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A Thousand Names for Joy.

Solo Exhibition of contemporary paintings

Upon completion of the MA Fine Art I was just setting out to create a new project when something struck me. I realised that my heart wasn't lit up by the prospect of more video work and I suddenly understood that that body of work was complete. It was time to move on. Since 1996 and throughout  my BA (Hons) and MA Fine Art studies I had continually painted. From late 1999 until 2019 I was also a full-time carer, initially for both my parents then for my mum who was extremely disabled and lived with me.  I found that the embodied process of painting was essential to my well being so that whatever happened I painted through it. When I considered a new direction it was instantly clear that I should use my new academic understanding to transfer my new language from video and photography into paint. 

To do this I painted mostly en plein air, outside on the Moor and sometimes by the sea. I explored the primal qualities of being in nature. I immersed myself in the wilder places of Devon, Dartmoor, the river Dart and empty beaches when storms passed through.  I aimed to catch the fleeting, sensory, poetic qualities of light, colour and the raw feelings of wonder that the elements can bring. This is often not easy. Besides the all too obvious challenges of painting, the powerful and subtle archetypal forces of nature can both affect and be scary. They re-kindle sometimes happy, sometimes fearful, childhood memories of roaming alone on farm, fields and countryside, vulnerable to what man, beast, machine and weather may bring. 

I had experience through the BA (Hons) and MA Fine Art of working with this full range of feelings, both conscious and pre-verbal. These processes showed me  that there was nothing in my experience that needed transforming, my practise could be simply being present and this could be joyful in and of itself. In author Byron Katie’s book “A Thousand Names for Joy, How to live in Harmony with the way things are” she writes of going beyond thoughts to experience simply what is, “ 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”. Embracing this concept I set out to explore the secluded Moor and coast, those places to which I would not normally go alone. What I found there, when immersed in painting, was a freedom and reconnection with the pulse of the land. The wonderful spontaneous rhythms and tempos, the exuberant vitality of nature, and a joy that comes with simply being with what’s happening, from the most simple and mundane of moments to the most dramatic. There may indeed be a thousand names for joy!

Praying. 

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few                                                                                          

small stones; just                                                                                                                

pay attention, then patch 

a few words together and don't try                                                                                           

to make them elaborate, this isn't                                                                                         

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which                                                                                   

another voice may speak. 

Mary Oliver. 

The majority of these paintings are sold. Please contact me if you are interested in something similar.

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