The Great Mystery Show at AVAM

This has been an amazing year – after a fantastic jubilee of a birthday, I was invited to participate in the Great Mystery Show at the American Visionary Art Museum. AVAM is my favorite place in Baltimore, and one of my favorite places, period. I always feel lighter after a visit to the museum, as though I’m operating at a higher frequency.

Preview Party

The Great Mystery Show is my favorite yet. As with previous AVAM exhibits, it touches upon deep, timely and profound subjects. This show, however, is right up my alley. I would be surprised if you, dear reader, did not encounter profound synchronicities, intuitions and revelations that affect your life.

Jim Doran @ AVAM

I loved getting to know some of my fellow artists and participants. Some of them are discussed briefly below.


The preview party was one of the finest nights of my life.

Me & the Girls

Bondage and Maiden

Rebecca and I

Edward Gorey

I am so delighted to  be just around the corner from my man, Edward Gorey and his Gashlycrumb Tinies. It so great to see these pages, full sized and up close.

The Gashleycrumb Tinies

Rebecca Hoffberger talking Edward Gorey

J is for James who had lye by mistake

Ingo Swann

I am deeply honored to have my work hang in the same room as Ingo Swann. He was a brilliant researcher, writer and remote viewer. Visit his site – fascinating!

The Mysterious Mother Mary

This painting The Mysterious Mother Mary was missing for a time. Through a miraculous and arduous path, it was found in time for this exhibit and is the cornerstone of the show. Swann didn’t like to make “predictions.” His niece told me he was cornered at a conference, and was relentlessly hounded to predict the future. With great reluctance, he said “The Berlin wall will come down 18 months from now.” At the time he said it, there wasn’t a shred of evidence that the cold war was in danger of ending. It seemed far fetched at the time, and yet it came to pass.

Swann was not a Catholic. What’s unnerving about this painting is the atomic mushroom cloud over the ocean that takes up 1/3 of the composition. At the time of this writing, that is a potential political outcome. I hope Swann didn’t see this happening.

Peter Eglington

I got to know Peter Eglington a bit. He’s a 65 year old surfer from Australia who looks 40. He’s a mystic lighthouse of a man, and has three adult children. He stepped on a stingray on two different occasions and lived to tell about it – he says it informed his work as a “rite of passage,” like a trial by fire.  He works with technical pens, color pencils and some paint. His works are HUGE, and a must see.

Peter Eglington discusses his work

Peter Eglington & Dorans

The Beadists

It was a pleasure the meet the “beadist” three graces; Nancy Josephson, Jan Huling and Betsy Youngquist. It’s worth spending hours just in their wing of the museum alone.

The body of Betsy’s rabbit was made by her partner, based on her own body.


Jan’s dress is a 3D print of her own wedding dress, which was also her mother’s dress.


Nancy is a priestess, ordained in Haiti.  She draws much inspiration from this background.


Len Jenkin

Len Jenkin is a writer and playwright from NYC/NY state. He’s been painting for many years, and is highly knowledgeable about “outsider” art and artists.

Len Jenkin

Complete list of artists: Anonymous Artist • Kelley Bell • David Bowman • Mary Bowron • Paul Darmafall • Jim Doran • Dr. B • Peter Eglington • George Figgs • Edward Gorey • Paul Graubard • Michael Green • Richard “Duke” Hagerty • Julian Harr • Gerald Hawkes • John Root Hopkins • Jan Huling • Lorann Jacobs • Len Jenkin • Nancy Josephson • Paul Laffoley • James Leonard • Scott Long • Rafael Matias • Antar Mikosz • Greg Mort • Margaret Munz-Losch • Chris Roberts-Antieau • Dr. Ned Rosinsky • Richard Smith • Bernard Stiegler • Ingo Swann • Christian Twamley • Louis Wain • Aric Wanveer • Frank Warren • Edward Woltemate • Betsy Youngquist

Birthday for a Friend

A dear friend just had a birthday. This image seems to hold a lot of meaning for all of us this year, so I decided to make use it in a found pocket watch. The watch already was monogramed with 2 of the 3 correct initials.

A Trip to the Moon in a pocket watch

Jeanne did her flower magic, and we added some skeleton hand salad tongs, because they are just cool, as well as useful, if you happen to have some salad.

Flowers with skull hand tongs

The Advent of Unlikelys

Here’s something I’ve been playing with – using the dioramas to build sequential narratives. It’s a character study in comic form, if you will. I got the idea a while ago. Here’s the scoop:

After the Second American Civil War, but before WWIII, a villain released cosmic space dust into the atmosphere. As a result, new beings joined us, and it was just the beginning.

Closed View

advent open

advent tilted back

Watch out for the space dust.

This can be yours!
$450 (includes domestic shipping anywhere in North America).

The Ghost in the Grandmother Clock

Tin box shaped like a house

The inspiration for this comes from family, and in particular, my grandmother.

Rosamond Laurie Doran died before I was born, in Panama.  She was a nurse.

The names on the tombstones belong to the dead raccoons that were killed by cars. They are buried in my yard.

graveyard with tombstones

There is a ghost in the clock – shrouded, because I’ve never met this particular ghost.

inside the haunted house

Ghost in the grandmother clock

Symbols of the Doran Family

Above the bolo knife is a painting my grandmother made.  It’s the only thing I have of hers.  It hangs in my dining room, and she signed it. She was quite beautiful.

Rosamond Doran

I often sense that she looks after me.

Grandma Doran's painting

Tiny paper-cut flowers



The Ghost of Triton

My dad and I used to eat smokey kippered herring on saltines, when I was a kid. The tins came with a key that would open the can. If you didn’t do it correctly, a little metal tab would snap off and it was difficult to get the can open.

This scene shows the ghost of Triton, haunting his old haunt. He’s accompanied by old friends. All the eyes glow in the dark. All the eyes except his.

Triton, detail - top of diorama

Triton, detail - middle of diorama

Triton, detail - bottom of diorama