New Work 2019 to 2020
Dreaming into stillness
Watercolour on paper 2019
An introspective mandala, begun in the swirl of autumn, gathering inwards to settle at the heart of Midwinter.
The geometry is nine, a triple triad of throughness; describing the completion of a creative cycle. A place of endings and beginnings.
Drawing us into the centre of this nine pointed pattern, is an animal both familiar and mysterious - the Hedgehog.
My family's approach to gardening is very wildlife friendly. It's amazing how species-rich a small plot can become over a few years! My studio is at the bottom of the garden, so the coming and going of various creatures catches my eye, and sometimes they find their way into a painting. I'm so delighted by and grateful for their presence, it feels an absolute honour to cross paths in this way. And the calling is clear to do our best to help them to thrive.
Hedgehog reminds us that it's good to slow down and rest deeply in the dark months; find nourishment in quiet moments, and peace within the heart of life's mystery. If we surrender to the dream of this time, we'll emerge refreshed and ready for the next cycle to begin in spring.
Goldcrest is present (top left) representing the small miracles in life. I was lucky enough to come in close contact with one while working on this painting, rescuing one that had bizarrely become trapped in my local village shop. It was smaller than a hen's egg in my palm! The goldcrest is our smallest bird, visiting the UK in autumn and winter. A complete wonder of miniature beauty.
And Robin is there, as robin is always there!
Hopefully you may find quiet moments to appreciate the magic of this resting time, surrendering to the call of the earth
A Symphony of Spring
Watercolour on paper 2019
Unfurling with song-sweet delight
Into fragrant heartfelt optimism
The miraculous regeneration that occurs every spring never ceases to astound and enchant me. As the season unfolds, each succeeding leaf and flower opening is a cause for celebration - and an affectionate reunion with dear friends.
Perhaps my all time favorite combination of wildflowers, blooming together in late April to early May, is that of Bluebells, Red Campion and Greater Stichwort, especially alongside the unfurling spiralling bracken fronds.
This year, a pair of blackbirds nested right outside my studio door, so their comings and goings have also woven into this mandala, along with Wren and a gorgeous grandmother frog who frequented the tiny pond in our polytunnel, leaving a legacy of tadpoles.
I've been increasingly alarmed by the decline in insect numbers and species over the past ten years, most worryingly the bees, and most noticeably (perhaps because of their size and beauty) the butterflies. Imagine the emptiness of a world without these fairy-like wonders flitting around! An orange tip delighted my eyes just as I sat pondering the top left hand area of this painting. Each tiny thing, intrinsic to the whole.
Beneath the plants and animals of this painting, is an infrastructure of hexagonal geometry known as the 'Flower of Life'. This patterning is ancient, arising from nature to describe nature - including ourselves - as an interdependant, inter-connected whole. It's message is simple:
The closer we get to experiencing wholeness, the greater our chances of thriving in Life.
Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg's inspirational speeches were a background to this work. A groundswell of changing awareness, acknowledging the huge uncertainty about our shared future. An ever keener edge of unknowing creeping in to threaten familiar rhythms. The precipice almost reached.
In 1988 I understood we were in the 59th minute of the 11th hour in terms of ecological disaster. It turns out that minute has lasted a lot longer than I could have imagined, and learning how to live well within the shadow of climate change, with adaptive capacity on full time amber alert, has been a lifetime's work.
Yet a positive, if profoundly poignant, offshoot of 'waking up' to all that we stand to lose, is a sharpened appreciation of all that we truly value, bringing the things that matter in life into clearer focus.
Living as if each day may be the last is a profound practice - with gratitude our most humble prayer - towards a much more attentive presence. The more attentive we are, the easier it gets to live in Right Relationship with ourselves and all our plant, animal and mineral relations.
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