Great Chain of Being

I was recently commissioned
by a dear friend of mine
to create a custom work of art.
He was kind enough to have complete trust in my vision,
and permitted me absolute freedom to make whatever I wanted.

I took this unique opportunity to illustrate,
in one image, vertically oriented,
what I have been attempting to convey
through 40+ paintings, arranged in horizontal sequence,
over the last decade or so
The connected & whole nature of reality,
with the human experience at the center


process sequence

- wood panel with newsprint-paper glued & sanded

- vertical & horizontal center-points measured and perpendicular axes drawn

- frame-within-a-frame border drawn around edge

- circles established as anchors for each level of scale

- foundational Main images drawn within circles

- Black & white values added to give depth & distinction

- Secondary & tertiary layers of visual information layered atop foundation

- color added to give more distinction, beginning to integrate all layers

- Second pass of color & value to give dimension & detail, more integration

- Final pass of color & value & refinement, as well as emergent additional layers of information, all fully integrated


the journey of creating A Work Of Art
is through a wide & varied landscape,
but at the end is always a mountain peak

the final phase of the process
--refining, polishing, & perfecting a painting,
w/ scanning eagle eyes attached to
seeking liner brush & 005 micron--
is a long uphill slog of tedious drudgery,
moving. forward. only. so. s l o w l y . ,
and with tremendous effort

when finally at the top. . .
. . .wow, what a view !

“ Great Chain of Being ( v . 1 . 1 ) “
( paint, ink, paper, wood )
48 " x 32 "


If You Get Lost



  • The shock of realizing that you are lost can be mentally crippling but you have to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Recall survival techniques or training and expect them to work as it will increase your chances for success by increasing your confidence that you can survive.

  • Stay "Put". if you're not sure of the way out and people know you are missing. Remain calm. Usually it is best to stay where you are and build a shelter. This is especially true if you are lacking food or are injured. Staying will give you a chance to conserve your energy.

  • Carefully study your surroundings. Find water, if possible an open area for a signal fire, a sheltered area for a camp, and wood. If the wood supply permits, keep a small fire going, at all times, for a signal fire.

  • Build a simple safe comfortable shelter and fire as soon as possible.

  • Once well-sheltered and warm, form a plan. A survival plan will alleviate your fear. Your confidence and morale will increase.

  • Be calm. Take it easy and think of how to implement your action plan. Establish where you are by identifying landmarks and compass directions.

  • Take stock in your situation. Mentally list everything you have on you. Empty your pockets and use your imagination to discover how your belongings can be used.

  • Do not be too eager to find your way out until you have adapted to your environment and have the basic necessities for food, water, and shelter. Unnecessary risks will be taken if you are careless and impatient.


  • Knowledge is the first step of overcoming fear. Knowledge can be amplified by the confidence in your equipment, group interaction, and survival techniques. The understanding of the smells, noises, physical characteristics of land, weather, and your relationship with them will also be of great help.

  • To feel fear is normal and necessary. It is nature's way of giving you that extra shot of energy.

  • Undue fear is usually caused by the unknown. Look carefully at a situation to determine if your fear is justified. Upon investigation you will usually find many of your fears are unreal.

  • If you are injured, pain might turn into panic. Panic can cause a person to act without thinking and go running off into the forest.

  • Panic can be caused by loneliness which can lead to hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, and carelessness.

  • Keep your mind busy and plan on survival. Recognizing the sign of fear and panic will help you overcome their devastating effect. Make sure that your doorway faces east towards the rising sun. Get up as soon as it is light and get busy.


  • Improvise to improve your situation. This will give you more control and raise your morale.

  • Remember that your goal is to get out alive. Raise your morale by "dreaming" of the time after you "get out alive" will help you value life now.

  • Conserve your health and strength. Illness or injury will greatly reduce your chance of survival.

  • Hunger, cold, and fatigue lower your efficiency, stamina, and will make you careless. You will realize that your low spirits are the result of your physical condition and not danger.

  • Improvising includes eating insects and other unusual foods.



Cartographic (1)


He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land :
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So [he] would cry : and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank :
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!"


excerpt of
The Bellman's Speech
_The Hunting of the Snark_
Lewis Carroll
( 01876 )

illustration of
The Bellman's Map
Henry Holiday