The artist"s paintings draw from Native American styles.
Carter became a monk for two and a half years and lived at the Mount Washington Self-Realization Fellowship Center. He then became a lay member of the fellowship center and slowly got back into his art. So when he met fellow artist Zorthian and moved into a tent and then a tipi in the Altadena foothills, Carter says "it was a great opportunity and blessing to be here. It’s quiet, private, and I can explore my inner self."
The artist met his wife while living in the tipi. She moved into his little hillside home and they lived there together for three years before she passed away. "I think of her often, and I have dreams about her," says Carter, explaining how they would take a walk each morning along one of their mountain trails.
Though his tipi is no longer his primary residence, he still uses it as a place to meditate. "The tipi is an experience of its own," he explains. "Its special shape makes it a unique focal point of energy. I believe that the shape of the structure makes it easier for meditating."
Carter says he’s "had the ultimate experience of living primitive," adding that now that he is older, he has a desire for some modern conveniences. Though he still uses an outhouse, he has electricity and for the past three years, plumbing, too. Still, there is no computer, no microwave, no washing machine, and none of the so-called "mandatory" modern conveniences in Carter’s rustic mountain home.
Carter has received numerous art awards and recognitions, including one in 2006 from Los Angeles County for his contribution to the arts. Sometimes there are spiritual messages that he puts into his art, but usually he simply draws whatever comes to him. "I used to concentrate on putting me
ssages in my art, but now I paint whatever I feel at the moment, and any spiritual messages in the art will happen automatically.
"Life has changed for me in this last year," he says of a bout with cancer. "I"m just starting to work again after a long absence. I am focusing on my health first." As of November 2006, he finished an exhibit of his oil paintings, line drawings, and jewelry at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena. Having turned 73 in January, he feels that his art will take a new direction this year, as he plans to work more with color and energy.
Carter’s goal was not simply to be an artist; he wanted to create while also living an alternative lifestyle. He explained that it is difficult to combine the lifestyle of an artist with his ecological lifestyle. "The simplicity of living this lifestyle is not glorious," says Carter. "It is hard. But it is very fulfilling because this lifestyle also blends in the spiritual aspects."
CHRISTOPHER NYERGES is the editor of Wilderness Way magazine, and the author of several books including How to Survive Anywhere. Readers interested in Carter or his art work can reach him through Nyerges, P.O. Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041; ChristopherNyerges.com