17. MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 4 (the dialogs)

The introduction and interview led to a series of weekend discussions in Malibu with Krishnamurti and a small group of 10-15 mostly younger people in the winter of 1968-69.  

I arrived, along with the others, at Mary Zimbalist's Malibu home shortly before 4 in the afternoon on a clear winter Saturday afternoon.  We were invited into the living room to sit on the floor around a low table, with an empty space between the fireplace opposite us.   

There wasn't enough room to accommodate everyone on the floor near the table so those who preferred could sit behind and to the sides on couches and straight padded chairs.  The floors were paved with beautiful Italian floral tiles that enclosed electric heating elements that kept one warm while sitting on the floor.

It was a wonderfully ordered, luminous, and calming environment...

Before the dialogs began, Krishnamurti sat down on a cushion...between the low table and the fireplace.  He would be dressed casually in blue jea…

16. MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 3 (the introduction)

In the fall of 1968, the opportunity to meet Krishnamurti came about through a friendship I had developed with Alan Hooker who ran The Ranch House Restaurant in Ojai and who was an associate of Krishnamurti.  

Earlier in the year I had seen a notice posted on a campus bulletin board that a series of discussions would be held on the teachings of Krishnamurti led by Alan in a conference room in the University Center.

Up to that point, I had been studying Krishnamurti's teachings on my own...reading what I could find.  I was excited to learn that a group was forming to discuss what had become my passion.  Through those interactions, I developed my friendship with Alan.

Alan arranged for me to have an interview with Krishnamurti, in Malibu, where Krishnamurti was living.

A short time before this arranged interview I had attended a public talk by Krishnamurti at Claremont Colleges in Southern California.   Before the talk began, I noticed a man with slick-backed hair, fashio…

15. MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 2 (Krishnamurti and Ojai)

...the first experience

At the suggestion of my art professor, Robert Chuey, I visited Ojai in May 1966 to hear Krishnamurti speak in the oak grove.  

When I got to Meiners Oaks where the talks were held on the west edge of the Ojai Valley, it was love at first sight.  It was one of the most beautiful, inviting places I had ever seen.  It was at once idyllic and magic, and the climate in May has a clear, caressing warmth.  

There was a big grassy field below the oak grove where countless cars were parking.  It was on the grounds of Happy Valley School.  The school was started in the 1940s by Krishnamurti, in association with Aldous Huxley and others, to educate children in a non-competitive, cooperative atmosphere and to avoid the conventional conditioning that turns individuals into automatons. The grounds had originally been the site of the 'Star Camp' where Krishnamurti had given talks since the late 1920s.  

The photo above shows Happy Valley School in the…

14. MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 1 (the beginnings)

When I was growing up, my religious experience consisted of intermittently attending a liberal protestant church with my family...which, apart from the music, the big organ, the stained-glass windows, and the fragrant flowers in the sanctuary, mostly left me cold and feeling alien.   I occasionally went to Sunday school, which I wasn't keen on. 

My true spiritual experience came from camping with my family and being in nature...and that had a big impact on my life in every way imaginable.  My parents treated nature as a sanctuary, a place of worship...and that seemed natural to me.

When I walk alone through the natural environment, in silence, I can feel its pulsing spirit.  I feel a deep communion.

The outdoors never fails to nourish me and give me a sense of well-being.  I love everything about it...the fresh smell of the soil and foliage, the sounds of the birds or a gurgling stream, the roar of the ocean or the falls, the friendly heat of the summer foothills, a…

13. GRADUATE STUDIES IN PAINTING, PART 3 (abstracts in watercolor and the Kite Series)

Oil on canvas was the primary medium with which I was creating the Colored Square Series.  As the series progressed, I became interested in working with layered watercolor washes as Klee and Kurt Kranz had done...

I used the same type of layering of transparent washes to build up subtle color variations.  I experimented with how different pigments affect the color underneath when layered over various colors.  Some pigments are more opaque (like the yellows and the warm red) and lay on top of the color underneath, but some pigments are transparent (like the cool red and the blues) and have a tendency to blend with and stain the color underneath.  In the illustration below, you can see how the staining blue pigments (and cool red) almost obliterate the color underneath...

I created a series of paintings that were based solely on this type of layering transparent colors...
The layers of subtle watercolor washes were painstakingly applied so that they wo…

12. GRADUATE STUDIES IN PAINTING, PART 2 (odds and ends, and other stuff)

In my first year in graduate school, I and several other graduate painting students were given a large communal space as a studio in an old campus barracks building.  We partitioned the studio into separate little cubicles where we individually each worked and which opened up to a central communal space.  In that common area, there was a huge swivel barber's chair on and around which we would meet and have lively discussions about our current work and the art world in general.

It was the first time in the four years I had been at the university that I developed a close camaraderie with fellow art students and it was a special time.  Among the graduate students that I became close to was a talented painter, Joel Janowitz, and we shared two graduate shows together---one each year of our studies.   Joel included a Van Gogh-like portrait of our communal barber's chair.

In the afternoon a group of us graduate painters would often end up at nearb…

11. GRADUATE STUDIES IN PAINTING, PART 1 (the interaction of color)

In the muddled state of mind in which I started my graduate studies in painting, it's not surprising that I was grasping for a direction...any direction.  Up to that point, much of my painting direction in undergraduate studies had been directed by projects assigned by my instructors.  Now I was on my own.
It seemed natural that I start where I had left off, so I began from my Paul Klee and Bauhaus inspired geometric abstract oil paintings...

I was soon experimenting with applying oil paint with rollers in which I could modulate color very subtlely.  For contrast, I masked off stripes that set off the background colors.  These paintings had a soft meditative glow rather than the staccato rhythm of the prior gridded paintings.  You had to spend time with them to appreciate them...

In addition to Paul Klee, I was studying the work of Piet Mondrian and Ad Reinhardt who worked in a square, or squarish, format...


My interest in e…