Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A beginning, an end, a new painting and Ladytron

16" x 12"
Acrylic on hardboard panel
March 2018

The year has begun with an intensity that has shifted me along the path to wherever I am taking my art (or wherever it is taking me). It has been an exhilarating and at times fascinating ride!

As the entire first 5 weeks of the year were consumed with getting my exhibition ready, the metamorphosis occurred without much conscious attention from me. On the Saturday night of the exhibition event, a meditation revealed that a completion had occurred, and the "first phase" of my artistic journey was completed. The exhibition event itself was a full-stop marking the milestone, and in the meditation it was Khonsu who appeared..

I reflected on this days later in the wake of uninstalling the event, and finalizing all that came after. It occurred to me that it was Khonsu that appeared in a dream after my first visit to Egypt in 2010. This was the real beginning of my Kemetic journey.

Sometime during those days a dream unfolded that somehow consolidated the Saturday night meditation transmission, and I begun working on a sketch that bought together all 3 elements: the milestone of the exhibition, the initial appearance of Khonsu all those years ago, and the dream in the wake of the exhibition event. The painting Completion is the result of this, and is a great start to the new works that have begun since Neo Pharaonic was staged.

In the work, the Netjer Khonsu sits atop a cascade of mounds amongst a temple complex. Water can be seen coming from 3 sides. He emits divine rays from His hands in an act of exorcism, which is what the hieroglyphs say.

In the wake of this curious time, Ladytron have released their new single, The Animals, which also has a somewhat magical bearing on all of this.

I have noticed that Ladytron pops up as "markers" of various events of my life. They named an album that summed up a significant period in my life relating to my other (non - artistic) career (Gravity The Seducer), and released it at a time where said career was undergoing a major transition. I bought that cd in a shop that is now the actual location of my current work place, and think about that every time I use that particular area where the cash register used to be. That album was the last studio album before their long hiatus and not long after its release I recommenced my painting career. The new single is their first in 7 years.

Velocifero is the first album of theirs that I bought and turned me on to them, and marked another significant period -  moving back to Australia and living in Melbourne again. I always think about the time I had settling back in after living overseas for so long and how much that album anchored me  and helped me feel settled.

I created significant paintings listening to Helen Marnie's Crystal World and then Strange Words And Weird Wars during the group's hiatus. The latter cd was my most listened to record in 2017 (along with Blondie's Pollinator).

The new single is brilliant. I played it some 40 times in the first week of release. It is the most perfect comeback song for the group that I could imagine. The title also relates to my new painting featured in this post, although the meaning conveyed in the song is different to the meaning in the painting.

Here is to new art, Netjer, and new beginnings.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Memorial I, II, and III: a triptych honouring the tomb of David Syme by Walter Butler

The paintings represent 3 dimensions of my understanding and interaction with the monument, each with its own theme, as suggested by the subtitle after each one.

Memorial I: Alternate Past

Memorial I: An Alternate Past speculates on the nature of the burial vault of the monument (which is hidden) as well as if the structure had been built post the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb which came 12 years later. It's element is the Duat.

Memorial II: Reason

Memorial II: Reason addresses the monument's function beyond what appears apparent. Its element is the Sky.

Memorial III: Legacy

Memorial III: Legacy speaks to the legacy Mr. Syme left behind and his impact on Melbourne as a city and culture.

The Memorial triptych is a reinterpretation and re-imagining of the monument designed by Walter Richmond Butler (1864 - 1949). Butler was one of Melbourne's most celebrated architects famous for his contribution to the Arts And Crafts architectural movement. His re-imagining of Trajan's Kiosk on Philae (Pilak) island in Egypt is surely one of the most spectacular Egyptianizing monuments of the modern era. The design and structure of the monument are represented across all 3 paintings featuring all 14 capitals, views from every side, above, and an imagining of the burial vault within, the only part of the monument not visible to the public.

It is also a tribute to David Syme and a salute to one of the most interesting and intriguing figures from colonial era Victoria. I could not paint such a series of works without investigation into the life and legacy of this man, and my paintings reflect this.

Significantly from my point of view as an artist concerned with the re manifestation of all things Ancient Egyptian today is the spiritual element that the monument conveys. Egyptomania had already emerged as a thing in the time that the monument was created, but it was only a trickle of the tidal wave it was bound to become a few years later. This memorial surely was - and is - a major homage to those Egyptianizing trends, as well as the information that was being uncovered about Ancient Egyptian religion and spirituality that was only just beginning to be understood thanks to the cracking of the hieroglyphic code in then recent history. As mentioned, the monument was erected some 12 years before the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb, which was when Egyptomania really came into vogue.

The artist will donate a significant portion of funds from sale of this work to having the monument  -which is heritage listed - restored.

The Memorial Triptych was completed in February 2018 in time for my debut exhibition, Neo Pharaonic.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Profane Egyptologists

I am very pleased that my painting This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again is featured on the cover of Dr. Paul Harrison's forthcoming book, Profane Egyptologists.

Dr. Harrison has written about the modern revival of the Ancient Egyptian religion today, and I am very looking forward to reading the book when it is published later this year.

For information about the creation of my painting you can view the original blog post. One piece of information that I did not include in that post relates to the very first sketch I made of the work that I remained faithful to in the final rendering that is known today: it was made on the train that goes from New York to Boston. I had a little booth like thing that I shared with another bloke, complete with table. We did not carry on hardly any conversation with each other, but when he glanced up and saw the sketch he remarked, "I love that Ancient Egyptian stuff - cool man". (I was on my way to the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts where further inspiration awaited!)

The painting was later to be accepted as a finalist in the 64th Blake Prize Director's Cut - the 3rd of my paintings to be so honoured.

You can pre-order a copy of Profane Egyptologists here.

This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again
Acrylic on linen
72" x 48"
September 2015

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Do Not Tear The Cocoon

Do Not Tear The Cocoon
Acrylic on gessoed board
20" x 27.5"
This painting is one of the most direct statements of personal initiation so far.

Conceived in a visit earlier this year to my hometown of Adelaide, and featuring the Adelaide skyline as taken in a photograph by me from the Belair Road hill by the cemetery (cemeteries have played a part in my artwork of this year). As the true yield of the internal process unfolded, so did the painting fully emerge.

The original photo taken as I came from down the hill on Belair Road - note Set statue on my dashboard

The edited photo of the Adelaide skyline featured in the painting

The painting was commenced before Winged Heru and finished after the latter was complete, the image features 9 Netjeru (Heru, Set, Wepwawet, Anpu, Montu, Auset, Nebt-Ht, Serqet and Het-Hrt) and says something of soul anatomy again also (the cars, the cocoon).

The painting is on a gessoed board, acrylic, and measures 20" x 27.5"

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: NebtHt, Serqet, Montu, Anpu

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: Wepwawet, Set, Auset, HetHrt

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: cars and cocoon

Friday, 28 July 2017

Winged Heru

My latest painting is Winged Heru
72" x 48"
Acrylic on linen

The text reads:

Hail Lord Heru
Golden One whose body is sky
And eyes the sun and moon
Lord of the sky
Bone breaker

Grant me the powers
Of strength, courage and perseverance

May this be a million times true now and for eternity

The original sketch that the painting is based on, and which I intended to capture

The outline on the canvas ready to be rendered!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

5 More Essential Oils

Further to my post from last year about my favourite essential oils, I write now of some new discoveries that have really stimulated my ever eager olfactory senses!

I bought these from Eden's Garden, and am really impressed with them.

Muhuhu (Brachylaena hutchinsii)
Native to Kenya and Tanzania the hardwood of the Muhuhu trees is utilized for providing flooring. 

Also known as African Sandalwood, Muhuhu is woody and not unlike sandalwood but take the succinct sandalwood note into a new direction. I felt a different kind of calm when inhaling this, and feel it may even supersede my love for Sandalwood proper!

I have been finishing a large portrait of Heru and felt it was most proper to inhale this scent as I did so.

Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annuum)
Also known as Moroccan Tansy and Moroccan chamomile, this is one that I have wanted to add to my collection for some time. As Blue Tansy was listed in the ingredients of a blend that I recently purchased, I was curious to see if this was the note I could smell and could not identify. It was.

It is related to the chamomile family and so has a chamomile note, but it has a distinctive smell that distinguishes itself from these flowers.

It is a rich bright blue colour that makes me think of the skin of Amon.

Davana (Artemisia pallens)
I had heard about this oil on various sites and publications but was not prepared for the intoxication it brings with it. It has a grape-like smell with a hint of tea, and is very very uplifting. I have read that it helps with depression and has been used in sacred traditions as a fumigant.

The oil is indeed extracted from a plant that bears grapes as fruit, but apparently the whole plant is used in the essential oil distillation process.

Valerian (Valeriana wallichii) 
I have not found use for valerian as a herb when suggested as a sleep aid, but the essential oil is another story. It has a heady smell that is indeed sleep enticing, very calming, and reminds me somewhat of vetiver. There is also a wood note to this oil.

Nootka Tree (Cupressus nootkatensis) 
This oil smells strongly of pencil shavings, and in this manner it is similar to Arborvitae. It has a richer more solid, full bodied aroma however than the latter, and is most .enticing.