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Adventures in Art

“Great art is more than a transient refreshment. It is something which adds to the permanent richness of the soul's self-attainment. It justifies itself both by its immediate enjoyment, and also by its discipline of the inmost being. Its discipline is not distinct from enjoyment but by reason of it. It transforms the soul into the permanent realization of values extending beyond its former self."
~Alfred North Whitehead

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Michael Witmer

My turned wood sculptures all originate from a single point.  Around this point on a computer screen, I design a radially-symmetrical pattern, creating a two-dimensional enclosed plane.  Using a wood lathe, I then transpose the two-dimensional pattern into a three spindle rotating around an axis.  (For example, an x turns into a sort of hourglass shape.)  But the transformation from two dimensions to three has polarized the spindle.  I bifurcate it along its axis of rotation, and pivot the two halves around the central point.  Because of the figure’s cross-sectional radial symmetry, the two halves line up at at every axis of radial symmetry on the cross section.  I re-glue the two halves in a new orientation.  The resulting object is no longer polarized and has no up or down orientation.  Instead it has a dancing, lyrical quality.  To be fully appreciated, it must be handled, examined, and its dynamism physically experienced.  To me, each step of the shape’s genesis recapitulates how I imagine Creation unfolding.  Starting from  the ultimate simplicity, each step adds a new dimension, progressing from formlessness to a point, to a line, to a closed regular figure, to a polarized, three-dimensional wooden shape.  With the final twist, the object comes to depict and embody something of the fourth dimension: cyclical, recursive, ever-changing.

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“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
~Alfred North Whitehead

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 About the Artist

Michael Witmer retired in 2016 after a thirty year career practicing law to care for a dying spouse.  His art was borne of that struggle, but it reflected his many years of study and teaching of reconciliation as a moral vision for conflicted communities.  Michael is a Board member of the Cobb Institute.

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Kathleen Reeves

Changing Woman: She changes Everything She Touches and Everything She Touches, Changes.

An artist does not try to control watercolor. Rather, an artist collaborates with watercolor. It is always a surprise to see how the pigment will flow. It is the surprises that make the painting interesting and beautiful.

On the other hand, acrylic is easier to control but it best to surrender to color. I want my paintings to be recognizable but a little wild. Painting teaches me to let go and allow to painting to "become."

Pencil reveals the contrasts between light and shadow.

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Scarlet
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“Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.”
~Alfred North Whitehead

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About the Artist

Kathleen Reeves is a self-taught artist. She works in acrylic, pencil, watercolor, wood, and mixed media. Her favorite medium is watercolor because its unpredictable and difficult to control.

Kathleen serves on the board of the Cobb Institute and leads the Spiritual Integration and the Arts group.

Andre Van Zijl

Emptied of Myself: I am Everything

“The evolution of my work continues to emphasize the artistic and spiritual unity through all expressions of life. My body of work explores the systems of thinking, which, both separate us from each other, and unite us to each other in an interdependent reality.” Andre Van Jijl

Learn about Andre's philosophy of "Sacred Companioning by Making Art" here.

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“Each creative act is the universe incarnating itself as one, and there is nothing above it by way of final condition.”
~Alfred North Whitehead

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“Held in Your Hands, The Dance of Bliss,” Andre van Zijl

Held in Your Hands, The Dance of Bliss,” Andre van Zijl

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About the Artist

As an award-winning artist of international merit, Zimbabwean born artist Andre van Zijl’s work has historically been an artistic commentary on socio-political and global culture from a holistic spiritual standpoint. In his ancestral and adopted homeland, South Africa, he was a victim himself of the political secret police, which has deeply motivated him to give voice to those without a voice. Art to him “is a creative sword for peace.” His work from this era challenged the institutionalized inequities between the privileged wealthy few and the exploited dis-empowered masses, structured as a system of government called apartheid – “apart-hate”. This included other forms of oppressive political power that deny challenging art, cross cultural communication, and democratic spiritual growth. Andre’s art was instrumental as a historical voice of progress and change in this tumultuous period and is represented in many important international museums, public and private collections and numerous publications worldwide. Most recently he was published in the 4 volume series – “100 Years of South African Art “ – by Wits University for the South African National Gallery, 2012

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Dwayne Cole

Poet of the Universe: Flight in the Thin Air of Imaginative Generalization

Dwayne Cole's passion is poetry that is inspired by his daily walks in the beauty and wonder of Alaska. He has been inspired by the wildlife in Alaska and his photographs are visual poems and gifts for us as we read his words.

I do not write my poetry, Nature does.
I walk in the beauty of Alaska, and
Nature whispers secrets to me.
I pen what I hear—Nature is the poet!
~Dwayne Cole
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Pull up a rocker
Outside the snow is falling
Redpolls are calling
~Dwayne Cole
Yellowbird
Love this nuthatch
Glowing like burning match
Let me catch aflame
Love shining on all I meet
Nature is a real treat
~ Dwayne Cole
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Magic Eyes
Spinning universe
Winging through snowy skies
Mystery in eyes
Come I will reveal secrets
Show where mysteries reside
~Dwayne Cole
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pinkbird
Dwayne

About the Artist

Dwayne Cole and his wife, Beth met while they were both in seminary studying for the Master of Divinity degree. Dwayne has also earned a Master of Theology and a Ph.D. in New Testament with a major in Greek. They have an adult son and daughter and two teenage grandchildren.

They came to Alaska in 2011 to be with family. Their daughter and son-in-law came to start their medical practice and needed help with their two children. It was there that he began his Alaska series: Poetry inspired by process theology.

God is in the world, or nowhere, creating continually in us and around us. Insofar as man partakes of this creative process does he partake of the divine, of God, and that participation is his immortality.
~Alfred North Whitehead

Sung Sohn

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“The art of progress is to reserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order”
~Alfred North Whitehead

Why Art for Me?

Alfred N. Whitehead not only inspired my artistic creativity but also, disciplined my artistic process. I'm often engaged in many different artistic pursuits such as oil painting, ceramic art, architecture, and landscaping projects. What often inspires me throughout these pursuits is Whitehead's belief that our environment nourishes our souls. He said, great art “is more than a transient refreshment. It is something which adds to the permanent richness of the soul’s self-attainment.” 

As a trained architect, I see how a Whiteheadian God is also like an architect whose creativity provides the basis for cosmic order and delight. I sense all the way down to my bones, God's cosmic design process, as Whitehead affirms: The Many Become One and are Increase by One. Each stone or brick is metaphysically essential and equally valuable to a whole building. And a built environment as a whole takes each part seriously in dynamic interaction with all of its surroundings. This dynamic integration and cooperation elevate it to become an architectonic whole.

Thus, art making, for me, is more than pleasure seeking. My biological and psychological senses are not positively engaged within stale interior spaces or dull exterior places. As such, I constantly seek to create environments that are soul-nourishing and ecological. For these, I keep searching for organic structure, metabolic pattern, sustainable growth, delightful living place where I can touch, smell, feel alive and engage fully. Such spaces are a vital source of my physiological well-being and sustenance. 

~ Sung Sohn

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About the Artist

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Sung Sohn is a Holistic health educator, CA licensed acupuncturist, practical theologian, ecological/sustainable design consultant. Sung received his Ph.D. from the Practical Theology Department at Claremont School of Theology. He is the founder of Myra House Holistic Living Center (2001), Ecoterra (2007) and Acology Institute (2008). Sung’s first career was as a trained architect, he later became a UMC minister and served the Pacific UMC as the senior pastor, now practice acupunctural and herbal treatment remaining as an independent clergy member. He has taught at the LA Korean Methodist Seminary and leads various workshops and seminars as a visiting lecturer.

The Cobb Institute is a partner with the Becomings Collective.

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Contribute your poetry and other creative endeavors here.