Watercolor Sketching in Boise May 23-26, 2011


in BOISE, IDAHO with

Mark W. McGinnis*

students will be accepted on beginning
to advanced levels

Class Fee — $200.00, class maximum size:25

– to reserve your place contact Mark McGinnis 208-921-7189 or markwmcginnis@gmail.com (for class registration, fee payment, and more

– minimal materials needed, a suggested list will be given upon enrollment

– all travel by private cars

– daily demonstrations – individual instruction throughout the day –  group discussion will take place on location at the end of each session

May 23-26, 2011 (schedule subject to change due to weather)

Monday, May 23 –1-5pm  K. Albertson Park (course introduction, orientation, and sketching)

Tuesday – May 24 – 1-5pm sketching at the Boise Bench Depot (gardens & cityscape)

Wednesday – May 25 –1-5pm sketching in the Boise Foothills

Thursday – May 26 – 1-5pm sketching in the Botanical Gardens ($4.00 admission)

*Mark McGinnis was a professor of art for 30 years at Northern State University, has had over 120 exhibitions nationwide, and published five books. www.markwmcginnis.com

Essay of the Month: Evil

Issa - Bonfires Burn Out, acrylic on paper, 2008, Mark W. McGinnis

Our understanding of evil has many times been tied to our understanding of
religion. Evil has been presented as the opposite to Good/God. But this is an
oversimplification and to some degree a manipulation of evil. By making evil
supernatural we remove ourselves from it and make it a controller of humans. In
today’s world few people do this with other conditions of nature. We do not see
storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, or other violent and destructive forces as
being evil. But many people still see human beings as being under the control
of evil. Is this the case? Can we excuse ourselves from behavior considered
evil because of forces beyond our control? Most legal systems do not think so.

Certainly there are some evil acts and evil people whose actions can be explained by
physiological mental conditions. When parts of the brain are not functioning
properly or defective evil results can happen. But this does not explain the
vast majority of evil that human beings create. The genocides, destruction of
the environment, murders, rapes, torture, physical and mental cruelty are not
for the most part done by people with a defective brain, it is done by human
beings with just as healthy brain tissue as you and I. What then can lead them
to do such things? For many people this is where the supernatural explanation
gives some relief, and relief that they would not be capable of such actions as
they are not under the influence of such evil. I fear that we are all capable
of such evil; we all have the potential of a torturer within us — it is not an
easy possibility for many of us to confront.

In religious context our association with the Good/God has been believed to
counter the Evil (from without or within). To some degree this has been
successful and some people have subdued their negative potential with religious
belief. For others religion has not been successful. The Inquisition and
terrorism at the World Trade Towers are just two examples. Other more personal
examples can be found in the lives of millions of people of many faiths.

People who create evil are for the most part disconnected. They do not see themselves
as a part of or connected to what they are imposing evil upon, be it other
people, creatures, the environment, the planet. They believe themselves or
their group as unique and deserving whatever they wish, physical or mental,
which may be obtained by whatever means necessary. What I believe mitigates our
potential for evil is our degree of connection. We can see obvious examples of
this in family groupings. While there are unfortunate and sometimes hideous
exceptions, people are less inclined to perpetuate acts of evil on other
members of their family. This inclination was extended to clan, tribe, country,
race, and species – with more exceptions as the circle widened. As we reach the
far circumference of the circle and to other species of life the system breaks
down. There are some regulations that try to inhibit people from cruelty to
some animals, especially pet species, but when we reach the realm of animals
raised for food and wildlife there seems no limits on the levels of cruelty
that may be imposed on them.

To minimize evil the understanding and realization of connection must be broadened
and deepened. We can understand that our connection to other people is not merely
a philosophical or religious but physical and material. The differences between
two people are so minimal as to be nearly non-existent, the commonality is
nearly total. Tinny genetic differences give us a miraculous uniqueness, but the
truth is that we all have the same basic needs; we have the same, or nearly the
same; potential, we are all made of the same stuff. When this understanding
reaches beyond surface intellectual level and finds its way to core of your
being the potential for evil dissolves, the other is you, you are the other –
again, this is not philosophically or spiritually, but physically –
reality.  This sense of connection does
not have an end-point, it can be extended to all of existence. The animals,
birds, insects, plants, stones, planets, stars, galaxies, the entire universe
is made of the same stuff, the very same stuff, just organized, temporarily, in
certain packages. We are one of those packages and what we are will change to
other packages. We are not only connected, we will be and have been all others.

Copyright 2011 Mark W. McGinnis