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The Other Side

surreal painting, boat, lovers boat ride, wine for two, wine, swan, surreal landscape, surreal boat

Valentine’s Day just passed so we thought it would be an appropriate time to reflect on the meaning of “The Other Side“.  There is definitely some romantic imagery at play here–swans, wine for two, a romantic boat ride.  Let’s take a closer look:

Emerging from the mist is the bow of the boat.  Two wine glasses and wine bottle sit patiently waiting to be enjoyed as a picture perfect landscape unfolds on the horizon.  There is a calmness that permeates the scene, as well as mystery.  Who is in the boat? Is the boat emerging from the mist or going into it? Is the boat submerged in the water or slightly floating above? The swan is a known symbol for love, balance, and union.  Although the swan is not swimming side by side with its partner, the mirrored image of the swan in the lake hints at the idea of balance and perhaps another swan on “the other side”.

The boat also seems to be on a journey going to the other side–and in fact has almost reached it by the looks of how close the landscape is.  As you view this piece you almost instinctively put yourself into the boat.  Where is your boat taking you?  Are you meeting someone on the other side or are you waiting for them?  This painting reflects on relationships, union, love, hope and faith.  Perhaps even the voyage of life into the unknown and what happens to those relationships we have had once we’re crossing over.  Although this idea of the unknown can scare us at times, this painting radiates a warm light that comforts and soothes.

Fun Fact: The label on the wine bottle is actually based off of the label for Floating Boat Winery.


I Should Be Meditating

surreal oil painting, illuminated tree, illumination, meditation, contemplation, nature, night time

The winter months are the perfect time for hibernation and contemplation.  It is a time for slowing down and nourishing our minds.  If you’re feeling guilty for not being as active and busy as normal, DONT!  It is okay to take time for yourself.  To ease this anxiety, we think it is important to meditate on why we feel the constant need to always be doing something.  Sometimes it is okay to just. slow. down.

For beginner and advanced meditators, check out this website to help you with guided meditation. I Should Be Meditating can help you get started on your own meditation practice or deepen your meditation through new outlooks on it.  Now rest and repeat!

In your dreams…

dreamer, lucid dreams, pleasant dreams, surreal dreams, dreamscapes, imagination, flying dream

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” – Vincent van Gogh

Obviously we aren’t the only artists who are inspired by their dreams.  We think it is especially important to cultivate a healthy sleep in order to access all those inspirations that take flight during the night.  Here is a list of some helpful sleepy time remedies to induce restfulness and dreams.

1. Chamomile tea might be the number one beverage of choice for us at nighttime to help with insomnia.  Chamomile is a soporific and helps you sleep restfully

2. Try reading the book Oneironautics: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming ..Very informative for the novice lucid dreamer

3. Make a small sleep pillow: equal parts dried chamomile, dried hops, dried lavender, dried roses, & 1-2 drops lavender essential oil.

4. A glass of warm milk with honey – one of the oldest remedies in the book

5. Found these two really wonderful products: Dream Weaver Mist from Fat & the Moon | Mugwort infused Dream Oil from Portland Apothecary.

6. Keep a dream journal next to the bed & start recording those visions!

If nothing on this list seems to work, maybe a good old-fashioned counting of sheep needs to take place 😉 Pleasant dreams tonight!

“New Beginning” in a New Year

Floating boat in the desert, new beginnings, & moon phases

To start off the new year in blog posting, we decided to give the painting “New Beginning” a story and more detailed description.  After all we are trying to evoke a conversation with these images!

As you might have noticed, a common symbol or motif used in our paintings is the floating boat. It is usually portrayed alone and free to explore the vast wilderness which is its setting. In this particular painting, however, the boat seems tethered to something in the foreground which we are not made aware of. Although the first inclination of being “tethered” to something might bring thoughts of being weighed down or anchored to, we rather look upon this particular rope in a positive light. By not knowing where the rope leads, it makes us question if the boat has a predestined path or perhaps the viewer is pulling the boat along behind him or her. Even the weight of the water inside the boat where the moon is reflected does not deter this boat from realizing its path/journey. This particular phase of the moon symbolizes new beginnings and the transformative process the moon continuously undergoes.

Boats can symbolize an odyssey or journey.  When we see these images, we almost instinctively place ourselves in the boat–it becomes a vessel in which to place the human ego.  The boat embodies the voyage of life.  The fact that it has ascended means a release from limitations, enlightenment, transcendence, and a spiritualization of matter.

We wish you readers many enlightening journeys to come in this new year of 2015!

We’re not in Kansas or where do ideas for paintings come from?



A very common question we get is “Where do the ideas for your paintings come from?”  Our usual answer is a bit vague; dreams, imagination, conversations, serendipity and possibly most importantly, sheer accident.

The fact is, that each painting comes from its own set of unique circumstances.  There is no one recipe. 

Here is one version though:

1. Friend sends you a cool image of a stormy sky.  Add to ridiculously big collection of images of skies and clouds. 


2. Yard sale find of a first edition Wizard of OZ book.  “Pirates in OZ” 1931  $3. Score!


3. Long boring car ride, with nothing to look at but flat landscape and each other. 


4.  Rambling conversation…Eureka! 


5.  The hard part – many hours of work.  TaDa!


Just found out that this year is the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of OZ.  Didn’t know that.  Spooky. 


By the way, can you find the monkey?

an unexpected gift

We received, out of the blue, a beautiful gift in the park today. A small book of haiku. A poet appreciating the work of painters.  And, as it turns out, vice versa.

My favorite one:

Where you are, be Here

Otherwise you won’t be There

Wherever you go

Jim’s favorite:

Death is just a door

Closed and locked from the inside-

Light shines through the cracks

Thank you so much Mike Shaw. It made our day!

It was a beautiful, blustery day and there were lots of people sharing their art today in Rittenhouse Square.

If you happen to be in Philadelphia this weekend, stop by!

Rittenhouse Square Art Show this Weekend!

The  Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Annual show is this weekend, Friday-Sunday, September 20-22 in Philadelphia.

Hard to believe how many years we’ve been doing RSFAA shows.  Our daughter Julia is 24 this year.  The first year she attended a RSFAA show she was in a bassinet.  Yeah, the math is scary.

It’s always been one of our favorite shows. Besides the fact that Philly is just a great town for art in general, the Square is just a great place to spend an afternoon looking at art.  Shady places to sit and people watch. Great places to eat.  And did I mention art?   What’s not to love? The weather is going to be beautiful.   Can’t wait for my first cup of coffee and a croissant from the Metropolitan Bakery!

Hope you can join us!