Dreamtime Artist Statement

Dreamtime Series: Coyote #2

Painting titled: “Dreamtime Series: Coyote #2”

Dreamtime is a term that refers to Australia Aboriginal culture and religion. These paintings express a spiritual vision of the world that appreciates the interdependent ecologies that make up and support the life of all creatures on this planet. This wholeness is beyond definition or reference points. It includes both order and chaos, clarity and confusion.

Eight of these works are in a group show entitled “World¬†Peace Party” at The Outta Space Gallery during month of May 2017. There is an opening on Friday, May 5th from 6 to 8 pm. Gallery is located at 6840 32nd St., Berwyn, IL 60402.

Love Can’t be Divided

Tide #76

Painting titled “Tide #76”

Creating brings me much joy. The surprise and discovery of bringing forth some image in the singularity of this moment of time-being is a mystery to me.¬† I’m often too close to what I have created to say much about it. But with time, I feel that I might say something that is helpful to someone. I think art proceeds from love, some tenderness for this fragile, changing world we find ourselves residing in. This love can’t be divided. It doesn’t exist in any of the divisions we create between subject and object. It exists before we make the split. It exists in the very fabric of our universe. I’m not certain about much of anything, except this.

Robert Rauschenberg should have the last word here: “I don’t like to take advantage of an object that can’t defend itself.”

Robert Althouse

Tide Show Open Houses

Tide #62

Painting titled “Tide #62”

In November and December 2013, Open Houses will be held for my show of the Tide Series at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago, at 38 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60302. I’ll be there to discuss my work, and I’ll also hang new works from the Tide Series. The Open Houses will take place on the following Saturdays, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.:

Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 and Dec. 14.


Tide Series Statement

Tide #55

Painting titled “Tide #55”

I was originally inspired to do these works after visiting my friends, Peter Cunningham and Ara Fitzgerald on the island of Grand Manan, in Canada just north of Maine at the end of June 2013. An island in the Bay of Fundy, Grand Manan is subject to extreme tidal movements several times a day. I spent many hours walking on the beaches at low tide. Since then, I have been exploring tides as a visual metaphor. Like the seasons, tides are reassuring to me. They are like the way the earth breathes.

These works are digital images, done on a wacom tablet connected to an iMac using a software porgram called Corel Painter 3x. I work from my own photographs, mostly from Grand Manan, and occasionally from photographs taken by Peter Cunningham. I enjoy studying the relationship of water, light, sand, rhythms, waves, rocks, texture, form and space. I have a deep need to integrate form and space in my work. My guide is often the teachings from the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra of “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

Sometimes my images can be busy and chaotic. So sometimes the form gets lost. I am trying to realize in these works some balance where the form is present but not solidified or frozen. The form is in the space, and the space is in the form. They co-create each other.

I worked as a professional painter for about 13 years, working with oil and canvas. I was a figurative and landscape painter. I stopped painting altogether when I co-founded the Zen Center of Hawaii in 1992 with my wife, June Tanoue.

Last year, on a retreat in Wisconsin, I was inspired by the beauty of nature and the Hay River where we spent our time in deep silence and reflection. So I picked up my iPad and began doodling and painting. And I just kept painting because this creative process is a source of great joy and happiness for me. I’m grateful to be able to actualize some creative vision again in my life and look forward to sharing this with others through my web site (www.althouseart.com) and the show I am having at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago from October to Novermber 2013.


About 30 years ago, in another life time, I trained and studied with Jan Saether and Martin Vaugel at an art school in Venice Beach, California. I studied sculpture and painting, and ended up gravitating towards oil paints, which I pursued for about 12 years. At that point I was primarily a figurative and landscape painter. June and I married and moved to Hawaii. I continued to paint. And then I started to teach Zen, and opened the Zen Center of Hawaii in 1992. At that point, I stopped painting. It wasn’t until last year during a 7 day retreat in Wisconsin, that I re-discovered my love of painting and took it up again.

But this time, I’m not painting in oils on a canvas. I’m painting with a stylus on a digital Wacom tablet, using Painter 12 software. For a while I was all over the map, trying to find my way. After a vacation on Grand Manan with my friends, Peter Cunningham and Ara Fitzgerald, along with my wife, June Tanoue, in June 2013, I began using photographs I took there, and some of Peter’s photographs to work in a new way. I’m working from photographs, sometimes two or three in the same painting, mixing, layering, erasing, painting. I’m not sure what to call this – perhaps “painting-montage”. But what is clear to me now is that the digital media offers me a wide range of options and tremendous freedom to experiment and explore how I can create a compelling image.

My paintings in the “Tide Series” continue to expand and grow. I like working with a metaphor in a series, because I can explore that metaphor in so many ways. It feels very limiting to me, to think I’m doing one painting about something, and then another painting about something else. Instead,

So you’ll see that I now have many paintings in the one series of “Tides” and this allows me to really explore this metaphor in many ways, and this feels enriching and interesting to me.

I continue to try out other metaphors, but so far, the “Tides” metaphor has been the one I resonate with best.

I welcome your feedback, your comments and your questions.