Thursday, February 25, 2010

FRISSON - a thrill!

Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2009

Love Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2009


Everything is falling into place just so well. It's like it was all just meant to happen! I am being interviewed this Sunday 28 Feb @ 1pm, by Richard Lancaster on 99.7 FM. So, if you're at home, driving in the car, gardening with the radio on...please tune in! Apologies to all my BLOG visitors from won't be able to listen in.

The two paintings above will be in FRISSON and regular readers will have seen them before. However, I thought I would upload them again. Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul and Love

FRISSON @ Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane.
Opening Thursday 18 March 5.30-8pm
Exhibition Dates 16-28 March


I am still working on the painting I wrote about in my last BLOG. The one exploring horizons, strips of rain, hope, distance, perspective and aura. It is nearly finished. Once it is finished I will attempt to take an excellent photo and upload it on my BLOG.

I already know at least one person who likes this new work ...a delivery man who dropped off the cases of wine I had ordered for FRISSON'S opening. As he was leaving and passed by my easel, he stopped and said quite emphatically, 'Oh, I like this!'. He then had a close look at it and then stepped a few steps backwards to have another look.

Well, I was thrilled, not only because he liked the painting, but he did exactly what I hope viewers will do when viewing my paintings. Regular readers will know what this is. And...that is...looking at my work at both close and far distances, in a manner which almost mimics the steps I take as I paint up close and then step back to view my progress. Whether it is up close or at a distance I am engaging two main sources to critically analyse my work. These two sources or faculties, are my eyes of eye balls and pupils, and my mind's eye. The two work simultaneously, but differently depending on whether I am close or far from my work.


In my recent post about my painting Love, which is above, I wrote about my fascination with Dr. Norman Doidge's book 'The Brain That Changes Itself'. I pondered upon the potential of looking at art to change and /or create new brain maps. Please have a look at my Love post to read more
In this post I mentioned the experience of new ideas tantalisingly appearing only to slip away before I can take grasp. I wondered if this was, in fact, my brain in the process of change.
Today I was trapezing...well actually driving, but it felt like trapezing..around and I was on my own, because I had dropped the children off at their various activities [this included soccer training at 6.30 am...and we do this twice a week, and on 2 different days we have dancing at 7 the rest, ye gads!] Anyway, I felt a new idea being born in my mind, and I consciously took hold of it!
This idea 'saw' me 'see' the world as a brain, with its many 'maps' in various states of health and dis-ease, activity and inertia, creation and death. It struck me that negativity is re-enforced by the repetitive actions of the mass media. Anything which is repeated becomes habitual, and as we all know, habits then create needs and neediness. The mass media has fed the world's 'brain map' for negativity and negative behaviour, whether it be [mindless!] celebrity silliness, the voyeuristic cruelty of reality tv or the death of war.

Some art mimics mass media presentation and assists in the perpetuation of, an almost, idolatry of pervasive negativity diguised as entertainment. But, maybe the kind of art which is distant from mass media considerations, content and delivery, holds clues to alternative 'habits' which could form new world 'brain maps' or enhance existing more healthy ones. As I have written before, focusing on positive elements and issues, does not mean a lack of understanding of the negative forces within society. It just means that these are consciously ellided. This, in itself indicates balance.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


One Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2009


Readers of my BLOG will know I have been working towards my solo show Frisson for quite some time. My last solo exhibition Prayers For The Planet was in October 2007. I just love the word frisson...don't you? I wrote an open ended 'recipe' for a frisson a few posts ago.

Readers will also know that due to circumstances beyond my control I had to cancel Frisson at the gallery where I had to exhibit. BUT, GOOD NEWS! I am very excited, because FRISSON will now be exhibited at Graydon Gallery, in New Farm, Brisbane from 16-28 March, open daily 10am -6 pm. The opening will be Thursday 18 March from 5.30-8 pm. Everything is falling into place really well, and I have already received some fantastic support and encouragement.

The exhibition will be opened by Dr. Christine Dauber PhD, B.A, B.A Honours [Art History] University of Queensland. I am thrilled about this. She has known of my work for many years and over this time has penetrated its essence. As she says, It must first be understood that Brimblecombe–Fox is not so much concerned with landscape painting per se, but in a Warburgian sense, searches for the universal connections, or common ground between people, races and religions. Thus, she uses the “tree of life” or “tree of knowledge” as a repetitive motif and in so doing, deploys its spiritual associations as a global referent.

The image I am using on the invitation and other promo material is the image above: ONE oil on linen 90 x 200 cm. I have previously written abut this painting on my BLOG. Here's the link

I am working on a painting at the moment and my ideas have revolved around issues of water and rain plus what they represent at emotional and even spiritual levels. Regular readers will know that water is of great interest to me and that it has been a sub theme within my broader interests in perspective, distance and the space between the micro/local and macro/global. Overarching all of this is my compulsion to explore the potential of archetypes to perhaps reveal universal connections that mean something to us in the 21st century.

This new painting which I am currently working on, is essentially about hope. I am calling it 'Hope In The Distance' because it is at first glance a painting of strips of rain at the horizon. When I lived in Western Queensland, strips of rain would appear on distant horizons, often cruelly tantalising us with the potential for much needed rain. But, horizons, as metaphors for our lives cascade into so much possibility, because as I have written before, horizons can be both close and far. Our eyes, of eye ball and pupil, see horizons as existing in the far distance, but our eyes trick us, because we are essentially always present upon horizons which exist at all universal and nano distances around us. Our mind's eye can 'see' these multitudinous horizons so much clearer than our eye of eye ball and pupil, especially if we discard one dimensional and simple notions of distance and perspective.

I am reminded of a quote I used in my artist's statement for my show 'Distance' in London in 2002. The quote is from Walter Benjamin's Illuminations where he describes aura as, the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be. The word 'aura' has new age connotations, but I think, whether we know it or not, we are all searching for an experience and an understanding of aura. Maybe this is the unviversal search and that at each era, the agelessness of archetypal symbols offer clues to a discovery or a depended understanding of aura. We just have to keep investigating their potential. I think the investigation may require us to rely more on our mind's eye rather than always relying on our eye of eye ball and pupil...the two need to work together questioning everything.

My thoughts about multitudinous horizons have given me glimpses of the phenomenon of aura! These glimpses slip away as I try to grasp an understanding, but my hope is that as I discard old ways of 'seeing' I might come to a fuller experience of aura. Indeed, as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world, we are all actually forced to collapse notions of distant horizons, as we experience contemporary life. I suppose the hope is that the experience is understood as being potentially transforming in a positive way for all humanity.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


 The Presence Of Angels oil on linen 60 x 100 cm

I spend hours painting and I love it. What I love is that I can work at home, I don't have to dress up [in fact, I dress down *], I can take breaks to check emails or have a coffee and if a new idea pops into my head I can immediately sketch it, think about it and research any aspect of it. I get to imagine and even daydream knowing it is part of my 'job'! I love working alone!

But, my thoughts mean I am never alone. As I remember, fantasize, wonder, hope and imagine I am with others, its just that they're in my head! These 'others' can be people I know, love, would like to know, have read about and so on. I think about them in the context of feelings, what they have said, done and written or what they might say, do or write about. They or their activities are often the catalysts for my ideas. And, when I paint my much loved transcultural/religious tree of life my thoughts embrace the whole world and its humanity.

'The Presence Of Angels' [above] is an image which reveals clues and hints that Angels are present. I wanted to create an image which was suggestive rather than illustrative. I wanted to create an image where people would look for the clues and hints, and perhaps lead them to think about Angels as inspirations, impulses of thought and wonderings. I also like the idea that 'AH HA' instances, which I wrote about in my last post, are Angels knocking on our psyche to wake us up to change or the need for change.

As people look for clues and hints of Angels in this painting I like to think that this searching is done at both close and far distances. Viewers can move back and forth to see what this painting might disclose for them. The macro view may just reveal something which is not discernible when viewed up close and vice versa. Regular readers of my BLOG know that I am very interested in stimulating this kind of back and forth viewing of my paintings. Indeed, it is the way I create the image...I paint up close and then move to a distance to gauge with my eye, of eye ball and pupil, if the painting looks good and also if it has achieved what my mind's eye had envisioned in essence and aura.

This movement back and forth is a movement of perspective. It can be a literal perspective, but at another level the action could evolve into questioning our own perspectives of ourselves and others. As regular readers of my BLOG know, my interest in the macro and micro is really an interest in, and an investigation of, how to negotiate an increasingly globalised world in which we live locally. Maybe how we view art, and the resultant insights we may gain, gives us a way to find the new pathways...the new steps... we need to dance across the contemporary stage which exists between the local and global? If we learn these steps and become more flexibly adept at moving, or should I say sashaying, across the close and far distances of this stage, I'm sure new ideas, wonderings, compassions, understandings are [and give witness to] the presence of Angels.

In the first paragraph above I mention I dress down to paint. I do look a sight! Well, on a busy day when I have to pick up children etc, I can change 3-4 times in the day, because venturing out in my painting clothes is not really acceptable. I call my painting clothes my 'eau de turps' clothes. Last week, though, I did decide to pick the children up from the train without changing. And, of course it was the one day when I subsequently did have to get out of the car. And, of course I ran into someone I knew, who did actually comment on the turps aroma. This plus the paint on my face caused my children to pray for the earth to swallow them up! My summer 'eau de turps' clothes are minimal because it gets just SO hot and humid in Brisbane. I wear a short indian cloth skirt which has a few holes in it and a sleeveless top with paint smeared all over it. In winter I wear my normal clothes underneath an excrutiatingly disgusting track dack suit. Needless to say I really enjoy dressing up when I go out...and needless to say I do not own or have the need for any power suits!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


AH! HAs Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm SOLD

My last post was about change and how change leads to us 'becoming' whatever we are meant to be. 'Becoming', like change is a constant process!

I made a comment that we can control some changes...change does not always have to be something that is done to us. In this post I want to write about those 'AH! Ha' moments, which through their very intensity can afford us an opportunity to change and perhaps depart from one 'becoming' road to another. In a way 'AH HAs' are like crossroads...and crossroads are very significant as we do have a choice of which way to travel.

'Ah HAs' are those nanosecond revelatory instances which can lead to new insights, perspectives, letting go old beliefs, 'seeing' something or someone with new eyes...and so on. These instances are felt physically as one's brain explodes with revelation and the gut twists simultaneously with a plethora of feelings from dread, to excitement, thrill and hope. Yes!!!!! these instances are frissons!

'AH HAs' can precipitate change, and thus our 'becoming'. I remember attending...for want of a better term...a spycho babble group session at a health retreat a few year ago, where the facilitor shared an 'Ah Ha' that he had experienced. He recounted how he had had many relationships over a number of years and could not understand why none had worked out...until...he realised... he was the common denominator and maybe it was something about him! I must admit that this made me scramble to think about the things in my life which seemed to consistently not work out. Was I the common denominator? Did I need to look at myself rather than seeing the other person, thing, event, etc as the problem? This is all about perspective, which as regular readers of my BLOG know, is another favourite subject of mine.

I have had many 'AH HA' instances which have caused me to consciously change [or attempt to!] unhelpful beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. One of the most difficult things to change are core beliefs ie: those ones we often don't even know we have because they are rooted in the inherited belief systems of our families and societies. Sometimes, these rooted beliefs are just not helpful to us or anyone in the time we live now, and they need to go. However, there is always a choice...we do not have to let go, if for some reason we cannot or do not want to. But, I think situations will consistently happen, knocking on our psyche, imploring us to change.

An 'Ah! HA' can also cause a period of mourning. Why? I think it is because we mourne those things we missed if a revelation opens our eyes to how certain attitudes, beliefs and behaviours lassooed our 'becoming' or worse, lassooed the 'becoming' of others. But in the suffering there is hope and the latter is the element I like to focus on. As I have previously written on this BLOG, I do not ignore the negative, sad or bad. They exist in absentia, because I consciously elide them. Someone once said to me that my work did not have enough suffering...I will write about this in the future. the painting above. I have called it 'AH! HAs'. My much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life embraces the whole painting. It is life! The spots are 'AH Ha' instances offering little windows of possibility. They are like the openings to new universes...which can seem so far, but are really sometimes very close. Distance collapses! This painting is not large at 30 x 30 cm, but it is 'kinda' BIG. Even as I look at it I feel drawn into it. Maybe I am glimpsing the universes beyond! I hope you do too.

Thank you to all the people who have been visiting my BLOG. You are coming from all over the world and in the last few weeks the numbers have been increasing quite quickly. I started this BLOG in 2006 and whilst I only had a very small trickle of visitors initially, I enjoyed writing and the reflective opportunity it gave me, so I have happily persisted.

And, please feel free to make comments!

For those of you who have read about my exhibition ‘Frisson’ I have some sad news. Due to circumstances beyond my control currently being experienced by Joshua Levi Galleries the decision to cancel the exhibition ‘Frisson’ at this gallery has been made. As you all know I was very excited about the exhibition, but this decision had to be made. I am remaining positive and will keep working. There are some alternatives for the exhibition and I am looking into these. I will keep you updated about a possible ‘FRISSON 2’!

My painting 'Elemental' which has been pre-selected for the Stanthorpe Art Award has gone to Stanthorpe. I put it on the bus yesterday. The prize is announced on the 26 February.



Thursday, February 04, 2010


                                                 Becoming Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2010 SOLD


The painting above is called Becoming. It is the one I referred to in my last post...the woman with trees growing from her head, heart and feet. I mentioned I was painting an image about change.

This painting is inspired by my enjoyment reading Dr Norman Doidge's book 'The Brain That Changes Itself'. I have mentioned this book in a few of my recent posts. I am re-reading it for the second time...but it is taking awhile because I am going to bed so late.

What inspired me was the over arching idea that change is not necessarily something that happens to us...we can make it happen as well. Change is a constant whether we precipitate it or not. So, if we are in a process of constant change we are constantly in a process of becoming. Now, you might ask, 'Becoming what?' I do not know the answer to this question, but I suspect if I did then the process of becoming would be thwarted by prescription and therefore not reach whatever its ultimate force is. All I know is, that if I can do things to ensure my becoming is generally positive I will do these things! Even, if we can make change happen, we cannot minutely control the outcomes of that change. Indeed, I doubt that the change itself can be completely pre-described. I gather from reading 'The Brain That Changes Itself' that many programs designed to fix or improve a disability or problem have often had other positive outcomes which were not initially conceived.

So, as I was thinking about change, an image of a woman with trees growing from her feet, hands, head and heart came to me. I could 'see' her before I even painted her. The tree is my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life and in this image represents life's inevitable and constant change, whether it be for one individual or for a group...and even possibly all of humanity. The tree represents growth and a connection to the earth as well as a conduit to the universe and Heaven. The tree can connect with the substance of materiality as well as the substance of the non-material. The tree changes as it loses its leaves, but each cycle of growth and change represents a process of becoming.

When my children were little I read that small children should not wear shoes too early or too much, because the physical experience of feeling on the soles of feet provides information which helps a child to develop healthily in regards to balance, proficiency with walking, running and so on. This made sense to me, so I made sure my children went barefoot whenever it is possible. In Norman Doidge's book he makes a comment about older people and their habit of looking at the ground when they walk. This is because as we get older we rarely go barefoot...well unless you are an artist working from home like me! By not going barefoot and not allowing our feet to experience different surfaces and feelings, we have tourniqueted the natural flow of information to our brains and the return messages which would give us more confidence to walk with our heads held high. Our brain maps for walking confidently are diminished by wearing shoes all the time! Long story...I know...but this gave me the idea of painting my lady with trees growing from her feet.

Knowledge gained via our feet can help us hold our heads high, meaning we are not watching the ground in case we fall or trip. This means we see more of our surroundings, the world around us and importantly we 'see' ourselves in relation to the world...being a part of it, rather than missing out because we need to look at our feet to know where to put them! Kinda nice to think that by going barefoot we might have more chance to witness our own becoming in the world!


My BLOG friend Fred who writes this great BLOG sent me a link to another BLOG post about the Holiday for Trees or Tu BiShvat holiday, a Jewish celebration. Tree symbolism is incredibly interesting and I have noticed on a few other websites that tree symbolism is now being linked to environmental issues...not surprising really. Symbols do 'say' more that words can describe!

Here's a link to a short intro to Mayan tree symbolism:

And two links about Islamic tree symbolism:

There are so many sites to visit to learn about tree symbolism. But, as I have written just reinforces my belief that we are all forever connected through archetypal symbols because they are transcultural and transreligious. Something about them chisels away at our subconscious where a 'knowing' and resonance exists.