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


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