Laurel Canyon Dream
In the late 1960's and early 70's, I lived on the top of a mountain in Laurel Canyon in the
Hollywood Hills in a little house with my friend Shirle. Shirle was very beautiful, throughly
beautiful. She had been a disciple of Paramahanza Yogananda before he departed to the
spirit world. We also spent time at my studio on Temple St. in Echo Park near downtown
Los Angeles. We would go back and forth between our two places.
In Shirle's little house on the top of the mountain, there were sliding glass windows at the
foot of the bed, looking out over the canyon to the mountain ridge beyond.
One night, or early morning, in a dream, I heard the squeaking of oars and the splashing of
water. Suddenly, I awoke to/in that dimension between dreaming and awakening. I was
looking towards the foot of the bed and through the tall glass windows, out across a fog-
gy landscape. The fog was thick and I could barely see across the canyon. I was still
hear-ing the squeaking of oars and the splashing of water. Slowly, I saw emerging
through the fog, the bow of a large row boat. It was a 19th century dory. The boat was
coming toward me. As the boat emerged through the fog, I could see the origin of the
sound of squeaking oars and the splashing of water: there was a man sitting in the middle
of the boat, towards the back, facing the bow of the boat and rowing with two long oars.
As he rowed closer to me, I could clearly see what he was wearing and even his facial
features. The man was wearing a 19th century top hat and a long old coat. As I looked
closer at his bearded face, I realized that he was my twin brother, Brian.
Suddenly, I awoke out of that dimension between dreaming and awakening. For several
seconds, I could still see the image of my brother in the 19th century dory rowing towards
me through the fog in the canyon in front of me. He was actually there. Or....I was there.
That morning, I immediately started painting "Laurel Canyon Dream" and worked on it for
three to three and a half months until it was finished.
All Text ©Copyright 2006- 2011 by Brian Carl Hart / All Rights Reserved
Self-Portrait in the Desert
Please Note: The slide of the painting is incomplete. At least 1/4 to 1/3 of the painting is missing in the slide.
One night, at about midnight, in 1972, two friends and two other "brothers" and I decided
to drive out into the desert towards Death Valley. We all got into an old sedan and
I remember driving across a desert in the moonlight. We were at the top of a hill on a two
lane highway and I suggested that we turn off the headlights and the engine and coast
downhill in the light of the full moon. This we did, feeling as if we were in some kind of
Sometime between 1:00 AM and 3:00AM, we arrived at an abandoned ghost town. We
were in the dark of night. There was no longer a full moon. We were in pitch-black night.
I cannot explain this (possibly, the moon had set). The old wooden buildings were
vaguely visible in the dark. We could not see the ground.
After walking around form some time, we finally decided to lay down our sleeping bags
and crawl into them to sleep. I remember that we were all laughing as we were stumbling
around in the dark and continued to laugh while in our bags until we were exhausted and
finally went to sleep.
We must have gotten very little sleep because we were awake and up not too long after
sunrise. As we looked around us, we were shocked to see open mine shaft holes around
us. We all had the look of astonishment on our faces until we all broke out into laughter.
We were amazed that we all didn't step into and fall down these mine shafts in the night
and early morning when we were stumbling around in the dark.
We crawled out of our sleeping bags and walked over to the mine shafts, which were just
open square holes in the ground, about four by four feet. We threw rocks into the large
square holes and listened for them to hit the bottoms of the shafts. We could not here
them hit the bottoms of the shafts. We turned to each other with even more astonished
looks on our faces, full knowing that either one of us, or all of us could easily have step-
ped into any of these holes of no return. Our laughter did not return.
That day, after much driving, we finally reached Death Valley. I believe that we spent two
days and nights there.
It was the first night that we were all stretched out in a row in our sleeping bags (sort of
like that 1870's French photograph of the "Communards" laid out in their wooden cas-
kets, although we were very much alive). We talked and laughed into the night.
Above us was a canopy of stars - millions, billions, trillions of them. We were all in awe of
the greatness and vastness of the cosmos and the smallness of ourselves.
As I lay there next to one of my "brothers", I noticed one star moving slowly eastward.
Then it stopped and moved south for a distance and then east again. It repeated this
movement again. I noticed that whenever I had doubt that it was really there, the "ship of
light" would stop and when I psychically connected with it, that it would start moving
again. I said to my friend next to me: "Do you see what I see? He responded with : "Yes
I do. I've been watching it for some time now." We agreed that it was a "UFO". Whenever
it continued traveling eastward its communication to us seemed to tell us to follow it to
the east, towards a mountain we could clearly see to the east of us. My friend, Greg, and I
discussed this proposition. Neither of us wanted to get out of our sleeping bags, either
because it was too cold or because we were just too lazy. I believe that it was the latter
reason. So, our "encounter" was very "close".
During this journey in Death Valley, I had found an old door to an old metal & wood
refrigerator and brought it back to Los Angeles with me. I used this door to paint a small
self-portrait of me in the desert. This is painting #30.
Then, I painted a much larger painting, also a "Self-Portrait in the Desert". This is #217
Note: The image is cropped about 1/5 t0 1/4 of the length of the painting, due to the fact
that this was the last image on the roll of film. Unfortunately, it is the only image I have of
this painting, This self-portrait is of me squatting, naked, amongst moon-lit rocks. The
rocks, moon, and atmosphere were painted from my memory and imagination and my
self-portrait was painted by squatting in front of a tall mirror in my Temple Street Studio.
I loaned this painting to a friend. Years later, I heard that there was an ad in The Los
Angeles Times stating that this painting was for sale. I do not know where it is or who
has it, but, I would like to see it again.
All Text ©Copyright 2006 and 2011 by Brian Carl Hart / All Right