Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Detail 'Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul' Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm

Some months ago I attended one of the most interesting workshops [see below] I have ever been to. It was a multifaceted workshop looking deeply into the threads of life which seem to be ordained, yet with 'will' we can change . The workshop examined the motivation to aspire to the illusory world of material worth and status, those elements of life which are really external to us. It also looked at the world we can choose to embrace when the illusion of status succumbs to derailment, whether is be through loss or an ultimate realisation that life's purpose has to be about so much more than pleasing or conforming to external forces.

The journey through the material world, where the vagaries of external elements affect our core happiness can be repeated over and over again, with pivotal times for change going unnoticed. Yet these pivotal times are opportunities for alternative choices to be made. This often means letting go of things which may have seemed important, but upon deep reflection are not. 'Letting go' may also not be a choice when death, divorce or other forced cessation ocurrs. It is also not just about being a physical experience but also a need to 'let go' in consciousness. Addictions and attachments to things and even people are not helpful to anyone and with bravery, accompanied by a humbling, wilful and mindful decisions to 'let go' can result in a freeing re-evaluation of life.

So, my new painting, which I am working on, is one I have thought about for a long time. The term, 'Dark Night Of The Soul' really hit home with me! But, I will not dwell on heart ache, tumultuous self-reflection or as some might describe it...a total deconstruction of beliefs, attitudes and expectations. What I want to dwell upon and ponder is the 'beyond'...beyond the dark night of the soul.

I have used my much loved tree-of-life motif to [of course] represent life. I wanted to create a feeling of movement and journey, so I became transfixed by the spiral which has appeared in my work previously. A spiral is not static because [to me at least] it has a quivering action which causes movement. I wanted to convey a sense of enjoyment, freedom and healing. I wanted to create an image that people would talk about and respond to by telling their own stories. Some might say it is reflective of a journey of spirit.

Whilst all of this sounds very positive, I want viewers to know that the negative exists, but in absentia. I hope that my work conveys an optimistic approach and outlook, but one which has a mature and realistic understanding that optimism is a choice. And, when there is choice of optimism it means pessimism and negativity axiomatically have existed as potential, but they have not been consciously chosen. I make no attempt, I believe, to cover or hide the negative in warm and fuzzy visual homilies.

The meaning of frisson is a noun... a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill. [ORIGIN French. Source-Oxford Dictionary] I think readers of my BLOG will understand why I am so entranced with the word 'Frisson'. The Ah Ah moments experienced when going beyond the dark night of the soul are full of excitement, thrill coupled with fear...frissons!


Please visit to find out more about the kind of workshop I attended...and more! Also, I recommend Metanoia: Renovating The House of Your Spirit written by Russell Sturgess who owns and runs beATTITUDE with his partner Anna Schaumkel.




Audubon Ron said...

As always, love the painting.

I have run the cycle of those feelings many times with materialism and status and position. If only I’da…If only I hada…If only I coulda, wouldn’t life be perfect? As you know I’m going through a little of that now. Actually a lot.

I have pared down. My most content state is as a minimalist, which I’ve been many times.

The drive and desire I suppose for me was the fuel that propelled an engine to achieve. Once I achieved and saw the other side, I owned nothing and nothing owned me. Although, I’d have to say I’ve had a lot of really good sex in my life. I’m being completely serious.

Now, I’m drifting and drifting like a ship out on the sea. What happens when I learn the world is flat?


Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about the ubiquitousness of technology in our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as memory becomes less expensive, the possibility of transferring our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I dream about all the time.

(Submitted using SerVo for R4i Nintendo DS.)