Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Heart Opening

This painting grew from a simple symbol of a red heart into what you see here. After starting it , it got stuck, for months. Then, this last week , when life has been making my heart hurt, the painting transformed. The original heart shape ripped up & flew apart , like a shell revealing another layer, made of lots of beautiful spiralling colours, which are starting to flow outwards too..

as I see it what my Spirits are telling me this time is - energetically our hearts don't open until we really feel our lives...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Roots in the Web

'Roots in the Web' is the title of this painting.
As usual I didn't know that was where it was going when I started, & now here it is .
This time I don't have much to say, except that the painting shows me that this section of web is a little part of a much greater weaving.. as are we all.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Death is always one hair's breadth away

That is the title of this painting, which is a study for a larger painting I am starting. I am sharing it today to honour the passing of my cousin's husband, Colin Slee, who died peacefully early this morning. He was only 65 years old and only learned weeks ago that he had cancer, and now he is gone.

Death is always only one hair's breadth away. You or I could go at any time. On journeys with my Spirit teachers they have impressed this on me - think how fine a hair's breadth is , & Death can move his hand a fraction.. and take you. Just like that.
And then they told me to do this painting.

I am reading a wonderful book at the moment called 'Being with Dying' by Joan Halifax. She has worked with shamans from different indigenous cultures & runs a Zen Buddhist centre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has 40 years experience of sitting with people who are dying. The book is very wise & full of buddhist meditations about death , & preparing for one's own , & caring for others. I find it a great help to think of death as something we can all be preparing for all through life . That great step on over the threshold into the mystery...

I know Colin's christian faith will have helped him & those with him prepare for death. There are so many paths.. but I think it behoves us to prepare. Old language seems the best here. And I thank Colin for all his life gave me.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Fir Trees Knew

Well here is another newly finished oil painting. I haven't mentioned sizes - this one, and 2 others called "Hedgerow Song" & "What the Hawthorn told me " which I posted earlier, are 20'' x 16'', and they all go round the deep edges of the canvas, too. Its becoming a series..

Each one starts from being in a specific place on this land. I go to a place that seems to pull at me, and I take a canvas & a pencil, & I draw particular shapes I see there. I love this part of the process, its like a dance. It requires really looking , & reproducing what I see carefully, & yet it requires care-freeness too, the feeling of dancing with the many Spirits of that place. I have to lose control to allow the dance in, but if I am just slapdash, I will lose the tautness of the line, the specific beauty of what I am recording. There is a lot I don't know yet about the craft of drawing, but using it for this particular purpose is both a discipline and a playing.

This painting started early last summer - this drawing stage usually doesn't take very long - an hour or so perhaps. I knew the painting required lots of dark tones out of which the brighter, richer ones would spring. But when I had painted a 1st layer across the canvas - a long slow process - it just didn't work, didn't come together at all. All that mixing of colours, matching of tones - now what ?

Well, as often happens with paintings , it sat in the studio for months, troubling me. Until sometime last month I realised that something, someone, had whispered in my ear what to do next. When I moved the painting round 90 degrees I saw how to continue it, and after a relatively small amount of further work.. there it was complete .

The Place that called it into being is where big fir trees stand at the edge of a field, where the land drops into a cwm. When I look at the painting now I remember how the needly branches catch the light & dance in the wind.
I had fun photographing this painting both outside and in the studio, so here are 2 pictures of it.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


This is a sketchbook page from a while ago, but it feels fitting for where I find myself now. Most of this picture is collage, which I like working with & haven't shown much of on this blog yet. I called this piece "Gateway for the Ancestors" , & here we are again heading for Halloween, when many of us will be honouring the Ancestors .
I love this point in the year , these precious days of golden autumn light before the clocks go back an hour & the evenings get dark earlier, and we have been having beautiful weather here in West Wales.

I find myself in a threshold phase again , after selling a lot of paintings this summer I have had a low energy phase, a time for inner work & meditiation. I know one function of this time will be to usher in a new lot of artwork, and that it will change the way I ask for healing for others too. I am familiar with this rhythm, I know it is feeding me & calling me to let myself grow beyond the familiar, though part of me is frustrated by the inactivity.

New work is brewing, 1/2 finished paintings are waiting in my studio, & people are waiting for me too.
Its so important to wait & trust these times in our life rhythms.
So my next posts may not be of new finished paintings, but more about the process of my work. Thank you so much those of you who have fed me back encouragement for talking about my work in this way.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Old Trees, new paintings for sale..

Hallo again, I'm surprised how much time has passed since I last clocked in here. I haven't been doing much artwork over the summer so I thought I would share this image of a wonderful Tree I met in the forest near Knysna on a visit to South Africa earlier this year. It is a magnificent Yellowwood Tree, over 800 years old. Very humbling, I find , to meet these ancient beings. I hope this photo conveys something of how impressive it was.

The summer was good for my Art in another way - we held a Barn Sale here & I sold 14 of my paintings in aid of our local Wildlife Centre near Cilgerran, outside Cardigan. Its a beautiful place which gives me much pleasure, and it feels right that since my work is inspired by the land, that in this way I can give energy back to the land. I look forward to selling my work in this way again - the next time will be at the upcoming Shamanic Practitioners Conference at Gaunt's House - so if you are going, and you fancy a particular painting, email me (see box on the right). In fact email me anyway if you want one of the paintings on this blog, and if its still left with me we can discuss the donation you'd make in payment to our Wildlife Centre or another land-related charity of your choice...

Monday, 21 June 2010

Solstice Dance ..

Its that longest day again.. & I am sharing this painting today because it, too came round more than once. The 2nd photo above is a close-up. The painting was itself part of a larger piece that didn't work out, & I kept this bit, & worked on it recently in conjunction with sitting with a Stone I picked up while on a retreat in the Sinai desert some years ago. The stone has two areas of colour similar to those of this painting, & it guided me to turn this into a finished piece. So thank you, Stone.

Its title is "Sinai Stone Dance", both because it was a dance gradually adding to it, mostly adding subtle colours to the pale areas, & also because the finished piece has a feel of movement, of dance to it for me.

And on we go round the year.. I am really feeling the length of these current days because we are blessed with good weather here in SW Wales. A group of us are meeting to have a fire & share food on the beach this evening; & I like to think of other people all over the place , meeting & marking this day in their different ways, as the year turns again..
So, Solstice Blessings to all who read this, thank you.

Friday, 18 June 2010

What The Hawthorn Said

Well here I am again, with much thanks to those of you who have asked me to put more work up here. Its been a while, & now I intend to post regularly here again about my art work, shamanism as my spiritual path, & whatever feels relevant.. PLEASE send me feedback (see the column on the right) it really helps to know that this is a 2-way dialogue..

What The Hawthorn Said is the name of this painting. It is another in the series I mentioned in a post titled New Work last year. I bought a whole box of canvases the same size, and each painting starts with walking out on the land here, & drawing what I see in a particular place. This place is where a particularly ancient Hawthorn grows , at the edge of an iron-age hill fort here on our fields. I think of her as Mother Hawthorn , & have been talking with her for some time now, particularly during this last year.

When I went there to draw what became this painting it was late afternoon on a beautiful late summer day, and the light was coming through the trees at quite a low angle. When I held the canvas up, I was captivated by the shapes made on it by the Tree's shadows , began to draw round them, & fascinating shapes emerged which really dictated the development of the painting . The colours in the background were inspired by the different sky colours I saw looking up through the branches that day. I took the palette of colours on the rest of the picture from the colours of the tree herself. Further variations were also suggested by my Spirit Helpers telling me to look at the handle of a rattle I work with , the wood for which which came from another Hawthorn on the edge of 'our' land here, & still has the bark on. Observation of the colour & texture of this bark which has been indoors for sometime enriched the growing painting a lot.

This one is an oil painting, so there were sometimes long gaps while it dried before adding the next colours. I have several more on the go, some of which are acrylic, & so can progress faster. Having said that, sometimes paintings go dormant for a while, whatever the medium..
but I will post more very soon...