Finding your happiness

While I fully subscribe to the idea that we are ultimately one (universally linked). I do believe we all have different life purposes and plans that stimulate and make life on the planet function. Everyone is important and everyone has a place. For many it can take 20, 30 or in my case 40 years to figure out what that purpose or place in the world is, sadly some never do. But when you finally do, all of life aligns around you and carries you forward.

The answers too many of life’s decisions are not really found in the head which we all know is driven by the ego but on the level of subtle feelings. Sadly most of the time these feelings are so subtle you can’t even feel them (internally hear them) over the roar of every day life. That is when the taking of a few minutes out, can save you days, months and even lifetimes of problems.

How many times have you set your heart on something or even someone, only to time and time again come up against resistance on your quest. I have come to know that if something becomes too hard to achieve it really wasn’t meant to happen. In the past I would simply climb over these obstacles and not notice the warning signs. Then without fail when ever I finally obtained the desired thing? That’s when my problems really began, I would be totally unaware that all this time I had been swimming against the flow of life. I just couldn’t understand why every time I got something I thought I wanted, more Problems would unfold than I ever had before, conflicts, stress, debt and ultimately at some point loss and heart ache.

Then I would kid myself by saying that I’d really learnt my lesson on that, and go straight off in search of some other unobtainable item to make my world complete. My personal life was just a non relenting struggle that seemed to drain my life energy away.

Then finally one day I woke up to the fact that life really didn’t have to be so hard, this constant grasping for things was pointless and making for a very bumpy ride. I had to just go with the flow and stop listening to the demanding and ultimately clueless ego.

Now one thing I think is important to point out, is that going with the flow does not mean your just doing what others want and being pulled along by the great tide of common thinking. Your life flow may at times join with others but ultimately it is separate and special to you. You must pay attention to your feelings and not always assume the majority has any more clue than you. For example have you ever had that feeling that you are totally alone in a large group or crowd, well I believe that is your true feelings letting you know that these people are not for you and it’s time to move on

Life is rather uncomplicated we are born, we live and we die. Everything else that attempts to slow stop or divert that process is ultimately futile, so rather than spending the whole time grasping and missing everything, why not just layback, take pleasure in the view and see where the flow of life takes you. I’m living proof that my life flow has become far more interesting than anything my ego ever had to offer.

Thoughts on the G word

No other word on the planet has provoked so many different emotions as the word God. This word has instilled as much love and peace, as it has hate and war.

The comprehension of the incomprehensible has challenged and beguiled the hearts and minds of men and women since time began.

More money has been raised in the name of God than for any other reason.

Both the aggressor and the aggressed claim God is on their side.

To some the concept of God is simply an outdated notion followed by fools; God plays no part in these peoples lives. To others, God is with them every second of every day. They exist to spread the word to those who see God as an outdated notion followed by fools.

Rational discussion on God it would appear is almost impossible, to attempt to do so can leave educated men and women scrapping like children in a play ground over a doll.

Once most men feared God, now most men fear those that believe in him.

Many would say fanatics from both religion and science have made this a very dangerous world. In their obsessions to prove or disprove the existence of God they have tipped mankind closer and closer to oblivion. Even the most impartial of human watchers must question. How the  most God-filled can act in the most God-less of ways.

My personal view…

 When I take out my grandfathers’ pocket watch to marvel at its workmanship, seldom do I wonder how it was made or wish to take it apart to see how it works. Nor do I think on its creator, I simply am happy to know it exists and give thanks for my time with it. My View of the universe is exactly the same. I do however believe that Man’s Knowledge of everything seen and unseen, known and unknown is so minuscule, that for us to proclaim certainties on anything is the height of arrogance and shows a blind certainty that is unbecoming of both science and spirituality .

Below is a set of personal observations inspired by many hours of contemplation on the repetitive mistakes of mankind. Despite our race, colour or creed we are all transfixed by the idea that life would be perfect if we could just do this or that. It’s not sexy but ‘Life just is’, all the commotion and emotion is just window dressing that has been employed to sow discontent and create a workforce of desperate and disenfranchised people.

Below I state an observation and unfold it a little on the next line

Despite all world and personal history has taught us we still Seek comfort and happiness in stuff.
Material junk clutters homes, minds and landfills.

Look for validation in crowds.
Scratch the surface do the famous look happy?

Flutter around the glow of despair.
Watch, read, listen and discuss the news.

Believe salvation is found in another.
Friends, lovers, priests and politicians.

Mine for answers in scripture and books
Dissect literature in order to support our cause.

Wrap ourselves in blankets of noise.
Most fear the silence where peace resides.

Try to build a world around solid facts?
Science is no more solid than anything else.

Rage against our place in the world.
Scenery seldom heals a misplaced perception.

Fight against everything we hate.
What you oppose grows.

Deny who we are.
The result of billions of years of Universal energy in flux

Seek wisdom.
Self wisdom is overlooked in favour of something more exotic.

Defend our beliefs
Billions of hours have been wasted on hateful arguments, debates and Wars to defend our ephemeral notions such as these that give our ego driven mind a kingdom in which to reside .

We all do at least some of these, even if most of us really should better and that is the true folly of Man.

Overpopulation

Note the following blog is on a topic few wish to discuss or even raise, I believe it is the most important subject facing mankind today. I fully understand that when it comes to the subject of overpopulation every possible solution will upset or outrage someone.

Mankind will cull any species that it deems is having a negative impact on the planet or other creatures. Yet no one dares utter any methods to stop us eating and drinking ourselves out of existence because all options are political dynamite.

Maybe Beyonce would record a new version of her song ‘Should have put a condom on it’ in order to raise awareness that the planet doesn’t need yet more children. Like hell she would, no one would dare. Sterilisation, Abortion Euthanasia these are all words people avoid like the very plague that is long overdue to cut us down to size.

People want Kids it is genetically our only purpose, but some of us have decided not to have them because we simply can not see a quality of life in the future worth having if we do. People separate their plastic and cardboard in order to make a difference but that’s chicken feed to the ultimate green action not having children. I don’t care if you believe in global warming or cooling but even the biggest thick head on the planet must understand Earth cannot sustain an ever-growing population.

So what to do? Well, it seems that generally speaking, we refuse to believe death is a part of the circle of life. We demand that our doctors in the UK keep everyone alive no matter what the quality of life they are forced to endure. As sick as it may sound we can’t even look to World War to reduce our numbers, our weapons have become far too effective for their own good and are generally to destructive to the environment of our world, So options are very limited not to mention ugly. We either agree to stop having children on mass for a given time to create a breathing space for the planet, or we start forced mass sterilization. I can hear the screams already you sicko you nazi etc etc. Unless we can talk about this depressing subject in a level-headed way and take proactive action your children or your children’s children’s will face mass starvation anyway, or at ‘best’ a Mad Max style world of fighting over dwindling reserves of food, fuel, space and water.

The unspoken truth is that most people really don’t give a crap about their children or their children’s children they just want what they want. They want children in the same way they want the next BMW or smartphone. Sure they will never admit it but lets face it for most in the western world Children are often just another attempt to fill their personal void or give some reason to their lives perceived pointless existence.

When you see the poor starving people on the TV the best thing we could do is move in and euthanise them all, but that would be evil, sick and twisted, far better to try to keep them alive so they can fight and struggle always dancing on the edge of oblivion that’s the humane thing to do. We keep the sick and terminally ill alive to suffer just as long as we don’t have to see it first hand. We drug our terminally ill as far as legally possible so they won’t suffer as much. What exactly is Humane about given a few more hours, days, weeks to a human struggling for life in a bed?. The Truth is we dare not or legally can not do the Humane thing and simply and respectfully put them to sleep. Our laws are an arse because they are made by fit and well people who believe they will live forever, not those riddled with pain tossing and turning in a piss filled bed. So we end up treating our beloved pets when it comes to pain and death better than our own Kin.

So in truth, as we can not even mention overpopulation we have to leave the problem to the Planet, God’s or random space rocks or an effective plague. That way when millions die we can all cry and weep at the loss, while secretly given thanks, as we know those deaths were sadly needed and at least we had no hand in it.

Search this topic on the web and you will find websites that actually advocate suicide in order to save the planet. I dare say extremist eco-warrior somewhere are trying to produce some culling pill or worse. I don’t want to die right now, but there will come a time when living will have lost it’s appeal or simply have become too painful, can we not at least start solving our overpopulation problem by giving those that want a way out a quick and relatively painless option.

Every Trekkie knows ‘the needs of the many out way the needs of the few’. The Question is who are the many and who are the few? Would a billion, two billion dyeing save the future of humanity? and if so for how long. Who right now on planet earth really wants to live and who really wants to die?

We all know It’s pointless me going on as the topic is to Taboo, a so we will carry on destroying our home until someday all that will be left is a husk, On which the living will finally and truly envy the dead.

A Final Thought
Modern Man is in denial of so many things and generally displays a complete apathy to any topic that doesn’t affect it’s limited circle of important friends or family. We hide behind the sofa when it comes to all the difficult subjects of life, we hope someone else will figure it out and take the blame if it goes wrong or is deemed unpopular. We Like the biblical Peter deny our own believes more than three times daily as we don’t wish to offend others, or fear being seen out of step with conventional politically correct thinking. We are all ultimately living an unsustainable lie, our only hope is we will die before it gets to bad, or we actually have to stare into the eyes of the future generation that we have so obviously failed. So separate your paper and plastic if it makes you feel good but don’t think you’re buying your kids any more time. Your children need, all humanity needs real action NOW, but in truth it is the action none of us have the balls to take.

A worldwide pragmatic approach must be agreed on and implemented soon, but be sure whatever is agreed most people won’t like it.

It’s ok to say Life Sucks

Some days you can wake up and nothing you try goes right. Sure you could put a positive spin on whatever happens, but sometimes it just better to say ‘Today sucked’ and move on it’s just life happening and it’s seldom personal.

Take George (St George) one day he woke up full of the joys of spring, his Jousting team had won a match last night so he was really feeling good about himself. Then on the way to a sword practice a large or should i say humongous dragon came out of nowhere and started call him names, like shorty and pepper pot head. George didn’t want to fight the dragon, he like animals and had been a vegan for five years, but the dragon kept up the name calling. When the dragon finally got to the ‘Your mothers so fat jokes’ George finally snapped and the rest as they say is history

Do you feel like a Zero?

Today my wife and I where up in town, when we saw in a doorway a young homeless man hugging a very old dog in a blanket. We asked him if we could get anything for his dog, he told us some food which we did. We got him some cans of food, water and gave him a little money. The man was very polite and grateful. While many would judge him as less than, my wife and I are both only to aware how few steps there are to ending up on the street.

Most people walk pass this man oblivious to his predicament and often so do we. Yes there are a thousand reason why this man and his dog ended up on the cold street floor and yes even the fact that it was a scam crossed my mind. In honesty I did not see a liar before me just a desperate soul who loved his dog in a world that didn’t care.

Despite giving a little money to the luckless of our world few of us are brave enough physically or emotionally to do much more. For many of us life is hard enough without taking on yet more problems and pain. I fully understand this and I know that the few pounds I toss the lost’s way, will make little, if any difference at all or maybe for that day, hour or minute it will who knows. I work on the principle  that even the most basic random act of kindness is better than no kindness at all.

Today I site typing on a Mac book pro in a warm home, but I’m fully aware that most of us are just a few pay cheques away from the street.

I found this great little video today so I thought i would just share it with you. If you feel less than or isolated from everything, you may enjoy it as it confirms what i know to be true everything is possible, despite what anyone says.

Zero from Zealous Creative on Vimeo.

Alan Watts

Over the past years I have listened to many great speakers but none have resonated with me as much as Alan Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) a brilliant philosopher, writer, and speaker from England who is best known, if he is known at all as an interpreter of Eastern philosophy.
Over the years of meeting many thousands of spiritual seekers, it has amazed me how few people have ever heard of this great man. I can only conclude that this is because to use his own words ‘He had nothing to sell’. You see while Alan did have his own belief system his talks never really pushed them on people. Yet I guess you could say he pointed the crowds he spoke to in a certain direction but he was never dogmatic about what he presented and it seemed always happy and willing to laugh at all concepts with his most infectious laugh.

Very few speakers on the world stage of spirituality present information for the public to make of it what they will. Even the people that I greatly admire like Eckhart Tolle push a certain way of thinking as the one and only truth. I guess it is fair to say Alan was always pointing to the East as having more of the answers to the big questions than the west. I suppose it could be said he opened people up to a different way of thinking rather than proclaiming he had found the answers to all man’s ills.

Alan was pointing out man’s jackboot on the throat of the natural world long before ‘eco’ became sexy. He was also one of the few that pointed to the foolish nature of science, religion and much which is considered to be ‘normal’.

Alan presented his talks in the way a school teacher who is well liked by his pupils would, full of unconventionality and humor. While like most people his personal life could be picked over by the moral brigade as being far from A1, that should not lessen his impact or your enjoyment of what he has to say.

The simple wonder of listening to a man who loved to talk about what interested him passionately is what matters to me. Below are a few animated videos, but If you want to really get stuck into Alan I suggest you subscribe to the Alan Watts podcast which presents many great recordings made by his son Mark Watts this can be found on itunes or on alanwatts.com/ – Enjoy

And very often it seems to me that reality appears rather much as the world is seen on a bleak Monday morning. – Alan Watts

My Quick History in digital Art

I have been creating digital art since way back in 1993. During my time living in the USA, I got a basic grounding in computers and desktop publishing at The Art Institute of Seattle. In those days there were no consumer digital cameras, so we used film cameras and then scanned the images into the computers for editing. My first digital software program was Coreldraw 3, which was fundamentally a vector graphic program that also had photo paint on it, a basic version of something like photoshop.  While at the Institute I also used Photoshop2 a little but was never able to afford a personal copy. Unlike most digital creatives at that time I did not use an Apple Mac and stayed a PC user till 2008, this once again was more to do with money than it was any great allegiance to Microsoft.

While the internet has been around for many years, it was not till the early 90’s that everyday mortals with little computer knowledge could really start using it. I started surfing the net in late 93 with America Online (AOL), I found it captivating but very very slow. While i was at the beginning of surfing for the Masses, I wouldn’t create my own website for my work until 1998. From 93 to 97 I played with digital art on and off but still created most of my work using conventional media like acrylics and pastels.

It wasn’t until 97/early 98 that technology became affordable enough for me to create 100% digitally.  My true digital path started when I got my first Digital Camera an Olympus Camedia C-420L. It’s amazing to look back at what got me so excited then, a simple fixed lens camera with a maximum image size of  640 x 480 pixels. While the quality of the picture may seem almost laughable now this for me at the time was cutting-edge technology. It was obvious that digital was the future and i never used a film camera again. It makes me smile how adamant film photographers where in those days that digital would never catch on, I have always believed it foolish to bet against technology.

As Equally important to me as the camera purchase, was finally getting my own copy of Adobe Photoshop 4, now the fun could really begin.
My main subject matter for the next  8 years was the female form from 3d fantasy figures to real life Glamour and erotica photography. At first, i would create fantasy females from fashion pictures I found on  royalty-free picture discs. I would crudely modify and extract these and then placed them in scenes i had taken with my camera.  This was not very satisfactory as the models where seldom in the right poses or very glamourous. I wanted to create 3d fantasy warriors like the ones i had so admired growing up in comics, what i was creating was rather poor but it was all a learning curve. My website was reviewed in a new UK magazine Digital Photo it was less than complimentary with a throwaway comment like ‘this guy should get out more’. That was the point I realised that the mainstream media would never get me or what i do.  I realised i needed another piece of software and i soon discovered metacreations Poser which pushed me nearer my goal. This software program was truly unique at the time creating 3d women and men.  While they were far from realistic looking they did give me full posing ability and zero copyright problems.
The 3d bug had taken hold and for a while, I left my camera on the shelf. Next, I needed to create worlds for my women to live in, So I started using Bryce and then later Vue Esprit which were 3d terrain builders. Then I had to start building weapons and robots for my femme fatales, for this i use Maxons cinema 4d a professional but not outlandishly priced 3d modeling software….. My time with 3d was short lived just a couple of years and I often wish I had kept on the path of 3D but the real world beckoned again.

A model had seen my 3d vampire pictures and wanted to know If I could turn her digitally into a vampire, I said I didn’t see why not. Soon I was standing in a studio for the first time shooting a topless model (It’s a funny old world :-)) with my latest digital camera which I think was a Minolta Dimage. Thankfully She liked the results and before I new it I was being approached by other models via word of mouth to do similar stuff. At the time I could not think of a greater job a man could have than being a glamour photographer. So I taught myself studio lighting and became a full-time glamour photographer.  I worked with many top and aspiring models and for a while (5 years) its was great but in the end, the novelty wore off.

Once I gave up Glamour my life took another change, I went on a spiritual search for the meaning of life, As you do.  On my journey, I got into creating complex full colour Visionary Art which both I and others used for meditation and contemplation. I sold my work up and down the UK at mind body and soul shows giving talks and doing interviews. I met some very wonderful people, as well as some real charlatans who preyed on the lost and the needy.  After 6 years I called off my Spiritual search having discovered what I needed to know about myself and my view of the universe.

In late 2012 I decided that my work had become as confusing as the world I was living in. So I decided to strip out everything in my work that added to the universal hum. I became if you like a bit of a digital Minimalist, for the first time in years I really began to enjoy the creative process again, I love the Visionary work but I never felt I had much personal control over the outcome of them.
First to go was colour, as a lover of nature my work had always been very colourful but in truth, we all see colour and perceive it in different ways and in different tones. Next went detail, a brain is an amazing tool, it requires far less information than we think to understand a situation. One of the challenges is to see just how much detail and form one can leave out and still convey a message or emotion.  I use AdobeIllustrator andd Adobe Photoshop for all my current work, oh yes and cheetah3d to build basic models that I then turn into 2d images.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg of my life in art but for now, as Forest Gump would say ‘That’s all I’ve got to say about that’

When Your Truth is not Welcome

Not all truth is welcome, more and more it seems people in power or show business who speak their truth are forced a few days later to apologise or even resign because their remarks have offended someone somewhere, this is very sad. It means that inner truth is not equal and that freedom of speech is not truly supported. This can only make for a world of candy-coated liars who only say what they think you want to hear.

Because all inner truths are not considered equal we have a world where many can’t express their opinions in public, they must go underground or keep their ideas locked up inside, this can be very dangerous and this is no doubt how ‘radical’ groups are formed. Also, this is why many people commit suicide unable to live or speak their truth because they are deemed too far out or taboo. Once again how many men or women of history have fallen into the freaks category for their time only now to be deemed Great. So how many great minds do we lose every year simply because their truth is out of step with the times?

The world we have constructed is not built on truth it is built on complete fantasy, what we have done is create a schizophrenic world where what you say and how you act is purely moderated by who you are with. We are all actors in a play of total deception, wearing masks to hide who we are and what we truly believe, It is no wonder so many are lost in addiction.
So it seems Jack Nicholson was right society probably can’t handle the truth.

Digital art – Basic info

Note much of below is now outdated

This Blog has been created for the many people who have asked me over the years looking for guidance on how to create digital Art. It is intended for those that have little or no prior knowledge on the subject. It is not a tutorial on how to create digital art, there are many such tutorials on the web and they are easy to find once you have decided on the particular type of software you wish to use.

What you should know about digital art
It is a general misconception among people who know nothing about digital art that it is easy. They often believe that computers do it all and people that use such programs have little artistic skill. With the exception of some fractal programs, virtually all drawing and paint programs require 100% human input. Many have steep learning curves and most demand the same artistic skill required for their real world counterparts. These programs can speed up the creative process and often they have effects that can be applied to images that if done manually would take a long time or be virtually impossible. The bottom line is if you can’t paint or draw then a paint or drawing program really won’t change that reality.  Yes you could take a photo and give it an artistic effect and then claim you’re a digital artist but it wouldn’t really be true, would it.

Digital art and photography is highly addictive and for those with creative imaginations, it opens up unlimited possibilities. But I’m sure the first time you open one of these programs your heart may sink, as seldom what you can achieve with them is obvious.

Types of Digital Art
Digital art is a general term that covers all the ways of producing visual art on a computer. Below are the most common three ways of creating artwork.

1) Photo manipulation or Photo editing software
This software helps you to manipulate photos from digital cameras or scanners. These photographs are often called bitmap or Raster images, they are made up from many tiny parts which are called pixels. The software lets you edit these pixels so radically that everyday photos can be turned into a totally original and unrelated work of art.
2) Graphic Programs
Often called vector software these programs are used to create illustrations and logos by editing and combining conventional shapes or objects, or by creating your own complex shapes. A single illustration can be made up of a great many combined objects. Vector images, unlike bitmaps, use far less memory and they often present a far smoother image when viewed close up.
3) 3D modeling programs
3D graphics are similar to vector graphics in that finished images are often created from many combined geometric shapes and curves. That said 3d programs can produce objects in many different ways. 3D software requires a lot of computing power and is the least like any real-world art form, by that i mean skills as a conventional artist have very little relevance here until the final stages of 3d creation when 3d  models are painted.

Many digital artists myself included creating works by sometimes combining all the above software types. That said there are also those who will only ever use one paint or drawing package and achieve everything they need.
Digital art software is seldom cheap and I would never recommend buying any software without first using a trial. The price of software like photoshop is a major outlay, i have been using photoshop since version 4 and still recommend it. That said I’m fully aware that much of what it can achieve is now duplicated by much more sensibly priced software, so look around for a program that will meet your needs.
After a lifetime on a pc I now use a mac and love it.  Please don’t believe the BS from the graphics world you can be just as creative on a PC and in fact, there are many more digital art programs for the PC than the Mac.
Few words final of advise:-
Digital art should be fun it should not be about technology it should be about you and your creative vision. There will always be people that produce great work that you will stand in awe at. The trick is not to try and be other people but be yourself. If you work hard at your craft you will in time find an audience for your work. You can read all the manuals on the earth but i recommend you just load up the program and play until it all starts to make sense. Yes these programs will crash from time to time, but you can’t break the software by using it. So what are you waiting for? download a trial and dive in.

Some links to Digital Art software I’ve used over the years

www.adobe.com

www.corel.com

www.pixelmator.com

www.xara.com

www.indeeo.com/idraw/

www.artrage.com

www.cheetah3d.com

www.daz3d.com

usa.autodesk.com