A Note from Frances – Extension

In my last posting I wrote that I would think about the difference between the concepts of expansion and extension and get back to you. Perhaps the following is a poor analogy but I offer it nonetheless. An extended hand is one that is reaching out just like when you extend your hand to grasp that of another in greeting or assistance. An expansive hand would be open to receive that handshake. We must be open to both offering and accepting at the same time for a handshake to work. We must also be extensive and expansive in order for learning and growth to take place. This give and take happens consciously when we agree to extend our hand and it happens on a sub-atomic level where we are not aware of all the consequences of our willingness to extend.

“We must also be extensive and expansive in order for learning and growth to take place.”


Extension – Orbitals by Frances Gaffney, pastels

In the pastel drawing titled Extension – Orbitals the invisible realm of the electron cloud is made visible. Each tiny white speck of pigment on the paper represents a tiny photon of light. I like to believe that this is where it all happens; where the action of prayer takes place. Within these photons of light are tiny particles, full of possibility, reaching out, extending into the Universe. The mystery is that somehow, without signals, without symbols, beyond space and time, particles find other sympathetic particles. They leap within this free-trade zone to join new clouds and form new atoms. They become part of new molecules, new chemicals and compounds and so on up the chain to form matter. This happens throughout nature. Leaves both absorb and release gases. The magnetic field of the Earth reaches out and the needle on the compass responds.

Similarly, perhaps particles are activated by our feelings or our prayers. We don’t have the capacity to understand exactly how prayer is answered; where these tiny particles travel along their way, nor do we need to. Your prayer or your asking is the extension and that is enough. When you pray for something, simply accept the potential for that something to manifest. Accept that handshake! It means that you have expanded and made room for this prayer to be answered. Acceptance is the expansion.


We are so excited to be hosting Frances Gaffney this summer as our first Artist-in-Residence! She’ll be working at the AIC May through August, frequenting the trails to create beautiful and thoughtful pieces inspired by the local landscape.

Frances Gaffney at AIC's Rockwell Kent Day, Sept. 2013

Frances Gaffney at AIC’s Rockwell Kent Day, Sept. 2013

She will not only be here to work on her art, she’ll also be here for you! Throughout the summer, Frances will be available to speak and interact with the public. Every Sunday, guests will discover Frances working out along the trails. Feel free to stop by to observe, chat and share techniques and tips with Frances. She will also be leading drawing and watercoloring workshops on the last Saturday of every month. In these workshops, participants will discover their own artistic style while further developing their skills. Don’t miss out on these unique opportunities to connect with this fantastic local artist!

Throughout the summer, Frances will be writing entries for our blog about her work and experiences at the AIC! Learn more about Frances in our Q & A post with her.


2 thoughts on “A Note from Frances – Extension

  1. Christopher Bumgardner, Univ. of California, Davis writes,

    I read your blog entry, and it’s great. The only thing that I would care to change would be “Within these photons of light are tiny particles”.

    It’s more like the photons of light ARE the fundamental particles. As of now, photons are not known to be made up of any other more fundamental particles. As far as a creative reflection on the photon, your picture actually has more to talk about in it. In physics where some discuss models involving “fields”, there is something called a gauge group that corresponds to the field. For the electromagnetic field, its gauge group is something called U(1) (one dimensional unitary group)… this is better known as the circle. The photon is what they call the gauge boson of the EM field. In quantum mechanics, gauge bosons are what is said to make the gauge field. The one dimensionality of the gauge group of the electromagnetic field (EM) is said to be the reason there is only one fundamental particle that makes the electromagnetic field. The circular symmetry is the particle some could say. The EM field has that rotational symmetry; this “is” the the photon. Thus, all the circles in your picture is more than creatively interesting; it’s theoretically connecting symmetry and particle.

  2. “If the multiverse idea is correct, then the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles – to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are – is futile, a beautiful philosophical dream that simply isn’t true. Our universe is what it is simply because we are here. The situation can be likened to that of a group of intelligent fish who one day begin wondering why their world is completely filled with water. Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion. Then a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe, they suggest, there are many other worlds, some of them completely dry, some wet, and everything in between.

    Some of the fish grudgingly accept this explanation. Some feel relieved. Some feel like their lifelong ruminations have been pointless. And some remain deeply concerned. Because there is no way they can prove this conjecture. That same uncertainty disturbs many physicists who are adjusting to the idea of the multiverse. Not only must we accept that basic properties of our universe are accidental and uncalculable. In addition, we must believe in the existence of many other universes. But we have no conceivable way of observing these other universes and cannot prove their existence. Thus, to explain what we see in the world and in our mental deductions, we must believe in what we cannot prove.”
    – Alan Lightman
    The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

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