Thursday, July 28, 2011


Where Are You? Mixed media on paper 37 x 27 cm

A Pure Life...Haunted Mixed media onpaper 37 x 27 cm
Next Thursday, 4th August I am the guest presenter at the C.J Jung Society of Qld's monthly get together. I have the floor for most of the time between 7.30 and 9.30 pm. EEEK! No not really! I will admit to quite liking public speaking. Some would say that's weird! My topic is the TREE OF LIFE. Check out the details here:

I plan to get the people, who have come along to hear me, to participate in various ways. I won't be monopolising the whole time!

In my preparation for the talk, I have photographed some of my earlier paintings which feature the tree-of-life. So, I thought I'd upload them for you! Also, I have not touched a paint brush for about a week and the painting on the easel is imploring me to get back to it. I have been busy preparing for the Jung talk, writing applications for a couple of things I'd like to participate in and a whole lot of other family 'stuff'.

Where Are You? was a question sent to my maternal grandmother, who died only a couple of months before my eldest daughter was born. My daughter is my grandmother's first great-grandchild and it would have been magnificent if they'd met. You can see the pregnant woman painted in white...that's me! A golden figure seems to fly across the paper like a shooting star....maybe the spirit of my grandmother? She was incredibly interested in cosmology and valiantly tried to teach my brothers and me to identify the constellations in the vast night skies above Dalby. The question Where Are You? could also be directed to my unborn child, at the time of painting this image, still unkown to us. I refused to be told the child's sex, as I wanted that surprise at birth. And, what a lovely one it was too! 

There are four distinct trees in the painting Where Are You? When I painted this series of work, the tree was very consciously the tree-of-life, but the difference between now and then [nearly 20 years ago] is that when I painted this series the tree, whilst a symbol of all life, was definitely more about my own personal experience of creating and giving life. I was not really thinking beyond.

A Pure Life... Haunted is another painting from the series I call my 'Birth Series'. Again you can see the pregnant woman and the tree.

So, whilst I was thinking more about my personal 'life' story these paintings got me thinking about the tree-of-life as a potent symbol. I used the tree off and on, over the years, but was not fully aware of its power until I exhibited in Abu Dhabi in 2005. The conversations I had with people from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe were dynamic and very special. The tree-of-life, in my paintings, was the catalyst for these conversations. I realised the tree's trans-cultural and trans-religious capacity provided a space for similarities to be  relished, thus making differences seem less different. The tree-of-life is a symbol shared by the three Abrahamaic religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The tree is also evident in the symbolism and ritual of other relgions and cultures across time. The painting below Life's Vibrations was exhibited in Abu Dhabi, and was one of the paintings that saw me and many men and women [and a few children] discuss fears, beliefs and hopes.

                                                               Life's Vibrations oil n linen 78 x 107 cm

I am looking forward to talking about my 'journey' with the tree-of-life at the Jung Society meeting next week. I will drawing upon a range of inspirations that intersect with the tree taking it into the world of nano intimacies, the inner depths of human psyche and to vast outer cosmological reaches.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Radiance Oil on linen 92 x 208 cm
This painting is a few years old, and it is one that I have grown very fond of. It is currently hanging in
my house, but will soon be exhibited at an exhibition I have been inivted to participate in ie: MOMENTUM at the Brisbane Grammar School, 19-21 August. I have previously written about Radiance :

I wanted to give the impression that the earth is 'radiance'...that every part of it is glorious...that even the minutae, unseen by the human eye, are part of the radiant light which reassures us that we and the earth are alive.

I wanted to create a painting that gave the viewer hope and confidence to face the sombre news we read each day about our affects on the planet. This is not to ignore that these issues are real and important, but more to invigorate people and keep them from despondency. The problems seem too large for the mere mortal to have a positive affect, but each and everyone of us can have a positive influence on the survival of the planet whether it be by planting a tree, turning the lights off, praying, joining an action group or envisioning the planet as healthy, rich and fertile.

Regular readers will see my much loved tree-of-life motif rippling across the canvas, to form what looks like some kind of landscape formation...depending on what perspective you position or imagine yourself to be placed. The viewer could be looking into a landscape, be above or inside a landscape, or they could be viewing a crossection of a landscape... or many other possible perspectives. Maybe, they could be seeing all perspectives at once. Now that would be special.

Regular reades will know of my interest in perspective and my deliberate attempts to encourage the viewer to question the perspective required to view my paintings. Well, it is really up to the viewer, but I have discovered that if I give hints that multiple perspectives are possible, the viewer 'flies' on there own. On a broader prespective [!] seeing different and multiple prespectives are essential in a globalised world in which we live locally. We need to be able to take a global view of the world and our place in it, at the same time as tendering our own back yards [so to speak]. By placing oneself in another's shoes, compassion for oneself and others is engendered, as we see them and ourselves from their point of view. I believe compassion is fundamental force to propel and nurture us ie: the human race and our planet, into the next centuries.

Radiance reminds us of what we lose if we don't nurture and find compassion. For me, as regular readers will know, one of my enviromental concerns revolves around the potential problems caused by the coal seam gas industry. They include detrimental issues with above ground and aquifer water, soil contamination, farm practices severely interrupted [thus reducing yields etc], deterioration of food production, loss of land value and so on. In the last few days there has been a Senate enquiry into the CSG industry and there has been quite a lot of media coverage. I detect a change in rhetoric from politicians and awareness of how severe problems could be!  Here is one article about a submission to the Senate enquiry about possible health issues and CSG mining.

And, a blog post from the David Suzuki Foundation about the belief that gas is cleaner than coal.

And, here is a link to my 'Gas Gallery' where I have written about some of my more 'Quiet Activist' paintings.


My solo exhibition Paradise is at Purgatory Artspace, Melbourne 8 Sept-8 Oct.
I am giving a presentation about my work and the tree-of-life at the August CJ Jung Soc meeting.
4 August 7.30 -9.30pm

I have been invited again this year to participate in this award. I will put more details up soon. It is announced on September 7.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


                                The Beauty Of Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

I've had an interesting and busy time since I wrote my last post a week ago. Last Thursday I attended a fascinating presentation at the CJ Jung Society of Queensland. It was so good, I decided to attend a full day workshop, given by the same presenter, on the weekend. So, who was the presenter? Her name is Sarah Gibson, a Jungian analyst, filmaker and media lecturer from Sydney. Her talk on Thursday night was called 'Fairy Tales Re-Imagined' and the full day workshop was 'Eating The House: The Hansel and Gretel Cooking Show'. The discussion, at the workshop, about the popularity of cooking shows was very thought provoking! Here are the links to the descriptions of both events.

I cannot detail all that was presented and discussed, other than to say, it was rich, thought provoking and stimulating. Sarah's amazing talent was clearly evident in the fascinating fairy tale films she directed and wrote for the ABC. Not only these... but also an amazing interactive website called 'Re-Enchantment', which has been directed and written by Sarah, in conjunction with a team of talented artists, designers etc. I highly recommend the site to you. But, make sure you have time to travel down the many pathways and themes which are offfered!

Re-Enchantment explores six fairy tales, in an open ended and non-didactic way. Regular readers of my BLOG will know that I am fascinated by symbolism, myth and stories, and how they might reveal and prod the potencies within our psyches today. The strength of symbols is their ability to transcend time...but it is up to us to see this. We can do this by untethering symbols from static interpretations and manifestations that had meaning in the past, to re-interpret in ways which have meaning now. This does not mean that fundamental forces are ignored. It just means we can revel in the richness, rather than gaze back into history. The Re-Enchantment site would be an excellent vehicle for secondary school students to explore and expose themselves to the art of re-interpretation.

And, next month's CJ Jung Society of Queensland's presenter is moi! No guesses what I will be talking about...the tree-of-life!

The painting above 'The Beauty Of' is anticipatory! Well, that's what I felt when I was painting it. I felt it could be the beginning of time, anticipating an unfolding dimension. I felt it could be a moment of beauty caught in memory, forever providing hope, as only beauty can. I felt the painting emerge, as if teasing me not to go too far...less is more! In a way symbols anticipate...they anticipate their unfolding incarnations, the instances of unravelling, and the sparks of revelry and realisation.



PARADISE @ PURGATORY Artspace Melbourne

8 September - 8 October
Opening night Friday 9 September
I am really looking forward to my first solo show in Melbourne!

And, here's a link to my 'quiet activism' work looking at environmental issues of water, and coal seam gas.


Thursday, July 07, 2011


                                                      Gate Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm

I have ruminated for days on the title for this painting above. I know what I want to say, but there's so much! The question I have been asking myself is; how do I encapsulate, in a succinct way, the enormity of possibilities which have permeated through my mind? When I started the painting I had ideas of portraying the gate to Eden ie: the gate Adam and Eve, after taking from the tree-of-knowledge, fled through, and which we [humanity] have the possibility of finding and returning to. Finding [or seeing again] the gate promises the return to Eden, Paradise, Heaven, One. I have previously written about the story of Adam and Eve, and its metaphysical lessons.

Yes, it is the metaphysical that holds the enormity which I have tried to grapple with. So, after coming up with lots of possible titles, each holding intrinsic limits, I decided to simply call the painting 'Gate'. Without other accompanying descriptor words, gate can take the viewer [and myself] to wherever we want to
go...and maybe to places we had not thought of going? We just have to open it!

So, the painting has a circle, or wreath, created with my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life/knowledge. Two white trees meet with entwined branches on the left of the painting. On the right, their trunks are connected by a oval ball of, what seems like, pulsing energy. It is this 'energy' that is one of the 'gates' in the painting. Another 'gate' is the circle of trees itself, which takes on a portal-like appearance. I have previously written about portals and their capacity to impel, beyond and within.

I have painted the trees white to indicate the time before knowledge ie: when Adam and Eve [humanity] could not see each other's nakedness. The fourteen trees which seem to grow out of the white wreath, represent knowledge ie: the knowledge of opposites revealed when Adam and Eve took from the tree-of-knowledge and could see their nakedness. You will notice that the trees are painted in the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven chakra colours. Each colour is repeated twice, once on the lower half of wreath/circle and once on the top half, as if they 'speak' of the knowledge of the conscious and subconscious, human and divine. I have previously written about my thoughts on colour and knowledge:

The 'gate' of pulsing energy is again two trees which meet in entwined branches. The trees, rather than being white, are painted with the seven rainbow/chakra colours, as if opening the gate with knowledge, returns humanity to a realisation of Oneness, Paradise, Eden, Heaven, Stillness.

If you have a pair of 3D glasses...go get them and put them on to look at this painting! The wreath/circle immediately distances itself from the background. It seems to float in space like some kind of celestial entity. Regular readers will know of my interest in the realms of the universe and the enthralling possibility that we are not part of one universe but many ie: multiverse. Maybe the 'gate' is a portal to other universes...and of course these other universes can be out there in space, or inside us within the realms of the subconscious!

I don't deliberately paint 3D. I discovered that many of my paintings take on the 3D appearance when a visitor to my exhibition 'Frisson' in 2010 brought in a pair of 3 D glasses! he returned to see my exhibition 'Vortex' earlier this year and brought some glasses again!

The act of putting on 3D glasses is, in a way, an act of deliberately seeing differently. I wonder how we can do this without the aid of external devices? I wonder how we can do this with the miracle of our imaginations? Seeing different perspectives, without aids, I believe, is the key to engendering compassion for ourselves and others.

The idea of a 'gate' being energy, excites me. Maybe I've watched too much Dr. Who? But, that's what I like about simple titles for paintings...they let the viewer's imagination stir! So, if I had called the painting 'Gate to Stillness', 'Revealing The Gate', 'Gateway to Eden' plus all the other titles I played around with, I suspect I would have diminished the work with prescription...even if it was just a little dose.

Regular readers will know that within my practice I have, what I call, my quiet activism work. I have not painted anything screamingly, obviously or even quietly activist very recently, but please see some links below. However, in a subtle way my paintings, such as 'Gate', are politically toned, because their underlying pathos is that they remind us of what we could lose if we maltreat our earthly paradise. They provoke wonder and imagination, powerful qualities to circumvent negativity, and bypass tired thinking!



  • I am presenting at the Qld Jung Society on 4 Aug. Here's a link to their homepage where you will find links to the various events, including mine.

  • My next solo show Paradise at Purgatory Artspace, Melbourne opens Friday 9 Sept. Exhibition dates 8 Sept - 8 October. More details soon.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

I am currently working on a new painting. So, I have decided to upload an older work The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye because I have not previously written specifically about it, except a little in a post about horizons

I have this painting hanging in my house and as I previously wrote, I am very fond of it. Regular readers will know that I grew up on a treeless black soil plain outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, Qld, Australia. Yes, the flat horizon in this painting is the one that tantalised us as we gazed west.  In the east the Bunya Moutain Ranges cut a majestic silhouette against relentless blue skies. Down on the plain the vast, yet strangely intimate, distance embraced us.

The title The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye came to me as I was painting this work. I painted it with memory as my source, but my imagination pulled other things from within. As a child I wondered a lot about big questions, such as why are we here, how far does space go, what happens when we die...and so on. I am sure many of you, as children, also wondered about the same things. Sometimes, I wish I could wonder so innocently again! This wish is embodied in this painting...that's why I called it The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye. The viewer is witnessing the distance that provoked me, as a child, not only to wonder at large, but to go within.

Our eye, of eye ball and pupil, feeds us information. Except this information is determined by the quality of our eyesight, how efficiently our visual cortex recieves information, how effectively we notice things, what interests us and so on. However, our mind's eye,  can 'see' in a different way. It is witness to the images and happenings in our imagination. Indeed, it is also witness to our dreams. Imagined elements and dreams create memories just as 'real life' creates memories. Fascinating!

But, just as we may not notice things in 'real life' with our eye of eye ball and pupil, we may not notice things in our imagination and dreams as well. I have met people who dismiss dreams and daydreams, but psychology tells us that both reveal the impulses of our subconscious. I figure, that's probably worth noticing!

But, now to a bigger question...what if, as a human race, we are not noticing? What if THE mind of humankind is not engaging in wonder, not sharpening its imagination, not broadeneing its interest, not reaching to places unknown? I refer you to my last BLOG post 'MeetingPlace Of The Mind' Surely the questions we ask... and the questions we don't even know to ask [yet]... are out there! Surely if we ask these questions, answers will reveal themselves...and wondrously there will be more questions.

Regular readers will know that I like to entice the viewer to look at my work up close and from a distance. In order to stimulate this 'dance' back and forth I create images which reveal intimate signs/details up close, but fall together into a BIG picture when viewed from a distance. I am deliberately asking the queston , 'Have you noticed?' I am particularly interested in this with my 'quiet activist' paintings revolving around water, and coal seam gas.

But this queston., 'Have you noticed?' is an important one....across the board, the world, the universe, the multiverse...within. A friend of mine from Germany sent me this poem and, upon reading it,  I knew I wanted to offer it to you, for reflection.

In order to Change Something

The range of what we see and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice,
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.
By R.D.Laing
In a Foreword by Stephen Covey for Alex Pattakos, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, Viktor Frankl’s Principals at Work. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2004.

When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly Oil on line 80 x 120 cm

So, to end this post I have uploaded another older painting called When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly. I have written a little about it on this older, I did dream I could fly! Except it was more like a dream during the day! Without ever having been in an plane above my parent's farm I knew what it looked like from above. I think this is where my interest in mult-prespectives comes from! However, that's another subject. For this post's topic, this painting, like The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye is about the memories produced by and held in imagination. I can still remember the feeling of 'flying'...but alas I cannot 'fly' with such a physical essence as I did as a child [except in a real aeroplane!]. Thank goodness I have the memory, because the memory is a teacher. It has taught me to know that imagination can achieve great feats!


I have a book being published this year. Keep an eye out for updates! It is a book of paintings and poetic prose. I am self publishing it with Balboa Press, the self publishing arm of Hay House.

Paradise will open on Friday 9 September at Purgatory Artspace, First Floor, 170 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne. Exhbition dates 8 Sept - 8 Oct.

Follow me on TWITTER