WINGED SOULS (80 x 100 cm) £650
This painting was inspired by a 15th century illustration from Dante, The Divine Comedy, titled 'Souls Transformed Into Birds'.
FAST AND FURIOUS SOLD
The seed concept for this painting was a great love for medieval music and manuscripts and a vision of a pregnant angel
THE LABOURS OF EVE 80 x 100 cm £450
A woman's work is never done and childbirth is called labour for a reason. A friend recently commented on the absence of monuments dedicated to all women who died in childbirth...
In the year 2003 I felt myself increasingly drawn to Medieval Art. I decided to read up on the medieval period to find out what it is that appeals so strongly. I came to realise that there is a huge gulf between today's world of the 21st century thought and Medieval Cosmology..
Today there is an assumption that beneath the surface things are fundamentally incoherent (part of a 'chaosmos' you could say). In those days the assumption was that deep down things were fundamentally coherent (part of a 'cosmos'). Most importantly everything was thought to be a reflection of the will of God.
This shows a great divide between Modern Art and Medieval Art. For the Medieval thinker art is the human way to reproduce, in artifacts, the universal rules of the cosmic order. In this sense art reflects the artist's "impersonality" rather than his personality! The artists becomes a vessel or 'hollow bone' for the Divine. T
THE HEAVENLY ARMIES SOLD
Inspired by medieval manuscripts from Mozarabic Spain
The famous legend of the Holy Grail is not about people 'discovering themselves' (a 21st century preoccupation!) but about discovering their place in the world, their place in the Divine Plan - a more humble attitude.
SURROUNDED BY SERPENTS SOLD
Inspired by medieval manuscripts from Mozarabic Spain
Put in plain English: in the Medieval world the Invisible World was the key to the Visible World. In the Middle Ages everything stood for something else and that something was God/The Great Creator Being.
Understanding a thing meant seeing the divine plan within it. Space, time and distance were thought to be governed by their significance in this Divine Plan.
Miracles were part of everyday life.
Every pilgrimage was intended to be a microcosm of the journey through life. A pilgrimage, a penance, an adventure, a party, a trip.
The Saints were a bit like the Greek Gods on Mount Olympus - except relics such as bones proved that they really lived once upon a time, and continued to 'live on' in Heaven. Not only that, they remain contactable. We can ask them for guidance and intercession!
^ CLARA LUCES (80 x 100 cm) £595
I worked on this painting while listening to little known Christmas Carols of Latin American Baroque origin. This image was inspired by 'The Tree of the Soul', a diagram created by William Law, an 18th century English mystic.
'A beam of light from the world of consciousness pierces the "dark world" of the unconscious in which the tree of man's spiritual and psychological development is rooted. Passing through the firre world of suffering and experience it opens out in the light of greater consciousness towards the Light of God' This is the process Carl Gustav Jung refers to as individuation.
In the Middle Ages the way to make sense of life was to 'follow the light'.
^ FIAT LUX SOLD And There Was Light...
This painting was inspired by a fresco by Giusto de Menabuoi in the baptistry of the cathedral of Padua
This painting appeared on the cover of Edwin M Good's book: 'Tales of the Earliest World' in 2011, published by the Stanford University Press.
Edwin M Good was a literary scholar of the Hebrew Bible, he taught at Stanford for 35 years. The book is a translation of the text from Hebrew and a discussion of the “tales” in terms of how they work as stories.
He was a dear friend.
Light provided the only means of understanding a world that was God's work of art. Human works of art achieved meaning or significance only insofar they managed to reveal the splendor veritas, or Light of Truth, by becoming shadow-versions of the Creator's work.
The spires of the great medieval cathedrals in the 12th and 13th centuries reached skywards, up to God. The end of a pilgrimage brought forgiveness of a pilgrim's sins and/or the intercession of their favourite saint.
Religion of whatever denomination was central to the everyday lives of medieval people. The Church played a leading role in education, helping the needy and tending the sick. Most people believed that a form of penance would wash away sins and save their souls from Hell. Pilgrimage was most important and far-reaching penance you could make. But even the poor could visit the tombs of local saints. - Inspired by this I ask all my sacred art students to complete a pilgrimage if they wish to do the 2 year sacred art program (SAP Rising!) with me.
Up to the 11th century most art produced had religious subjects. What changed most between the 11th and 15th centuries was the advent of the concept 'Courtly Love'. This brought an emphasis on heroic adventures as well as a new set of romantic ideals and it had a huge impact on art (book illustrations,wall paintings, tapestries).
THE TREE OF LIFE, THE RIVER OF LIFE
(80 x 100 cm) £495
^ LIBER SCIVIAS (80 x 100 cm) £495
Creation Story from the Book of Genesis
(inspired by a drawing by Hildegard von Bingen!)
Some art theorists have argued that the function of art is to 'heal the alienated, vulnerable human consciousness', which has "expelled" the sacred by losing connection with the wisdom of the body, represented in the archetypal forces of nature and myth. Others have written of tourism as a 'disenchanted version of medieval pilgrimage', and of the Middle Ages as a golden age when trees were seen as the thoughts of God.
As the Middle Ages wane, a God-centered universe gives way to a human-centered one. Where there was coherence before, there is now fragmentation. In this respect I find myself completely out of step with the modern world. If asked to describe in one sentence what my paintings are about, I would have to say: 'The Unseen'. They show other worlds, the spirit world. I find inspiration in a wide range of things, but they all have one thing in common. They point at the Invisible World that lies behind our Everyday World. The world of spirit, dreams, myths, visions, archetypes and universal truths.
^ CELEBRATING COINCIDENCE!
(80 x 100 cm) £495
(Painting inspired by an illustration in a medieval manuscript)
My first shamanic teacher (Simon Buxton) once passed on to me advice he had received himself: Follow The Coincidences!
This is excellent advice because doing we re-align ourselves with a "living breathing Universe" that is always in communication with us.
The answers to our burning life questions are all around us, if only we know how to access and harvest those answers...
^ ABUNDANCE 80 x 100 cm £485
This painting, inspired by an illustration in a Medieval Manuscript, is about Abundance, about daring to believe in abundance. Quite a feat in these days of the Credit Crunch and tightening our belts! Yet nature abhors a vacuum and when a space opens in our lives, something will move in to fill that space. It is up to us to decide what form this will take. I am realising more that we are the creators of our own reality. The limits of our own thinking and believes limit what is possibly in our lives! So.. defeat the credit crunch and dare to believe in abundance, dare to open your eyes to the abundance that can enter our lives even when things are tight financially. Sometimes being poor in terms of money can mean being more time-rich. Time can be the greatest gift of all, something we have lost track of in our busy city lives.
^ MANDRAKE 80 x 100 cm $395
Mandrake is the common name for members of the plant Mandragora, belonging to the nightshades family. The roots sometimes contain bifurcations (forked bits, in plain English) that make them resemble human beings.
According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear this.
Ancient literature offers elaborate instructions for pulling it up. This involves tying a dog to the root to pull it up so the dog dies instead of its master...
All parts of the mandragora plant are poisonous.
(This painting was inspired by a medieval illustration in a book on the medicinal use of herbs and plants)
< THE TOWER OF BABEL SOLD
> RELUCTANT ANGEL 80 x 100 cm £425
Mozarabic Art can be defined as Christian painting produced around the year 1000 in an Iberian peninsula under Islamic rule. In that period the three great 'Religions of the Book' coexisted in present-day Spain: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The paintings from that period have a visionary quality that made a huge impression on me. I was intrigued too by the context: the cross-fertilisation of Christian/Judist and Islamic thinking. As in today's world, tensions were mounting rapidly and alarmingly between the Western and Islamic worlds. I found myself drawn to art that evolved from this 'hotbed' in Medieval Europe. Even then there were times of tolerance and mutual exchange as well as times of conflict and tension. It was never a 'marriage of like minds'. And yet I found inspiration here. Particularly because in Medieval times, as explained in the section above, art was was never about self-fulfilment and the personal glory of the artist. Ultimately it was about distancing the viewer from the physical everyday world and promoting a process of spiritual contemplation. It began to seem like inspiration or guidance might be found here for modern European people finding themselves on the brink of war with the Islamic world.
These paintings were dismissed and almost forgotten for centuries. They seemed crude and obscure to people from, say, the Renaissance period when the focus was increasingly on photographic realism, perspective, anatomical correctness. It has been claimed that modern art and the break with traditional painting it introduced made way for re-appreciation of these images. There are affinities between these medieval works and the strident colours and willful distortion of, for instance, German Expressionist painting. I was struck by paintings showing multiple viewpoints (such as a figure with three faces). It is hard not to believe that Picasso must have been exposed to these images (he lived and worked in Spain after all). Mozarabic paintings frequently show combinations of full frontal and profile views, both for animals and humans. I was struck too by complicated abstract line patterns that remind of Celtic art - there seems to be a link there too. We modern people like to think of ourselves as very creative and innovative. The word 'conformist' has become an insult.
Personally I quite like the thought of ideas and images spiraling through the centuries, disappearing and then reappearing in another era!
I love listening to the music of Hildegard of Bingen!
She was born into a noble family in the year 1098. At the age of eight her family gave her into the care of a religious noblewoman. She took Hildegard with her to become a recluse at the Disibodenberg Monastery which later became a convent. Hildegard took serious vows and was elected abbess of the convent in 1136. She had been having visions and started to write about those. She soon came to be regarded as a great mystic and prophetess and came to be known as "The Sibyl of the Rhine". She even undertook preaching tours throughout Germany, something almost unheard of for a Medieval abbess. She died in 1179. Her feast day is September 17th.
> Hildegard writing about the Fall from Paradise and the Tree of Knowledge (appears on the right hand side of the painting)
This was written 1000 years ago and it still sounds fresh!
"... For when God gave great knowledge to the human being, the human being elevated himself in his soul and turned away from God. God so regarded the human being that he would perfect all his works in him. But the old deceiver tricked human beings and infected them with the crime of disobedience, by the delight of an unseasonable wind, so they sought for more than they should have.
Ach! Weh! Then all the elements were folded in the alternation of light and darkness, as also was humanity through the transgression of God's commands. But God watered certain human beings so that humanity would not become a complete mockery. So Abel was good, though Cain was a murderer. And many saw God's mysteries in the light, though others committed many sins until that time cam when the word of God shone out, as is said: "Thou are fairer than the children of men". Then the sun of justice came forth and shone on human beings in their good works, both in faith and action, as the dawn first came forth and the other hours of the day follow on until it is night..."