Spelunk, boom, hold

What a difference a change in your space can make.

I felt an overwhelming urge to move things around on the “dry” (no oil painting) side of my studio this week, and after a couple of hours, I gave in to it. I now have this great central table space.


This means my work in progress doesn’t have to live on the floor. More importantly, I now get a great calm feeling when I enter the room and it feels easier to focus.

On the down side, it meant I unearthed some areas of the studio where I’ve got some old, exhausting stuff to clean out. Like old slides. And folders with notes on old art projects, some of which came to fruition and some of which didn’t. I’ve also got a couple boxes of photographs that I found on the street over the past 30 years and that I always thought I would do something with, but…if I haven’t yet, I probably never will.

Those can all wait a while, but now that I’ve realized how much more energy it gives me to have this stuff cleared and the space tuned up, I will be doing a little bit each week.

Speaking of a little bit each week, as I creep toward finishing my Cluster series, I confirmed (glued) this one, the fourteenth piece.


The last piece in the series is still awaiting its glue (I mistyped that as clue, which is appropriate) since I am not totally sold on one of the groupings of people.

I also decided there is no way I can call this series Cluster, when that is a word I use as a kid-friendly abbreviation of clusterf***. Needless to say, that is not the association I want with my artwork!

I went back to the drawing board – actually the notebook – and wrote out a bunch of possible new titles, which included spelunk, boom, hold, loam, swath, and claim. I went with the farming and gardening references and finally landed on cultivate, then shook it around and came up with cultivation.

So I am now happy to announce my new Cultivation series.

I like how the word references both the seeds and the groups of people. And the connection between the two. The roots of cultivate go back to the Latin word colere, which means to till but also means inhabited land.  Over time it also came to mean both labor and care. That makes sense: what you cultivate, what you care for, what grows.

After moving and renaming things, I got busy cultivating with a hammer: I used up yet another box of nails on these panels.



I have one last piece to do, so I will have to go get more next week.

And finally, I made more progress on these larger Cultivation pieces, eight of which are in the works.


This week, here’s to taking a closer look at what you are cultivating. Spelunk!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

A. David Griffinreply
December 5, 2015 at 3:01 am

Thank you. I enjoyed learning of your process for entitling this series. I’ve been visiting MOA sites for pieces but still find your entriguing as a medium to convey the tensions which accompany the context and content of Church Planting — which is what my book is about. Thanks for the definition also, if I use it I’ll be sure to cite you.

December 5, 2015 at 1:22 pm
– In reply to: A. David Griffin

Thanks very much! I always enjoy digging around in the etymology of words, with their layers of meaning. I can see why cultivate would really speak to you and your mission. Best of luck with your book!

A. David Griffinreply
December 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm
– In reply to: tallpainter

How might I be able to possibly use one of your pieces as a cover? I beginning to be drawn more to the Cuktuvate pieces than the All In pieces. I usually prefer more color but the more k consider the dynamics involved with cultivation I can see how your pieces would be more appropriate.

December 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm
– In reply to: A. David Griffin

I would be happy to have you use one of them. Let’s talk further via email.

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