by Marinus Jan Marijs
Automatic Drawing and Painting
The phenomenon of artistic expression without control of the conscious self
John Bartlett produced automatic sketches of Glastonbury Abbey, bringing out archaeologically verified details with an amazing precision. The tremendous speed with which the automatic execution takes place is one of the most Automatic Drawing and Painting.
The phenomenon of artistic expression without control of the conscious self
John Bartlett produced automatic sketches of Glastonbury Abbey, bringing out archaeologically verified details with an amazing precision. The tremendous speed with which the automatic execution takes place is one of the most puzzling features of this psychic activity. The Seeress of Prevorst (Frederica Hauffe) drew complicated geometrical designs. “She threw off the whole drawing,” wrote Dr. Justinus Kerner, “in an incredibly short time, and employed, in marking the more than a hundred points into which this circle was divided, no compasses or instruments whatever. She made the whole with her hand alone, and failed not in single point. She seemed to work as a spider works its geometric diagrams, without a visible instrument. I recommended her to use a pair of compasses to strike the circles; she tried, and made immediate blunders.” (Gale Encyclopedia)
Luiz Gasparetto: Medium Painter
Modern psychic artists include the Brazilian Luiz Gasparetto. Painting in the early 1900s at lightning speed and in semidarkness, the entranced artist produced more than 6,000 paintings, some of them in the unmistakable style of such dead masters as Picasso, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Tissot, Manet, Monet, and Matisse.
In a book by a psychologist named Stanislav Grof called “When the Impossible Happens” there’s a chapter about Luiz Antonio Gasparetto, a man from Brazil who is able to channel the spirits of a wide range of dead famous painters (Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Modigliani, Manet, van Gogh, Gauguin, etc) and produce varieties of paintings in extraordinary styles.
“he doesn’t paint exact replicas of existing paintings but “new motifs rendered in easily recognizable styles of individual artists”.
when painting, he seems to enter into a trance and is not even looking at the paper at times.”
in the book, Dr Grof describes when Gasparetto came to their institute to paint in front of an audience and they actually turned all the lights off except for one little red light over the paper (red so that he couldn’t distinguish color).
he would at times paint with two hands two different paintings at the same time and even did one upside down under the table with his right foot.
Grof also describes a performance he did for a large audience in a big meeting room at the Esalen Insitute where Grof and his wife were working.
“As i said, the room was made dark except for a little red lamp that allowed people to observe what Luiz was doing but blocked his ability to distinguish colours.
He made them play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons throughout the session because he found it inspiring for his work.
within a few minutes his body went through a few jolts and he seemed to enter a trance, Grof’s wife (who sat next to Luis to hand him new sheets of paper) felt heat coming from his hands.
He began to paint with astonishing speed (as you can see in the vid) and produced remarkable paintings one after the other: van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Rembrandt, Monet and many others….he was using both of his hands painting 2 pictures simultaneously at times.
The performance lasted a little over an hour and at the end there were 26 paintings scattered on the floor, all rendered in appropriate colours even though there was that red light.”
Some of the most remarkable examples of psychic art have come from the contemporary British medium Matthew Manning, who has produced automatic drawings in the style of many great artists.
Manning, Matthew. The Link: The Extraordinary Gifts of a Teenage Psychic. U.K.: Colin Smythe, 1974. Reprint, New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1975.Manning, Matthew. The Link: The Extraordinary Gifts of a Teenage Psychic. U.K.: Colin Smythe, 1974. Reprint, New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1975. (Gale Encyclopedia)
(What follows are some paintings and some quotes and descriptions from various sources)
Some features of Gasparetto’s mediumship
We reproduce below the main points summarized by Mrs. Dubugras about Gasparetto’s mediumship (Dubugras, 1979, ‘Researchers study the phenomenon’, p. 100-102):
- He works in trance. In other words, in an altered state of consciousness;
- The pictures are done at an unusually high speed. The average for simple drawings was 4 minutes, more elaborate pictures took from 10 to 20 minutes. Some were done in 30 seconds. Not even a trained artist could produce work of such good quality so swiftly. And Luiz Antônio is not a trained artist.
- The absence of light during sessions, except when they are held for scientific purposes. Bright lights and flashlights cause the medium great discomfort. This has also been found in the case of physical effect mediums when producing materialisation or similar phenomena;
- He paints portraits of discarnates. Some were of relations or friends of people present at the session and recognized by them. Others have been of famous people of different countries – Queen Elizabeth I, of England; Allan Kardec, founder of Spiritism; W. B. Yeats, modern Irish poet; Lawrence of Arabia and many others;
- The total absence of models, yet the figures are anatomically correct;
- The variety of styles, each picture corresponding in style with that of the artist signing the work;
- The ambidextrous techniques, although the medium is not ambidextrous when not in trance;
- The simultaneous use of both hands, each working on a different part of the same picture, i. e., the strokes done at the same time are not symmetrical;
- The drawing of two heads at the same time, both hands working simultaneously. At times one of the heads is painted upside down;
- When drawing two heads simultaneously, each hand will sign the name of the discarnate artist responsible for that picture. When one of the heads is done upside down, the signature is also done upside down and back to front. This happens at the same time that the other hand is signing the portrait which was done right side up;
- Painting with his feet or with his feet one of the hand simultaneously;
- While painting, the discarnate artist often talks with the person helping to hold the paper down. See the case of Portinari who describe what he was doing and the meaning of the picture.
Who were the painters?
At the time, several distinct personalities had manifested themselves through him, some occasionally and other more frequently:
The group of discarnates who paint through Luiz Antônio include Renoir, Degas, Toulouse Lautrec, Delacroix, Portinari, ‘Aleijadinho’ who was a famous Brazilian painter and sculptor….Also Lasar Segall, Modigliani, Anita Malfatti, Raphael, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Van Gogh, Matisse, Manet, Monet and other who paint occasionally. (Dubugras, 1979, ‘Who are the painter, p. 108)
The musical project carried out by Rosemay Brown (Brown, 1971) had a discarnate manager in the figure of the Mrs. Brown’s spirit guide, Franz Liszt. In the case of Gasparetto, the rule was taken by Toulouse Lautrec. As in the case of Mrs. Brown, Gasparetto was able to describe several aspects of the painter’s personalities:
When she controls Luiz Antônio, he paints calmly and speaks to those nearby in a gentle way. (about Tarsila do Amaral, Dubugras, 1979, p. 103)
Picasso gets the most easily upset when observers move or whispers. There have been instance where, despite repeated requests for silence, the people walk about and talk in low tones. The painter, without further warning, has crumpled the paper on which he was drawing and put a stop to the work and to the session! (on Pablo Picasso, Dubugras, 1979, p. 104)
When Portinari, the Brazilian painter, is present, Luiz Antônio feels the problems of the impoverished Brazilian peasant which the artist still depicts in his own unimitable style. (on Cândido Portinari, Dubugras, 1979, p. 104)
Toulouse Lautrec… is always concerned about the pictures he produces through him and once, feeling that the anatomy of the figures was inadequate, he decided to practice during a session. (on T. Lautrec, Dubugras, 1979, p. 105)
Degas seems to have less difficulty in drawing through Luiz Antônio as he paints ballerinas in the most difficult poses imaginable, even though Luiz Antônio’s knowledge of anatomy is slight. (on E. Degas, Dubugras, 1979, p. 106).
What is the message?
At the end of the book ‘Is that you, Renoir?’ we can find the following passage by Mrs. Dubugras:
“Through his mediumship, 5000 psi paintings were produced during the past 8 years and these were in the styles similar to those the discarnate artists used during their lifetime. However, a number of these artists are now adopting different styles, possibly feeling that they came to do through Luiz Antônio, that is, show that life continues after death and that the discarnates can communicate with us through adequate channels such as our young medium, Rosemary Brown, Chico Xavier, Coral Polge and many others in different parts of the world. These changes in style also show that life after death is not static, that man’s spirit evolves; by speaking of their previous lives, they prove that reincarnation is a fact. (E. Dubugras, 1979, p. 112)
his mediumship, 5000 psi paintings were produced during the past 8 years and these were in the styles similar to those the discarnate artists used during their lifetime. However, a number of these artists are now adopting different styles, possibly feeling that they came to do through Luiz Antônio, that is, show that life continues after death and that the discarnates can communicate with us through adequate channels such as our young medium, Rosemary Brown, Chico Xavier, Coral Polge and many others in different parts of the world. These changes in style also show that life after death is not static, that man’s spirit evolves; by speaking of their previous lives, they prove that reincarnation is a fact. (E. Dubugras, 1979, p. 112)
Although the phenomenon is poorly understood (least to say, accepted) by mainstream science, it can not be denied nor invalidated by words. Rhetoric is incapable of ‘erasing’ such facts which will continue to exist, in spite of any academic disdain.”
Dubugras E. (1979). “Is that you, Renoir?”, 1st Edition in Portuguese/English by FEESP, São Paulo, Brazil.
A Journey Into The World Of Spiritual Healing And Shamanism an excerpt from the book by Alberto Villoldo, PhD and Stanley Krippner, PhD
The Artists and the Psychotherapist
“Sir Oliver Lodge’s question came to our minds again on a recent visit to Brazil. For example, suppose that you were an artist who suddenly found yourself in the spirit world, and wanted to communicate to your fellow humans that there is life after death: One possibility could be to return to paint new masterworks through a medium or sensitive who would lend his or her hands for communication from the “other world.” This is what the purported spirits of Michelangelo, Modigliani, Toulouse Lautrec, and other renowned artists from the past claim to do as they create new works of art through the medium Luis Antonio Gasparetto, a Brazilian psychologist.
We first met Gasparetto in 1972 when he was nineteen years old and a psychology student at the University of Sao Paulo. He explained that he had grown up in a family of mediums, and had been incorporating spirits since the age of twelve. Before his twentieth birthday Gasparetto had painted over 2,400 canvasses by over four dozen different artists, each an original signed by the artist Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Degas, and others. All the paintings were done in a dimly lit room where one colour could not be distinguished from another, and at extraordinary speed, each work being completed in less than ten minutes. Each painting had the unmistakable print of the artist, who sometimes spoke through Gasparetto, offering healing counsel and advice to individuals attending the spirit-painting sessions.
Gasparetto claims he cannot paint at will, that he must set a time when both he and the painters are available, as they lead busy lives in the spirit world. The artists return to help him, he says, “to create a revolution in the way we think about death and about life.” He claims that whether one believes in spirits or not, there are many people suffering from illnesses that have, their origins in the spirit world. In addition, there are many souls trapped between this world and the next, suffering because they died unconsciously and under the influence of drugs or medication. Gasparetto believes that a little recognized yet essential aspect of healing is for the living to learn how to die peacefully and honorably and the dying to learn to enter consciously into the spirit world.
As a spiritist, Gasparetto believes that the awareness of the continuity of life after death is an essential part of the healing process. Fear in general, but particularly fear of death, is seen as the culprit preventing an ill person from mobilizing all of his or her physical and psychological healing resources. With the awareness of life after death, this burden of fear is lifted, and the person’s path to recovery is accelerated. In addition, Gasparetto claims that during the painting session a “window” between the worlds opens and healing energy can flow from the spirit plane to ours, helping to heal physical and spiritual ailments.
Luis Antonio Gasparetto is an accomplished psychologist and today directs a thriving clinic where he treats persons afflicted with psychic and psychological ills. Accompanied by a research group, I (Villoldo) visited his clinic in April 1983 just as his last patient was leaving. We were received by a young psychologist, who ushered us into a large meeting room. She informed us that Luis Antonio usually worked in the dark, and would be very disturbed by the high-powered lights that we needed to photograph his work. Later, the medium explained that the bright lights burned up the ectoplasm of the visiting spirits, and made it difficult for them to remain connected to his physical body.
The first step in the psychic painting session was summoning the spirits of the painters. Gasparetto closed his eyes and entered into the mediumistic trance, in which he claims to set aside his rational mind so that a foreign intelligence can take over his body. The psychologist had changed from his clinical clothes into paint-stained overalls, and was sitting on a high stool in front of a drawing table on top of which several canvasses had been placed. He asked us to hold hands and form a circle around him, concentrating and sending energy to him. Gasparetto then took several deep breaths, softly praying: “I ask God for the presence of the spirits, the guides, to help us to understand more of the spiritual life, helping to resolve our doubts. In the name of God and the spiritual friends, we can start.”
At the end of this invocation, the medium’s features appeared to change, his face becoming tense and drawn, and his eyes acquiring a faraway look. One of the assistants turned on classical music, while the medium reached for a blue pastel crayon and began to draw the outline of a figure at a furious pace. The canvas had to be held down or it would have torn from the ferocity of his movements. We stared in silence as he completed a portrait of a young woman and signed it “Claude Monet.” The painting was executed in less than five minutes, and Gasparetto had his eyes closed or covered most of the time that he was drawing. He later explained that the paintings had already been completed in the spirit world, and were laid over his canvas like a template. He explained that he simply followed the designs, moving as fast as possible, for his movements were being guided by the “thoughts” of the master who was painting through him.
As soon as he finished the Monet, he began a painting of a young woman with a swanlike, elongated neck. Three and one-half minutes later the portrait was finished and signed “Modigliani, 1983. ” Like the Monet, the Modigliani signature was identical to the painter’s own. So were the color combinations used, and even the models resembled those the artists employed while still alive. “The spirits come to me,” Gasparetto explained, “and show their styles, sign their own signatures, and do incredible works. I see Toulouse-Lautrec. I speak with Van Gogh, and these artists want to show that they are still alive, that they preserve their personalities, and that life is eternal. This realization alone can heal the deepest wounds of our spirit.” “
Gasparetto is not the only psychic painter in Brazil. In 1983, one of us (Krippner) spent an evening with another Sdo Paulo medium, Jodo Pio de Almeida-Prado. Within sixty minutes de Almeida-Prado produced ten credible pastel drawings “signed” by Manet, Picasso, Renoir, Portinari, and others. Later he sold several of his paintings at reasonable prices to members of the group. Gasparetto does not charge money for his trance paintings, as he earns his living from the practice of psychotherapy, but he will accept donations for his charities from people who want copies of his works.
Messages from Beyond
“The artists with whom Gasparetto claims to work bring important messages during the psychic painting sessions. They point out that we live in a society that does not prepare people to die. In our hospitals, we use drugs that confuse the dying, who then enter the spirit world unconscious and unprepared for the next life. These spirits often find themselves trapped between this world and the next in a state of confusion that can last for years. Furthermore, the spirit painters warn us that not all spirits are sources of infinite wisdom. As in the world of the living, there are also dishonest and deceitful spirits, for one does not automatically become “holy” when one dies. In their training, the spiritists must learn to differentiate between the valuable and trivial communications and to make the connections only with the most advanced spirits.
Both Gasparetto’s parents and grandparents were spiritists and encouraged his mediumship from an early age. He claims that although we have been taught by our religions that we live for eternity, we avoid this issue because, in his words, “We would no longer be able to make decisions without responsibility, not thinking about the future, because life will go on. All the actions we do today will have a reaction tomorrow.”
In 1974 Gasparetto was informed by his spirit guides that he should study ballet. This was a baffling communication as he had no predilection for dance. Nonetheless he followed the instructions, and one year later, during a trance painting session, he rolled up his pants cuffs and to everyone’s surprise began to paint with his feet. Twelve minutes later he had completed a portrait of a beautiful young woman which he signed “Renoir.” He explained that by the time Renoir died, his arms and hands were so atrophied from arthritis that he was forced to paint with brushes tied to his shoulders and elbows.
Since then, we have observed Gasparetto paint as many as three paintings simultaneously: one with his feet, and one each with his left and right hands, each by a different artist. The medium claims that the spirit painters do not need to use his hands, and that his ballet training was to give his feet the movement and dexterity needed to begin painting with them. During a 1983 visit, Gasparetto again demonstrated the ability to paint with his feet. This time he completed a portrait of a young woman, signed “Monet,” in less than ten minutes. Gasparetto’s hands were always by his side; he picked up the paint, squeezed the acrylic from the tubes, and spread them on the canvas using only his toes.”
THINKING THINGS THROUGH
During the time I was a graduate student at JFK University, we had a guest speaker come in from Brazil. Luis Gasparetto, a clinical psychologist from South America, came to the Bay Area to demonstrate his other profession, that of a spirit medium. Unlike other mediums and channelers who allowed spirits to speak through them, Luis would go into light trance and allow the spirits of deceased artistic masters such as Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and others to paint through him.
During the first evening presentation, there were about fifty or so people in the audience, including some who identified themselves as “Skeptics.” Luis went into trance and began painting, using acrylic paints, large sheets of paper, and his fingers for brushes. In only minutes, he would produce a painting in a recognizable style of a particular artist, and would even answer questions asked of the artists.
The climax of the demonstration was when he did four paintings at once: one with each hand, one with each bare foot (these being done under the table at which he was seated), while his eyes were closed and he carried on a conversation. Each of the four paintings, by the way, was supposedly by a different one of the spirit artists (and they were, in fact, in four distinct styles that an art expert there related to the named artists).
One of the skeptics later said that Gasparetto was a “fake.”
Even today, I wonder at the ability of an observer to make a judgment like that, calling him a fake so easily. To me, it would seem that the self-proclaimed skeptic was incapable of considering that anything out of the ordinary could go on, whether it did or not. I can say that because of the following: whether or not Gasparetto was actually communing with spirits and allowing them to paint through him, how many people do any of us know who can do four paintings (or four anything) at once, one with each limb, while carrying on a conversation?
What Gasparetto did, spirits or not, was and is extraordinary … wonderful, even.
What the skeptic did was to judge the demonstration based on preconceptions of his about spirits and how the claims of Gasparetto, not his actions, matched up with those preconceptions.
The skeptic missed the “wonder” of the situation, because he did not consider and comprehend the actions.
Those in the skeptical movement often attack or disclaim paranormal claims. In their writings in newsletters from skeptical groups, one can read their arguments in which they often cite the writings of other skeptics as backup to their positions. Rarely does one read anything that indicates that the skeptic making the anti-paranormal claim has taken any time to read any research reports by parapsychologists. They tend to read more popular, and often outlandish, accounts by “believers,” if they read any pro-psi material at all. By their disdainful comments which have often lumped in material from parapsychologists with that from people who have claimed truly outrageous things about their own psychic abilities, one who knows the psi studies can tell they have, at best, only half read the actual reports, relying more on the opinions of their fellow skeptics, who in turn may also only have half-read any reports.
A few months after I wrote a column in FATE about demonic possession (April, 1992), a woman wrote to me how I was all wrong about possession (my perspective in the article dealing with why parapsychologists don’t get into this arena). To prove her point, she sent nearly a dozen articles detailing demonic possession which came from the WEEKLY WORLD NEWS. Her letter, and the articles, were indicative of someone who had neither considered, not comprehended, my article and its points.
That she cited (and sent) articles from the tabloid she did claiming these as “true” and “proof” of demonic possession clearly indicated that she undoubtedly believes what she reads, but only those things that appeal to her set belief system. The WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, of course, is that black-and-white tabloid that clearly makes up a large number of stories (but probably not all).
I don’t read that paper regularly, except on the check-out line at the supermarket. It usually has headlines like “Famed Psychic’s Head Explodes in ESP Experiment” or “Hitler Arrested in Panama on His Way to Help Saddam Hussein.”
Over the years, dozens of headlines have related to Elvis or Jesus being alive, reincarnated, taken away by a UFO, and more. Bush and Clinton, according to that paper, have both made pacts with Extra-terrestrials (and they included photos to prove it!). I could go on and on, but let me say that I think the paper is one of the funniest and absurd pieces one can buy on the newsstand today.
So for anyone to claim any story from that paper, let alone nearly a dozen, as “proof” indicates a lack of thinking things through, or perhaps even reading things through. Unfortunately, she’s not alone in this. All too many people believe too much of what they read, or don’t read enough to consider their sources of information, or don’t read enough to learn that the author they are citing with an article from ten years ago has learned enough more recently to allow him to change his position somewhat.
I will say I may be wrong about a number of events and phenomena out there in the world of the Unexplained. Science is about considering new evidence and changing one’s opinions about the Universe around us. My attitudes about a number of things have shifted back and forth over the years as my experiences and the collected data and evidence shift. Even a couple of the skeptics have softened their attitudes towards psi research and admitted that “something” is happening that is worthy of study.
I find myself in an unusual position between the “skeptics” and the “believers.” Because I question events I am investigating, because it’s more important to really look at a particular phenomenon or incident and consider it thoroughly rather than merely label things as “real” or “fraud,” as “psychic” or “psychological aberration,” I apparently annoy people on both sides. What’s interesting is that on both ends of the paranormal belief spectrum, the belief that it all exists or the belief that none of it exists create biases and behavior that prevent the “true believers” and the “diehard skeptics” from really looking at an ostensibly paranormal event to consider whether something interesting is happening, paranormal or not.
The skeptics would have us not look at the phenomena, not waste our time or energy with it. The believers would have us accept it all at face value, and not waste our time and energy looking for explanations for it, explanations that may take away the mystery for them.
Both sides miss the point. Regardless of whether psychic abilities and phenomena happen the way we observe them to and whether calling them psi is even close to what’s happening, these events are still happening. Even if ghosts really aren’t spirits hanging around after the people they represent have died, isn’t it still very interesting that people see them, that people have these experiences? If spirits or psychic energy don’t cause object movement in poltergeist cases, then what does? Could it be that we have uncovered something wondrous and new that causes things to move this way?
Think things through, consider possibilities, speculate, and allow for there to be no answer yet. It is part of human nature that most people have to have a concrete reality, whether that reality includes ghosts and demons or not. Most people are not content with “no answer yet” as part of their belief system, so they often come to immediate conclusions about what they read, see, and hear with regards to paranormal and other unexplained phenomena.
This brings me to the real point of this article (yes, there is a point to it!).
Based on letters I and others have gotten from readers of FATE, it would seem that a number of readers, however interested in “the Unknown” they are, appear to be afraid of “the Unknown” themselves. Many of the letters, including one we got a while back from a well-known pop parapsychologist, indicate that readers don’t often read the articles well. In other words, it would seem that some readers read the parts of the articles they want and come to immediate conclusions about the authors and their perspectives.
Because I don’t consider past life regression to be good evidence of reincarnation, some people believe I don’t believe in reincarnation. Because I don’t consider spirit photos good evidence of ghosts, I must not believe in ghosts. Because I write about how phony psychics work, I must not believe any psychic is real. Such are conclusions that people have come to about some of my writings, conclusions that are untrue.
This is a problem with readers of any subject matter, but perhaps more so with readers of material about “the Unexplained,” whether they be “believers” or “disbelievers.” People are afraid of the unknown, and the biggest unknown is anything that can’t be labeled or stuck in a category. So people reading articles about the so-called “Unknown” prefer to believe only those parts of what they read that fit their safe belief systems.
I strongly urge all of you to read carefully all those articles that you start to read in FATE. Before jumping to positive or negative conclusions about the author’s points, think about and consider that author’s arguments, whether they are for or against what you yourself believe. Even if you disagree with the author after that, you may at least come to an understanding as to how the author got to that place, and appreciate the arguments.
With whatever you read, consider also the sources that the author cites to back up his or her arguments, as well as the editorial policy of the publication. Also consider that change is sometime necessary to provide an audience with more information.
I am excited that FATE is going to full magazine format. Besides the fact that distribution of the magazine on newsstands will improve dramatically (meaning more people can find FATE and get something out of this magazine), there will be more room in the publication to really explore ideas and events in the world of the Unexplained. This is a great change, but the increased coverage may be lost if our readers don’t learn to be discriminating and really read through the articles, and think through what is in them.
And always consider that even if the phenomena or person or event described doesn’t turn out to be “psychic” or “supernatural” or “demonic” or “angelic,” it may still be pretty wondrous to behold. Developing a sense of wonder about the marvelous world of human experience we live in is a way to be more positive about the world and more appreciative of our place in it.
Luis Gasparetto painting four at once while answering questions was pretty wonderful, spirits or not.”