Wednesday, February 27, 2013


A couple days ago, Whitney modeled for a painting that I had hoped to create. Unfortunately, the painting was a complete failure, but in the process, I realized the photograph was itself a work of art. I used Gimp, a photo editing program, to remove some distraction from the background, but otherwise, something about her natural spirituality became the primary focus. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Little Mermaid

Dakota and Whitney performed the Little Mermaid at the Bing Crosby Theater as part of the most recent CYT Spokane production. Dakota played Prince Eric and Whitney played one of the mermaid sisters. They performed this evening to a sold out show, and of course, they did a wonderful job. I could not be more proud to see their confidence and ability grow. 

Tickets are still available HERE for next weekend. 

Prince Eric at the helm. 

Ariel and Flounder discuss the dinglehopper. 

King Triton and his daughters. 
Whitney is in the center. 

Ursual the Sea Witch. 

Ursula cast a spell to make Ariel human. 

Prince Eric and Ariel. 

"Kiss the Girl." 

Just before the Sea Witch perishes. 

London was the best starfish ever.

Whitney got to wear some incredible eyelashes. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I should be writing my paper for Global Issues & Policy Analysis, but my brain is saturated with the ethical arguments of Rawls and the notion of the "impartial spectator" proposed by Adam Smith. For my own sanity, I need a moment to think about simpler things, like old family pictures and memories of my children. 

These pictures make me smile, like the one with McKenna wearing her mother's bridal veil. Someday she'll get married and we'll show this picture at her reception. 

This picture of Dakota and me was taken in one of those machines at Chuck E. Cheese that make a "sketch" of the people sitting in a booth. There's a certain sadness to this picture, but I appreciate the closeness in the way our faces touch. 

This photograph makes me smile every time. When Whitney lost her front teeth, we tried to convince her to dress up as a little bat girl for Halloween, but she always refused. "No!" she said, "I want to be a princess." So there she is, the toothless princess in hair curlers. Priceless!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blast from the Past

I was looking through some old pictures and found these delightful memories. The first is a picture of Dakota on Monumental Mountain. We must have been picking huckleberries. The date on the photo properties reads August 10, 2002, so Dakota was seven years old. What a sweet, beautiful child he was! He is still a wonderful young man.  

Whitney and McKenna on March 30, 2003. Whitney was almost four years old and McKenna was five. It melts my heart to see their innocent faces again. 

You know, I was so stressed out during that time of my life. I wish I would have appreciated these moments just a little more. Life is precious and family means the world. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


Lucy Finley was a friend of the family. For many years, I never knew her real name. We simply called her the Beautiful Lady because of her radiant smile and generous spirit. I used to love to watch her on the wardance floor. Many traditional dancers walk with solemn steps, as if exaggerated seriousness added to the dignity of the ceremony. In contrast, Lucy danced with a joyful, exuberant smile that filled the room. She was an inspiration to many. 

A few years ago, I made a pencil drawing of the Beautiful Lady. This was my best portrait by far. My only regret is that I drew the portrait on a regular piece of printer paper. Unfortunately, the paper was distorted in the shaded areas. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chief Joseph

Back in the year 2000, I taught an art class at Medicine Wheel Academy; not that I was qualified to teach art, mind you. I did not hold an art endorsement, nor had I taken any classes since high school. However, alternative schools at that time did not require subject-specific endorsements. I was free to teach any class I wanted, so I taught art. As part of that class, I painted a portrait of Chief Joseph - acrylic on canvas board. 

I gave the painting to a friend, but tonight I made the odd request that he allow me to photograph the painting for my own keepsake. He agreed, and here is a digital copy - thirteen years later. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013


Finally, this is a watercolor portrait of my father. I really struggled with this piece since watercolor is not as forgiving as pencil or acrylic. I made some mistakes that I just have to live with, but the only way to improve is to practice. Thanks again to Carole and Todd for inspiring me to reclaim my creativity. 


Some time in 1999 or 2000, Rhonda and I created and facilitated a "Mask Workshop" where we explored the masks we wear when we conceal our authentic selves. As part of the workshop, we constructed tangible masks that represented some shadow aspect of our personality. 

This was my mask, painted with acrylic on an ordinary piece of card board. The eyes were cut out since I actually wore the mask at one point. 

I created this mask at a time in my life when I struggled to find my voice. I often felt powerless to express my own thoughts, even if I knew they were right. In a sense, this piece is also a self-portrait - a depiction of my fear and self-doubt. By creating a visual representation of my personal mask, I was able to also claim my wisdom just a little more. 

I love this piece. I love the simplicity and the memory of a wonderful workshop. 



Todd Benson has inspired me to think about my art. Ever since I was a kid, I loved to draw, but I'm sorry to say that I have often allowed my art to fall by the wayside. I tell myself that things get too busy, but in reality, creativity is therapy. In any case, Todd asked to see some of my work. Thanks to him, I guess the rest of you get to see it too. 

These pencil and paper portraits measure about five inches by seven and were completed in December of 1999. 



This post is dedicated to 
Carole Parks and Todd Benson.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Carole introduced me to the idea of art journals. She encouraged me to make my own journal, though I have to admit that I did not like the idea of creating a book. Instead, I envisioned painting six-by-nine inch cards that feature semi-iconic images. My original plan called for these images to hang from a clothes line with wooden clothes pins. Perhaps in the back of my mind, I found something appealing about creating semi-sacred images that would be displayed on a mundane string for hanging clothes. For me, this did not denigrate the sacred quality of the images, but rather it would have served to sanctify the mundane. 

When I was a child, I recall that my coopyaya used to have a set of blue enamel cups and bowls, like the ones I see now in the camping aisle. They were so common, and yet when I see them now, I feel a sense of the sacred. I pictured the clothes line in a similar way, but ultimately I never displayed them in that way. They are simply pinned to my wall at home. 

These images were painted with watercolor pencil and then outlined with a Pitt Pen. I sealed each piece and then covered them with Mod Podge. For display on this page, I did clean some of the edges.

When I first began painting in this style, I was especially fascinated in different cultural representations of the heart. My first watercolor piece was ilmixʷm spuʔusc (Chief of Hearts), as seen above. This card was really more of an experiment with the process of watercolor pencil, but I also intended it to show a humorous aspect with a Native chief superimposed on the western King of Hearts card.  

My second piece explores the Catholic iconography associated with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Something about icons just absolutely intrigues me, but I can't really say why. Perhaps I feel drawn to the Jungian archetypes that underlie these works, or perhaps a part of me still believes in the old magic of sacred images. 

I consider my third piece a portrait, but not of any human acquaintance. Some years ago, I had a spiritual experience where I felt connected to the spirit of the bitterroot. Many of the old stories talk about the orange heart at the center of the root, so I depicted the bitterroot with its heart on the outside. Again, something about this piece seems like an icon in its own right. Maybe it's strange to say, but I feel happy just to look at these faces. 

My fourth piece followed the heart theme one step further. In this portrait, I depicted my great aunt Messie Moses Haines. During her lifetime, I always felt nurtured by her boundless love and support. Even after she made her journey, I often felt her guidance from the other side. She was a big-hearted woman. I blended the image of a heart into the flowers on her blouse, and I wrote the phrase kʷin xmenč (I love you) as a subtitle to the painting. To this day, I still miss her.  

This piece departed from the overt heart theme, but still depicts one of the primary plants in my cultural tradition: the camas. When the blue flowers of the camas return every year, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for our traditional foods. 

This piece honors the bluejay.  

This piece was inspired by a friend from Indiana. She visited Spokane a couple summers ago and had hoped to buy a deck of tarot cards in our community. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to find a deck that she liked, so I felt moved to create something for her. As a result, I painted the first card in the tarot - the Fool, but instead of using the traditional fool imagery, I painted Coyote as the Fool, complete with overlapping Salish concepts. 

I painted a second Tarot card based on the Salish concept of spiritual power. As with Catholic icons, I find myself drawn - almost mesmerized - by tarot imagery. Of course, tarot cards have been maligned by many of the world's religions, but I feel the condemnation is somewhat misplaced. I certainly don't believe that tarot cards provide any special access to the devil, nor do I believe that they necessarily predict the future. Rather, I see them in a somewhat Jungian perspective. They tap into the collective unconscious of archetypal images and provide insight into the ways people create meaning in their lives. Like a classic ink blot test, much of their value consists in holding an image that a person then imbues with meaning. Individual interpretations are much more valuable to me than 'fortune telling.'

Copyright © 2013 Barry G. Moses; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Art Journaling

My friend Carole has introduced me to the concept of art journaling. Essentially, an art journal is a personal diary written in artistic form. It can include words, photographs, paintings, collages, or any combination. Carole's journal is primarily water color, but it has a little of everything. She has organized the journal into a book, but a journal can have loose pages as well. It's all a matter of personal preference. 

Carole has included a number of inspirational quotes, but she also explored her beliefs, dreams, experiences, and personal struggles. She says that art journaling is therapeutic and that it helps her to make sense of important life issues. 

Carole's art journal has inspired me to reclaim my own artistic interests. Since she introduced me to this concept last year, I have painted about a dozen small water color and acrylic pieces. Hopefully, I will be able to blog about my art in the near future. In the end, I feel grateful to Carole for re-opening my heart to the creative process. 

All life is an experiment.
The more experiments you make, the better. 
~ Emerson

Behold the turtle. 
He only makes progress
when he sticks his neck out. 
~James Conant






Every once in a while, I download the photographs from my SD card and discover these delightful little surprises. Usually, one of my daughters uses the camera when I'm not around to create imaginary scenes. It always catches me off-guard, and it always makes me smile. In this case, I'm pretty sure that my daughter McKenna created these scenes with her Calico Critters. 

More than anything, I'm fascinated to see the world through their eyes. Sometimes I do my own little discourse analysis and try to guess the story of each scene. For example, I get the impression that the first two pictures represent a new baby being welcomed by an extended family. The lower scene probably represents an audience, like a classroom, movie, or church service. 

I'm interested to hear other interpretations. Leave a comment. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Light and Shadow

Light and shadow, 
the trees are sleeping
under a blanket 
of cold and fog. 

I took these pictures a few nights ago using a tripod and a long shutter speed. I experimented with the settings and got some interesting differences in color. 

Saturday, February 02, 2013


My daughter and I also visited the David Douglas exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, or the MAC. This installation especially caught my interest because of the many indigenous plants collected by Douglas during his visit to the Columbia Plateau. 

Douglas observed the process of baking black moss in the ground. He referred to the final product as "moss bread." It was interesting to see his perspective on an ancient indigenous practice that survives into modern times. 

Bitterroot, camas, and black moss. 

I was surprised to learn that California condors once flew the skies above the Columbia Plateau. This specimen had a wing span exceeding nine feet. 


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