Monday, January 23, 2012


Sap Of Life Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm

The sap of life? What do I mean by this? Well, sap could mean many things, from the literal to the metaphoric. However, one of the most obvious connotations is water. Regular readers will know of my interest in water! And, indeed this new painting was initially inspired by thoughts of water and its life giving and sustaining qualities. These thoughts were also influenced by major concerns many people have [including myself] about threats, posed by coal seam gas [CSG] extraction and expanding coal mines in Australia and around the world, to above and below ground water systems. I have written about these fears previously. [Links below]

But, rather than paint images of destruction, or potential destruction, I believe images which 'speak' more positively and with beauty, have the power to remind us of what we lose if essential life elements are plundered, poisoned and polluted. This reminder surely galvanises intent more robustly than constant regurgitation of images of destruction, mayhem and disaster. The media very successfully keeps us hooked into these kinds of images anyway! I can see no point in art being part of the regurgative and power neutering process.

With its association to birth, water is symbolic of the Great Mother, the divine feminine, the giver of life. Sap becomes a metaphor for the source of everything, manifested and in potential. And, of course, it perfectly resonates with my love of the transcultural/religious tree-of-life.

Using the tree-of-life motif I have placed the Great Mother, Mother Nature, at the centre of 'Sap of Life'. She is the link, the synapse, between two trees-of-life which erupt from her outstretched arms and feet. Each tree is suggestive of the capillary-like appearance of water systems... and vascular ones. The branches of both trees end in white, creating an almost halo-like appearance. This light represents illumination and a forever connection to something beyond. It's up to the viewer to imagine beyond, into the halo!

In the background, the entire canvas is covered with a dark blue tree, which whispers a universal song of quivering energy. The moon, in its various phases, beckons us into the realms of space, reminding us of the pull of its orbital tracking. Indeed, as our oceans dance to the lunar tune and rhythm we experience impulses from beyond.

A snaking white line ribbons across the cavas, weaving its way through the trees. Have you ever seen a river from the air? This line is a river, both literal and metaphoric, traversing across the 'landscape'. It seems to reflect the moon's light as it flows with meandering purpose. All connected...

There are, as I wrote above, many connotations for sap. I'll leave it up to you to come up with more. However, there is one I'd like to mention, mainly because it came to me today when I read a short article in The Australian newspaper. The article written by Margarette Driscoll is about a new book called 'Quiet: The Power Of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain. The book is about research that shows people are more creative when they have time alone. It apparently refutes the benefits of group work, open plan offices etc in business, schools and so on. Well, can I say, from my own experience... I totally agree! I remember  my first experience of group work in grade 4. It was the mid 60s, and from what I can remember, group work was a new and supposedly innovative way to teach. I hated it! My first feeling of being totally sapped!

The last paragraph of The Australian article is a quote from Cain's book, "Anyone who has ever needed noise-cancelling headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I'm talking about," brings back memories of me sitting in evening prep at boarding school, with ear phones on to keep out the constant chatter and noise created by a hall full of teenage girls, inadequately supervised by young mistresses! I remember the Head Mistress came in one night and I was hauled out of prep with accusations that I was listening to music. Far from it...all I wanted was peace and quiet! I recall the Head Mistress was somewhat chastened when I told her I was wearing ear muffs, that my parents had bought me, because the noise in prep was so distracting. Thank goodness I am an artist and can have peace and quiet, and be on my own whenever I want [well apart from the demands of being a parent as well]!

Peace, quiet and alone of life!



AIRSPACE AND PHANTOMS   [This post is the most popular one on my BLOG!]

Just a reminder that my book launch for 'For Everyone: Words and Paintings' is Thursday 23 February! Click HERE for more details.




'Sap Of Life' [above] will be in my next solo exhibition QUIVER 18 - 29 April
Graydon Gallery, Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane
Open daily 10am - 6pm

Other paintings which will be in QUIVER are: There will others too.


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