover what it is I have created. Sometimes when I paint, I even take my glasses off so I cannot see the canvas very clearly. I have done entire works with my eyes closed. These techniques liberate me. When I free myself from my thinking mind and let go of the expectations, I see that I have created my best works.

The Universe is the ultimate creator, and we are all expressions of that creation. We are each and every one of us a unique creation with the ability to use the creative process to express our own individual voices. This way of thinking allows me to let the work flow and not live in the expectation that I am in charge of making something happen.

Without expectation, and with no blueprint, I have access to truly amazing results. Give your soul a chance to express itself. Paint without judgment, without concept of time. Be open to what occurs, and let your spirit be the artist.
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When I started learning to paint, I spent a lot of time and energy analyzing what I was doing wrong. I continually focused on what was missing, how the painting wasn’t good enough. Fortunately I had mentors who encouraged me to break free of these negative thoughts and judgments. My work flourished and so did my enjoyment of the process.

Over time I have noticed that when I paint, I am completely free. As an artist, I do not ask myself: Why? When? What? Where? How?The reason I don't ask these questions is because I know the answer is always "It is perfect the way it is." That is what I love about art. No matter what it is, or where it is in the process, it is always perfect. Art is about the process every bit as much as it is about the product.

This photo is a perfect example. I could not figure out what to paint so I painted the canvas black. Before I finished I stopped, and it was perfect the way it was. With art, you never make a mistake because it is always perfect. You can do no wrong. You scratch the work and the scratch is supposed to be there. Art is always growing and changing. It has no right or wrong. No good or bad. No up or down. I love that. It gives me such freedom. I paint something, and if I don't like it, (which is not wrong because everything is perfect) I just paint over it. To live in a world where you can make no mistakes is nirvana.

I once did a painting, and while it was still wet I took it to the car to take it home. I stood it up by the car and while I was not looking, the Universe caused the paint to slide down the canvas. Upon my return my first reaction was upset (this was in my early days before wisdom set in.) Then I realized that it was perfect the way it was. That painting has become one of my most admired paintings. You never know how the masterpiece is going to emerge. You are the vehicle for the canvas to expose the painting that already exists. You are merely the messenger that facilitates the process.

So go out today and liberate your art from all right and wrong. Allow the Universe to create through you. Think of yourself as the messenger for your creative expression. And don’t shoot the messenger!
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Yesterday I was in the kitchen making a berry smoothie. As usual, I was on the phone, multitasking through my workday. You guessed it – I left the lid off the blender in my haste to do three things at once. Purple goo flew everywhere, including all over me. My first reaction was irritation at my own mistake. Quickly, the artist within me began to transform my interpretation of the situation, and I started admiring the colors and patterns that now adorned every surface in my kitchen.

Art is everywhere and art is anything. A canvas can appear when you least expect it. The artist must then decide to paint or not to paint.

Before I embraced the power of art, I would see a tree and think “Green Tree.” Now I look closely and marvel at the hundreds of greens that shift and change in the breeze. I see the shapes of leaves and the movement of branches. Everything is more alive now that I can appreciate the world through the context of art. A “Blue Sky” is now imbued with shades of gray, white, rose, and copper. A flower garden? Unlimited possibilities and passion. I see so many colors and I yearn to understand them. How would I re-create that red? What is that exact shade of yellow? The universe around us is the original artist, and she holds the ultimate paint box with the most diverse palette.

As I mopped up blueberry smoothie, I became uplifted instead of annoyed. The colors were inspiring, and I figured the blender was simply trying to express itself!

Allow yourself to be inspired by the everywhereness of art. In a dropped pile of papers see a collage. Celebrate the sculpture in that broken lamp. Savor the colors of your garden. You may not want to willingly remove the lid from your blender, but even when calamity happens, let your relationship with art transform each moment into personal inspiration.

Has serendipity had an impact on your art? I’d love to hear your story.

Ralph White
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We all know that life has its complexities. We constantly sort through the world’s demands and possibilities, making choices as to where to focus our attention and ability. At times, the abundance of options can overwhelm us, causing us to retreat from life’s playing field.

In Maelstrom, I strive to deconstruct these challenges, to gain perspective on them as individual threads in life’s vast fabric. It is in these moments of choice that we discover possibilities. If we identify the obstacle, we can understand its purpose as part of our personal journey. For it is when we embrace the maelstrom, the perceived darker moments, that we can emerge strengthened and enlightened. Use this painting as your encouragement for jumping in, for shouldering the burden and through your soul’s perseverance finding meaning in each experience. Therein lies the victory and ultimately our reason to celebrate. Take a look at your circumstances. Now re-envision them as possibilities – let their light illuminate your path.

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Current & Upcoming Events

One-day Painting Retreat
July 12, 2008
10 am to 10 pm
Instructor: Rassouli
Mayfair Hotel, Los Angeles

Painting retreats offer the unique opportunity to gather for a extended time and not only learn about Fusionart, but share the energy of creating as a group. Join us for our inaugural one-day painting retreat at the Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles. This unique event will combine instructor-led discussions about the creative process, Fusionart and how to open up to your inner creator. The class will include specific exercises to assist you in opening up to the creative flow. The day-long retreat includes lunch and dinner and a space to paint. Students should bring their own painting supplies.

For more info about me, my collection of work, where you can see it displayed at a gallery near you, or how you can get an original painting or limited edition print, please visit:

To reach me:
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To learn morn about Fusionart International, please visit:
Tagged in: Maelstrom
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Each of us has an identity, a collection of unique qualities that embodies who we are. As we go through life, we strive not only to define our own identity, but to connect with others who share our perspective. We search for moments that feel authentic and real, that speak to who we are and what we believe. We gravitate toward images and symbols that resonate with our spirit.

A symbol is a common expression of a heartfelt belief. Symbols have been passed through the ages as a way for us to impart emotions and ideas. Symbols of bravery, love, belonging, danger and passion exist all around us. They remind us of feelings, we identify with them, they center us.

In Symbolic, I speak to our recognition of ourselves as part of a greater whole. Symbolic is a reminder that our identity exists not only as uniquely ours, but as part of a shared celebration of creativity. Collective imagery is both powerful and comforting. Use this painting as a catalyst for the expression of your ideals and beliefs, and be open to the world’s affirmation of your soul.
Tagged in: Symbolic
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