Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Out There Somewhere Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

Happy New year to all of you! Bring on 2012.

The painting above is a new one. I've given it a title which comes from the last two lines of a poem written by my grandmother D.E Ross. In 1986 my grandmother and mother, Elsie Brimbelcombe, published an anthology of poems called 'Out There'. At the time of publication my grandmother was 87 years old. She had written poems for most of her life, apparently having her first poem published in a Western Australian newspaper when she was fourteen. Grandma-ma died at the age of 92, so she had a pretty marvelous innings.

Here's the poem I've taken my title from. It is in the anthology and is also called:

Out There By D.E Ross1.
I do not cringe before the opening door
to Outside,
but brace muscle and mind
to meet
the open horizon
its fresher winds
the brighter light
undreamed of in the chrysalis:
each cloud a carriage
each breeze a wing
each star a stepping stone
beyond Time
-before and after-
toward the secret
of its source
and mine.

There are no boundaries
Out There
but the original laws
that devised
neither north nor south
or east and west,
or here and there
No tides,
but streams of power forever flowing.
Time is not negotiated
wasted or lost:
an hour rates high in our accounting here:
yet a thousand years
could be held as a breath on the wind
Out There.

There is no waste in God’s economy.
New solar systems
gather grace in space
[along with waste
from our allotted span of influence].
In God’s eternal meld
of warp and woof,
of foul and fair,
we have each one of us a share
in a new heaven and a new earth
aiming for birth
Out There

This poem at one level is about dying. My mother, very bravely recited it my grandmother's funeral in 1991. Yet, as the years go by, and the more I think about the things I think about, I see that it is also about life...or how life could be...with imagination. As I read this poem I sense that the women I paint, as they float across the ripples created by my much loved trees-of-life, are upon 'the open horizon' swept by 'fresher winds' as they shed 'the brighter light' at the same time as they are drawn to it. The women in my paintings represent eternal Mother, Mother Nature, and my grandmother's line 'each star a stepping stone' creates visions of life traversed across the Universe...and indeed possibly the Multiverse.

'Out There' can also be 'read' as imagination. This is particularly conjured in the second stanza of the poem where, 'There are no boundaries', and the simplicity of descriptive compass directions, and the banality of 'above below or here and there' disappear as concepts of boundary and restraint are forsaken to welcome 'but streams of power forever flowing'. Our imagination has the potential to be this powerful force where possibility is entertained and where wonder provokes questions never before dreamed of....and thus answers from seemingly 'out there'! As the poem suggests in the last paragraph, 'we have each one of us a share...in a new heaven and a new earth...aiming for birth...Out There...somewhere.'
Imagination and spirit, seem to me, to be pretty obvious pals!

In the last stanza, my grandmother refers to solar systems and the 'waste from our allotted span of influence'. She was very interested in cosmology and would often take me and my brothers outside to watch the amazing night sky. She knew all the constellations and could identify planets. She was concerned about the waste or rubbish left in space, as well as the detritus polluting Earth. In fact, another poem in the anthology 'Out There' is called 'Residue' and is about the clues our rubbish gives to our character.

Out There in my grandmother's mind, was a place...the capital O and T give this away. But, place does not have to be only physical. It can be in our dreams, in our individual imaginations as well as our collective ones, within our psyche. I love how Out There could be where multiple perspectives, close and far-nano and macro, are experienced simultaneously. As regular readers will know, I have a great interest in concepts of perspective, especially as we need new ways to 'see' in an increasingly gloablised world in which we live locally...also because the Universe/Multiverse is compelling us out there by revealing its secrets.

Multiverse oil on linen 80 x 100 cm

More information HERE



Anne E May said...

Hi Kathryn,
I found your blog when I was researching gouache painting on google. I've started working iwth gouache (usually I'm a printmaker) and somehow it fascinates me! I love your paintings and how you've placed them with the poetry. You've inspired me! I'm also working with some poetry and it's a challenge!
Have a great day!

Amanda Trought said...

Kathryn, came over from bloggers, I love your work, it touched my heart and the poetry, such a beautiful combination. Looking forward to spending more time checking out your other work, truely inspiring. Stay blessed. Amanda

Amanda - Realityarts-Creativity
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