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.
I collect rocks. I collect rocks and shells and then take them with me all over the world wherever I move. I literally have a box of rocks from scattered places. It’s not really for sentimental reasons. Some have strong memories and images attached to them, but mostly I find them pretty. I collect rocks of different shades and shapes, all of which are particularly unique and beautiful to me. I can sit and stare at them for a long time, seeing the sediments and crystals that compose them as well as the odd scratches and bumps that form them. Recently I started making pendants by wrapping them in silver wire.
These rocks are a few that I painted last night. There was a Blues festival on this weekend and so while listening to a concert being played down the street from my apartment, I sat painting rocks. I’m thinking I might try to make a couple into pendants. The others I want to leave in different places I go to. Maybe in the same way that I picked them up, someone else will find them and my little painted rocks will continue their journey around the world. Even if no one ever laid eyes on them again, it’s nice to think of putting them back out in the world rather than having them sit in my living room.
I moved into a new place this month. I’ll finally have a studio space to myself. When writing a friend an email earlier today I realized that I haven’t painted anything for the whole year. Instead this year, I’ve been drawing. I used a brush pen to do these little drawing/paintings on these rocks.
Anyway, if you come across any weird painted rocks when you’re walking through the park – I guess now you know where it came from!
As always, thanks for tuning in.
Here is my latest, titled Unveiled. It’s been sitting in my sketch pad for a week or two. It was NOT an easy free flowing composition that came out of some blast of inspiration. Instead this piece came out of scattered energies and unfocused thoughts. I was pushing myself to work, because the act of working brings me peace. Despite feeling creatively blocked and this piece being relatively painful to complete, I’m glad I stuck with it and didn’t just tear it up or colour it black, as I was tempted to do. In a sense its a reminder to me that the work serves me when I need it, just as much as I serve the work.
For a while I’ve noticed that the piece that comes after a piece that I really like, feels like this one did. I begin with a lot of expectation and then somewhere along the line I feel like it’s totally contrived and then rounding up to the end I push through to come out with something I have mixed feelings about.
However one thing I’ve learned when it comes to the creative process is how important it is to keep working on one’s practice, regardless of how interesting or futile it seems. Movement is important with creativity and like Liz Gilbert said in her TED talk, some days your muse shows up for work and some days they don’t. If you don’t keep working though, you might miss a good day.
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
An amazing poem written by my friend Marisa Ramcharan about my work
ode to thine art,
-no words, yet, thy mode voluminously speaks to the heart,
in depth and stroke, light & shadow, hue & form – but no words, nay,
ill-equipped are they,
tome upon tome will fall short, alas,
yet all will be said, upon one, just one, lowly
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.