Friday, November 27, 2009


Halo Oil on linen 82 x 183 cm

One Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm

I have uploaded the 2 images above previously. The reason I have uploaded them again is that they have now been professionally photographed and readers can get a better idea of them. My attempts with my small digital are not so adequate, especially with large paintings. One day soon, though, I will buy myself a digital SLR.

This is the link to my previous post where I write about 'One'.

These are the links to my previous 2 posts where I discuss 'Halo'

Now that brings me to my next speaking gig @ PECHA KUCHA BRISBANE next Wednesday 2nd December at Brisbane's Powerhouse. Check out and click on 'upcoming'. You can read my statement when you click on my name. I am really excited about the opportunity to speak about my passion which is art, but more specifically about the catalytic agency art has to inspire agenda-less but not directionless conversations. Thrilled in fact! Each speaker has 20 slides on a powerpoint and each slide appears for only 20 seconds, thus the total presentation time for speaker is 6 minutes 40 seconds.

I have nearly finished 'Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul'... the subject of my last post. Just a bit of contemplation needed before I decide my bit is done. Because, as readers of my BLOG know I do not believe I complete my paintings. Rather, every conversation a painting inspires,whether it be inside one's head or with other people, completes my work. Thus, there is the potential for multiple and ongoing completions. I see this as giving life to my work.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Detail 'Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul' Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm

Some months ago I attended one of the most interesting workshops [see below] I have ever been to. It was a multifaceted workshop looking deeply into the threads of life which seem to be ordained, yet with 'will' we can change . The workshop examined the motivation to aspire to the illusory world of material worth and status, those elements of life which are really external to us. It also looked at the world we can choose to embrace when the illusion of status succumbs to derailment, whether is be through loss or an ultimate realisation that life's purpose has to be about so much more than pleasing or conforming to external forces.

The journey through the material world, where the vagaries of external elements affect our core happiness can be repeated over and over again, with pivotal times for change going unnoticed. Yet these pivotal times are opportunities for alternative choices to be made. This often means letting go of things which may have seemed important, but upon deep reflection are not. 'Letting go' may also not be a choice when death, divorce or other forced cessation ocurrs. It is also not just about being a physical experience but also a need to 'let go' in consciousness. Addictions and attachments to things and even people are not helpful to anyone and with bravery, accompanied by a humbling, wilful and mindful decisions to 'let go' can result in a freeing re-evaluation of life.

So, my new painting, which I am working on, is one I have thought about for a long time. The term, 'Dark Night Of The Soul' really hit home with me! But, I will not dwell on heart ache, tumultuous self-reflection or as some might describe it...a total deconstruction of beliefs, attitudes and expectations. What I want to dwell upon and ponder is the 'beyond'...beyond the dark night of the soul.

I have used my much loved tree-of-life motif to [of course] represent life. I wanted to create a feeling of movement and journey, so I became transfixed by the spiral which has appeared in my work previously. A spiral is not static because [to me at least] it has a quivering action which causes movement. I wanted to convey a sense of enjoyment, freedom and healing. I wanted to create an image that people would talk about and respond to by telling their own stories. Some might say it is reflective of a journey of spirit.

Whilst all of this sounds very positive, I want viewers to know that the negative exists, but in absentia. I hope that my work conveys an optimistic approach and outlook, but one which has a mature and realistic understanding that optimism is a choice. And, when there is choice of optimism it means pessimism and negativity axiomatically have existed as potential, but they have not been consciously chosen. I make no attempt, I believe, to cover or hide the negative in warm and fuzzy visual homilies.

The meaning of frisson is a noun... a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill. [ORIGIN French. Source-Oxford Dictionary] I think readers of my BLOG will understand why I am so entranced with the word 'Frisson'. The Ah Ah moments experienced when going beyond the dark night of the soul are full of excitement, thrill coupled with fear...frissons!


Please visit to find out more about the kind of workshop I attended...and more! Also, I recommend Metanoia: Renovating The House of Your Spirit written by Russell Sturgess who owns and runs beATTITUDE with his partner Anna Schaumkel.



Friday, November 13, 2009


Past Present Future Oil on canvas 30 x 30 cm
 I have called this painting 'Past Present Future'. My thoughts were about how to represent time in its entirety, hence there are no commas in the title. I wanted to capture the simultaneity of the past, present and future. By this I mean that the past is present in the now and is present in the future, as is the future present in anticipation in the now and the past. The past influences the present and future and the potential of the future can affect the present...remembering the present becomes the past in a nanosecond. To some these thoughts might seem a bit like a maze ie: going nowhere, but I prefer to think of these thoughts as more like a labyrinth where there is a pathway which is from somewhere and goes somewhere. Where it goes and where it comes from is part of the intrigue!

In this painting I have used my much loved tree-of-life motif to represent all life which by its very essence is about the passage of time. The red semicircles act as visual connectors or perhaps a moment here and there. I have another painting called 'A Moment' which will be in my solo show at Joshua Levi Galleries in March. Here is the link to my BLOG post about 'A Moment'
I gave a talk to a grade 11 Modern History class today. My talk was 'Art+Artists+Conversations' and I spoke about the agency of art to potentially open up new pathways to peace. Notice I do not say 'role'. I do not believe art has a role as it is such a defining word which lacks excitement, potential, possibility, diversity and open endedness. A role also seems to hold prescribed expectations with rules, whether they are written or implied. 'Agency' is a potent word!
Clues to potential new pathways to peace lie in the conversations people have about art either within themselves or with others. As readers of my BLOG know, I have experienced these types of conversations when I exhibited in Dubai 2004 and Abu Dhabi 2005. I have written about these experiences in many of my earlier posts. I call these conversations agendaless but not directionless.
Now this is where I bring in FRISSON which is a great word. It means a sense of excitement and fear. Think of the pleasure of capturing the moment when you meet someone whose attraction to you causes sudden gut tightening feelings of excitement, fear and thrill. This private yet sensual, earthy, tingly and anticipatory experience is a ‘frisson’. This kind of feeling is charged with possibility. It is the kind of 'charge' I sense when agendaless conversations triggered by art take people in new directions by revealing previously unseen pathways of potential. Anything new can feel both scarey and exciting! The words 'agency' and 'frisson' are two of my most favourite words!
I am working on a free range 'recipe' for keep posted!

I have been asked to present at Brisbane's PECHAKUCHA Vol 14 on Dec 2. The event starts @ 20.20 at Brisbane's Powerhouse with 10 speakers in total. We each have 20 slides and talk for 20 seconds per slide...totally 6 mins 40 secs. This is Brisbane's PechaKutcha website and this is the global one I am very excited about this opportunity to have a soapbox for a few minutes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Together Oil on canvas 30 x 30 cm $480 AUD

A Suggestion Of Duality Oil on canvas 30 x 30 cm $480 AUD

Each of these small paintings continue my interest in the tree-of-life. I like these opportunities to paint intense small pieces because I can focus my thoughts. The top painting is called 'Together' and I wanted to create a work which showed a togetherness but also a separateness. I wanted this togetherness to not necessarily be about being together with someone else, but also about being with oneself or on the other extreme a suggestion that togetherness is a relationship of the earthly and the divine. I like the concept of maintaining a kind of separateness, albeit a healthy one, because this gives room for self reflection and growth especially in this earthy dimension we all share. However, there is also that rather sad phenomena where two people can be together but the emotional distance between them is really about separation. How far can a distance be before it heralds the demise of a relationship?

The next painting is called 'A Suggestion of Duality' and I think readers can 'get' it by just looking at it. The tree seems to be mirrored... but not really because the colour variation is not an exact mirror and whilst the shape of the tree is mirrored, the individual branches have no chance of being exactly mirrored, hence the word 'suggestion' in the title and the inherant proposal of questions. I love questions which don't necessarily have answers but trigger more questions, thoughts and ponderings.

Collective Memory Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm $4000 AUD

I have written about Collective Memory previously. Here is the link This is a quote from this previous BLOG post. 'In this painting I have placed the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life at the centre of an emanation of thoughts which are represented by the small dots. These thoughts change colour as they move through time to become memories. Yet, everything is connected and a vibration is maintained. The tree-of-life represents everyone...past-present-future.'


1. Tonight in Melbourne an exhibition and prize opens at the Chapman and Bailey Art Award-350 Johnston St, Abbotsford The exhibition continues until 28 November. I have a painting in this exhibition and here is the link to my post about 'Majesty and Order'

2. This is a link to my Twitpic image gallery

3. And my website

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Halo Oil on linen 80 x 180 cm 2009

I have finally finished 'Halo', the painting I have mentioned over the last few weeks. My last post gave readers some insight into my inspirations for this painting. These inspirations come from many impulses and readers of my BLOG will recognise my much-loved tree-of-life motif as central to this new painting. The 'tree' becomes the earth and surrounding the earth is a pale circle of light or a halo.
In my last post I wrote about the 25th anniversiary of my cousin, Dr. Bill [aka Fred] From's death on Mt Everest. I have been thinking of him much more since around July last year when I was asked to give the graduation speech at the July graduation ceremony for University of Queensland's Faculties of Arts, and Behavoural and Social Sciences. I chose the theme of perspective for my speech and had hoped to mention Bill , but during my preparations I realised I did not have the right amount of time to contextualise his experiences with my thoughts on perspective. Here is the link to my BLOG post at the time of the graduation ceremony

My thoughts about Bill had been based on wondering what kind of perspective one would get when standing at the top of the world. This perspective, I imagine, would be physical and spatial with distance being the awesome overwhelming experience. But, in this humbling experience would there be a shift in one's own perspective of self and others? Would there be a rethinking of time ie: temporal perspective? I imagine that standing on the top of the world's tallest mountain would be different to being in an airoplane or rocket, because you are still firmly and literally connected to the earth, yet your head is literally in the clouds. I imagine your body would become like a conduit between heaven and earth. But, of course I may be romaticising all of this, because when I think about being cold, wet, hungry for food and air my romantic notions depart with a flurry!

My cousin Bill had just received his Doctorate in Physics from the University of Queensland when he ventured to Mt Everest. His particular area of research was the ionoshphere [please read my previous post for more details and links to info on the ionosphere]. The ionoshere is the outer layer of our atmoshpere which I have painted as a halo in my new painting.

Detail of Halo

When I was an undergrad at UQ I competed a year long subject called 'History of Science' with Professor Mac Hamilton. I have to say this subject was the most stimulating subject I ever studied. It succeeded in untethering my brain from the mundaneness of lock step, sequential learning. It freed me from the learned conformity that primary and secondary schooling cloaks students with, like a blanket that quells a fire. I struggled though because whilst I 'got' it in lectures I had difficulty expressing it in assignments and exams. But, to my next cousin Bill who was completing his PhD sat in on these lectures. As the numbers were not large the lectures were more like conversations. Bill was a star. He engaged the lecturer in the most amazing discussions and I basked in Bill's shadow. And, thank you to Prof Mac Hamilton...I often think of you with gratitude.

The word 'halo' conjures thoughts of goodness, spirit, blessedness and saintliness. If we imagine our atmosphere as a 'halo' then we indeed are very lucky, for this goodness cacoons and protects us. This certainly makes one more determined to look after our atmosphere, yet it may have capacities to rejuvinate and nurture itself. I believe that anything which seems complex must therefore have inate capacities that ensures its continued existence. In paintings of saints by the old masters, halos are a rim, circle or sphere of ligth which is a symbol of love and spirit.

This new painting has taken a long time to paint. I hope viewers take a long time to really look at it...and revisit it. I hope they get a sense of being on the top of the world and that they are enticed to tell their own story.

NOTE ADDED 7-11-10
I was invited to participate in the 2010 $20,000 Tattersall's Landscape Art Award [invitation only]. Halo was my entry.

Halo Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm