“Sometimes a wind comes before the rain and sends birds sailing past the window, spirit birds that ride the night, stranger than dreams.”
Painting Spirit Birds by me.
Meditative Art Retreat. 24 – 31 March 2018
For my next art retreat I will teaching how to paint a self-portrait as our symbolic / mystic-self. I will be offering meditative, gentle guidance, setting intentions, using guided meditations, knowing the painting as a secular prayer. Painting modern iconography. Teaching my own techniques: the methods I use such as painting my birds, or other spirit animals, how to paint a face, a figure, light and shade, a symbolic landscape, glazing, colour washes, pattern, how to bring forms forward or push them back through glazes, using under-painting through abstracted techniques, adding white, or leaving white space, using words as under-painting too. Techniques such as glazing, dry brush work, stippling, acrylic pen-work, detailing, and stenciling. Working from my favourite themes: Iconography, Goddess archetypes, the Divine Feminine, Jungian archetypes, symbolism, mysticism, metaphysical art, shamanic and alchemical totems, sacred geometry, pattern, ornament, process and intuitive painting.
For me, there must always be the still-point. The point where you find the zone, where the painting is painting itself through you as the conduit. Or you come to a point where there is a deep meditation. This is my intention in my art practice and in teaching.
Painting in the studio, walking in the mountains, visiting Granada, delicious healthy food cooked by Steve for every meal, yoga most mornings with Steffi, guided meditations. All meals, materials, yoga and activities will be included in the cost. Cost doesn’t include flights or car-hire. Transport to and from the cortijo can be arranged (extra cost.) Again it will be in beautiful Cortijo Las Salinas in Andalucia. To register an interest, please use the contact form or email me: email@example.com.
24th – 31 March 2018. If interested please contact me.
Cost £950 (GBP)
Includes beautiful accommodation with ensuite bathrooms, all materials, art tuition, access to the art studio at any time, yoga, all meals, (emphasis is on nutrition and dietary requirements are catered to.) Also includes a trip to Granada, guided walk in the mountains, dining together, access to all the facilities the cortijo has to offer: swimming pool, honesty bar, a beautiful communal living room and kitchen, an outdoor Moroccan chill-out area.
Cost doesn’t include flights or car-hire. Airport transfer to and from the cortijo can be arranged through our private driver (extra cost.)
It is advised that you take out your own travel insurance.
The nearest airports are Granada or Malaga.
Check out the website of the cortijo to see how beautiful it is: www.cortijolassalinas.com
The cost is payable via Paypal and they will do the currency conversion if necessary. Or payment can be made via bank transfer, (I will give you details.)
£200 (GBP) (non-refundable) deposit to secure your place. Final payment due by 24th February 2018.
Some photos below of the recent retreat.
“The beginning of wisdom, I believe, is our ability to accept an inherent messiness in our explanation of what’s going on. Nowhere is it written that human minds should be able to give a full accounting of creation in all dimensions and on all levels. Ludwig Wittgenstein had the idea that philosophy should be what he called “true enough.” I think that’s a great idea. True enough is as true as can be gotten. The imagination is chaos. New forms are fetched out of it. The creative act is to let down the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended and then to attempt to bring out of it ideas.”
― Rupert Sheldrake
I was first introduced to the films of Andrei Tarkovsky at art school, in the film club. I didn’t get it. I was young and full of energetic distraction. Now, a few decades on, I cannot get enough of his work. His films feed every cell, atom and neuron in my art-brain. The combination of imagery and music, texture, light, fire, rain, darkness, colour and sound, hit the melancholic spot which is vital to me. The point where melancholy and ecstasy fuse and spark to create a feeling of euphoria, light and depth. The alchemy of these elements is so profound, I can watch his films and be transformed for hours, and perhaps days. He reminds me why I paint. His films defy intellectual labeling or description, though of course many people have written at great length about him and he has been copied and has influenced so many filmmakers and cinematographers, painters, photographers and poets. The new version of ‘Blade Runner’ makes many cinematographic allusions to his work.
“Some sort of pressure must exist; the artist exists because the world is not perfect. ”
“We can express our feelings regarding the world around us either by poetic or by descriptive means. I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyse the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it’s a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it.”
His films are meditations on moments. Moments of varying lengths. I watch them and my mind is slowed to the measure and pulse of his work. If I watch them, they teach me to watch my own life. To hear sounds differently, to contemplate and to examine every moment, both visual and aural. To meditate on wind through leaves, the sound of a tea cup stirred by a spoon, or the water pouring from a kettle into a mug. Everything is transformed. Tarkovsky teaches me to lead an examined life, and to notice the passing of time.
A poet like Tarkovsky is a person who uses a single image to express a universal message. All his imagery is open to interpretation. His work teaches, in today’s parlance, mindfulness. It is metaphysical, spiritual, elemental. As much as every individual life is subjective, and no two people have exactly the same perceptions, though some are closer than others; every person may interpret a Tarkovsky film differently. Or not. In my perception, life doesn’t make sense, in so many ways.. it is a mystery; consciousness, being, dreams.. Therefore, why should art make sense when the whole of existence and what lies beyond doesn’t make sense. But the mystery is beautiful. And Tarkovsky magnifies this melancholic beauty.
To the modern capitalist internet-led world with all its notifications, pings, vanity, instant gratification and short attention spans formed to respond to the endless stimuli and pursuit of the next digital high, Tarkovsky’s oeuvre is the perfect antidote. It would not be an exaggeration to say his work reminds me why I am alive and what I am here to express.
Painting on canvas board. A journey into abstraction. https://www.etsy.com/listing/565415619/sun-ra?ref=listing_published_alert
If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.
When someone asks what it means
to “die for love,” point
If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?
How did Jacob’s sight return?
A little wind cleans the eyes.
When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us
From ‘The Essential Rumi’, Translation by Coleman Barks.
The Gift and Blue Forest
Both paintings are on canvas board. 10 inches by 12 inches or 26 cm by 31 cm..
In my Etsy shop.
Some wonderful photos of the great man.