Metanoia

I’m very grateful to have made contact with Peter Barrett of Metanoia Galiano. He runs an art gallery on Galiano island and I am sending him the following work this week. If you are in the area, please drop by and support his good work.
https://www.facebook.com/MetanoiaGaliano?fref=ts

I have personally found it far more empowering to view my difficult experiences as Metanoia or a spontaneous attempt of the psyche to heal itself. I hope my artwork can help others take a more empowering look at their own struggles.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metanoia_(psychology)

Art

Celtic Brain Knot

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I combined the Celtic knot with the brain image to try to bring a sense of sacredness and beauty to an often taken for granted textbook image of the brain. The Celtic knot also represents an interconnected, intertwined pattern of complexity that mirrors that of our brain’s incredible connectome.  Because Celtic knots were often used to decorate sacred objects and illuminate sacred manuscripts I am hoping that the viewer will make the connection that the brain too is a sacred organ, its development a sacred process, and it must be treated as such. In many languages, including Old English, the word for health and wholeness is the same and with this work I hope to show a whole interconnected pattern made of separate intertwined lines to represents the holistic health of the brain and the human.

The complete interweaving of my Celtic knot was compromised to include more brain anatomy such as the central and lateral sulcus. I feel this was an appropriate artistic decision because it is more important that the work represent a brain and represent a Celtic knot then accurately portray one over the other.

I used a marker and watercolor pencils to render this illustration because I believe the hand drawn approach has a more organic, human touch. The imperfections are due to human hands but it still comes across as a beautiful, intricate work of art.  I like the boldness and accuracy of the marker contrasted with the softness and organic textures of the watercolor. There is something about art rendered by the hand that makes the viewer think: “I can appreciate that! It is done by a human, I could do that too!” I wanted that feeling to also be a part of this art.

Lost

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I came across this poem at a time in my life when I was feeling quite lost, quite stuck and I found it very helpful. In the painting I did here I am trying to convey the idea of being lost in your own mind and taking the same advice to be still and get to know the “forest” around you.

What do I do if I am lost in the forest?

Stand still. Stand still
The trees ahead and the bushes along side of you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here.
You must treat it as a powerful stranger and ask permission to know it and be known.
Listen. Listen. The forest breathes.
It whispers, “I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you can come back again.”
No two trees are the same to the raven.
No two branches are the same to the wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you, then you are surely lost.
Stand still. Stand still.
The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
– Northwestern American Indian proverb, as told by David Whyte.

Grain of Salt or Grain of Truth?

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This painting is a wet on wet watercolor with the three primary colors (yellow got covered up) sprinkled with salt. An old prescription (I lost it, got another and found it again) and page from the physician’s desk reference manual of the medication prescribed ripped up and glued on top.

After describing to my doctor a therapy (fairly mainstream) that I was reading about and thought it was doing me some good he reminded me to “take it with a grain of salt”. In my head I said “Like your medicine doctor?”

Triskelion Tree of Life

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After struggling with duality in my own mind, I was introduced to this poem by the Anthroposophist, Rudolf Steiner.  This poem is about the trinity of human creativity. The archetypal tree of life depicted in this image grounds itself in will, grows through feeling and reaches towards enlightenment.  The triskelion is a three limbed symbol appearing in many early cultures and one Celtic Christians continue to use as a symbol of the trinity.

In the heart the weaving feeling,
in the head the light of thinking,
in the limbs the strength of willing.

Weaving enlightening,
strengthened weaving,
enlightened strengthening.

This is the Human Being

-Rudolph Steiner

Emergence 

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This work was done as part of a workshop with Anthroposophical artist Malcolm Glover at the Calgary Waldorf School. I started off with quite a fragmented background but out of the fragments a tree emerged, then a cocoon off the tree and finally a butterfly. The understanding of my seemingly fragmented journey is quite influenced by the writing of depth and ecopsychologist Bill Plotkin and in his book “nature and the human soul” he describes a phase of life he calls the cocoon, it is my hope that I am finally ready to emerge from this stage in my life.

Dragons

My dragon work is largely based on trying to understand the mythical basis of some of my delusions and fears. I attempted to do this by reading some of the work of Joseph Campbell but I now have a more feminist approach to dragons. I currently see dragons as repressed feminine creative energy and I like this poem by Rilke.

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.” – Rilke

Western Dragon

She is a monster with a soft spot and if you can find it her treasures will be revealed to you.

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Eastern Dragon 

She is a monster of the dark damp organic wet lands and if you respect her she will revitalize you.

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Alchemy in Art, Science and Life

Nearly a year ago I read the book “Alchemy” by Brian Cotnoir and I’ve been sitting on it for a while. I just recently read the last half of the book “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein and it has stirred up a few of the ideas I’ve been sitting on over the past year based on principles of Alchemy.

1. Before you begin your Great Work you should have the funding for the highest quality materials available. This Work comes to you as a gift and is to be offered to the world as a gift. This is not a for profit or even a “break even” venture. Make your money elsewhere.

2. To do your best work, the body must be kept healthy through proper lifestyle choices and the mind kept steady through spiritual/meditative/contemplative practices. It is recommended to stick to one tradition.

3. All sources of conflict and disruption around your Work should be reduced as much as possible.

4. Your Work should be started with dedicating it to the alleviation of suffering and any results should be given over to the alleviation of suffering. Ones success with the Great Work should be put towards caring for the poor and the sick.

5. This final principle comes from “Future Primal” by Louis G. Herman and “The Bushman way of Tracking God” by Bradford Keeney and isn’t really alchemy, but I find it useful. When in doubt about if the vision you are birthing into being is Great Work, or not, ask yourself; is it for love or for libido dominandi — a lust for power. That is it.  As Bradford Keeney said: “The final battle is between love and power” 

 

Lost in the Forest

What do I do if I am lost in the forest?

Stand still. Stand still
The trees ahead and the bushes along side of you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here.
You must treat it as a powerful stranger and ask permission to know it and be known.
Listen. Listen. The forest breathes.
It whispers, “I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you can come back again.”
No two trees are the same to the raven.
No two branches are the same to the wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you, then you are surely lost.
Stand still. Stand still.
The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
—“Lost” by David Wagoner

 

I came across this poem at a time in my life when I was feeling quite lost, quite stuck and I found it very helpful. I am trying to live by it, to keep some time open to just listen and just be. I have started painting again. I have also started to work through the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron. I am trying to work on what kind of artist I want to be to experiment with some different techniques and ideas and learn new skills. I feel that that label “Illustrator” is limiting and “Artist” is a better label but I know I need to narrow it down to something more marketable. I just haven’t figured that out yet. I’m just going to have to be OK with being unmarketable for a while. In the painting I did here I am trying to convey the idea of being lost in your own mind and taking the same advice to be still and get to know the “forest” around you.

 

 

 

Holistic Education

I’ve found this diagram to be a nice framework for my exploration of holistic education with my son in mind and in my own search for optimal well being. http://www.hent.org/world/history/historical.htm

Currently I am:

Listening to Audio Book: The Art of Being by Erich Fromm

Reading Book: Child Honouring. This book includes essays by people mentioned in the chart above who are new to me; Matthew Fox, Raine Eisler, Fritjof Capra…as well as those whose work I was familiar with; Sanda Steingraber and Barbara Kingslover

Taking courses on:
Meditation with Bud Agnew at The Yoga Haven
The Happiness of the Child: Montessori Information Series through Full Circle Parenting