Recent drawings in various mediums (ink, beet juice, colored pencil, etc.) on paper/ 8.5” x 11”/ 2011.

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Smaller than the Smallest and Greater than the Greatest

I have come to experience this life as a co-creative endeavor; as every aspect of consciousness is continuously extending inward to the very core of our shared oneness. Without a doubt, it is all pure grace. Many of the drawings and paintings, as well as the writing that I’ve selected for these pages, reflect this exquisitely vibrant experience of grace.

Though most of the pieces here are joyful and celebratory in nature, I have chosen to share a few others which emerged out of dark and profound agitation. Still, most all of them were born out of a luscious silence. Like all birthing processes, that of a drawing or painting may also get rather messy. Fashioning the chaos into an illusion of ‘order’ is when art making is most satisfying- even exhilarating.

The One Self We All Share

According to the ancient Katha Upanishad, the One Self, which is shared with every aspect of consciousness, is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest. It is the very epicenter from which all of ‘existence’ emerges. Making art from a space of awareness of this innermost being-ness is what most nourishes me creatively. In particular, the instances when ‘I’ simply get out of the way and just allow the process to flow through are the most fulfilling of all. This experience of grace is often exhilarating- and surrendering to it is the only way to fully receive it.

“At the Gate of the Mother of Compassion” / acrylic on canvas/ 52” x 52”

(To Bhavabhayaharini, “She Who Removes the Fear of Earthly Existence”)/ 1996

Making art is a deliciously expansive and transformative ‘space’. I feel that the process is especially successful when it conveys something, however minuscule, about the true nature and shared essence of our being. As such, there is essentially only one of us here- masquerading as the many. I am quite certain that the removal of the obstacles to the awareness of this ‘simple’ truth is the reason we are all here. Undoubtedly, this awareness is the source of lasting joy.

I humbly offer this body of work with the intention that it somehow honor a minute aspect of this most glorious “One Self We All Share”.

William Arthur Mills

New York City, May 2012

“Without looking back, Pearl, in her road-weary petticoats, embarks upon the next leg of the journey”/ India Ink wash on paper /17.5” x 23”/1993

Art (heart) making is freedom in the highest sense. In it’s most playful moments, it is a profoundly delectable and spiritually edifying activity. Occasionally, it even offers a window beyond the ever prevalent, false notion of “doer-ship”. Ultimately, from this perspective, nothing is ever really happening anyway. ‘Art’ is simply another variation, another witness, another ‘take’, on this most fascinating phenomena within and without. At it’s most exalted, the process of making art reveals a few clues to our true identity. Similarly, Picasso once said that “art is a lie that makes us realize the truth”.

Smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest includes the absolute divinity of every atom of existence, all worlds, and all beings. If there is some function that I would like to see this work fulfill, it would be to invoke- and thereby share- some precious aspect of this perennial presence. In this awareness comes the recognition that everything is virtually inseparable from every-thing else; as all is non-different from itself. At best, my experience is that ‘art’ is just something that I do- like showering, cooking, or reading-  something that is just part of my daily routine. I like to think that making art is somehow my offering to this universal presence, sometimes referred to as Atman, or the Self.

“Arc of Golden Light”/acrylic on canvas/ 52” x 72”/ 2005

“Sublime”/ Ink on paper/ 8.5” x 11”/2011                 “Figure 8’/ Ink on paper/ 8.5” x 11”/ 2011

Detail: “The Gift”/ Acrylic on unbleached linen/ 44” x 62”/ 2005

“Dancing Spring, White Mountains”/ Acrylic on canvas/ 39.5” x 46”/ 1997

“And it all hit the fan just as the raspberry mousse was about to be served...”

Acrylic on canvas/ 46” x 39.5”/ 1991

When thoroughly immersed in the flow of this process, tasting the exhilaration of the present moment, there is, quite often, an unparalleled experience of unbroken non-dual  stillness. There is a sense that everything is composed of this same all pervasive stillness. At times, it is as if I am enfolded in this process on all sides, and ‘merely’ witnessing my own physical interaction with the particular piece in progress.

“Srivatsa (The Eternal Knot)”/ Acrylic on paper/ 11” x 8.5”/ 2012