Inspiration can come from things so close that we hardly notice them. Weeding the garden, for example. The exquisite tuft of grass at the center of this triptych, dried to a crisp by the Italian sun, demanded my attention. The sun had transformed its colors to a concert of dusty reds, gray ochers, and brilliant blood orange. My eyes could hardly grasp its beauty. That job would fall to my fingers and a fine sable brush.

I had prepared three collages using my whitewash technique. One, with a layer of cola pen writing under the cloud of chalk, offered its surface to my clump of weeds. You can imagine how the thought of Dürer’s tuft of grass humbled me. He must have been a young man at the time. It took +3 reading glasses to reveal the wonderful world in these slips of dried color. Talk about getting in the zone! An entire afternoon passed as I tried to paint as much detail as I could see.

Cola pen writing fills the left panel of the triptych and a collage of old book pages the right panel. As I finished the collage and pasted the title page of the dismantled book on the central axis, I read these words: “La Vie de la Cellule Végétale.” How do these happy accidents happen?

This triptych has a calm, tranquil air about it. My fingers itched for more action. A fourth collage became a battleground of gestures without words. And then with words. My metal letter stamps channeled this mysterious text from an unknown source: “…more intimate and more heartfelt than the ones that came before. One touch, one stroke, one whisper cannot be compared to another. The nerve endings in fingertips, the resonance of vocal cords, the surface of skin all change with the seasons and with the years. We wake and we sleep, dozing through delights and staring past miracles. The fire must burn to be felt at all.”