Tuesday, December 27, 2011

QUIET FIERCENESS OF LIGHT


Quiet Fierceness of Light Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm

This new painting Quiet Fierceness of Light was inspired by a recent work on paper Firmament which is below. Yet, as I painted Quiet Fierceness of Light other things happened. It posed a number of impasses for me, as it challenged me with questions, articulated through dilemmas of aesthetics and conversations with myself. I wanted to create a feeling of a calling, the kind that whispers to us when we least expect it. The kind of calling that moves us past what we know to places where the unknown provokes us to wonder...and discover new knowledge about ourselves and the world.

Regular readers will know that light features in a number of my paintings [I have provided links below]. I love the frisson which quivers in the connections that link the scientist's wonder of light with the philospher's and spiritualist's. The frisson is highly charged!

In Quiet Fierceness of Light a figure of a woman reaches across the canvas, as if she is straddling the depths of time. A flame of light provides a force which seems to propel her. But she garners this light in the spaces between the branches of the trees which errupt from her arms and legs. These trees, regular readers will know, are my interpretation of the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol. They have various possible meanings. They can be 'read' as roots issuing forth from her feet and branches from her hands, or representations of life systems such as the vascular and lymphatic, or cross sections of internal organs such as the brain or kidney. Yet, we can go further and see them as representative of any kind of life giving system such as above and below ground water systems. For me, in this painting, they both emit and garner energy connecting all life across all dimensions.

The background of the entire painting is formed by one tree which cascades across the canvas. Like ripples it suggests another layer of life's propulsion. It seems to embrace all direction, all space and beyond, possibly indicating the primordial template/system of life in the multiverse.

The red circle, with the light emanating from it, may be the sun, the source of literal light broadcasting across our daytime. Yet, light as a metaphor struggles to penetrate our psyches when the darkness of sameness erodes confidence amd strangles wonder. The light in Quiet Fierceness of Light is more about the light of knowledge...of ourselves, others and the universe. It is with and through knowledge that we shed light across the pathways of life. The light imbues us with wonder as it calls forth both beckoning and shining the way. Light that beckons is where we find challenge, drawing us towards it. If we are game we meet its glow.
There is more to Quiet Fierceness of Light, but I'll leave that to you, the viewer. I leave you to travel your own journey with light!


Firmament Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

LIGHT

Sending Love
Halo
Finding
Becoming The Light
Colour Of Knowledge


WHAT I AM READING

I am currently reading Fire In The Belly: On Being a Man by Sam Keen. It was published in 1991/92 so is twenty years old. It is a fascinating insight into men! I have read the first four chapters where Keen analyses the role of WOMAN in the male psyche. He writes WOMAN in capital letters to differentiate the Goddess/Mother Nature entity from the woman of flesh and blood. He investigates how men need to find distance in order to embrace and love. I am really looking forward to reading the entire book. Keen writes beautifully eg: When writing about WOMAN- 'She has been an inevitable symbol of divinity since the beginning of time and remains a sacred presence in the timeless dimension of every psyche.' How about that for creating pictures with words and transporting the reader to places beyond!
Fire In The Belly: On Being a Man A Bantam Book USA 1991 

WHAT I HAVE JUST READ

I have just finished A Hatful Of Cherries by Felix Calvino. This is a wonderful collection of short stories, written by Calvino, who was born in Spain, but now lives here in Brisbane! Each story drew me in and I felt a connection to the characters. I felt so sad for Basilio and his wife. Really loved the ‘Ghosts on The Beach’ too. ‘Silvia’ was such a measured story, belying the strangeness of the two men sharing a mistress.The story about quitting smoking was painful to read, but gripping. I felt his frustration...and I have never smoked! The ‘Detour’ story has a film in it I am sure! Calvino's endings are really great, because he makes them astonishing, even when they are about ordinary happenings.

I also liked the way Calvino moved from stories set in Spain, to those set in Australia. It provided a rhythm that was punctuated every now and then...like jazz! I could not read more than two stories at one time, because I liked how they stayed with me for awhile.

One of the short stories Unfinished Thoughts has been made into a short movie, which has won and been nominated for a number of awards. Click HERE for more information.

I highy receommend A Hatful Of Cherries
A Hatful Of Cherries Arcadia Australia 2007



SOME INTERESTING SITES I'VE FOUND

I recommend  Everybody Means Something: Words, Values and Identities Explored  This is a BLOG with some very thoughtful posts.

Charter For Compassion  I have been a member of this site for some time. It was inspired by Karen Armstrong, who is a 'provocative, original thinker of the role of religion in the modern world' . Check out her TED site. I've read her book The Spiral Staircase. It is just one of her many books.

I read this provocatively titled article recently, Infinite Stupidity It is a talk with Mark Pagel who is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Evolutionary Biology. He is Head of the Evolution Laboratory at the University of Reading.

Did you know there is a Global Peace Index ? I met Steve Killelea, the man who founded the organisatin Vision For Humanity a few years ago, at a conference at the Univeristy of Queensland. At the time the idea for a Peace Index was new. But, Steve Killelea is a very passionate man and within a year of the UQ conference the Peace Index was up and running.

I also discovered recently that there is a Corruption Index!

Other interesting sites are listed in the LINKS tab on the right column of this BLOG!

'FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PAINTINGS'
My BOOK!
Please click HERE for more information

Cheers,
Kathryn



 

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MY WOMEN

Homage Mixed media on paper 37 x 27 cm 1991

The female figure has been a constant presence in my work, particularly since 1991 when I had my first baby. Not all my work depicts women, but I have been told, that my work exudes many aspects of the feminine. Regular readers will possibly think of my love of the tree-of-life, an age-old transcultural/relgious symbol of ongoing life in all its many splendours.

The painting above 'Homage' was created when I was pregnant with my first daughter. The pregnant woman is me, but she seems to resonate with shadows of herself. These are the women of my paternal and maternal ancestry. I look at this painting now and chuckle. Why? Because it is prophetic...the three baby figures on the left seem to be telling my much younger self, that I will have three children. And, I have.
I called it 'Homage' because my maternal grandmother died only six weeks before my first daughter was born. I was her only grand-daughter and a very strong link existed between me and Grand-ma-ma [Yes, that's what she insisted on being called!].

The stepping depicted in the painting was a conscious attempt to depict some kind of acsension, progress...birth to death...but also whatever existed beyond them...no end.

 
                                                                Life Oil on linen 80 x 200 2005

This painting 'Life' was created fourteen years after 'Homage'. It depicts a road with figures puctuating the route. This painting 'speaks' of the cycle of life, but belies the notion of a circle! It is actually somewhat 'dark'.  In this painting I am reflecting upon the power of insidious expectations placed on women ie: that there is a 'road' or 'map' and deviations are not welcomed or possible. Well. I know that is untrue. My deviation, like that of many other women, was divorce.


                                                Am I Mirage? Oil on Board 40 x40 cm 1992


Living With Distance Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm [Diptych] 2001-2

The two paintings above, done ten years apart, resonate with a feeling of distance, yet the female figures seem to emerge from the landscape. In 'Am I Mirage?' I believe now, that the younger me was searching for some kind of identity that was not hinged to the identities I played to 'fit in' to societal expectations. In 1991 I lived in a small rural community, in 2000 I divorced after eighteen years of marriage and moved to Brisbane.

I'd like readers to look at the above two paintings and compare them with the next two.

Breath Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2011

                                     Mother Nature Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2011

The two paintings above, painted this year, and nineteen years after 'Am I Mirage?' and ten years after 'Living With Distance', tell me that the feeling of distance is not longer there or if it is, it is not about being lonely. In the recent paintings the female figure seems less agitated, less tethered. She is Mother Nature, so she is me and she is you. She is that impulse for life within us all...that impulse shared with whatever urge it is for all existence.
I have created a 'gallery' called My Women 1991-Present on my website. There are many more paintings in this 'gallery'. On the one hand this 'gallery' is a very personal visual journey, but on the other hand I know other women will resonate with it...and men too. Looking at the paintings, they also fall under the more general label figure in the landscape. Given that I was born in the country, and then spent eighteen years of my adult life living in the country, it is not a surprise that landscape is an essential part of my inspiration. However, I sense that my recent work is untethered from specific place, as if landscape itself is freed from being bound to Earth. This reminds me of another painting [below] called When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly.

                    When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2003
                  http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2006/09/school-holidays.html

When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly painted in 2003 [when I was certainly no longer anywhere near the age of a child] is a painting directly 'speaking' with my inner child...my inner essence. Even now I can remember the feeling of flying...it was fantastic. AND, this takes me to my book 'For Everyone: Words and Paintings'....a book which calls to your inner child or essence by prodding memory.

 
'FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PAINTINGS'

Click HERE to go to 'FOR EVERYONE'S' own page. All sorts of links including where to buy! 

Click HERE to check out Kris Wampler's online interview with me about my book.

Click HERE to go to Jimmy Kopelia's Magazine with a collation of interesting BLOGS, including mine!

Click HERE to see where 'For Everyone' is listed in the SPBRoundup Religious/Spiritual/Inspirational online listing.

Cheers,
Kathryn

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TO GROK LANDSCAPE

Thank Goodness [It's Raining] Oil on linen 92 x 207 cm

To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok


Regular readers will know of my concerns for the planet, particularly with regards to water and soil. Since I started this BLOG in 2006 I have often written about my concerns, plus the paintings which I call my 'quiet activism'. My more obvious visual statements are made using small $ signs and words to create ambigious 'landscapes', which pose questions about how we 'value' our land, and its life giving and sustaining qualities. In Australia and elsewhere we are witnessing a rush to extract huge amounts of minerals and coal seam gas. Like many others, I am not anti-mining per se, but I am anti rushing into extraction activities without a scientific analysis of the risks to water, food production etc. There are enough scientists, and others with experience, calling for caution to indicate that there are risks...and major ones.

Earth For Sale Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
This painting is created with small $ signs.

But, this post is not about mining or coal seam gas or farming. Rather, the paragraph above is a short backdrop for new readers.

TO GROK?


To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok



As I ponder the environmental dilemmas confronting the world today, I can't help but think about the manner by which we are connected to land. Yes, we use it, move around upon it, photograph and paint it, some watch it from satelites, we dig into it, we manipulate it for all sorts of reasons. However, I sense we largely see ourselves as separate from it. We are observers, witnesses, users, particpants upon. Yet, what if we saw ourselves as part of the landscape, enmeshed with its ebbs and flows, absorbed into the one pulse of life? What if we were to grok with the land, the Earth?

I suspect that early humans did not differentiate themselves from the land, their environment. From the distance of thousands of years into a future characterised by dilemmas of survival, our forebears' attitudes seem highly evolved.

 Heaven and Earth Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm

How can we return to a early humankind relationship with land, in a way which is reconcilable with their future...the one we now inhabit?
SYMBOLISM
I'd like to suggest that the answer lies with potency of symbolism. And regular readers will know what I am going to write next. Yes! The age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol holds clues, I'm sure, to how we might re-imagine our future relationship with Earth and land...and given modern understanding of outerspace...with the cosmos as well.
I am sure there are other age-old symbols which have the kind of potency that can propel re-imagining forward, as it speaks to the past. However, for me, the tree-of-life holds so much endless potential to re-awaken human race memories of connection and rapport with our environment, its physicality and its spirit. The vascular quality of the tree, speaks of systems...and systems keep us and the planet alive. I'd suggest that systems also ensure the propulsion of the Universe...and possibly the Multiverse! We may not understand, or have even identified, some of these systems, but we know they must exist. As I have writen before I have faith in complexity!

 Radiance Oil on linen 92 x 208 cm

Mountains and Metaphors Oil on linen 80 x 200 cm

PAINTINGS
The paintings I have uploaded for this post are a selection of 'landscape' paintings since 2006. All, but the one immediately above and Earth For Sale , depict the tree-of-life totally absorbed...grokked...into the 'scape'. It is THE energy at the same time as being THE 'scape'...one influences the other to manifest. The tree, as a symbol of life, is simultaneously a symbol of us and our environment, here on Earth and within the Multiverse.

In Mountains and Metaphors [immediately above] the moutains are symbolic of overcoming adversity. In Earth For Sale small $ signs create an ambigius landscape. The $ signs are only discernible when viewed up close. I am asking 'Have we noticed?' Have we noticed how we 'value' our land?

Into My Galaxy Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm


Majesty and Order Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm


The Beginning Of Everything Oil on linen 90 x 180cm

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FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PANTINGS
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Please check out Kris Wampler's great online interview about
FOR EVERYONE

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Cheers,
Kathryn

Thursday, December 08, 2011

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE

Fountain of Life Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

My last post was called 'Below The Surface' and this new post will be linked, but tangentially so. Regular readers will be used to my tangents!

BACKGROUND
Regular readers will also know of my interest in water. I grew up on a grain farm on the rich black treeless plains outside Dalby, on the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. As an adult I spent eighteen years living further west in a small rural community called Goondiwindi. For much of my life water, its uses, cost, manipulations and 'value' has been part of my life. Goondiwindi was the commercial and social hub for a diversified agricultural community...cotton, sheep, cattle, grain, pigs, some fruit and vegetables. Irrigation made much of the farming activity viable, and above and below ground water supplies watered livestock.

This link HERE will take you to a Google image of my childhood landscape. The red colour in the fields is sorghum [obviously a very good season!]. It is truly beautiful! Imagine fields of sunflowers or wheat. The treeles flat plain is like an ever changing canvas.

WATER
Issues surrounding water are of paramount importance across the globe. In Australia water and its uses, allocations, price etc seem to be constantly discussed. Currently the ongoing debate about the Murray Darling catchment area, and agricultural use vs environmental impacts, has heated up. Also, heating up are concerns about above and below ground water and the impacts of coal seam gas mining on them.

So, for any new readers, the above paragraphs provide some background for the inspiration behind my paintings. My interest in water is part of a larger concern for the planet. I've listed more water paintings and posts below.

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE
In this new painting above, I wanted to capture a feeling of water rippling below the surface. Yes, there's that term below the surface from my last post. The female figure is Mother Nature. With the trees-of-life erupting from her feet and heart, she is the source of life on Earth and the Multiverse. She seems to swim in an ambigous 'landscape'. Is it an earthly landscape or a cosmological one? For me it is both and all. Beneath the main tree-of-life, with its vascular-like embrace, faint lines and shapes are discernible. Are these the remnants, meminders of life's first pulse? Are they below the surface or do they beckon to the beyond? The blue symbolises water, itself a symbol of the subconscious where the impulse for life exists? So below the surface, as I wrote in my last post, is a loaded term...is the surface a literal or a metaphorical one?

As we scramble to plunder the earth's resources, do we take time to ponder those elements which breath life into her and thus keep us alive? We are 70% water...and so is Earth.

I am not against mining per se, but I am concerned about the rush to develop and expand, without rigourous research into potential impacts on the environment and food production.

BOLIVIA
Bolivia is taking some interesting steps to place nature's rights on par with human rights.

Eath's Wisdom Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm
Earth's Wisdom...need I say more?!

SELECTION OF WATER POSTS



UPDATE FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PAINTINGS



OFFICIAL LAUNCH
23 February 2012 6-8 pm
Fireworks Gallery
Scott Emerson MP, Queensland State Member of Parliament for Indooroopilly and Shadow Minister for the Arts, will be launching FOR EVERYONE: Words and Piantings

Please check out FOR EVERYONE's own page here

I am now listed as an author at Goodreads

Cheers,
Kathryn
You can see more of my work at: www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com

Thursday, December 01, 2011

BELOW THE SURFACE

Below The Surface Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

BELOW THE SURFACE Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

This work on paper is part of my Mother Nature series. The female figure is symbolic of Mother Nature. The trees which extend from her feet, and grow from her heart, reach out, below and beyond the surface. The pale green tree, which cascades across the 'scape', evokes the land's abundance, while the red, symbolic of soil, gifts the planet its nutrition. The white wavey lines and small blue strokes which whisper within the layers, speak of life systems, contours and hidden depths. The blue is suggestive of water and sky, the below and beyond. Regular readers will identify that the trees are my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life. This age old symbol speaks of life's systems and connects us with the past and propels us to the future. In the present it is up to us to hear its symbolic power.

BELOW THE SURFACE-LOADED TERM!

What a loaded term below the surface is! We talk about what's below the surface in a scandal, in financial implosions such as the GFC, beneath celebrity status, double entendres. We also talk and argue about what's below the surface of environmental issues. Below the surface can imply the 'real motive', the psychological impetus, the subconscious, intrigue, subtefuge, secrets. It also implies that what's below the surface is much larger, and possibly more significant, than what appears on the surface.

We are all so much more than what our exterior body appearance indicates. What's that old saying...'Beauty* is more than skin deep'. Or did I just make that up!? Funny though, when you think about what below the surface means it becomes appparent that it's not just about the below, but also the beyond. Indeed once the below is stirred and recognised its influence permeates across and beyond the surface. This can be a real physical influence on a material surface and into the atmosphere, or we can be propelled into other realms, such as the spiritual, imaginative and psychological.

CSG

This brings me to the coal seam gas debate [regular readers will know of my keen interest] which is heating up here in Australia with yesterday's release of the Senate Enquiry into CSG report. Here are just two media reports about the Senate Committeee's report  ABC Lateline Business and The Australian  Indeed, the Senate Enquiry dug beyond the surface, over many months of hearings and have recommended a number of actions based on well documented and research based fears, from various informed groups, about the affects of CSG mining on the Great Artesian Basin. Other issues involving potential impacts on prime agricultural land, health, social cohesion, farming practices, economic value were also presented to the Enquiry. The report is critical of, particularly the Queensland Government's, non precautionary principle stance. Indeed, I attended a forum on CSG at the University of Queensland in late 2009 where various representatives across the CSG debate spoke. The Government representatives indicated that their approach was 'well see as we go.' 

Another investigation that goes below and indeed beyond the surface is Paul Cleary's book 'Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia’s Future'. Check out the publisher's site Black Inc Books I have just finished this very thought provoking book. It examines a range of issues for us now and into the future. Cleary's concern for future generations means he has gone not just below the surface, but beyond as well. I highly recommend your read  'Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia’s Future'.

So, to a more literal level...a CSG well is not just its surface appearance. What happens below ground, and what is brought up from below ground, may have far more reaching influences, many of them possibly unknown for many years eg: a breakdown in naturally ocurring barriers between aquifers could possibly cause cross contamination of water types [saline and non-saline], loss of pressure could cause leakage from higher aquifers to lower ones and this may result in soil subsidance; methane gas leakage can cause a plethora of problems with one issue of paramount importance ie: methane is a  dangerous contributor to global warming. There are many more possible outcomes which have been expressed by farmers, scientists and academics. The precautionary principle seems pretty sensible to me!


PERSPECTIVE

Ideas of below and beyond the surface link with my interest in perspective. Regular readers will know of my interest! I play with perspective in my paintings by creating ambigious 'scapes'. As I have written before, I deliberately try to stimulate the viewer to move back and forth from my paintings. When viewed up close small details are discernible, but from a distance they are not. This dance back and forth, is similar to the 'dance' I move to as I paint. I work up close and then move back to view a painting from a distance, or I place a painting-in-progress in a spot where upon re-entering my studio, I see it with fresh eyes/perspective. I do think this 'dance' is a pretty good metaphor for how we need to negotiate life as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world.

Some earlier post on BEAUTY


FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PAINTINGS

My new book has it own PAGE - FOR EVERYONE


Cheers,
Kathryn