Becoming Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2010 SOLD
The painting above is called Becoming. It is the one I referred to in my last post...the woman with trees growing from her head, heart and feet. I mentioned I was painting an image about change.
This painting is inspired by my enjoyment reading Dr Norman Doidge's book 'The Brain That Changes Itself'. I have mentioned this book in a few of my recent posts. I am re-reading it for the second time...but it is taking awhile because I am going to bed so late.
What inspired me was the over arching idea that change is not necessarily something that happens to us...we can make it happen as well. Change is a constant whether we precipitate it or not. So, if we are in a process of constant change we are constantly in a process of becoming. Now, you might ask, 'Becoming what?' I do not know the answer to this question, but I suspect if I did then the process of becoming would be thwarted by prescription and therefore not reach whatever its ultimate force is. All I know is, that if I can do things to ensure my becoming is generally positive I will do these things! Even, if we can make change happen, we cannot minutely control the outcomes of that change. Indeed, I doubt that the change itself can be completely pre-described. I gather from reading 'The Brain That Changes Itself' that many programs designed to fix or improve a disability or problem have often had other positive outcomes which were not initially conceived.
So, as I was thinking about change, an image of a woman with trees growing from her feet, hands, head and heart came to me. I could 'see' her before I even painted her. The tree is my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life and in this image represents life's inevitable and constant change, whether it be for one individual or for a group...and even possibly all of humanity. The tree represents growth and a connection to the earth as well as a conduit to the universe and Heaven. The tree can connect with the substance of materiality as well as the substance of the non-material. The tree changes as it loses its leaves, but each cycle of growth and change represents a process of becoming.
When my children were little I read that small children should not wear shoes too early or too much, because the physical experience of feeling on the soles of feet provides information which helps a child to develop healthily in regards to balance, proficiency with walking, running and so on. This made sense to me, so I made sure my children went barefoot whenever it is possible. In Norman Doidge's book he makes a comment about older people and their habit of looking at the ground when they walk. This is because as we get older we rarely go barefoot...well unless you are an artist working from home like me! By not going barefoot and not allowing our feet to experience different surfaces and feelings, we have tourniqueted the natural flow of information to our brains and the return messages which would give us more confidence to walk with our heads held high. Our brain maps for walking confidently are diminished by wearing shoes all the time! Long story...I know...but this gave me the idea of painting my lady with trees growing from her feet.
Knowledge gained via our feet can help us hold our heads high, meaning we are not watching the ground in case we fall or trip. This means we see more of our surroundings, the world around us and importantly we 'see' ourselves in relation to the world...being a part of it, rather than missing out because we need to look at our feet to know where to put them! Kinda nice to think that by going barefoot we might have more chance to witness our own becoming in the world!
My BLOG friend Fred who writes this great BLOG http://www.moneyplusthoughts.blogspot.com/ sent me a link to another BLOG post about the Holiday for Trees or Tu BiShvat holiday, a Jewish celebration. Tree symbolism is incredibly interesting and I have noticed on a few other websites that tree symbolism is now being linked to environmental issues...not surprising really. Symbols do 'say' more that words can describe!
Here's a link to a short intro to Mayan tree symbolism:
And two links about Islamic tree symbolism:
There are so many sites to visit to learn about tree symbolism. But, as I have written before...it just reinforces my belief that we are all forever connected through archetypal symbols because they are transcultural and transreligious. Something about them chisels away at our subconscious where a 'knowing' and resonance exists.