Saturday, June 25, 2011


Meeting Place Of The Mind Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm
Click on the image to make it enlarge.

Meeting Place Of The Mind is a new painting, which I have been working on for many weeks. After creating the background I placed the painting in a spot where I'd see it as I went about my daily activities. I did this because I had too many ideas and could not work out which one I'd focus upon. By having the painting in sight I could sift through my ideas more easily, until just one seemed right.

I knew I wanted to paint an image which did not cover over the entire background. Why? Because I actually think the background is quite beautiful. I created it through a controlled accident, which is how I create most of my backgrounds. There are normally a couple of layers of paint involved, with each of these needing to be dry before the next phase happens.

The image is a man and woman, who seem to morph into one being. Their outstretched arms reach forward erupting into cascading trees. The vortex/spiral enclosing the figures is like a spring of energy, suggesting that the man and woman, who are at the centre of this energy are... conduits, the core, the essential element, the stillness that is replete. The moon, in its phases, represents time and the energy of push and pull, an innate balance.

Regular readers will note that the trees are my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life motif. They will also note that the spiral/vortex is another of my recurring visual guides. I wanted to create an image which 'spoke' of mind, thinking, intelligence...all in their broadest senses from nano to universal, from human to divine. The trees, figures and the spiral in Meeting Place Of The Mind have an almost synaptic appearance, which I am really pleased about, because it references interconnectedness and the life propelling nature of systems. I have previously written about systems. Here's a link to a previous post.

The synaptic appearance has pleased me because synapses enable the passage of signals to be passed in the brain. These signals are pretty important for life propulsion! In Meeting Place Of The Mind the trees take on a dendritic appearance, but whilst references to the brain are obvious, in this case the 'dendrites' are seemingly connected to the universe. As the phases of the moon remind us of it's push/pull energy, the quiver of the spiral dances to the rythm, the vibrations of life forces. And, did you know the Greek word for tree is dendron?

The meeting place of 'the mind' is a wonderful concept...I think anyway! It conjures up things like collective thinking, compassionate energy, innate intelligence, universal consciousness. I deliberately did not use the plural of mind ie: minds, in the title, because I wanted to suggest something march larger than the mere sum of its parts...a gestalt that takes our thinking to places beyond compartments to stretch our imaginations. Paradise!

This is one of my favourite paintings.


Friday, June 17, 2011


Planet $ Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm

Well, the title of this painting says it all really! I've painted the 'Earth' with little $ signs. From a distance...say, up in might not notice them. At what distance would they be discernible? And, have we noticed here on the ground? Regular readers will recognise that I am playing with perspective, pointing out the benefits of placing oneself at different viewpoints. But, even better, imagine being at all points simultaneously! That would be amazing. I wonder what it would need for us to be able to do that? Let's imagine! Yes, I do think imagination is the clue. What new knowledge could be created, via an engagement with our imaginations? I've read that Einstein, as a child, used to imagine being on the end of a light beam. We all know where that lead!

So, the painting of our planet, which I am calling '$', has a few underlying themes. The obvious one is the plundering of resources to feed our insatiable desire/need for energy, and all the paraphernalia that is manifested as a result. The other is more subtle. It is the restriction of imagination in ways which we do not notice, via the media, education and technology. The frightening thing is that all three are entwined.

As our planet is faced with a number of rather pressing problems, it might be that they seem unsolvable because we are not engaging our imaginations...and maybe if we are, the hegemonic power of self-interested parties quell the possibilities...they have no imagination! I am reminded of JK Rowling's [author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series] excellent Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, when she said, ' I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.' 

Does it take bravery to be imaginative? Maybe. Does it take bravery to voice or express that which flows from your imagination? Well, yes! Maybe courage and imagination are a couple!?


Sunday, June 12, 2011


Knowing Stillness Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm

It's been over a week since I blogged. I have been busy. Plus, I've been working on 'Knowing Stillness' [above]. I'd started this painting at the same time I started 'Infinity', the painting I wrote about in my last post. By starting, I mean, creating the background movement of colour. This part of my creative process, sees me getting covered in paint and carrying the faint whiff of 'eua de turps' with me for a few days. Yes, the initial process can take a number of days, as I normally use 2-3 layers of pant, but each layer has to dry before the next layer is applied.

I'd had the idea for 'Knowing Stillness' in my head for awhile. I wanted to play with perspective [regular readers will know I love to do that!] by hinting at notions of the 'beyond'. However, this 'beyond' can be the emotional and spiritual depths within us and/or the extremes of the universe outside of our physical bodies, but with imagination, possibly reachable.

The title 'Knowing Stillness' can be read a couple of ways ie: that stillness is all knowing, or that we can get to know stillness. I like to think that multiple interpretations can be absorbed, so that stillness is both knowing and known.

In stillness we can see, hear and feel things we did not could be heard, seen or felt. In stillness the distance of time and space collapses. As regular readers know I have written about stillness before.
In 'Knowing Stillness' I wanted to capture a sense of discovery...not the intrepid Indiana Jones kind, but a more resonating revelatory kind where you sense that you already know something, but have forgotten. The kind of discovery which reveals your presence at the 'Beginning'. Indeed, if we are cosmic dust, then at some level, possibly imbedded in our DNA, is knowledge we currently do not grasp. Yet, there are hints, and in stillness, we may discover more than just tantalising hints.

The painting is part landscape, with the multiple trees forming maybe a mountain, the edge of the earth, or maybe the edge of the universe...or the edge of something seen under a microscopic. Yes, this is my 'play' with persepective, the possibility of the painting being simultaneously an investigation of the nano and vast...mirrors the intimate and vast depths of our inner psyches . The trees are my much loved transcultural/religious trees-of-life, linked together to form life, to create systems, to energise.

If you look closely, the 'sky' is dotted with white circles. For me, these represented the possibility of other universes...that we are not a universe, but a multiverse. As I have written before, Martin Rees's book 'Just Six Numbers' inspired me to visually articulate some things which had perplexed me since I was a child.  'How big is the sky?', 'What is beyond?'. Here's my previous post 'Multiverse'

Yet, these white circles need not be just other universes 'out there'. They can represent the other universes within us, within the depths of our psyches. Last week I attended a fascinating lecture at the Qld Jung Society. It was entitled 'Technology and Soul' and presented by Dr. Glen Slater. I came away from this lecture concerned about the seduction of technology which sees us reliant on virtual life type situations, immediacy, bites of information and constant entertainment...and so on. Of course, there can be major benefits, such as an immediate response from a doctor on the ground if someone falls ill on a plane [happened to a friend of mine recently], virtual consultations in any kind of emergency and so on. However, as we skim the surface of virtual life, social networking, immediacy disguised as urgency, are we creating a superficial persona, easily polished with the latest and greatest device or application, but with increasingly nothing behind it?

So, let's not lose touch with the depths within. Let's not let technology hijack imagination. Beware of the narcisstic imperative that suggests plished perfection is progress. Let stillness reaquaint us with the imperfect, where courage takes us in multiple directions within and without. Allow stillness to reveal the questions we did not know we needed to ask. No polishing required...just digging with love and imagination. Stillness knows!

On August 4 I am presenting at the Qld Jung Society monthly session. Here's the link to all the details.

September: I have been invited to participate in the Tattersall's Landscape Art Prize. It opens September 7.

September 8- October 8: My solo exhibition 'Paradise' at Purgatory Artspace, 170 Abbotsford St First Floor], Melbourne. Opening Friday 9 September


Thursday, June 02, 2011


Infinity Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm

Well, I am back on computer deck! My new system seems to be pretty good. But, my head hurts with all the new things and new ways of working. But, I am on top of it!

My new painting above is called Infinity. My much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life radiates at each end of a central vortex, which encircles the figure of a woman [humanity]. The two trees are connected to each other and beyond. Each tree is encircled with illuminating light, the top tree with multiple new trees painted in yellow and the bottom tree extended by a yellow 'halo'. Yet, if the viewer follows the curve of each tree across the vortex a figure 8 is revealed. On its side this figure symbolises infinity.

The trees-of life also represent life one form or another! Indeed, we humans may be just a blip in the universal/multiversal continuum? The vortex, which regular readers will know, is another of my major interests. More so, the quiet place inside the vortex where stillness pervades with essential forces that allow us to see, hear and feel things we did not could be seen, heard or felt. A place of listening. In this new painting this place of listening is at a cross roads...if you can 'see' the figure 8.

Cross roads have all sorts of associations, but generally they represent choice, whether it be a literal direction or not. Arriving at a metaphoric cross road can be frightening, which often means we don't take the time to settle into the quiet stillness of the vortex core. Instead we thrash around in the turmoil of the outer vortex. This is a time when we often experience the 'dark night of the soul'
I have previously written about this dark night, but not in a wollowing way. Instead, I added the word 'beyond' ie: Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul, to give some hope of being able to pass through the experience

Infinity also contains a portal...regular readers will know I like them too!. The portal is created by the circle of blue leaves which seems to invite the viewer inside...or is it outside?

Public concern about the coal seam gas industry has increased incredibly here in Australia in the last few months. Regular readers will know of my thoughts! The concern is now not predominantly from rural areas, but also from the city and eastern seaboard. There have been a number of peaceful protests in the last week. Check out:

Please read my previous post to pick up two more articles, one written by a biochemist refuting the claim that gas is more environmentally friendly than carbon. The other article is written by an environmental lawyer. He makes some very pertinent comments about the consultative process, cumulative issues and future generations.


My personal opinion is that if things do not change, issues surrounding the CSG industry will see some of the most vehement protesting and public outrage Australia has seen. Why, because if food, water and the environment are under threat people's basis instincts for survival are threatened. Recent incidences such as a gas well blow out on a property at Daandine [not far from where I grew up] certainly cause major worry. The media, across the country, is now also reporting on such issues.

Just a reminder that my exhibition 'Paradise' at Purgatory Artspace in Melbourne is 8 Sept -8 Oct. Opening Friday 9 September.

Paradise Oil on linen 62 x 82 cm