Thursday, December 17, 2009


Prayer Gouache on paper 21 x 14.8 cm

Archetype Gouache on paper 21 x 14.8 cm
I am reading a wonderful book at the moment. It is 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge MD. I highly recommend this book for many reasons. It gives you faith in your own capacities to not only cope with age, impediments, accidents, illness etc, but to change your faculties to enjoy life to its fullest even in the face of aging, accidents, blockages, illness etc. This book re-inforces my belief, which I have written about on this BLOG before, that complexity holds the potency for solutions. I have voiced my thoughts about this with regards to the environment, but it is also applicable to our own bodies. The book investigates everything from learning difficulties, strokes to OCD and other issues which negatively affect our enjoyment of life.

It seems to me that whilst we may not understand the complex systems of our environment or our bodies, we must have faith that the complexity is the element which will provide the answers. Yet, we shortsightedly simplify the potency of complexity by something which is akin to a lack of faith. New research [and some of it not so new, but now embraced!] is revealing the potency of our complex systems to renew, recoup and re-invent themselves. Of course we need to look after ourselves and our environment but we also need to be open and compliant to forces which we may not understand or even be aware isn't that having faith?

As I often do, I refer to the act of painting, which is itself an act of faith. Faith not only in my ability to choose practical and obvious things such as the right colour, brush etc, but also faith that points of disaster and accident or plain 'things just don't seem to be going that well' are part of the process of creation. It is a dance where I am being lead by forces which are seemingly unknown but felt through powers of intuition. In a way it is a return to the faith I had as a child. I am sure many of you know what I mean.

The two paintings above are again my much loved tree-of-life. The top one 'Prayer' is a reminder of the beauty of faith. The second painting called 'Archetype' explores ideas of compexity being achetypical. The tree reflects system-like action which includes shedding as well as renewal. The tree is a perfect metaphor for this because trees shed leaves and branches, some are deciduous, others are pruned, some are burnt, yet processes of renewal through new leaves and shoots or new life borne by wind-blown seeds, remind us of the constancy of life in complexity.

I am going now to share two poems with you. One was written by my grandmother D.E Ross and the other by my mother Elsie Brimblecombe. Both poems are about ageing and both poems reveal that ageing is also a renewal and a source of new insights. My grandmother and mother published a book of poems 'Out There' in 1986 when my grandmother was 87 years old. She died at 92 having been a poet, author, artist, accountant!!! [and a partner in an accountancy firm in W.A], girl guide commissioner, mother of one, grandmother of three, plus a whole lot of other wonderful things. She had her first poem published in a Western Australian newspaper when she was 14. My mother is equally as amazing and is a poet, writer, teacher, artist, great cook, has completed 3 university degrees from the University of Queensland, mother of 3 and grandmother of 8... and of course there is the etc etc etc!


These are the years
that softly fall
on the heart and face.
Cosmetic in effect
they remove all trace
of grievance
with it petulant engraving:
and in its place
evoke gracious gleams of patina
with remembering highlights
of days thought past recall.

Brooding lines
skip merrily
to the music of laughter,
a smile illuminates wherever it can reach.

In this bright climate
courage takes the highway,
and scorns the crypted niche.

OLD AGE by Elise Brimblecombe copyright
The moon played it part
in the bleaching of your hair
Your lines are etched
upon the disc of the sun
The world moves too quickly
for you slowing steps
And the giddiness of youth
has returned to your head

You clutch the bannisters
as you mount the stairs
And dwell too long
upon the rests
You creep from room to room
in tired chase
On the well-knonw track
once travelled at an easy pace

Yet in the mystery of your age
lie secrets
Hidden in the stars
Faint revolutions
Link this planet and the spheres
And in the texture of your life
Is woven more than the pattern of your

My grandmother wrote a poem about me when I was a small child. I was prone to deep thinking and I remember trying to work out life and the universe. I really enjoyed thinking...then school interrupted me for 12 years...and the residual!!!

BY D.E ROSS copyright
A tiny grandchild
barely four years old
sits chin in chubby hand
long distance in her eyes.

Whatever is the matter, Katarina?
I have sad thinkings,
she wistfully replies.

Looks like 'distance' has been a part of me for a long time! Regular readers would know of my intense interest in perspective and distance.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"I have sad thinkings". Wonderfully captured in so few words.