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 http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/10/climbing-mountains-seeing-earths-halo.html 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 http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-my-last-blog-i-wrote-about-my-guest.html
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 point...my 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