I love to paint outdoors, immersing myself in the fleeting, elemental, sensory qualities of light and colour, to capture the pulse & poetics of the Devon land, coast & seascapes. Catching the mystical exuberance abundant in these wild places, I aim to evoke these often subtle sometimes powerful qualities, the vitality and zest of life, in my oil and mixed media painting.        

                                                                                                                           

In my Vipassana meditation practice, on retreat many years ago, I experienced total immersion into an all encompassing joy, a dissolution into the nature of being, which has remained with me ever since. Like being inside an explosion of particles eternally unfolding in an exquisite dance, going beyond thoughts to experience simply what is.

 

How is it possible to find this joy and delight in the everyday? Byron Katie, author, puts it well, ’reality is simple... it's whatever's in front of you, whatever is happening. When you argue with it you lose. It hurts not to be a lover of what is.” It is possible to make a choice to actively look for joy using a meditative process as a discipline. Joy and delight are linked to training your curiosity and sense of not knowing about whatever arises until you are completely okay with not knowing. Actually not only okay but happy about not knowing things. This means grown up joy is also made up of our sorrow too, just as it is made up of what is pleasing to us. It’s all in there. Life arises in the moment and once interpretations and attachments to meaning are let go of then there is freedom to enjoy life as it is. So this quality of presence, simply being with whatever is emerging, from the most simple and mundane moment to the most dramatic, whether sorrowful, beautiful or exquisite, is the key in life to joy. And, what’s more, joy is also an invitation to more joy; by loving something we allow other people an opportunity to love it too.

How did this work during lockdown 2020 you may ask? In a way nothing changed whilst everything changed around me. Yes, I suddenly had a lot more uncertainty, new stresses, strains and worries to fill my day, different in that it was of course potentially personally life threatening and all-encompassing, at home, locally and worldwide. Yes I was often shaky, upset and scared by the constant news streams, the lockdowns and deaths. However I was already preparing for an exhibition so I turned to painting as an active meditation, a time to be focused, curious, to see what showed up. 

 

I was already in the process of teaching myself new ways to paint using oils. But should I paint subjects to fit with the new times, the new uncertainties, the doom and gloom? I decided to accept how it was and to see what I had. I dug out photos, both local and from my travels and adventures as a professional sailor, scuba diver and chef, those memories that spoke to me and warmed my heart. They were unsurprisingly predominantly of the sea, coast and rivers and filled with light, heat and colour. On my daily walks I also noticed how much my love and fascination with light and movement in particular are still very alive. Consequently I decided to focus on painting landscapes looking into the light, and of those I chose only to paint those that inspired me and gave me pleasure in the moment of painting.

 

What did my paintings show me? That paradoxically, when painting into the light, it is the darkest darks that reveal the strongest contrast and the brightest light, the greatest joy. And the less dramatic greys and seemingly duller colours have their own subtle beauty and often act as foils for the gems of colour. As in art so in life! Listening to music from my travels whilst painting, I sometimes found myself dancing happily about wielding a paint laden brush, enjoying even this most terrible of times. I found sadness and fear mixed with huge gratitude for the gifts of relationship, community, generosity, compassion, people doing their best. My experiences during this time have frequently been bitter-sweet and for me at least, this mixture of darkness, beauty and kindness have shown me once again, perhaps more than anything else, that there are at least a thousand names for joy.

 

Recommended reading:  

Byron Katie (2007) 'A Thousand Names for Joy, How to live in Harmony with the way things are’

Ross Gay (2019) 'Book of Delights

Naomi Shihab Nye 'Kindness' poem.

My passion for the visual arts has led me to the following qualifications and experience:

(For more information on my work please visit underlined links)

MA Fine Art.

Plymouth University, 2012.

BA (hons) Fine Art. 2.1

Plymouth University, 2010.

European BodySoul Rhythms

Leadership Training Program.

Marion Woodman Foundation, Leadership using Jungian analysis, dreamwork, arts, mask, dance and voice studied in Uk, Switzerland and Canada.

 

Post Graduate Diploma in

Documentary Photography

University of Wales, Cardiff.

Diploma in Performance Coaching in Business.

Newcastle College.

 

Photographic Master Classes 

with Magnum photographers,

Maine Photographic Studios, Rockport, Maine, U.S.A.

 

Landmark Education, London

Self development and communications programmes. Introductory Forum Leader, Self Expression and Leadership Programme - Head Coach in Devon.

My work also explores social issues affecting the land,

individuals and communities.

(For more information on my work please visit

under-lined links)

Creative Coaching.

private practise offering creative approaches to personal development.

 

do-Be-do.

founder and partner: business development embracing the being and doing of business

using arts, mask, dance and narrative.

(Members of Institute of Leadership and Management).

 

Wildfire.

rights of passage courses using creativity for girls and women. 

founder of voluntary group, including fund-raising, co-ordination, progam design and facilitation of self development courses combining arts and adventure run by

therapists and artists for women and girls throughout South Wales.

 

Freelance Photojournalist.

specialising in editorial work, social documentary and workshops.

 

Professional sailor, chef and 

P.A.D.I Scuba diving Instructor

for 15 + years co-managing large private yachts throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, U.S.A, Canada and the Mediterannean including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey.

 

Higher National Diploma in

Hotel, Catering and 

Institutional Management,

Cheltenham, 1981

took me to 5* Hotels in London and then to Bermuda.



 

Awards:

Devon Life Landscape Artist of the Year Finalist 2018

M.I.N.D Millennium Award

for the " Art of Transition ".

 

TV-AM Tom Hopkinson Award

for photojournalism. 

 

Memberships:

 

Devon Artists Network

Contemporary Mark Makers

 

Other Interests:

Five Rhythms dance,

Vipassana Meditation,

Travel,

Hiking.

Life is a Journey:

In the spirit of the mystery, the Mystery of Spirit,
to live is to live as variously as possible,
to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and,
despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours,
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. but,what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

 

Anon

 

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