Enchanted Forest

Deep in the forest amongst leaf, wood and shrub,

There is a place where the light plays tricks.

As if it were a small child finding joy

in hiding things

amongst branches;

And creating puppet-shows

in the shadowy patterns of the trees.

So a story unfolds,

where heroes and heroines spring from the most unlikely places.

Like the reassuring orb of the moon

Like the movement of a grey cloud

Like the distant chatter of a bird.

And then, in the space between moments,

you glimpse something in the corner of your eye

Tree spirits, angels, faeries

(It’s only a glimpse).

And a story unfolds still

Because, even amidst the infinite possibilities

of the tale;

There is a presence in the silence.

Enchanted light and stillness,

Weave it’s transformation, til

It is no longer a secret place, but rather a place of communion.

Even so, a Soul can be unaware of the Silent Witness.

Mistaking the loud stillness of the forest, for solitude.

A lonely journey,

A palpable aloneness,

A hopeless isolation.

But it was just an illusion.

The shadows were playing tricks.

If you listen, the air has this sort of hush you can feel

because it is damp with water droplets (and you are thirsty).

And the scent of the earth are a jumble of woody spices,

and leafy aromas,

which join hands with you

In solidarity for each and every breath.

And not a single leaf falls unknown.

And in every shadow there is a song.

And the Child laughs with joy.

The Room of My Soul

In the room of my soul, there are arched windows.

Made of stone, they crumble a bit.

But the windows frame the ever changing landscape.

I keep an eye on the important details.

As the shadows shift

Day, Night,

Summer and Winter

Are gloriously displayed in their whirling dance.

I can see the broody sky,

and the sweeping hills below.

My Guardian angel like the breeze

hovers over my life.

Ready at my aid, eager to help.

But for now, just sending blessings on my head saying,

“Rest,rest,rest and be still now”.

Could I be this cherished, precious, valuable?

Perhaps, yes!

Though it seems I am only a butterfly with tattered wings.

I find in my doorway a tentative harmony,

A soulful dialogue, a childlike prayer.

Full of hope

Like those Monarch Butterflies

weaving patterns in the air.

Robust little messengers.

The room of my soul,

contains all of the little details of my time here

Woven together, hammered together

Painted and furnished by me

Yet held with miraculous hands.

Forever East and Forever West

It was all an illusion
The darkness
The vertigo of it all
Like those paintings
with the black swirling lines.
I was, in fact planted deep in the soil
My face upturned to a gentle sun.
The breeze reached out wide.
From forever East to forever West.
Expanding,
Embracing.
Skipping,
Twirling,
Swaying
Behind me and before me.

I saw my right hand
full of all your gifts
Like gold.
My left hand held sorrow,
Like myrrh

My feet entwined with the ground
And you were there, too.
You are the Ground.
And I knew
in those mysterious inner knowings
that I could move
Forever East or forever West
Lay asphalt on my roads.
Devise my own schemes,
Write my own story
Make a multitude of mistakes.
And all of it like a kaleidoscope
Inside your heart.
Because, as you said,
“I Created You
Before height or depth
or East and West”

Unfinished

Today it occurred to me that I have accumulated a backlog of unfinished drawings and paintings. Rather than follow a rabbit trail that spirals into self-sabotage and despondency, I decided to try to see it in positive terms. What if unfinished artwork is not a sign of being distracted or undisciplined but a necessary part of creativity?

I’ll never forget one time when I was renting a studio which, as part of a heritage building in Fremantle, had frequent visitors who came to look at the building as well as the art in the studios there. Taking advantage of the sunny morning,I was working on the front porch when a man and his partner greeted me and asked if they could have a look at what I was painting. I was working on an intuitive, colourful artwork which as far as I was concerned was far from finished. He told me he wanted to buy it “as is”. “Can I just tweak this bit?” I said, motioning toward a part of the canvas that looked halfway between a bizarre-looking bird and a flower. “No, I really want to buy it as is” he replied.

Later as we were talking I found out that his daughter had died tragically in a car crash. My son was also claimed by the roads just two before at the time. We each had this acknowledgement that grieving parents share; an unspoken “you also understand this reality of living through the unthinkable”.  I realised just as his daughter’s life was unfinished, there was a poetic truth and melancholy beauty he could see in an unfinished artwork. Now more than ever, after losing my own precious boy, I am beginning to see that the true meaning of creating is not about product, but communication of ideas, thoughts and messy emotions. It’s about he communion and solidarity we share in being human and a bit broken and unfinished ourselves. 

Art unfinished is raw and candid. It reveals the artists state of mind before it is erased through the fine tuning we do to create an image that is deemed worthy of the external gaze.

I decided to photograph my unfinished pieces, not only to reflect on them but also to validate them as meaningful explorations. They are pockets of inspiration, which is valuable whether bought to fruition or abandoned. They silently protest the mantra of productivity we have in our culture. They remind me that it is the process of creating, not the end result that holds the true magic. The magic of responding to inner prompts and being brave enough to try and sometimes fail.