Category Archives: Art technique

Glass butterflies II

Glass Butterflies is a growing collection of photographs depicting butterflies in juxtaposition with glass: under frames, next to windows, inside glass houses…a metaphor that has deeply informed my painting, writing and thinking for a number of years. As well as taking me on a journey of deeply personal exploration, these synchronistic experiences have everything to do with releasing the Sacred Feminine from her “box” whilst learning to appreciate how that feminine aspect can be allowed to settle upon a much more equal and balanced relationship with the male-oriented, left-hemispherical “structures” of our three-dimensional reality. In a sense, the butterfly learns to work with “the box” on her terms and in ways that enhance her innate qualities; which is the very marriage of fluidity and form that underpins the art-process, taking “inspiration” through the journey of the creative act to where we have something tangible that we can interface with as a three-dimensional form of expression. As you can tell, the metaphor has many layers and continues to develop as one of the long-running themes of my experience. Continue reading

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Fire and water

It was just a little bit magical to find butterflies “fluttering” inside the vast spaces of the abbey I know so well, like a potent metaphor made manifest. Their colour and variety seemed to flutter new life into torpidity, as though the leaden religious narrative of so many quite massive stained glass windows had been exploded into shards then grown wings before hitting the ground; so, not the end of the world, just a fresh new beginning that had required the courage to break with old ways. Their unexpected presence there above my head seemed like a breath of fresh air sweeping through those unreachable spaces from one arched window to the other, stirring up the dust motes of heavy tradition. The reaching and arching endlessly higher and higher of all those immense gothic ceilings that speak of always striving, never quite getting there, seemed to be brought down to attainable height, their pristine stone made mortal yet in no way trivialised by fragments of coloured paper that could have been cut-out with scissors by a child. It felt like a sacred marriage to witness the two side-by side; both aspects made “better”, somehow more whole and perfect, by the collaboration of art installation and its most ideal space; in fact, I realised I had never seen the space look better than it did on this day… Continue reading

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Out of the box

Perhaps Pandora was only ever meant to be the counter-impulse to a world that became so fixated upon compartmentalising everything that it was missing the point (or denying) that there is so much more than that which can be defined or pigeon-holed by the mind. Perhaps she was our safety-catch, primed to spring apart at just the right moment to save ourselves from our own self-defeating, self-limiting intellects. Perhaps many of us have experienced the unleashing of our own internal Pandora in recent years or decades and it is the combined effect of all these boxes springing open as one (mimicking many breakdowns and disasters in our lives…but, all of them, evolutionary in their nature) that is manifesting our next biggest evolutionary leap forwards. Who knows what small (or significant) part these archetypes have played, even as depicted in well-timed artworks hung on the walls of places where we spent our formative years; who know what a painting in a college full of women did for over thirty years at a key time in history (one of many drops in an evolutionary ocean). What makes a story such as hers ebb in and out of favour across the annuls of time yet never fully disappearing, even when we have tried to bury it deep in the basement under layers of dust? Yet, not to be set back by that unpromising outcome (much like many of us…) she found her way back into the daylight. Perhaps she has been pushing forwards with her message, with even more vigour than ever; the somewhat inconvenient wake-up call suggesting we might all want to let ourselves out of that mind-box once in a while. Whilst there were always going to be those that weren’t ready to hear her, I take heart from the fact there were others who were prepared to seek her out from her cobwebs and put her back in full view where she was always meant to be….(read more).

The true story of a painting lost and refound and how the way this became woven into my own life-story helped me to appreciate and understand the opening-up of my own personal Pandora’s Box as the evolutionary process that it was.

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Originally posted on gather:
Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who…

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Going direct

(In art…as in many spheres of activity; very topical, this one!) the pressing ‘need’ to make money has overtaken logic at many stages of the game, which is what happens when we place money at the centre of everything by deciding its what makes the world go round. Maybe we need to choose a different axle for our wheel… Continue reading

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Released from the jar

Suddenly, in a great tidal-flow of synchronicity, I was finding the Cumaean Sibyl, the ancient prophetess everywhere so what is it that the she represents and reminds us of in these times; right where are now in so called “history” on the brink of remembering there is also a thing called “herstory”? Is she that very story…the story of the sacred feminine, the wisdom of the lost female aspect that, with each passing year, was mislaid just a little bit more…burned, droned out and shouted down again and again until she remained only tenuously as a hearsay, word-of-mouth, Chinese whispered thing, like a little voice trapped in a jar?

Is this what Shelley, Plath and Wolfe and others like all of us who realise we carry this shared female experience in our cells have been feeling ever more defeated by, especially last century when the feminine seemed all but doomed (and had nothing to do with burning bras)? Did she feel so done, then, that all she had the strength to long for now was to anaesthetise the pain with prescription medications, or by succumbing to an unconscious lifestyle of endless consumption and distraction to numb her senses, or to snuff herself out altogether, “to die” as Elliot said. Is that the state of hopelessness that Shelley predicted in “The Last Man” and why”The Wasteland” must have felt like the beginning of the fulfilment of that dire prophesy a hundred years ago? Have we just witnessed our “darkest before the dawn” moment and are we now stepping out the other side of that, into the unfiltered light of a glass-less panorama? Had I just scraped the soil off the root of my long-time preoccupation with glass houses and views through windows, the one-time focus of my painting that no longer inspires me. Have we just gone “direct”, like the solar-return celebration of our civilization, with no more place for misted or distorted panes of glass, no desire or call for an intermediary in any shape or form on our route to clearly seeing our highest selves?

So what has changed, how are we in any different place now, what feels better and how are we re-writing that ending in the midst of an about face turn that changes absolutely everything? I don’t know it in so many concrete terms that I can put into words but I feel it as distinctly as it is possible to feel anything. In myself, I see how I have realised the new ending in the many thoughts that rose up in me, first, about being “kept under glass” and then knowing I was now “released” from that same glass. Like paint doubs on a canvas, I have felt myself fragment and reconfigure entirely and confinement is no longer part of that picture. Its a quantum change yet it is very very real and I feel it for all women. Continue reading

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Glass butterflies

I noticed something very distinct about Amsterdam and that was how the layout of its main canals, in a layered horse-shoe shape, divided by roads and intersecting canals that fanned it out like a turkey-tail, reminded me of an inverted tree of life or rather, a tree of life labyrinth. I have talked about my labyrinthine experiences walking around the streets of various towns many times before and here was another example showing up in my experience. The labyrinth can be an extremely powerful way of encountering portals at the points where energies intersect and seems to invite multi-faceted experience into your awareness through these portals; which serve as an axis-point between other dimensions (you could think of such a portal as the truck of a tree connecting dimensional “branches”). So, in effect, you can find yourself standing in an ordinary physical “place” when suddenly your three-dimensional “reality” (which starts to take on symbolic significance in ways you didn’t notice before; these everyday things are now”clues” to make you sit up and take notice) seems to intersect more fluidly than ever with other dimensions that you can now perceive.These power nodes train you in multi-dimensional awareness and so you familiarise yourself with its potential in ways that you get to take with you through other walks of life. When you encounter these power-portals, you feel riveted to the spot as coincidences of circumstance “speak” to you in a multitude of ways, offering new layers of deeper meaning and understanding to what you ordinarily encounter with your five senses. Continue reading

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Realising pure potential

The journey of my latest painting shared  this week in my art blog Source: Painting light

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Leading me up the garden path

The weather that delivered on the day of our long-planned visit to Charleston turned out to be nothing like what I had painted in my head; the sky was tipping water by the bucket-full. But then, of course, everything glistened; the fruit, especially, glistened as though freshly varnished and the petals hugged droplets of water like glass teardrops perfectly poised. We got to marvel at the way the bees knew how to line up with their backs to the wind and hang upside down beneath the flower heads – one on each bloom – until the rainshower was over. We got that kind of light that is clear and crisp, not washed-out and without subtlety as on a typical summer’s day. The velvet reds “zinged” and the greens looked like freshly squeezed life-zest personified; vibrant and rejuvenating to receive with all the senses. One of the gifts was the unexpected juxtaposition of a dripping-wet female form peeking out through vivid wet leaves and abundantly ripe fruit;her wet face had something to tell me and it was nothing at all about tears…”I sleep; I do not weep” were words that came boomeranging back at me later that same weekend in yet another stunning garden and the journey in between turned out to be a labyrinth of self-discovery through a landscape of universal themes. Continue reading

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Making tracks

It was the bizarrest thing…to be in a well-known card and stationery shop on the high street seeking a couple of suitable birthday cards for two of my friends, to be scanning the rows and rows of cards then, finally, thinking “ah, this one…”; my arm reaching out to grab it, registering the wave of familiarity washing over me and then realising “oh, its mine”.

When synchronicity happens it can be so obvious it makes us belly-laugh as we extract the pearl of significance from the message it has to deliver to us. This is what happened to me as I reached a full circle and came to marvel at how obviously I had been leaving tracks for myself to decipher along the way… Continue reading

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