Oil on canvas 40x40cm - 2021
The wound is the place where the light enters you
The above is a quote from a poem by the Sufi poet Rumi - his works are a source of inspiration in my practice. His writings are powerful, prophetic and highly relevant today.
This painting is deeply personal and at the same time universal - that's often the way of things isn't it? The fact is that we are all experiencing a wounding, Covid19 and the now obvious effects of climate change is hard to bear, painful and shocking but with this there is a possibility for the light to enter.
The personal and the Universal
I am interested in Buddhism and other Philosophies that explore theories of the self, the soul, and the spirit - there's a chap called Micheal Singer who wrote a book called the Untethered Soul which is about how to separate your self from the voice in your head which chatters constantly about how awful things are... (You know the one??)
I was listening to a conversation between him and Tony Robbins on Youtube and they were talking about how easy it is to get caught up in that fear and anger when things are not going your way. How we project our own insecurities onto others and build walls around ourselves to keep out the painful experiences but that just locks them in tighter.
What if we could see the pain as a signal that something need to be released, that there's a point in the experience that could bring us into a deeper understanding of life. That when we feel pain we could know that we are alive and not dead.
What is it that I am feeling here?
This is what this painting is about for me - it's about the experience of fear ( I feel it now as I write and think about feeling exposed or judged) Being misunderstood is one of my pain points - it comes from childhood, from the playground I think and my friends running away from me when I was desperate to be part of their gang. That's the personal. The universal is that we all experience this sense of fragility - those moments of exposure where we want to shrink away, hide and cover up.
But what if we don't, what if we allow the light to enter? What would that look and feel like?
I can only tell you that as I sit here typing these words, as my hands shake a bit, and my heart beats faster. I am scared that this makes no sense and at the same time connecting to the feeling that this means I am alive and that there's a possibility that these words will connect with you, or someone as I send them out.
It's the same thing with my artwork, but I have more confidence in paint - it's my language. Words fail me, more often than not but I can rely on the brush to explain to me what I am trying to say.
Where the light gets in is a soft form, fragmented but healing and luminous. I wanted to capture the experience of letting the painful experiences be a place to discover joy and love.
Where the Light Gets In is from my Yielding collection - Paintings exploring the idea of softness as strength - Taking inspiration from the Taoist Philosophy "The softest thing can overcome the hardest" Lao Tsu
These paintings take forms from smoke, fire, water and air - and have my artists characteristic gestural brushwork.
I think that a form of strength is the strength the resist the feeling of wanting to close, to not share our thoughts, to not be ourselves, to shrink for fear of confusing others. The strength of allowing the wound to be the place where the light enters.
These paintings draw a lot of their forms from flower petals, and this one in particular echoes the cycle of blooming - metaphorically and physically the seed has to split open in order for the flower to emerge and the flower must lose it's petals in order to have the strength to produce the seeds.
These forms appear in this painting and the theme of change and light is shared.
As always - Thank you for reading, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and I hope that you got something from this post. If you enjoyed it and would like to hear more from me in your inbox you can subscribe to my site. I promise not to spam you and you can leave at any time (I am not the Hotel California!)