The sky is brilliant blue, the azure waves calm as our ship glides across the Indian Ocean.
I have had the good fortune to be on almost every continent and at least once around the globe. Travel is an excellent teacher. Perhaps the very best. If you are non-judgmental and open to the experience you will discover that people are exactly the same no matter where on the globe you may interact with them. Race, color, religion, nationality …none of these things matter much. These are merely artificial divisions created by people with an agenda. Hatred and bigotry is easy. These are times when it's more important than ever to remember this.
We went to India (Delhi and Agra) for an extra few days just to see the Taj Mahal. It's a pain to get to as it is a minimum of 3 1/2 hours by private car from Delhi …but it is worth every minute... I can say without reservation that it is worth any inconvenience just to experience this marvel of art and architecture in person. The Taj Mahal presents the highest Islamic art tradition frozen in stone and time. It is strictly symmetrical in every direction and measure and the quality of the stone workmanship is almost superhuman. The design that covers every square inch is not paint...it is cut and inlaid stone and gems. Twenty-two years and twenty-two thousand artisans created this marvel. I would be honored to shake the hand of each one.
A visit to a Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka allowed us to experience both a calm, soothing environment in the heart of a hectic city and be surrounded by classic Buddhist notions of architecture, sculpture and painting. Again, the wall art and sculpture were literally breathtaking at every turn. Having to walk around in bare feet on steaming paving stones was a very small price to pay. Did I mention it was 96 degrees?
We were later privileged to experience the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman. This 2001 building is the quintessential expression of modern Islamic art and architecture. Rigid symmetry, clean uncluttered overall exterior shapes with stunning, almost impossibly elaborate details in mosaic, glass and wood and my personal passion: the second largest single carpet in the world. We own a couple of outstanding Persians including an antique 12x18 foot that I consider our prized possession. I think of these hand made carpets as “art” in every sense of the word.
Last year, we published a 30th Anniversary Book
for my Studio. This was a really good opportunity to take a look at where things have been and, perhaps more importantly, where they are going. I do like cars, but I don't really like pictures of cars. I am far more attracted to the interaction of the vehicle with people and the immediate environment. This is why I am always thinking about potential paintings no matter where I find myself on the globe. A very experienced traveler, I am attracted almost exclusively by exotic locations.