I’d describe my paintings as a combination of Pop Art, Fantasy Art and illustration; with the symmetrical elements taken from traditional Buddhist thangka art. Exploring the relationship between colour and form, how these two factors interact on paper lays the foundation of the narrative. They owe to the philosophy that all phenomena are mere appearances to mind, that colour and form are merely imprinted in this life, and ultimately do not exist outside the mind that perceives them. Add to this, images from Egyptian, Greek, Tibetan, and Celtic mythology, the Druid tree of life and its cyclic year, the paintings then become a metaphor for a world in transition, an expression of that ungraspable dialogue to the journeys within this life, and beyond. The works of Alan Davie, Yayoi Kusama, Niki de Saint Phalle, Hieronymous Bosch, and Richard Dadd have had the greatest impact on my own pursuit of artistic expression. The writings of Rumi, Taneda Santoka, Alain de Botton, Carl Jung inform my thoughts.
“Brothers and sisters, bare your pain in silence”, gouache and ink on paper
The Druid’s belief in an immortal soul was observed by Julius Caesar: “A lesson which they take particular pains to inculcate is that the soul does not perish, but after death passes from one body to another…” (Caesar, Conquest of Gaul, V.16.5). Similar beliefs exist in Buddhist philosophy, and by the Pythagoreans of Greece. Below, the cyclic wheel of life from conception, birth, aging, death; and the journeys within this life, and beyond.
“You created us with thirsty hearts”, gouache on paper
The Egyptians believed that the human heart contained all the good and bead deeds of a person’s life, and was used to judge whether that person was worthy of entry into the afterlife. After the person died, their heart was weighed against the feather of Maat, the goddess of truth and justice. The two characters each side, holding spanners, are attempting to fix/ cheat this fate, they are Sisyphus from Greek mythology, was was punished by Hades for cheating death, twice.
“The heavens are indifferent, life is just a game of chance“, gouache on paper
Matt, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice, who continuously prevents the Universe from returning to chaos, take beings to morph into a chaotic form, that of Yama the Buddhist deity who presides over Hell, is balanced on a Lucky 8 Ball. Either side, the Gaesatae, the Gallic warriors from the Alps who fought against the Romans, naked. Sisyphus is transformed into a sprite, a Fae being from British folklore. All characters are under the spell of the Red Sun.
“On the last day of existence, the moon waxed and waned, the sun agonized, the earth wept“, gouache on paper
The triptych of pagan cosmology, the Red Sun, the Moon, the Earth. Below, Yama the Buddhist deity, the judge of the dead, who presides over Hell and the cycle of rebirth. Birth/ rebirth to the right, Death to the left (the Moaning hell realm).
“Elf-struck”, gouache on paper
if taken ill, you may be elf-struck, your body pierced by a poisoned elven arrow. In Cumbrian folklore, the elves got the arrows from faeries, who got them from mermaids.
“How can a creature of clay and water perceive existence?”, gouache on paper
Maat transforms into Cernunnos the pagan god of The Otherworld, god of wild places, of animals, of nature spirits/ elementals. The mermaid represents water; the faun, clay (earth); the two sprite, air; Cernunnos, fire. Earth, air, fire, water: the four elements of wisdom.
“Cernunnos the Horned God”; paper, acrylic and enamel paint, cotton thread on canvas
Cernunnos, the god of wild animals and wild places, the god of the Underworld; the deity that reflects the seasons of the year in an annual cycle of life, death and rebirth. Associated with The Green Man and the Greek god Pan
“Jenny Greenteeth, the River Hag”; paper, acrylic and enamel paint, cotton thread on canvas
The malevolent being from north English folklore. A freshwater and saltwater mermaid the stalks the shallows, pulling children and the elderly underwater, to drown them
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