Saturday, September 1, 2012


The above photo is of a collage from a series entitled "Mandalas" by Douglas De Vivo. I had the opportunity to visit with him today at  the Fine Eye Gallery in Sutter Creek and he described to me his process. We also talked about attending school, what his studio was like, what materials he uses to make his collages, and what his art means to him. In discussing his art we both agreed that there were lots of hidden meanings in our art and underneath the multitude of layers there are also hidden meanings too. Some he remembers, some he doesn't. It's a process. He layers and layers until it feels right. The post card I picked up at his opening says this: 
"My collages are intended to hit people on different levels causing one to be drawn in, engaged, constantly surprised and never able to see it all." "Like the ancient symbols for which they are named, these collages are a metaphor for the complex levels of conscious and unconscious within each of us."

In a book I am reading (The I of the Storm) I found a correlation with what Douglas De Vivo says and this quote: "Quantum physicists assert that in any given moment, infinite possibilities are present. Some go as far as to say that there are infinite universes coexisting. The moment you act as if something is so, the universe of infinite possibilities collapses into one inevitable happenstance. When you look at something and say, 'This is what it is,' you are pouring your creative energy (attention and awareness) into that specific perception. The moment your awareness locks on to one possibility, all other universes collapse."

How we see things comes from what we believe. We live in an unlimited universe where everything is possible. We just have to believe that it is so. When we find ourselves believing in the lack of possibilities, we need to shift our beliefs. It is only difficult because we don't have what it takes at that moment to manage it differently. On page 112, the author (Gary Simmons) offers this advice: "What do I need that I don't have (or didn't have) which would permit me to be present to the judgment, without needing to be right or make the other person wrong? " not reacting to the judgment to make the other person wrong, you have the opportunity to create greater cohesiveness or intimacy when your focus shifts from self-protection to mutuality and shared purpose." 

I am constantly amazed at how I can read something one day, go to an art gallery and see a piece of art and discuss it, and then find some sort of common thread that runs from one thing to the next. And I am always aware that when it is happening it is never by accident. There is always a Higher purpose for what comes "through" for me. I think that is one of our purposes in see the connection and the thread that runs through each one of us. "You live from wholeness when you are connected to life." (p 102) 

Douglas De Vivo's collages display that place "where the viewer can visually peel away layers revealing new and ever-changing stories and perspectives." Simple, isn't it? This complex life we lead is really that simple too. We only need to peel away all the layers in our life that cause us conflict in order to see the situation clearly. We need to understand that "there is nothing that is without movement, without change. Every single thing is either coming into existence, developing, decaying, or going out of existence. Change and movement are the heartbeat of the universe." (p.55)

As I mentioned at the beginning, everything happens to me for a reason, as it does to everyone. Today, I woke up, attended a Tai Chi class for the first time where I was being taught how to find my balance and energy. Then, I drove over to the gallery where Douglas De Vivo's collages had a lesson all their of exploring life in layers on paper. I came home and received a phone call where I was told about "The Four Agreements" based on writings of don Miguel Ruiz. Then, I picked up my book. Again, to quote the book: "Any worthwhile endeavor begins as an idea and ends with an outer accomplishment."
Embrace the possibilities!!


  1. wow....what a cool collage...i could look at that for a while

  2. This is a wonderful post. I must read that book. It coincides with where my own thoughts are and have been for some time. It's always interesting to find things that dovetail with and support the ideas we're working on. The Four Agreements changed my life. It's been an indispensable guide, as they say, to achieving peace in my relationships and all areas of my life. I love that you've posted this morning, just as I was reaching for a greater cohesiveness to life. Perfect ideas to do just that. Art certainly can provide a catalyst for these things, and I love that your day brought together ways to recognize it. And then you shared it with us. You angel, you. :)

  3. Teresa Evangeline: I'm so glad that you "got" it too. Only you have even a better way of saying so! Dovetailing is exactly what happens, doesn't it? Funny, in all my life I had never heard of "The Four Agreements" and so for it to come through for me yesterday at that particular time was just incredible! I think that we all look to find that cohesiveness that you refer to. Thanks for commenting. It is always so good to hear from you and read your blog too.

    Brian...I did exactly just that. I was there looking for the longest time, questioning the artist in person, and just basically in awe of his work. Thanks!

  4. That is a very cool collage indeed.

    I've heard about that infinite universe concept. I don't know how I feel about it though :) The selfish part of me wants to think that MY life is unique. And the other part, well it would love the chance for some endings to have been written differently.

    A choice thing.

  5. I have the Four Agreements and it is well worth the time it takes to read...and then some. Very wise words.

  6. You will love the Four Agreements. This is a very thought provoking post. Thank you, Mary Helen

  7. "there is nothing that is without movement, without change. Every single thing is either coming into existence, developing, decaying, or going out of existence. Change and movement are the heartbeat of the universe." yes, i love this. it's our heartbeat as well and the reality of our own physical existence. it's the concept behind the shiva nataraj statue and the hindu trinity of brahma (the creator) vishnu (the sustainer) and shiva (the destroyer).

    love the collage too, it is truly thought provoking, especially combined with your post.

    i absolutely believe what we focus on manifests - which is why i struggle to not worry and project that worry into the future. luckily when i'm not worrying i feel i get very clear directives- having the courage to follow them is another challenge entirely. i will soon be posting about just that!