Recent Paintings by Lynn Whitlark (2017)

I began painting in the 21st Century, which is a little late. I have always loved the arts, but never found a “hook” to the traditional visual arts of painting and drawing until I discovered all the new pigments that were invented and discovered n the last 3 decades of the 20th…. thanks to the many chemists and engineers –mostly in the auto industry — it is no longer necessary to encase particles of pigment in plastic or oil to give them permanence.

Which means watercolor is finally a stable medium that can and will remain vibrant and true to an artist’s original vision and intention. –if the artist chooses paint and pigments based on their scientific pedigree rather than an emotional attachment to an old color name or a cheaply made paint set.


I do not paint with acrylic or oil mediums, but just about every other tool is on the paper. I grind paint myself, as well as using a few select commercially produced paints — especially those that would require more equipment and specialized grinders than I have available to me. As I get older, I am making fewer paints than I did 15 years ago — but I still grind those for which there is no quality substitute.

2017 is the year I fell in love with the art of Tyrus Wong — the man who famously created the core painting for Disney’s Bambi so long ago. His liquid forests and Eastern sensibilities have changed the way I paint forever. And it shows in the first few paintings listed below. You can draw a hard line between work done before and after I studied Wong’s work.

The paintings photographed represent work done and/or framed, shown, or sold for the first time in 2017. In no particular order.


This first is taken from photos of the nearly extinct Marble Island Butterfly, which was thought to be completely gone until a few specimens were photographed in the Puget Sound area last year.

Minimalist experiment with 3 pigments (indanthrone, carbon dust, and prussian blue) and PILLOWS:

Early experiment with dimensional watercolor surface:

Trumpet vines:

Experiment in texture and transparency/opacity :

Light and lack of light, worked in predominantly natural (as opposed to laboratory created) pigments.

A few fragments and studies from a destroyed painting of the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly:

And studio shots and fragments of a few others….

Watercolor sketch with potential:

Other assorted experiments and longterm projects:

And one last look at texture and opacity….


Fine Tuning Type II Diabetes Without the Meds / Side-Effects : Cannabis Rising

A further note about cannabis:  And a further note about blood sugar:

 (There are many posts here that I wrote beginning with a diabetes diagnosis about 2 1/2 years ago; as well as a few posts relating to Medical Marijuana and my adventures navigating that strangly il/legal landscape.  This is the latest on both fronts as of 4/17 — a few unusual effects which may or may not be related.  Because of my severe asthma and chronic migraines, I manage my diabetes without the prescription diabetes drugs or insulin.)

In the last 2  weeks, I made a couple of slight changes to my diabetes control diet, and to my medical marijuana consumption, and my average blood sugar numbers are down by about 15%. (So far)

1. I cut my total breakfast numbers by half. Half the total protein, carbs, fat, calories etc. the only number I kept about the same is fiber grams.  This was fairly easy, since breakfast has long been my main/largest meal of the day.  Cutting it in half means 1c coffee, 2 eggs instead of 3, 2 sausage links or bacon strips instead of 4, and a small 6″ hi-fiber/low carb tortilla filled with refried beans, pepper jack cheese, onions, and salsa — instead of a medium 8″ tortilla.)

2. I stopped taking “canna-free” days. I’d been taking 1 day a week off from the routine.

3. I switched from my usual —

  • Bloody Mary-Jane (made w/ 3/4 c mixer + 1oz olives) or 
  • Canna-Joe (made w/ 1c strong dark roast or 2 shots espresso, 2T cocoa powder, vanilla, cream, & sweetener) –> to a a tall 
  • Ginger Joint (made w/ 12oz Bai no-sugar Ginger soda, 1oz lime juice, 1/2t lemon bitters.)

The resulting iced ginger drink fills a glass that holds 22oz — and unlike the hot coffee (9oz, including milk), or the short bloody mary-like canna cocktails (10oz including ice and olives), the Ginger potion takes me several hours to drink, and the ice melts into it over time — diluting it further.

[all 3 drinks are made w/ exactly the same 1/2t measure of cannabis tincture.]

The results of these changes have been very positive, including much lower levels of cannabis in my system, but more consistently; lower averages in blood sugar numbers and more consistency; and about 15% less food in my system, which takes some of the burden off my metabolism.  –all with no loss to the anti-migraine, anti-neusea, anti-anxiety, and pain management effects of the Medical Marijuana.

Not sure what this means in the long run. I have already been very pleased that the cannabis seems to be keeping the migraines and the various anxiety problems at bay.  But I’d been hearing and reading about some of the terpenes and cannabinoids possibly having a positive effect on insulin resistance — I just hadn’t dared hope it would impact the diabetes, too.

(Check out HBO’s “Vice” archives for their discussion about the Congolese Landrace that may have clues to the diabetes/cannabis connection.)

And it may turn out that the lower blood sugar numbers are completely unrelated to the cannabis.  –however, that would be a very big coincedence.

We’ll see.  

At least I hope we will.  

Who knows what this Republican Administration will do w/ regards to cannabis.  Or anything else.

Canna-Joe: a New Favorite Cup of Cannabis Coffee

I can’t smoke my medical marijuana because I have killer asthma – literally.  I can’t do magic brownie (at least not easily) because I’m diabetic.  So…  most of the time I use cannabis tincture, which I brew myself like some kind of Snape’s Potion Class homework.

But the truth is, I really dislike the taste of marijuana.  

So I am on an endless quest to find the most inoffensive ways to use the tincture I make.

The basics, for those wh have not been on this magical mystery tour of cullinary experimentation with me, seem to be this:

  1. Start low and go slow.  In other words, you want to use the least quantity of cannabis possible to get the symptom relief you are after.  Mostly because even when legal, pot is still expensive.  So waste not = want not.  …Also because using too much tends to give me nightmares, or even panic attacks.  Be conservative when you first experiment with dosage… you can always have more later if needed; but if you use too much at first, you just have to wait it out as it metabolizes through your system.
  2. Masking the flavor — especially of some of the really dank flavored strains is v e r y difficult.  Through experimentation, I have learned that bitter flavors tend to hide the danks better than just about anything else.  A little sour, salty, spicy-hot,  and a little sweet can also help, but the bitterness  is really the key.
  3. Bartenders’ bitters (those expensive little bottles that are measured into mixed drinks by the drop) are availabe in a wide variety of formulas, from Graprfruit Bitters, to Teapot Bitters, to Mexican Mole Bitters, and Chinese Herbal, Dandelion, and Charred Pineapple or Chamomile!
  4. Naturally bitter foods also work: coffee, black or green tea, cocoa, olives, citrus peel, ginger, herbs like dandelion, burdock, and grape leaf….

In the past, I have given recipes here on my blog that use tastebud approved and tested ways to consume magic bartendable drinks like my Bloody Mary Jane, Salty Dawg, Magic Matcha Chai, and my Ginger Ale Joint.  So here is my latest, and possibly greatest potent pot-potable: Canna-Joe.

  • 8oz very strong, dark roast coffee or 4oz espresso.  I prefer an Italian roast because it is bold and bitter without tasting burnt.  I prefer either Illy espresso, Barista Prima Italian Roast, Barista Prima Dark Hazelnut, or in a pinch — one of the Starbucks dark roasts.  Decaf works just fine if it’s late….
  • 2 T (rounded) unsweetened cocoa powder.  I use Dagoba’s chili pepper spiced, or an organic dutched cocoa.  Note that the cocoa powder also adds several grams of fiber to the cup.
  • 2 t suger, or the equivalent in the sweetener of your choice.  I use a diabetes friendly sweetener called Just Like Sugar, because it also adds 5g of fiber per T.  Whatever sweet you use, adjust the amount to match your taste.
  • 1/4t vanilla extract
  • 1 dose (for me, this is about 1/2t of my high-proof alcohol tincture) cannabis
  • 1 1/2 oz light cream

Honestly, in this mix, I can’t taste the marijuana at all!  Which is excellent news.  It also adds about 12-13g of fiber to my daily diabetes numbers.

And it’s just as good over ice.


Pictures to come….

The End Of The World As We Know It — Keep Swimming


First a quick nod of thanks to R.E.M. for the song that’s been playing in my head for nearly a month.  Where would we be without our daily life soundtrack….

A few days ago, I posted a short piece to FaceBook that I later added here as a blog entry, talking about how I’ve finally managed to get past the election of Donald Trump, and get on with my life.  In that post, I said I’d had 2 “ah-ha” moments and I explained what I’d learned, then ended by saying there really was a 3rd big AH-HA — but it would take too long to explain in a FB status update.  After all the comments, Likes, private messages, phone calls etc from my friends & FBcontacts, I now realize that just about everybody I know — including even those who don’t live in the US or have US citizenship —  has been experiencing the same kind of PTSD reaction to this year’s election, and that maybe I should have taken the time and explained all three Ah-Ha’s.  Here we are, nearly five weeks after the fact, and people are still either in denial — still expecting some deus ex machina intervention or catastrophe to prevent the coming inauguration — or so deep into depression that they are considering a visit to their doctor to talk about SSRIs.  Or Valium.  or Xanax.  or medical marijuana.  or how to self-administer a lethal injection.

Not those who voted for the Don, I suppose.  But I don’t actually know anybody who voted for him.  Or who will admit to it, anyway.

The worst reactions are coming from those who have either been in abusive relationships and escaped — or those who have lived and/or worked closely with a narcissist.  (Not a slightly self-absorbed average person — a real, live, clinically pathological narcissist.)  For those people, the post-election season is a little like waking up in one of their own nightmare memories.  The evening news is like watching old home movies — playing out on a global scale.  People who have survived a marriage to a narcissist or a business relationship with a narcissist  know what’s coming.  It’s the Big Reveal.  Or the Big Run-And-Hide.  Enemies lists, revenge, retribution, long-game-I’ll-show-you, spiteful jabs, reputation destroying, enemies-closer, cyber-stalking, power-plays, victory laps, pep rallies, loyalty rewards cards, military parades, membership in Biggest Winner Fan Club, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together….

And they’re right, of course.  All of that is more than possible.  It’s probable.  Likely.  Coming to a theater near you.  And a market near you.  And a street near you.  Everybody needs to have their exit strategy laid out.  Keep the tank full at all times.   Have at least 3-4 weeks of food and water on hand.  Keep blankets and water and an emergency care kit by the door.

This is not a test.

But here’s the other thing that’s just as true:

The model still holds.

I am not going to explain the model in this post.  That would be like explaining particle physics in 20 words or less.  (lol)  It would be a 50 page (conservatively) snooze-a-thon for most folks.  There is a full explanation of the Graves Model here in my blog (start here, if you want the full monty) – but the essentials are these:

  • There is a developmental pattern shared by all of us.
  • The same pattern of human development is shared by groups — families, societies, species.  From individuals to villages, companies to governments, to the global village — each of us, and each of the cultural groups we belong to, all follow the same pattern of evolution.
  • The level of the model an individual operates at is demonstrated by their motivations, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • When the “tipping point” of any level is reached, the person or society that has reached that tipping point moves on to the next level. (much like a simple game, where the tiny explorer fights all the creatures and solves all the puzzles on one level, then discovers the doorway into the next level and so moves on.)
  • The levels alternate between inward focus and outward focus.  That is, Level 1 is all about my own personal survival.  Once that survival is secured, we look around and say “Is that it?  Is that all there is to life?”  And of course, the answer is always, NO.  There is more to life that just my own survival — but I can’t see that until I’m good enough at surviving to look around my own little 2-square-feet of real estate.  And Level 2 is born — the family group or tribe is born.  Level 1 is inward — just me.  Level 2 is outward and inclusive — US.  WE.  We survive and we do it better together.  We take care of our own.  We share the load.  We help each other.
  • Each progressive step upward reaches its threshold asking a question.  Odd numbered levels ask, “Is that all there is?” before moving up to an even-numbered level.  Even numbers ask, “but what’s in this for me?” and then move up to the next odd-numbered level to do inward/individual focus again.
  • Each progressive level is broader and/or more complex than the previous level.
  • The group — the US — of each progressive even number is bigger than the last.  Level 2 is about protecting and building family and tribe.  Level 4 is about protecting and building social order — church, state, laws, written morals etc.  Level 6 is about protecting and building for all humans and other diverse groups, acting together and for one-another.
  • The individual — the ME — of each progressive odd number exhibits a wider range of power, control, and participation in self advancement than simple survival.  Level 3 is about competition, conquest, and winning on the battlefields of sport, war, and pre-capitalist economics.  Level 5 is about competition, conquest and winning on the bigger playing fields of capitalist economics, science, and technology.  Level 7 does not exist yet on a global scale —  we have not reached this level in the broader evolution of our species, but in individual terms, it is about the competition and conquest of ideas.  We are playing on the bigger field of human ideas and understanding.  It is a world of figuring out bigger questions.  Bigger patterns.  Patterns over time and distance.   L3 is pre-capitalist.  L5 is capitalist.  L7 is — you guessed it — post-capitalist.
  • The Graves Model itself, exists at Level 7.  And yes, there is an 8, but neither L1 nor L8 is really relevant or helpful for this discussion, so we’re just going to drop those for now and move on.
  • In general, the harshest critics of any level are those who have just moved to the next level.  Like someone who has just managed to kick an addiction to cigarettes is the first to insist that smokers are enemies of the state.
  • In general, odd numbers see both the previous even number and the next even number as enemies of all they stand for.  L5 tends to see L4’s laws, regulations, and morals as strangling and ridiculously rule-bound; and L6’s concern with “all-those-not-like-me” as wasting their time, money and energy on things that don’t matter to the bottom line.  L3 felt the same way about L2 and L4.  L7 will, if we last long enough as a species, feel the same way about L6 and L8.
  • In general, regardless of what level we exist at, we are able to operate at other levels when called for.  For example, anyone who has survived (L1) is able to shift into L1 when their survival is at stake.  Anyone who has lived at L2 will return to L2 for family gatherings.  Anyone can play tennis at L3.  Everyone probably attends church or balances their checkbook in L4-mode.  There are certain activities that pull us from our general operating level into a level that works best for that particular activity.
  • We all tend to believe that everyone is just like us — but that some are doing it very badly.  L2s think the entire world exists for them to use for their group’s benefit — but some individuals or countries  just don’t understand.  L3 thinks the whole world is there for them to fight, defeat, and conquer — the one with the biggest stick or gun wins.  L4 thinks the world just needs to follow their rules.  L5 thinks money will fix everything.  L6 thinks we are our brother’s keepers, and everyone is our brother — but (L5 especially) just doesn’t get it.  L7 believes they can fix it if they can just figure it out — and any other pursuit is a waste of time.
  • And — this is the important take-away — Every individual, regardless of level, and every social or cultural entity, regardless of level — has one belief in common:


And that, boys and girls, is where war and aggression come from.

And that’s the shortest explanation of the Graves Theory of Human Evolution I can give you.  It’s not complete.  I’ve made some outrageous simplifications.  But that’s the crux of it.  It’s a really REALLY complicated big picture cut down to a page or two of generalizations.

I thought I’d live to see the shift from Graves Level 5 to 6 as the dominant world system.  After all, we’ve been here at L5 since the Renaissance.  Sure, there have been many individuals who have existed happily and well at L6 and L7 for years — but not enough of those individuals for any but a few tiny countries or organizations to move up into L6 en mas.  Large collections of L7s work in close proximity in  few really forward thinking companies, research institutions or colonies, but in general they are Lone Wolf thinkers who specialize in pattern recognition, theoretical scientific work, and systems analysis and theory.

But since the Renaissance, L5 has been the dominant and overwhelmingly persuasive bully on the pitch.  In many cases, it has persuaded us that it is the only game in town — that if it isn’t working, it’s because it is being played badly — and with enough effort and elbow grease, we can get it working the way we want it to work.

But here’s the truth — the pattern holds.

The next step will be the de-throning of L5 as the dominant social system.

We were closer than we’ve ever been to that flip into L6 in 2016 with the candidacy of Bernie Sander for President of the United States.  With Hillary Clinton, we had a candidate who had split her time going back and forth between L5 and L6.  After all, her social ambitions were based firmly in L6 ambitions, but she spent her entire career fighting from within the L5 establishment.  With Donald Trump, we had a candidate playing solidly in L5 (albeit in a significantly unhealthy way.)  HERE is a write-up on Health at any Level.

But Bernie Sanders was a horse of a different color in this race.  He makes no bones about being post-capitalist in a capitalist dominated world.  And he made no bones about pointing out the flaws in that system — for his entire career in politics.  This made him the ideal candidate for all those who have individually moved to the Graves Level where protecting and building a world where everyone is on equal footing — has equal advantages and opportunities — equal rights and protections under the law.  And for the first time in human history, one of the most powerful nations on the planet came very close to shifting from Level 5 to Level 6.  In fact, if the L5 US had been a healthy version of L5, rather than a panic-driven L5 running without the constraints of L4 morality, he might have succeeded.  But neither the Democratic nor Republican parties felt bound by right over wrong, legal or illegal, truth over lie, or fair and just over self-interest.

In short, Bernie Sanders felt bound by the rule of law and the fairness he was running to create.  Neither of the other two major candidates or their parties felt the same way.  Hillary and Trump were running in and for an L5 world.  Bernie was running in hope of an L6 emergence.

So again, THE PATTERN HOLDS.  L6 is where we are all heading, both as individuals and as a species.

One of the biggest bluffs L5 has run on humanity is the hyper-quotable: “Nobody ever said life was going to be fair.”


The idea that life isn’t fair  makes it easy for L5 to take what it wants, regardless of who it hurts.  So long as life isn’t fair — bullies reign.  If we start with the presupposition that there are winners and losers — then it’s okay within that presupposition for most of the population to be losers.  And it’s okay for winners to gloat.  And kick the losers in the butt to make sure they remember their place.

But the presupposition is a lie.  If life is sometimes unfair, it’s because its really really hard, not because it’s impossible.  And creating something that is really really hard and complicated and complex and far-reaching requires a higher Graves Level of complexity than L5 could manage.  It will take L6 — fully formed and reveling in the complications and tangles — to created fairness.

Expect justice to be the motive from healthy L4.

But expect fairness to be the motivation from healthy L6.

So if you are waiting for the  deus ex machina to drop down and save you from Donald Drumph, you can stop waiting.  This is all real and it is all going to happen.  His narcissism is going to be dangerous.  His ignorance is going to be a challenge.  But his presence is going to be.  Period.  The trick is going to be to survive it — both individually, and collectively as a country.  If there is homework, it will be waiting to see how far we can get the pendulum to swing.  Never mind “don’t let that pendulum hit you in the butt as you leave the White House, Donald!”  We want it to hit him so hard that L5 leaves with him as the dominant system in the US, and L6 is the only logical and reasonable step forward anybody can see.

So to all my friends that are still having trouble figuring out how to move on with their lives in a Trumpocracy — just know we are all still here, and the pattern holds.  We may not live to see it, but our children and grandchildren may yet discover that the world really can be a fair place.  A just place.  An honorable place.  A complex puzzle of life rather than a jack-bo0ted torture of a life.

The task ahead — the one that really gets us ahead, rather than earning us a spot in the loony-bin — is to do our best to live lives of fairness and hope, rather than lives of fear and victim-hood.  Do your L6 best — volunteer.  March.  Protest.  Give things away to people who need them.  Donate to organizations with a clear L6 focus and structure.  Support random acts of kindness and fairness.  Participate in your community and group and religion and school.  Feed somebody who’s hungry.  Learn constantly.  Reinvent yourself daily.  Save the planet.  Save the animals.  Save yourself.

In evolutionary terms, the only resolution to advancing complexity is to move to a higher level of existence.   Problems cannot be addressed from the level that created them.  It took L2 to create a place for L1 to live out their survival.  And it took L3 to progress beyond the boundary of the village.  It took L4 to stop L3’s conquests.  It took L5 to reign in L4’s structure.  Similarly, L5 can’t fix L5’s hoarding and bullying.  Only L6 can fix L5 problems.  And only L7 can harness the energy of all those minds and ideas held dear by so many people thinking and creating together.

If we can keep the planet alive long enough, we might be able to all live here together.  The pattern holds, and the pattern is bigger than this election.  It’s also bigger than the US.  Certainly bigger than any one mewling politician or disrupted event.  If you’re still stuck in the politics, pull up higher so you can see the bigger picture.  — and hold on to that bigger picture.  It’s the one that matters.

November — A Little PTSD In My Coffee

i-votedSo it’s no secret I’ve been having a hard time processing the 2016 presidential election. What I didn’t know was how many other people were having similar problems. Symptoms (mine, and symptoms gathered from others) include: disrupted sleep patterns, nightmares, problems with general digestion, specific problem with unusually high blood sugar or blood pressure numbers, pessimism, darker cynicism, generalized depression, absence of hope for the future, inability to talk about public policy and politics without panic or anxiety, extended periods of crying… you may recognize some or all of the list.

2 “ah-ha” moments in the last 2 days:
1. greed is predatory. that is, American capitalism has painted a very clear (and yet untrue) picture that for one person to have *more*, another person must have less. Greed says that in order for Person A to get more, it is okay to take from Person B — even if that *taking* means stealing from, lying to, tricking, bluffing, bullying, threatening, conning, tormenting, torturing, or killing Person B. Greed makes us into predators who do not kill-to-eat, or kill-to-survive — but who kill or do harm to others for the pleasure of acquiring more and more and more. For the clearest and most easily understood explanation of how this model is flawed, watch Ron Howard’s Oscar winning film “A Beautiful Mind.” It is specifically the notion that economics must be competitive and predatory that John Nash was arguing against.
It is greed (and not money or economics or capitalism) that is virulent and predatory. Greed is not an economic theory — but an amoral add-on.
2. politics is as addictive as gambling — and in much the same ways. The idea that you can’t win if you don’t play is very much like the idea that you can’t effect change if you aren’t actively involved in politics. Or the idea that the amount you participate in politics is directly related to your commitment to being a good citizen. –which turns out to be untrue. Like addicted gamblers, political junkies find it nearly impossible to resist the call to be angry, argumentative, defensive — and often ruthless — in their attacks on those who do not agree with their own personal ideology. It causes a myopic attention to current events. It demands absolute and obcesive focus. It leads to isolation and loss of outside interests. It requires an attention to narrow detail that obscures the larger (and often, the pleasures of) daily life.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer's remorse after this election....  she would have voted for Bernie.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer’s remorse after this election…. she would have voted for Bernie.

I’ve never been vulnerable to addiction before, but I’m pretty sure this is it.
And just realizing this has helped a lot. (that, and deliberately walking away from any more than 10 minutes of political news per day, and choosing to only read headlines and abstracts of in-depth political news)

There was a 3rd “ah-ha!” — but it’s very specific to the Graves Model (a social and cultural evolutionary model) — so I’ll keep that one for myself. It takes a while to explain, and I’m sleepy….

Sweet Potato – Pecan Cheesecake! — Diabetic Friendly!

Try this on for size — this may be the best sugar-free, high fiber, gluten free, high protein, reasonably carb’d recipe I’ve ever made. And it is sooooo yummy…. Holy crap. There will be variations on this theme but here’s the basic recipe:

2 tsp(s), cinnamon, ground
0.50 tsp(s), Salt
2 tsp, Vanilla Extract
0.75 cup, Chopped pecans

80 grams, “Just Like Sugar for Baking” sugar substitute
1.25 cup, Farmers Market Sweet Potato Puree
2 containers (8 oz ea.), Cream Cheese (Light)
2 Eggs

Let the cream cheese and eggs come to room temp so they will mix well. combine eggs, sweet potato puree (or pumpkin), vanilla, Just Like Sugar, salt, cinnamon and mix until smooth. Gradually add cream cheese and mix until smooth and well blended.

Grease a pyrex baking pan (about 7″x9″) and spread pecans on the bottom of the pan.

Pour cream cheese mixture into the greased pan (or muffin cups) over the pecans, and bake in a hot oven/ with a water-bath at 400 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm. (time will depend on the size of the dish — a smaller pan will take longer.)

Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate (or scoop out into single serving dishes to chill.)
8 x 1/2c portions: 235 calories each
17g fat
328mg sodium
20g total carbs
11g fiber carbs
7g sugar carbs
7g protein
(and half a day’s Vitamin A because of the sweet potato)