Black Swan Editions Visionary Art Book
Books Drawn from the Well of Myth

BLACK SWAN EDITIONS
Visionary Art Books & Poetry in Santa Fe, NM

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Art BLOG - The FIVE Minute Art Salon

Salzburg

Top of the Monchsberg in Salzburg, Austria in June 2016.  Hope Reed and Steven E. Counsell, visionary artist/author

Steven E. Counsell & Hope Reed

Seeking Inspiration

Steven E. Counsell and Cark-Michal Krawczyyk in Salzburg AustriaSteven E. Counsell, Artist/Author, with Carl Michal Krawczyk, Author, touring in Salzburg Austria last June 11, 1916

What is a Path to Alchemy?

alchemy of the everyday 01THE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting in visionary art book, "ILLUMINATIONS THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION", pages 194-197      by Steven E. Counsell, Black Swan Editions, Santa Fe New Mexico USAWhat Is A Path To Alchemy?

As an artist, for close to five decades I’ve been an alchemist. I literally change one form into another. Metamorphosis is all I’ve ever been about. There are many names for this: myth, fantasy, symbolism, surrealism, even language itself (one of its ultimate forms).

 

 

 

 

 

 

alchemy of the everyday, painting detailALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail, pages 194-197 in visionary art book "ILLUMINATIONS The Geography of the Imagination", by Steven E. CounsellBut let’s deal with what most of us think we know about alchemy, turning lead to GOLD. Lead, a base metal, an analogue of the human condition, unrefined, dull, coarse, selfish, un-imaginative. GOLD, bright, brilliant, fanciful, to go from lead to gold is to go from the unenlightened to the enlightened.

 


alchemy of the everyday, painting from visionary art bookTHE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail from visionary art book "ILLUMINATION THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION''                                  by Steven CounsellEnlightenment is one of alchemy’s obvious metaphors, but as Joseph Campbell pointed out if you get stuck in the literal you will forget the symbolic. Lead to Gold. Were there Alchemical practitioners that really thought their early proto-chemistry could achieve this precious transformation? Of course!

 

 

ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting from visionary art bookTHE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail from visionary art book "ILLUMINATION THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION''                                   by Steven by CounsellAnd in one case, an alchemist in Germany promised a Prince he could in fact turn lead to gold. Though intense heat, ground bone, and dumb luck he managed to discover instead, Porcelain. This broke the Chinese monopoly and brought into being the Meissen ceramic works, making the Prince obscenely rich. The Alchemist was put into prison for his trouble - after all he had not turned lead to gold. White gold, as porcelain came to be known, was apparently not good enough. The Prince and the Alchemist both got stuck in the metaphor. Throughout history most have.

 

 

ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail from visionary art bookTHE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail from visionary art book "ILLUMINATION THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION''                                      by Steven E. CounsellBut philosophically what is alchemy really? In its simplest construction to make science sacred, or make the sacred scientific. Let me explain. As far back as the Sumerians and certainly the classical Greeks alchemy has been a fixed longing in the human psyche. Even though alchemists proper have been primarily male, alchemy's evolving philosophy has been curiously matriarchal, goddess centered. To whit - the balanced harmony of earth, air, fire and water. It’s so obvious, earth, literally the ground of ones being. Air (pneuma) the breath of life. Fire is the sun. And our star makes life possible. Water is what we are made of and what we must have. To the alchemists this is sacred science, and truly if this is not the source of the sacred what is?

 


Alchemy of the Everyday, painting detail from visionary art bookTHE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting detail from visionary art book "ILLUMINATION THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION''                                   by Steven E. CounsellAll the alembics, vacuum chambers and furnaces were an attempt to understand how all these forces interacted, science still does, but generally without humility or the sacred. Symbolically all of this translated to a more evolved perception, not just the obvious mechanics of greed. Carl Jung’s passion for alchemy was just this, what-is-the-empirical-source-of-the-sacred.

 

 

 

 

 

 


alchemy of the everyday, painting, visionary artTHE ALCHEMY OF THE EVERYDAY, painting from visionary art "ILLUMINATIONS The Geography of the Imagination" pages 194-197As we slide into an ethically narrowed race to the unknown trajectory of high tech, and the doctrinaire cliché’s of that old time religion, where is the wonder, the awe, the transfiguration of our essential humanity? Unity and sacredness in the final analysis is truly what alchemy is all about.

 




Zurich is delicious

Zurich konditeri

 

Delightful afternoon tea in Zurich, Switzerland.

 

A Curse To Gravity, Or Is It ?

ROSE OF MEMORY, painting detailROSE OF MEMORY, Painting detail from visionary art book  "ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination", pgs 140-143 A Curse To Gravity,
Or Is It ?

We are as static and heavy as lead. We are dead in the paranormal transport of dull flesh and dim objects to trans-luminescent wonder. When we float in our dreams we only dream we are awake. Things only sit quietly if we sit quietly with them, otherwise they are a riot in search of a reason. And reason alone will not make them behave. When things only dance within the narrow confines of our pedagogy they beat us to death with their consistency. Dare an abnormal life come fly with me.

Read more at
The 5-Minute Art Salon (visionary art blog):
What is MYTH?
Can A Cure Of Curves Work?
What is VISIONARY ART?

http://www.blackswanedition.com

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog



Do You Remember How To Climb Battlements?

library at babylon 1LIBRARY OF BABYLON, Painting detail from
visionary art book titled "ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination", pgs 48-53, Steven E. Counsell, Artist/Author
Do You Remember How To Climb Battlements?

Castles in the air! And yet all castles are in the air. The day-dreaming and wool-gathering the gold-bricking and cat-napping all lead to the lithesome hum of childhood. This Schloss in the far corner of a world of books waits; its shutters are opening and yellow light is beckoning. In its halls and turrets, armories and dungeons there are textures and surfaces, nothing is homogenized; mud has black weight and rock walls are cool to the touch, landscapes green to the horizon. Things are as real as our involvement with them. Castles in the air become vague when you’ve given up on your sense of wonder.

 

 



Read more at
The 5-Minute Art Salon (visionary art blog):
What is MYTH?
What will we serve?
What is VISIONARY ART?

www.blackswaneditions.com

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog



How Do Houses Live?

BRIDGES, Painting detail from visionary art book ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination, pgs BRIDGES, graphite drawing detail from visionary art book "ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination", pgs 172-173How Do Houses Live? 

A storm is easier to weather under a roof with the sturdy walls beneath it. Space can only be measured in a room with a floor below and a ceiling above. A house is the mind of its owner made visible. Every stitch of clothing, stick of furniture, every book and bibelot will brass tack the owner, like a moth, to a mounting board. Houses are the spiritual expression of our choices, or lack of them.  Houses are the spiritual expression our imagination, or of its absence. Where we lay our head is truly where we live our lives. In a house we are more than the smoke through our chimneys. 

 

 

 

Read more at:
The 5-Minute Art Salon (visionary art blog):

What is MYTH?

What will we serve?

What is VISIONARY ART?

www.blackswaneditions.com

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog



What Do You Look For ?

ADAM, Painting detail from visionary art book ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination, pgs 103-105What Do You Look For ?

The broken porcelain of an old eye falls from a blemish less forehead. What this antique window, into a soul and out to the world, has seen can never be recaptured. Its dissolution is a passing archeology. And yet when you look at what he looks at, you may see your own past, present, and future inescapably.

 

Read more at:

The 5-Minute Art Salon (visionary art blog)

What is MYTH?
What is SURREALISM?

www.blackswaneditions.com

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog

 



What Do You Do, With The Death Within Your Eyes?

ENDURING AGEL OF SLEEP, painting detail from visionary art book “ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination”ENDURING AGEL OF SLEEP, painting detail from visionary art book         “ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination”, pgs 92-95What Do You Do, With The Death Within Your Eyes?

 

Momento Mori, reminders of death, do not just live their cautionary message in Dutch still life. The deaths head, the grinning chalice beneath the flawless face waits patiently. A man was always at Caesar’s ear in Imperial Rome whispering, “Remember Caesar you are mortal, you too will die." Are these eyes looking at death or is it merely a growing seed within.

 

 

 

Read more at
The 5-Minute Art Salon:

What is MYTH?
Can Angels Fly?
What is VISIONARY ART?

www.blackswaneditions.com

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog



Is Fabric A Map Of The Mind?

enduring angel of sleep, paintingENDURING ANGEL OF SLEEP, painting detail from visionary art book, ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination, pgs 92-95

 

Is Fabric A Map

Of The Mind?


The folds in material become a literal analogue of mind and body. In the middle ages stiff complex architectural draperies covered the Madonna’s and saints like carapaces hiding breasts as round as apples and bellies as ellipsoid as pears. The drapery was a gothic cathedral. And then the Baroque liberated robes to rambunctiousness. Now they had the energy of jungles, serpents coiling, water roiling and the boil of passion could be felt through the cloth. The material world defines each age by each fold of cloth.

 

www.blackswaneditions.com
http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog

Read More at the
The 5-Minute Art Salon:

Can Angels Fly?
What is Visionary Art?
Can We Eat A Miracle?

 




Can A Cure Of Curves Work ?

rose of memory apple in winROSE OF MEMORY, painting detail from visionary art book ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination,  pgs 140-143

Can A Cure Of Curves Work ?

Have you considered how things move when your not there to watch them.  The world of forms for me - sin beyond the narrow conformities of things - just so. Perhaps my Baroque soul can just not stand the regularities of triangulation, or Euclidian windows without a spanner of mad arabesque.

 

www.blackswaneditions.com

Read More at the
Visionary Art Blog--
The 5-Minute Art Salon
http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog

 

 

 




Are We The Rock Of Ages?

bridges edited 2BRIDGES, graphite drawing detail from visionary art book          ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination, pgs. 171-172Consider the sturdiness of the earth’s bones. Bricked, up-thrust, or worn down; to rise again is all they can do. To build again is the force they are allowed, to root deep beneath the riot of soil. The soft queasiness of life as fragile as a daydream, but stone is armored for eternity. We climb on their obduracy and live in their security. From the center of a star, to mountain building we are a chip off the old block.

 

 

 

 

READ more at The 5-Minute Art Salon
http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog?




How Can You Look For Spirits ?

RIDDLES OF WOOD, painting detailRIDDLES OF WOOD, painting detail from visionary art book,  ILLUMINATIONS The Geography Of The Imagination, pgs 13-15They sleep in trees and hold a remembrance that is ours to reclaim if we shatter the effigy in the mirror and see our real nature in wood and water. Our weeping can be in joy, merging back to rivers and rain. The sleeping spirit here is not graven or carved but incarnate, intrinsic, just as all nature is intrinsic in us. If you look into the infinite asymmetry of bark you will find them breathing there, or you may notice it is also your breath. 

 

 

See More at
The 5-Minute Art Salon
(Visionary Art BLOG)

http://www.blackswaneditions.com/visionary-art-blog

 




Seeking artistic inspiration.

Steven E. Counsell, photographing near SalzburgSteven E. Counsell, artist/author, photographing mountains near Salzburg Austria. Nature  photography inspires all his paintings and drawings.

Buy his award winning art book ILLUMINATIONS The Geography of the Imagination  http://www.blackswaneditions.com

 

Read More at
The 5-Minute Art Blog

Can Angels Fly?

What is Visionary Art?

What is Surrealism?