A Window

It is a myth that we are all special individuals who are destined for some unique personal glory. As a part of this myth, we seem to believe that our differences separate us into lonely planets, orbiting the sun with long suffering, internalized sighs. We remain tragically separate from those who we imagine could never understand the poignancy of our longing. I reject this myth for something that is more powerful and far less lonely. In practical terms, we exist in an ocean of sameness – of animal reaction and behaviour that composes the spectrum of our human experience.

It’s interesting that with all this sameness, we are constantly surprised to find friends and allies in unlikely places. In the same sense that we live out the lives of our parents; we live out the same human lives, generation after generation. In a sense we’re like a dog who lives a life that is not so dissimilar from the other dogs on his block. If he moves in his lifetime, he will experience a hiccup that leads to a readjustment to the new normal for a new place with new circumstances. But he will still be a dog; just like all the other dogs in his new neighbourhood.

It is in some way frightening to think that our individual loveliness is worthless. It is more accurate though to see individuality instead as a single flower in a field of flowers – each blossom being a different spin on the general plant / flower archetype – whose life cycle and behaviour is bound within the confines of flower-hood.

What’s great about story telling is sharing with a community of like minded people a story about themselves. The significant act is in documenting a common history that is unknowingly shared between neighbours. We read a satisfying story and are surprised to find ourselves in someone else’s life. Perhaps the gift of Art is in providing that tactile window into a bigger and richer collection of as yet unstated experience. As artists we pull a thread at that faceless human experience to present to ourselves an idea, moment or story that will in turn inspire, comfort or enrage someone else as they see for the first time, a part of themselves reflected.
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Bird’s Eye View

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

This is my first mandala of 2014. It’s called Bird’s Eye View. It was snowing steadily all day today. Even though it was a fairly warm day in comparison to recent days, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the art store for more canvas. Instead, I spent the afternoon drawing at the dining table.

Recently, I’ve been watching a documentary series called Through the Wormhole. One episode  I saw last week looked at near death experiences. In that episode, there was a snippet of footage of a butterfly flying through a forest. Since then the idea of flying with an animals eyes has stuck with me. One of the ideas discussed involved the notion that at the moment of death, our minds might latch on to the consciousness of other being in a quantum like transfer of awareness. That’s the best way I can restate it – non technical as I am.

This mandala explores that idea – of reaching out beyond human form and seeing life through another’s eyes.

Hope you enjoy the mandala, and as always thanks for being interested in my work.

Zodiac Mandala

This mandala is done on larger paper (18 x 24″).

I finished this piece earlier today. Apologies for the poor image quality, it was too large to scan so I had to rely on the camera on my phone.

It rained all day yesterday, when I started drawing. Sitting on the living room floor, I spent the day listening to audio books and drawing. These mandalas might just get me through this period of unemployment without being bowled over with anxiety.

When I sit and make them, all of my fear and mind chatter recedes and I can just focus. Working at this scale was more challenging in terms of focus and remaining peaceful. Maybe it will come with practice, like yoga.

One of my favorite things in architecture school was manual drafting. I loved the feeling of the pen sliding over paper. I used to do a lot of abstract pen and inks when I was a teenager as well. Really the main thing that made me consider architecture school was that I loved to draw and I was pretty good at drawing buildings. I suppose I couldn’t have known then that the actual practice of architecture could be so art-less. In any case, I love drawing and my Mandala meditations have reminded me of that part of my imagination.

Hope you enjoy.

Star Mandala

I made this one today. This morning started with a wash of anxiety but instead of giving in to it I decided to try another mandala. It was a great exercise in focus and calm, taking about 5 hours to do.

I really enjoy generating the symmetrical forms with corresponding sizes and geometry. The solid black ring is the ocean to me and the eyes maybe personify the ocean as well as reflect my love of sea gazing. Overall I think the piece represents the kind of harmony I’ve experience out here between myself , the ocean and the larger world around me.

I know people can be pretty wierd about 5 pointed stars but I don’t actually ascribe to those beliefs so no Christian occult undertones are implied here. I just like the geometry.

Hope you enjoy

Mandalas

I did these 2 mandalas last night while having a Jane Austen marathon. I read that it was a meditative exercise so i looked up the basic structure of a mandala and tried some stuff out. 


It is actually really calming. I forgot that about line-work – that you have to become very still in your body and mind. I also find that it makes me take long and deep breaths, not unlike Pranayama techniques so that my body doesn’t shake while I draw. 


All in all it was v fun and v calming so I will keep this up. Enjoy!


Mandala 1

Mandala 2

Witness

A moment of blinding realization. Sitting on the water’s edge, the sky was grey and the tides low. It was maybe 3 degrees out and I sat huddled on a big boulder. Over the valley I could see the sun spreading slowly as the clouds behind me parted. When the light reached and warmed me, I turned behind to see the brilliant sun breaking through the heavy purple clouds. Up above me, flying over me and over the valley was an eagle. A real, live eagle. In that moment it came to me. All this life, all of human consciousness – we are witnesses. 


Does a tree fall in the woods if no one’s there to hear it? Of course it does. We put value however on the witnessed account. Our eyes, our senses, our cognizance – what we do best is tell stories. As an artist, I am a medium through which my cumulative life experiences are sorted, weighed and re-stated through pigment and form. 


So that eagle could fly over that valley every day as might be the case, but its significance to you who read this and I who experienced it, is framed by my single afternoon’s reflection. That changes things. We can be such self important animals. I’ve found that life is richer and more worthwhile when I understand myself as part of a large, moving tapestry of creative experience. My eyes and my hands are no more significant than any other, but what is unique to me is my narrative, that is, my position in the tapestry – my literal point of view. 


My senses are the windows through which all the world around me is contextualized. So as people, we are many points of reference and many re-imaginations of the same earth and our space within it.