For the design of a bronze relief I’ve been studying twigs and branches and their reflections in water to see how I can capture something of the essence of the Tree of life. Below are images of water colours, various coloured sketches an then some wax models for the final piece.
At the end of February I created an installation for a Movement Medicine workshop in Dublin called Arc of time. These are images of the installation made of a spiral of branches and twigs.
I’ve been working on my latest painting .. I love the evolution of the work through difficult or ugly phases and then seeing the essence of the painting come through. What started out feeling simply as a dance between two forms in the forest has evolved to embody something of the spirit of the forest in Ecuador. The Achaur people call her Arutam and this is one iteration of what she looks like to me. I feel that this one is almost there.
I spent quite a while today walking along the canal and by the pond in Stephens Green looking at the reflections of trees in the water. I became completely fascinated by the ever changing images of the branches as the water rippled. As I walked the images changed and I realised that the reflections were never the same .. not from one second to the next or from one vantage point to another. Every glimpse was unique. I sat watching trying to keep my mind out of the way and just taking in the images on the water ever changing.. I found my mind calming down from all the questioning about why the reflections look different from every angle and how is it that light lets us see objects.. and are we really seeing objects or just reflections of objects ..which makes ‘reflections’ actually reflections of reflections…….
I’ve been working with a little watercolour that I made while I was in Sharamentsa, in the rainforest in Ecuador. Here’s the evolution at a large scale so far….
I want to share a little painting with you and a little story…… When I was flying into the forest in Ecuador… my face was pinned to the airplane window as tears streamed down. Everywhere I looked…. trees…Beautiful countless rolling waves of green trees! Giant Kapok trees soared over spreading their HUGE canopy as if hugging their tree family close to them. Little skinny trees pushing their way up through the dense canopy. And big old leafless trees that had had their day. A HUGE interconnected family of trees… spreading out for miles and miles and miles and miles… The JOY and feeling of love was utterly intoxicating! As I looked and sighed and cried over the canopy I noticed that very randomly every so often I would notice one tree blooming… showers of golden yellow blossoms… completely going for it! These stunning blooming trees looked so steady and confident, grounded and radiantly happy! I imagined a scenario where trees were humans… and one tree looks to another and to all of his pals and says..”should I bloom? Is it time? Do you reckon I’m ready? I should shouldn’t I? Oh I don’t know what to do I don’t feel ready to bloom but everyone else is doing it! So I SHOULD too!!”. But trees in the forest don’t look around checking out their neighbours blossoms (or maybe they do?!) ..the lessons I learned from the trees that day is that all trees bloom in their own time.. and I am taking that very personally. I will bloom when I’m bloomin’ ready!!! And so shall we all… just like the trees in the forest. Big love to you and your perfect blooming timing.
..a view of the forest as I flew over…
..been exploring some images I painted while in Ecuador .. this image of a green door has been evolving from a little watercolour …
I’m just back from two months travelling.. in the UK and then on to Ecuador and back via NYC.
While in Quito, Ecuador I was curious to learn more about the work of Oswaldo Guyasamin and the following is what I wrote after visiting Fundacion Guyasamin.
Went to see the former home, art collection and incredible La Capilla del hombre (The chapel of man) of Oswaldo Guyasamin’s: Ecuador’s most famous artist, today. He painted, sculpted, designed and lived with such passion for life and with a desire to inspire mankind: to see the suffering we have caused, grieve for what we have done and create a new world based on new politics, new religion: a new society.I am deeply moved and inspired by his work and its capacity to depict grief with such grace ..in a way that allows the viewer to really lean in and be held in their grief.
I’ve been wondering about grief in general.. since seeing his work.. and how, as a society we grieve death and the annihilation of huge tracts of our planet.
Malidoma Some’s talks about grief in his beautiful book ‘Of Water and the Spirit’, as part of the Dagara culture in Burkina Faso. He says:”It takes millions of tears to produce a flood capable of washing the dead to the realm of the ancestors, so refraining from weeping wrongs the dead”.
I’ve been wondering: Have we grieved sufficiently for the 70million indigenous people murdered on 1.5 centuries in South America or the 50 million people transplanted from Africa into the slave trade and those who died in all our wars… and …and …and …have we grieved enough? Have we grieved at all? Are we afraid that if we grieve that we will some how break? And if we did break… I wonder would we break wide open… and let something new in?! If we dared to feel the grief of the horrors that we have set upon our world could we forgive ourselves and turn to creating a peaceful, just, sustainable and spiritually fulfilling world?
Interesting and inspiring musings: an average day in Quito.
“If we do not have the strength to grasp our hands with everyone else’s hands, if we do not have the tenderness to hold in our arms the children of this world, if we do not have the will to clean the earth of all its armies; this small planet will be a dry and black body on a black space”. Oswaldo Guyasamin.
http://www.guayasamin.org/ (in spanish only)