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Studio Padres

The Studio Pardes Process
The Virtual Studio Pardes
History of Studio Pardes
Why "Pardes"?

THE Virtual Studio Pardes

The virtual studio has current examples of my studio process work as well as the intention and witness writings elicited by these images. The issues that are up for me have to do with the artist/art therapist debate within myself. Is it selfish to devote myself to my art? Is the art therapist a kind of phony voyeur who feeds on the pain of others? Is making art an act of service to the world, if so, how?

The Return of the Artist
tempera, 20"X 26"
(Text in bold is commentary that occurred after the witness session).

Intention: I explore my feelings and get guidance from the Source about myself as a solitary artist and the issue of community.

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the return of the artistWitness: A house with a face and legs has its arm around a figure with aqua legs and an egg-shaped torso, a tiny pointed hat and a red eye and mouth. They stand together in a landscape of aqua and brown. A suggestion of a cloud overhead. The house is pointing or gesturing upward. The white figure has sort of claw like feet. They appear to be deep in conversation. The house is comforting or consoling or advising the white figure who seems to be made up of desperate, no disparate, parts, desperate? No, doesn't seem that. Is the egg shape a body, a shell, or a shield? It looks like a shield all of a sudden. I guess I can ask, does anyone want to speak? Am I interrupting you?

White Guy: Fix my shirt, give me an ear, put stripes on my legs, make my head bigger. Yes, I carry a shield. More about that later. (I made all the changes I was asked for, as well as putting spirals into the sky and ask again can anyone speak?)

House: I am welcoming him home. He was off on a quest to receive his shield, now his disparate parts are not desperate. One cannot enter community without a shield, one cannot come in too open, too exposed

or the rest of the group will be compelled to tear you limb from limb. It's just a fact, not a failing. Human beings are hungry and they will eat you, you will eat each other. I am a structure, I happen to look like a house because that is a structure you understand and a home is a good metaphor for community. But most people are homeless, if not literally than figuratively. If you show up looking like a house, they will move into all your rooms and eat your food and sleep in your bed, they will drop socks on your floor. You cannot be a house. This poor guy is a little like a dunce. He isn't even a house and he invites everyone in until he can't stand it and he has to fly away but he isn't really a bird. He needed to go away to receive his shield.

P: House, I notice you do not have a door.

House: That's correct, I told you, I am not really a house, I am an idea. Another idea is a shield.

P: Why? Shouldn't community be about putting down your shield?

House: No, that is where you are mistaken. This shield concentrates power and mirrors it back to others, they can see themselves in its reflection and bask in its glow, they do not have to eat you alive. Creative works are shields.

P: I am not sure I get this exactly.

House: Of course not, try this: there are many ways to be of service, they are all ideas. Every one who is ever a mother must recover from the idea of 24 hour a day, always open service. That kind is special and reserved for your child. The rest of the time you must work with your shield. Sometimes you can transform into a house, a boat, an oasis or a whip, a cave, a closet, a grassy hill, an ice cream soda but you must be sure to know how to keep changing and when to disappear back into nothing. That is what the shield is for. You have a lot to learn about this. P. Yes, I do, Thank you. You didn't say anything about the solitary artist.

House: That is who this is, the man of disparate parts. You'll learn more about him as time goes by if you give him room to grow.


It seems important to say that in the psychic space of the studio process, time doesn't really exist. All images are in a timeless space where any image, regardless of when it was created might join the conversation. I hear next from Virago.

gouache, 5"X7"

This image emerged spontaneously as did its' name: Virago: A manly woman.

Virago: Welcome to chaos. Your job is to remain both calm and balanced, tolerating chaos and trusting it.

P: I see you are balanced even as you are off-balance.

Virago: that's write, ha ha, I mean 'right'. Let the work be drawn from your light.




There are many things going on, many other images. I find myself choosing continually between making my art and doing other things, all of which fall into the category of helping other people. The artist and the art therapist in me are fighting with each other. The next image is about that.

bird and not birdBird and Not-Bird
watercolor, 8"X 8 1/2"


Intention: I return to my practice and reconnect to you, Source. I regain my bearings and the sense of love flowing through me. I am guided about various things confronting me and I learn from them with compassion and discernment.

Witness: The feel of the brush in my hand grounds me immediatelyˇI look around at the chaotic, undated, unfinished work. Okay, let it go. I begin with a blue stain, fascinated to watch it seep into the wet page. Soon it loses its' branching, brain-like shape and fades. I am bored with itˇ.Two figures emerge, a bird and one in a bird-like suit. Both are securely on trees that are grounded off either side of the page. Both look at the figure in mid-air, who is faced away from the robin and

toward the bird-manˇ.(I have a little 'mind-storm' where I go off thinking about a video project I am working on). Suddenly the one on the left, the 'figure-in-bird's clothing' seems like the art therapist and the robin seems like the artist. The figure in the center, a lost piece of selfˇ. (On my desk is a quote from Angeles Arrien from her Tarot Handbook, p. 72: "The bird within our nature is the spiritual essence that is always free, vital and irrepressible. It is the part of our nature that prompts us to let go so we can give birth to greater parts of who we are".) I ask if anyone will speak:

Not-bird: Notice your impulse to focus on the middle figure.

P: So unaesthetic, I want to know it and transform it.

Robin: I want to eat it, it looks like a fat juicy caterpillar to me.

Not-bird: I will take it in and give it shelter; it will fill the empty space inside me and be grateful for the shelter.

Figure: I'm just shit, really a piece of solid undigested energy or matter. I don't really care one way or the other although the not-bird will preserve me in my present form for longer, maybe forever. I am a trophy for her. To the Robin, I am just fuel.


(I download some images of robins and bring the painting into greater focus)

Witness: The robin looks cartoonish but animated. The not-bird kind and contemplative. I feel more compassionate toward it than I did yesterday. I ask the figure in the center to speak.

P: Why are you turned toward the not-bird?

Figure: I feel kindness and yes, a pity or sympathy with my patheticness.

Not-bird: I see your pain, know your pain, I can hold pain.

Robin: Pain, schmain. Let me chew you up and shit you out, you'll feed the earth, the grass, become part of the whole again.

Figure: I'll be annihilated.

Robin: Yep! That's the idea but its like going home, you fall apart into atoms and molecules and then "you" whatever that is, re-forms into something else, maybe you'll fertilize a Jimson weed and become part of a beautiful plant that provides visions and changes the world.

Not-bird: I'll keep you safe. I'll enfold you in my wings, Hashkevenu, I'll shelter you until you feel stronger.

Robin: What are you talking about? Stronger what? A stronger walking shit? A dried out turd frozen in the shape of a pseudo human being?

Figure: That doesn't sound so bad.

Robin: If I eat you, you become part of me, I fly, I sing, I nest and raise young.

Not-bird: If you come to me you will be preserved, cradled, honored. I will talk about you, I will sing about you, you don't have to sing about yourselfˇ.look, I need the figure to live, do you understand? That mirror confirms my worth. The robin is greedy, flighty, hungry, voracious even.

P: Hey trees, what do you say?

Tree: When things stay stuck and solid everything in the world starts to die. Not seasonal death but die-off, you can't afford too many of these stuck and solid places.

Not-bird: You haven't understood me yet or appreciated my value. I am the witness. Witness needs to come before transformation. My work is important too and you do it and know it so stop trying to negate it.



Intention: I learn something and stay alive in the flow.

Witness: Today I notice the red breast of the robin and the empty space in the not-bird.

P: Not-bird, you accused me of not really seeing you clearly, can you speak and explain yourself?

Not-Bird: You hold my emptiness against me and judge me for it. Try to think simply that the figure, that apparition, is my teacher, I can fill myself with its pain and withdraw my focus on my own.

P: So you are using them?

Not-Bird: write with your other hand (I continue my witness with my left hand)

P: Okay you are doing your best. I see your kindness But what if you get stuck and don't let that being transform, and get them addicted to their pain and your comfort?

Not-bird: We are both doing the best we can.

Figure: I am like a peptide seeking a receptor. The robin provides a different option. There really isn't a need to judge.

Virago: JUST NOTICE. When the bird relaxes and learns to fly, she can take a compassionate 'bird's eye view.'

The Studio Pardes Process
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