A Thread of Gold
There must be few people who have lived a substantial part of their lives without trauma of some kind. Whether it is caused by illness, accident, the loss of a loved one, the sudden loss of security or material possessions or a thoughtless or selfish act by another that causes pain or the end of a dream, (for dreams are as precious as reality), lessons are learned. In the process we also learn much about ourselves. Of just how much we can love but also how much anger and judgment can surface. Whatever is responsible for the trauma, all of the above and many other reasons will cause stress and pain so deep that life takes on a different mantle. All appears so difficult and tasks that previously were achieved with little effort suddenly become impossible to perform. The reliance on others can become a burden in itself and an insidious feeling of negativity falls heavily upon ones naturally joyous outlook on life.
In my case it was the acts of others who dashed my dreams, followed by an accident which greatly affected my ability to live my life to the physical extent that I was used to. My life had always moved quickly. Family, travel and art were my loves. When not painting, sculpting or traveling, my half an acre of garden took up the rest of my time. To work twelve hours plus a day was not unusual.
I was unable to accept that others could destroy these dreams and move on as if no damage had been done. In my dealings with chronic pain I became frustrated and gradually the joy began to disappear. In keeping with the laws of the Universe, like attracts like and I soon became immersed in one negative thought after another with little to ease my situation or to brighten my day.
It was still possible to notice the beauty around me, to hear the chorus of birdsong in my garden, to register the constant loving care given me by my family and the encouragement of friends, but something was missing – the vital ingredient that enables us to feel joy – to feel alive. I believe this ingredient is a thread – a thread that links us to a Divine Energy. This thread is the precious means by which we can connect ourselves to all creation, to all that we desire to understand and when we are able to achieve this, it will also show us that all is able to be repaired, whether it be doubt that has flooded in where dreams have floundered or where energy has dissipated along with hope.
I now believe that this thread is the means by which we can access a power to rise above these doubts so strong. The means by which we can regain our faith in our own abilities to overcome whatever it is that has caused the pain or distress – a means that will enable us to understand that all has purpose. This purpose is what gives each of us the right to be and to find our way when all appears so difficult. It is like a beacon bright to give us the hope that whatever the goal may be, it can be reached.
One night as I lay in bed, immersed in my own personal chaos, I heard a voice asking me to pick up my pen and write. I did so and the following writings are the result of this request. They were written over a period of time and always came when I needed them, when I needed to feel that there was hope and that there was a purpose. The language itself appeared rather archaic but after considerable deliberation as to whether the ye and thy should be changed to you and your for easier reading, I decided to alter nothing.
Originally, I felt that these writings were specifically for me, but then I was asked to compile the writings alongside images of my own artwork. At the time I found it difficult to see a purpose in this but shortly after this task began, I discovered that it gave me much joy. The paintings and sculptures had already been created over a long period of time. Most were exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, and all had been photographed on completion, some as far back as 1984. Much of the sculpture has inclusions of semi precious stones and crystal geodes. I was amazed at the way the verse related to particular images long after these images had been created and how so much meaning was given to aspects of these creations that had previously left me pondering. On completion of this request it was possible to see that there was a journey of sorts recorded in the writings. But better still – a means by which the journey came about.
This journey has taught me much. In retrospect, many answers have been given to things not understood until now. The writings in this book have, for me, been the means by which my path has set its new course and to share them with others gives me genuine pleasure. I lay no claim to these verses as I have no awareness of a thought process while writing them down but the addition of a name at the end of each piece (the same in most cases) indicates to me that we are able to be guided in such matters by a source or energy that we are unable to explain. It is always there, this link, this golden thread of Truth. We just have to use it.
The book is almost complete. Its compilation has given me much joy. Although most of the artwork was done over the last thirty years, putting it all together has provided the inspiration needed to deal with my convalescence and to allow the healing to take place. The journey continues.
Click on the arrows to scroll through some sample pages of the book.
An Antipodean Artist Abroad
I am not sure myself just which category this book would fit into. I intended it to be an art book, but when I looked at each painting, memories flooded into my mind. Times spent over a period of nearly forty years, with wonderful people, a multitude of alfresco meals in sun soaked Mediterranean countries, of food simmered in rich sauces infused with garlic and aromatic herbs, or a simple picnic of fresh bread, cheese and olives accompanied by unsophisticated local wines. They were wonderful memories.
The paintings in this book cover a span of more than forty years. Being fortunate in having a very loving and generous family, plus friends in the Northern Hemisphere, has made it possible to travel and paint in countries that would otherwise have been completely out of my reach – New Zealand being as far away from the rest of the world as you could possibly imagine – with the exception of that very cold continent below us.
In the past, whenever I have picked up a book about another artist’s work, I have always felt a desire to know something about that particular artist, what they looked like and how they happened to paint what they did. I decided that that is exactly what I would do – a book on how the paintings there-in came into being!
An Artist’s Island
Mallorca lies to the east of the southern coast of Spain and is one of a group of islands, including Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera called The Balearic Islands. This book is about my experiences while painting many aspects of Mallorca. It tells of happy times and accounts some of the problems facing an artist painting in a different land.
It was a very different island then from the island of today. Everywhere you went you saw the islanders going about their daily chores in the same mode that they have used for centuries. Fields were tilled using simple, if not somewhat archaic machines, scythes were a common sight, and windmills turned gently in the breeze. Donkeys, the true beasts of burden, pulled carts and carried large baskets loaded with produce for the markets. Grain was tossed into the air from large wicker trays to separate the grain from the husk. There were no motorways, only narrow roads that provided access to most of the island. Palma was a bustling, exciting city that gave city dwellers and visitors alike all that they required.
More importantly, this book shows how paintings can record an era that has now passed, and how they can give an insight into the life of the people, that is in many cases no longer able to be experienced.