Here I tried an experiment combining gouache and pastels. I did the preliminary painting in gouache over graphite, and then I drew with pastels on top of that. By combining the materials, I believe a greater illusion was achieved. Interesting, I will have to try it again. As I was painting this work, a woman and her husband came up and talked to me about it. I told them it was theirs if they wanted it. They had me inscribe it to their granddaughter Jordan.

I set up my easel to paint the Coburg hills, particularly Mt. Baldy, on a pedestrian foot bridge at sunset. When I was a kid I would hike to the top and spend the night. Some parents don’t even let their kids play in the front yard anymore. Have we really become that afraid of each other. People are good. How much in life do we miss out on? How many experiences? All because we have begun to believe the lie; we believe that there are bad people. Others hype this fear and we succumb to it, choosing terror over love.

The illusion of control is as intoxicating as it is inhibiting.

The number one reaction I’ve received regarding doing this peace pilgrimage is “Be SAFE.” Or, “Be careful, there are bad people out there.” Alternately, “The world isn’t like it used to be.”  “You are insane!” “You are gonna die!” I can sum all these into one phrase, “You should fear”. And, it has so many people scratching their heads why I don’t. Statistically speaking the world outside our doorways has never been safer. How exactly does one stay safe anyway??? You could die while sitting on your sofa eating Doritos. Where has this misplaced fear gotten us in the world?  And who exactly is they?

Who is the boogey man? Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Khameini, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-Il, or King Abdullah? These are just men. I could put a million other names in their places; Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Atilla the Hun, Nero, Ramses the Third. Why stop there, fear people too. Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, Priests, North Koreans, Chinese, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Indians, Taliban, Al Qaeda, White Supremist and Arabs. Fear the poor, fear the rich. Fear the government. Ultimately, fearing everyone else is suicide. Kind of an oxymoron. Because truly, what we fear, is really inside of us.

So don’t believe the lie of fear. Surrender to the fact that you can’t be safe. You are not in control. You can’t be careful. But, you can love.

In his book, “Love is Letting Go of Fear”, Dr. Gerald Jampolsky writes, “It is our prayer that as we heal our own minds of fear and negativity, the world we see will be healed along with us. I could see peace instead of going through life with a belief system that our happiness is largely determined by the events in our environment and reactions of other people to us. We need to instruct our minds to change our perceptions of the world and everything in it.” As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Let there be love in the world, and let it begin with me.