All Good things are Wild and Free. Henry David Thoreau

Elan Flow 9 began after viewing a video about El Catatumbo, an area in Venezuela listed in 2003 as UNESCO’s First Meteorological Phenomenon World Heritage Site.

The meteorological phenomena observed in the Catatumbo Lightning storms is a process known as an orographic effect. As warm water temperatures meet with the cool mountain air currents, powerful “electrical explosions that are like phosphorescent glows …” (observation by Alexandre de Humbolt) light up the night sky.

While elaborating on the painting, my inspiration rested on the material of water and the process of electrical discharges. We can find electrical discharges and water both externally in our environment and internally in our bodies. Aesthetically the natural patterns operate on a conceptual universal fractal dimension.

Our synapses fire in a similar fractal pattern.

Lightning has an intermediate fractal dimension that fills space as it travels in a decimal pattern resting between a straight line and a plane.

At a philosophical and literary level, Jane Bennett’s description of Whitman’s thought beautifully connects this internal body and external environmental influences in her analysis of Walt Whitman’s writing. 

For Whitman, intrabody and interbody currents, even when felt as a personal sentiment or mood, are streams within a more-than-human process of “influx and efflux.” He tends to celebrate these atmospheric currents – as enrichments and energizations of an I, as a “joyous electric all” that variagates a self-striving to become as diverse as cosmos.”

Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman, by Jane Bennett.

The human body shares within its composition and cellular functions processes that are also at work in the cosmos.

I can begin to appreciate that a fascination with water and electricity as an artist has evolved, leading to a process of creative re-discovery of myself with my environment. My art designs are fed by natural patterns, much like Thoreau walked to seek nature as an “influence.”

Thoreau experiments with ways to minimize his exposure to interpersonal currents and to maximize his contamination by not-quite-human sparks of the Wild. He actively courts influences arriving from air, water, plants and animals because their potential to refresh and revitalize is great, in contrast to those all-to-human influences whose primary effect is to reinforce stale concepts and precepts.


This re-conceptualization of process and materials as influx and efflux and affections and sympathies surrounding our person-hood could potentially aid an evolution towards “a more generous, egalitarian, and ecological public culture.”

Following Whitman, I label these other moods “affections” and “sympathies,” as those terms become stretched beyond a human-centered, sentimental frame to include apersonal, underdetermined vial forces that course through selves without being reducible to them. I am keen to explore, for example, the ways in which a (vague, protean, ahuman) tendency for bodies to lean, make connections, and form attachments can be harnessed on behalf of a more generous, egalitarian, and ecological public culture.”


In my next painting, I will continue to explore patterns found in nature.