The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Oil on canvas, 48" x 60".
I recently attended The Hellene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos New Mexico as an artist in residency where artists are given studios, time away from home, and the chance to explore Northern New Mexico. While visiting and exploring the area, I discovered the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. I had a feeling I would discover that bridge soon! The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is locally known as the "Gorge Bridge" and the "High Bridge." The magnificent structure boasts a steel deck arch bridge spanning the Rio Grande Gorge 10 miles northwest of Taos. The Rio Grande River -- over millions of years -- has sliced the terrain like an open sore scoring the earth wide open. I crossed the majesty of this bridge while breathing in its fascinating and inspiring ingenuity: Fascinated by the complex steel girders and geometric shapes that framed the landscape wedged and cling to the edge of the gorge over the Rio Grande River. There was nothing between me, my camera, and a 650-foot drop into the gorge except a chest-high guardrail! It gave me a new and unusual point of view. The experience was much like stepping off the sidewalk and seeing the beauty and connection across a terrain with sunlight and shadows never seen before.
Bridges of Portland: Paintings by Christopher B. Mooney
At the Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
December 2 through February 1
First Friday Reception, December 2, 4-8 pm
Christopher Mooney’s representational work portraying the urban landmarks and bridges of Portland has been shown in several galleries and is owned by both private and corporate collectors in the area. His deep understanding of engineering informs his interpretations of what he calls “transportation architecture.” Mooney has worked with a variety of engineers and engineering projects to understand the bridges, his subjects, from a unique perspective – such as a record of the construction of the Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, and maintenance of the Hawthorne Bridge for its Centennial Celebration. “Portland is a city of rivers and bridges.” says Mooney, “And their existence has been always, now and historically, critical to its character and its function. People cross bridges every day, yet many may not realize how little we celebrate the wonderful achievements of their engineering.”
The Japanese say we have three faces. Our first face is the one we show the world. Our friends and family see our second face. It is our third face – the one we hide – that is the truest reflection of our personal truth. I believe this is true.
Using my erotic art, I hope to show you a glimpse of my truth – a peek into my third face.
Connection empowers my art and my life as an artist. I express myself through the essence of sensuality, confidence, sexuality, and light that shines through the human spirit. Erotica is one way to share these expressions that reflect my truth.
My contemporary realism works using oil on canvas evoke love, affection, bonding, flaunting, embracing, cuddling, hugging, petting, stroking, fondling, kink, and fetish! The medium for erotic art is limitless and provides a pathway for endless exploration of these facets of our being.
Inspired by some of the greats
I am greatly inspired by Lucian Freud, one of the most notable modern painters in our history. The grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian brought a lot of humanity to his nudes. He had the ability to paint the inner essence of a person while simultaneously allowing that core essence to influence the exterior façade, or face, much like we present in real life.
Exploring inner essence in a multitude of ways
It’s interesting to me that both Lucian and Sigmund explored inner sides of humanity with such diversity. Eric Fischl, on the other hand, a prolific and productive narrative artist (now in his 60's) uses a more direct approach. Fischl portrays illustrative and commercial sides of his works to reveal the essence of human experience. He achieves this by rendering images of several people in a composition that seem to interrelate and engage rather than just using one subject, as shown in works by Lucian. Fischl does tell many lively and diverse stories through the array of people depicted in his works. When I look at his paintings, I am moved by the touching he displays mixed with the mediocracy, mundane, and banal side of sexuality. It's interesting to note that artists are information gatherers, and there seems to be a palpable tension among artists seeking the same thing: Truth, love, and connection.
To portray the differences between the objective and subjective side of our nature is an ongoing and passionate quest, I believe, for artists and people in general. Who doesn't want to find the courage to reveal hidden individual essence? Who doesn't want to live in authentic personal truth with a mastery of self-acceptance and unconditional love? This sounds like nirvana to me. This sounds like bliss. We all need to express ourselves. Expression through sexuality and the freedom of release provided through the act of sex itself connects us to our essence -- our truth.
Expressing truth through art
Art, especially erotic art, is a great way to share human expression through paintings, sculptures, photography, films, or even a singer simply sharing dirty sexual verse delivered through a raspy voice.
It seems in the Fine Art world, many artists influenced by the Masters of figurative and erotic art, want to illustrate, tell a story, share an allegory, or portray a rather weird or "something is wrong" side of the subject(s). This sometimes darker message can be realistic or loosely abstract, which is all good and interesting, but I would rather share the best of what can be experienced through love and connection. For example, I recently painted a contemporary realism portrayal of myself cradling a woman on my lap. The experience was sensual and honest. I’ve been asked by a number couples who want to see themselves in a painting depicting the energy of vulnerability, devotion, and play through sex. I recently enjoyed seeing one couple engage together in rough play for such a painting. I believe this beautiful couple could be twin flames, as their connection seemed to hold a divine spark that lit up the room. Their sexual rough play was absolutely fun to see and such turn on.
The beauty of observation
Viewers may get something out of observing interplay with devoted couples. I learned more about vulnerability and letting go by watching various confident couples connect through touch and sensuality. These raw moments reveal the third face of people willing to let their guards down. I have had the pleasure of painting and witnessing several couples bearing their sexual energy for my works. I am currently working on these renderings and other meaningful commissions. It is my hope to continue to capture the human spirit through my paintings. I feel blessed and grateful to enjoy a life of continuous exploration and evolution as a soul, a being, and an artist.
Photographs fade, files get lost. Immortalize a memory with a painting.
Since the holidays will be here shortly, I thought it would be nice to remind you that if you would like me to paint an original portrait as a gift for your loved ones, now is the time to commission it in order to have it finished by Christmas.
Erotic art & the experimentation pathway
Hello art enthusiasts!
Have you been daring today?
I am a high sensation seeker when I create erotic art. I am also an experimentalist. The more sexually charged art I create the happier I get. I love to stimulate my senses and indulge my hungry mind when creating depth of connection in my paintings depicting human vulnerability, heart, and physical openness.
Does anyone else feel like this? I bet you do. Are you willing to admit it though?
Who among us reading my expressions is willing to take the same leap? To jump off that conservative cliff and say: Yes, I want to free my inner sensual being – yes, I want to live as a full sexual being unafraid to unleash the part of myself I keep hidden.
Let your sexual light show
Recently, while participating in a figure drawing session, I was delighted and unabashed when an attending model was comfortable enough to cuddle up on my lap. She was genuine, honest, and painted red. She was beautiful and so artistic in her authentic self-expression. My creative senses were fully engaged and stimulated. It felt like inspiration in action and a chance to elevate my art – to experiment painting erotic connection in such a way that reveals a new level of human depth and inner spirit only found inside these kinds of raw and open moments of experimentation coupled with a bit of risk. And by risk I mean, the willingness to shine your light and allow your true essence – your vulnerability – to show.
Lately, I have been observing many of the erotic art and various kinksters or artists sharing new works as a way of expressing their innermost fantasies. I find this quite fascinating. Some of these very talented artists are so creative and exceptional. I just love to look at other artists' 3D erotic images so full of life and energy. These works are so full of soulful expansion while also brimming with stimulating elements that are skillfully depicted throughout each artful expression. Some of this work out there is so good you can't help but feel moved and alive in its presence. This sensory driven response is incredibly inspiring. This kind of inner inspiration can fill your being with a love and appreciation that embraces everything that connects us to each other, to ourselves, and to our surroundings. It is energy renewal, and I can't believe how good that feels as an artist, an intuitive living soul, and a man.
Some of the 3D art is hardcore and extreme in its portrayal of masculine and feminine desire peaking in sensual communication to the viewer. Some artists creating 3D fantasy art take many creative liberties in order to disproportionate the figures to render extreme variances in size. The results can provide bigger than life beautiful women engaged with a small man with large genitals or images of beastly looking men graced with an oversized penis with smaller women. These works are magnificent examples of creative risks artists take to share the essence of physicality and inner sensuality.
The fantasy aspect of erotic art is titillating too. There is something so delicious about watching two sensual people engaging in physical touch. The acts can be soft, more intense, filled with humor, or wrapped with serious expression. Engaging in touch and physical play through sex is something that resonates with all of us. It connects all of us in some way.
Fantasy art tends to reveal an artist's desires. How can it not? The vulnerable depictions arise from a deep place of inspiration, thought, feeling, and direct knowing through experience. What are some of your fantasies? Imagine walking through a gallery celebrating the art of fantasy through the vehicle of eroticism. Imagine feeling the energy driving through your own being while enjoying magnificent works of art designed to lift you up and connect you even more deeply to yourself and others. When is the last time you celebrated your inner fantasies? Erotic art can open pathways to enhanced sexual confidence, because if you can look at it openly and then talk about it (or even freely think about it), you can begin to explore sensuality more easily with a sense of fun and joy. This amazing energy can then permeate your entire life – even just cooking dinner can become a sensual experience when you are tapped into your inner sexual light. Sensual energy is creative energy. It is heart energy. It is life giving and affirming.
At the Erotic core is connection
There is a prevailing pattern in erotic works of art: And that is connection. Many of the works, artistic selfies, sculptures, paintings, watercolors, photography, pencil illustrations, and 3D portrayals seem to reach toward the viewer in an effort to share the essence of desire, love, connection, and sensation. Looking at these works of art seems to invite a certain sympatico with others and a chance to enter the world of like-minded souls craving touch, life, and even love. I know I feel this way. And connection is the underpinning of all my works. So why do we sometimes resist this very thing that we all want? We actually can sabotage consciously and unconsciously the flow of connection by criticizing ourselves and others, looking away, or blocking positive feelings that bubble up when given the chance to reach toward our own inner light while simultaneously seeing it in others and in the art that is around us. And when it comes to sex and sexuality and being free to express this aspect of ourselves, we can freeze. It is this very resistance that can block the flow of this amazing and radiating energy that warms the senses, heals, opens the heart, and awakens the sensual flower that blooms inside all of us. Erotic art is just one of many ways to begin to explore these aspects of our own nature and to feel safe in that exploration.
A few inner musings to close
I am experimenting more and more with my erotic portrayals using more than a single subject. I am searching for deeper connection, and my erotic art is one way to peel back the layers of my own inner essence and barriers. There is a freedom in erotica that is simply divine. Erotica doesn't have to be overly explicit or disrespectful to uncork inner workings of one's sexual mind and heart either. It can simply be a quiet rendering of one's deepest longings brought to the fore.
When is the last time you gave yourself permission to feel sexy? When is the last time you gave yourself permission to breathe in life and just unleash your inner fire?
This is the sensual energy that drives our natures. And it is fabulous!
Navigating money dynamics in a relationship
Money. It creates a power dynamic in relationships. And it's not necessarily a balance of power. In fact, it is sometimes a flat out misdirected use of power. And it stinks.
Recently, I was reacquainted with a gentleman ranking high in the financial realm who purchased one of my bridge paintings. A repeat customer, he had commissioned me several years ago to create a large scale oil of one of my bridges. I was happy to see him again at one of my art receptions, as he seemed to be considering adding more of my pieces to his collection. I watched him as he stood admiring one of my recent works for a long span of time.
He was willing to buy it.
But there was a snag.
He had to ask his wife first.
I looked at my message from him revealing this rather annoying detail. My eyes read, "I have to ask my wife," but my mind saw, "Mommy, mommy, can I have this painting?"
What? I mean, WTF? Here is a highly paid executive with a budget that exceeds all forms of controlled practicality hesitating with a bit of a quiver on whether or not to purchase a painting that cost-wise for his financial means is on par with purchasing a small melon at a grocery store.
But – and, I mean no disrespect by this, as I do understand each couple has to create and honor their own playbooks, and I do realize the value of honoring budgets – but when is it crossing the line with personal choice boundaries inside a relationship to just not be able to freely purchase something on a whim and without any guilt or shame that the other spouse or partner will disapprove? This is especially true, in my opinion, if one spouse earns a significant income and/or both people earn solid incomes. Where is the line here?
It is a classic dance of power and control with money serving as the catalyst. Money is a tool that has been created for trade – it is a tool and an illusion – it creates further separation, a false sense of power, and widens the power gap between those who have more of this "tool" and those who have less.
This gentleman is a grown man with the dough to spend. But he can't. He is in his own unique arrangement and power dance dynamic with his wife – be it agreed or merely an unintentional consequence of years of relationship dos and do nots with his significant other.
Bring back the freedom to choose
People get to choose. Couples should get to choose. I know another man who enjoys Western art, and his wife likes artists like Michael Parkes and Steve Hanks. I love the work of these artists too. Their works are exceptional. Michael Parkes is an American born artist living in Spain who is best known for his fantasy art and renderings of magic realism. Steve Hanks is one of the best watercolorists of our day. The details, color, and realism of Steve Hanks' work is unheard of in this difficult and highly skilled medium. Imagine a softly worn patterned quilt, the play of light on the thin veil of surf on sand, or the delicate expression of a child. Steve Hanks captures these patterns of life better than anyone. Why couldn't this couple be free to choose either or both painting styles and purchase them on a whim to grace their home? Why must each purchase of a spontaneous nature be weighed, discussed, argued over, and most likely rejected in order to find peace in a losing discussion with power and control as the underpinning foundation. How much resentment is born from this dance? How much creativity is stifled?
Mutuality with couples allows freedom
I know another couple that I met years ago. This pair is so dear to me. I have tremendous respect for them. They are supportive, live with open hearts, and are so kind and compassionate toward each other and everyone around them. He had commissioned me to create of portrait of his wife for Christmas. A year later, she commissioned me to create a portrait of him for his birthday. How romantic is that? They weren't squabbling over the cost. They weren’t weighing up the pros and cons of spending spontaneously. They felt the desire and the passion to act on a whim – on art purely for the sake of creating joy for each other --without letting money or lack of money dictate the way. What a win for both of them. What a passionate and loving way to create even more connection with each other. In this case, money was a non-issue. It was about the freedom to choose and act on that choice without power dynamics, and the result was more love, mutuality, and respect – things that underpin the foundation of some of the most successful of relationships.
And the survey says…
After some research reviewing a few online resources on this issue, I learned a few interesting bits about artful subjects and/or genres that couples either find it easier to agree on purchasing or find more difficult. Some of the surveys concluded that landscapes are a more neutral ground for couples to find agreement with when it comes to a major art purchase. Abstracts also are more easily agreed upon. Impressionistic paintings, nudes, and wildlife can create some decision friction. Have you experienced any art friction decisions with anyone you know? Please share in the comments below. I would love to learn more opinions on this matter.
I've noticed a pattern in interior design home magazines showcasing office, various styles, and trends inside homes. It seems in every type of home, including modern, contemporary, old fashioned, or mid-century modern styles that landscapes appear to win the day when it comes to easily agreed upon art for display. Landscapes seem to compliment and add contrasting impact on walls and furniture.
While landscapes are indeed beautiful and wonderful, what would happen if we just went for it and spiced up our walls with that lusty, crazy piece of art that one might want to purchase but doesn't because it could be met with some "friction" at home.
Erotica at the Catalyst: A Sex Positive Place
Christopher B. Mooney
"Erotic paintings penetrate connection, sultry expression, and sensuality"
Gallery showing runs June 3 – June 17, 2016
5224 SE Foster Rd.
Portland, OR 97206
You are invited to come to the artist reception,
Saturday afternoon, 2-5PM.
"Artists are people who make art. Art is not a genre or a specific talent. . .Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another. . .Art is who we are and what we do. . ." – snippet from Seth Godin's view on art from The Icarus Deception
Hello art lovers!
The above quote is one of many I received from artists and art lovers on Facebook after posing a question to ponder the nature of what art is. I received a few really wonderful and thoughtful comments. And I hope to learn more and deepen the conversation. So keep those comments coming! Defining art is infinite it seems. It is a form of self-expression that is so uniquely defined by the artist or individual alone. Art is a mirror to the inner workings of our soul and creative heart. Art is magical. And through that magic, art connects and deepens our appreciation for ourselves, each other, and our world.
Time shapes art
Historically, through the ages, art in its many forms has been the embodiment of the great spiritual core, around which any society or culture is built. What remains of the art of the past continues to reveal clues to us about its storylines and events. Similarly, the art of our time will shape how future generations come to know, judge, and value each other. Our world today is so incredibly unstable, violent, and uncertain. This aspect of our reality breeds a pervasive fearfulness and a deep need to be comforted in some way – to seek comfort while also desiring to comfort others.
While certain rules and elements do exist in order to execute one's artful creations. We don't want to become trapped by these rules. It is important to think outside the box and stretch your comfort zone. It's important to understand the medium you want to create in, as this builds confidence. And yes, design, composition, form, shape, perspective, color, shadows, soft and hard edges, among other things, play a powerful role in the shaping of artistic paintings. But do take creative risks. Follow the rules in your chosen medium by not completely following the rules!
For example, while fighting the abstract and primitive art trends in schools and in the art world, I read books and art magazines to keep abreast of the latest happenings, but then I make sure to spend time alone in my studio striving for a technical facility that is somewhat frowned upon in the classrooms. I do this deliberately. And this is one way that I take artful risks. And I do this on a regular basis in order to engage in the wonderful freedom that comes from allowing full creative expression not solely confined by rules of the craft itself. As an artist today, I try going about my work in a completely different manner that is authentic and true to my inner core. The feeling is one of joy and a certain inner spiritual connection to the work itself.
Bending the rules
"Shake things up," said gallery owner Steve Diamante of Arcadia Gallery in New York. "It seems to me that so much of contemporary representational painting is looking the same. . .some kind of rehash of academic work that has already been done. . .and done by better artists."
Diamante goes on to say in his writing, "I have tremendous respect for classical realists, but I think that phrase is overused and connotes a certain type of imagery. Contemporary realism means someone who is doing representational work, but the imagery is evocative of what is going on today. Contemporary imagery doesn’t just have to be romantic or beautiful. And it doesn’t have to be about war or occupying Wall Street. It’s about taking the skills you learned and making them your own and having them speak to what is going on today."
Dear readers, what do you think? Does Diamante make a good point?
I think people are inspired to create any number of things along their personal journeys – some real – some imagined. Some people arrive at creative points in superbly dramatic ways while others, lost in thoughts and feelings, are able to pull from the depths of their being in such a way that the results are often transformative. This natural creative process can work to "shake things up" organically.
I am destined to create using the old masters' technique and materials for a far-ranging language by adding red and blue lights to create a contemporary ambience. I also expand my subject matter into a known "genre" painting to show people doing simple things that people do together. This creates connection. For example, laughing, singing, pausing for a cup of coffee, enjoying erotic and sensual moments, and snuggling and cuddling. These moments of connection capture an inner desire and longing we all have. This universal truth adds to collective awareness of our need for connection, and could, if allowed, promote healing.
I feel Art or "the Arts," in many of its forms, such as sculpture, painting (in any medium), theater, literature, poetry, and dance, to name a few, move to inspire others. These creative vehicles enhance our quality of life, enrich our experiences, are transformative, insightful, and encourage personal and even collective growth.
The uniqueness of anyone's work or expression lies in the fact that execution of it is firmly based on theories and techniques (those rules again!) which can be traced back to the Renaissance, where the subject matter is pertinent to the present day. Those pesky rules for mixing colors, for example, are just as valid today as they were 500 years ago, but today different artists play with the mixtures – they shake things up – in a way that yields a brighter palette for a contemporary subject matter.
Dear readers, how do you shake things up as an artist? How do you follow the rules without following the rules? Please share in the comments below.
Remove fear and uncork your inner artist
Have you got what it takes to be an artist? The following are my top ten things a creator needs to succeed. Please add your tips and suggestions in the comments below. I would love to hear them!
Using red and blue flood lights and expressive brushstrokes in my portraits, I unleash dynamics of reflected light on subjects' undertones to reveal true natures and subtle imperfections. Removing masks with light captures vulnerability, expression, affection, and glimpses of intimacy. While steel bridges and the playful embrace of two lovers seem disparate topics, they are both – at the core -- about connection. A bridge foundation, strong and grounded, connects two distinct sides. Lovers join with similar strength, weakened only by limits of expression.
Spirit shines through sexual beings
Hello art lovers!
I love women. I totally appreciate the beauty natural to feminine energy. Is it evolution, societal suppression, or a fearful – hardwired in our brain – need for monogamy that drives our endless mission for connection, sex, love, and wholeness?
What makes this attainable for some and so elusive for others? Do we block ourselves from a fully feeling and passionate life when we sometimes block our very real need for sex and touch? What happens when we let go and allow sensuality into our lives?
Finding freedom in collective sexual awareness
After a lonely weekend at Seattle's annual erotic art festival, where I submerged myself in an amazing smorgasbord of high-end, highly creative erotic art (my own included), I found myself immersed in a deeper spiritual awareness of what it means to embrace, live, and feel the energy, power, and beauty that pours through our sensual and sexual energies. In order to dive a bit deeper into these reflections, I spent time observing and talking with many of the interesting people and artists I saw at the festival. I intuitively heard and understood subtle core beliefs and attitudes underpinning fascinating perspectives on feminine and masculine energies, sensuality, sexuality, and eroticism. I felt embraced by the collective desire to transcend conditioned thinking on these human realities in order to reach something higher – something much more fulfilling.
Erotica in Action
A woman clad in fantastic rubber bondage to a St. Andrews Cross draped in a full bodied hooded cat suit, blindfold, and wearing a corset allowed patrons to touch and pet her. Oh my God! How erotic it was, this anonymous woman totally surrendering to the hundreds of hands sharing the chance to pet her. I really enjoyed this opportunity to touch the hot rubber on a hot woman's body heated up – yes, it did turn me on! To be able to touch a sensual woman and then to feel sexually alive is delicious and healing. A variety of gender based themes were among many of the displayed works of activist groups, gay, lesbian, and transgendered organizations. Poetry, literary art, sculpture, erotic animation, and erotic paintings moved the emotional body and stimulated a much welcomed sensory experience.
Sexually charged human expression
Live shows, performances, demonstrations, music, dancers in cages, naked and barely naked sexy people, amateurs, and highly experienced cosplay action served to excite and rouse the senses. I also enjoyed watching various Acro-yoga performers, as the core of this beautiful sport and art form is trust and connection. There was so much sexual energy in tow! It was everywhere, and it served one purpose: to connect, awaken, and inspire. A figure drawing session of two men wrapping a woman's figure in rope in an edgy and cool way inspired me to create a painting of rope erotic art. Opportunities for sensation touch, painting on women's bodies, and people watching kink performances fueled the magnetic erotic energy, and its rippling impact gave me a heightened creativity and many new resulting ideas. Raw conversations unafraid to reveal primal drive – need -- behind human sexuality ignited personal revelations while adding notches to our cultural evolution.
One lively and intellectual conversation I had with a tall and distinguished looking blond woman radiating a dignified elegance in her black pants and matching blouse led to an illuminating observation about the event. First she said she loves to people watch. Then she proceeded to share a book title with me called "The Female Brain" that sheds light on the shift in the way the male brain is becoming more feminine and how science is exploring the evidence behind this realization. Could this be a new start in the evolutionary process – taking into consideration cultural trends – of a willingness and greater openness to accept any type of sexual orientation?
Humans are continually evolving. Religion, politics, hunting and gathering (we now hunt at supermarkets or, in some cases, dumpsters), personal and collective sacrifice, farmers, the industrial age, wars, peace seekers, sexual freedom in the 1960's, rock and roll, technology, and so much more, have served to move us forward on a continual expansion of what it means to be human here on earth. We are still evolving. We are still learning. We are still discovering what it means to be free, to love unconditionally, and to live with light and passion. We are still learning who we really are. We are still integrating all the aspects of our being on a mission to wholeness.
One woman I met at the festival's end said she had many relationships with men and women who were not into the "act of sex." She said she shared this real need for intimacy – for human touch – and then asked to engage with others outside these relationships cold with sexual emptiness. She would leave to find connection and freedom found only through sensual and sexual expression. This is a journey all of us take. Where the journey leads is a result of our choices and how deeply we go within.
Christopher B Mooney
REALLY I want to inspire you about the intricacies of the art world, its forms, and people. And I want to share the fascinating -- and somewhat mysterious -- aspects of my journey as an artist.