Manifestations of the divine in the everyday
To me, organisms in the natural world are symbols of a higher meaning. The natural world is a ‘language’ which cannot be described in words. It can only be felt. It sounds a note of recognition within me, but what it is that I recognise I cannot explain.
I believe that each living thing contains within it, at some level, a map of the whole. All things in nature are interconnected. The world is composed of living strands which interlock and intertwine endlessly. Where does one thing end, and the next begin?
In the four large works below I chose to use images of Buddhist mudras. Mudras are ritualistic hand gestures used as a preparation for meditation. The mudras provide visual symbols which represent a connection between the divine and the mundane. They also have a strong personal meaning for me, since I learned them while I was doing Buddhist practices. The mudras I have used represent four of the eight traditional offerings which are often placed on a Buddhist shrine: bathing water, flowers, perfume and music. The titles of the drawings are the Sanskrit names for the offerings.
Hands are doubly appropriate as symbols of divinity because they are the tools of creation. So, these drawings can be seen both as representations of the act of creation, and the results of that creation. These four drawings began with an underpainting in watercolour. I then worked into the painting with pencil and pastel.
Ghande mudra (perfume)
Padyam mudra (bathing water)
Puspe mudra (flowers)
Sabda mudra (music)
Detail of Padyam mudra
Detail of Puspe mudra
The eight smaller works below (gouache, pencil and pastel on board) echo the themes present in the larger works. Each of these shows elements of the natural world entwined in an endless dance. It's not always clear whether the elements are animal, vegetable or mineral. I like the ambiguity of this, and leave the interpretation to the viewer.

All began with an underpainting in gouache. I then worked into the paintings with dry media: pencils and pastel. To some extent I let the underpainting dictate the form of the drawings, so, after starting from an initial concept each work took on a life of its own.
Flower of knowledge
Jewelled serpent
River of life
Strange bedfellows
Awakening garden
Burgeoning secret
Forbidding fruit
Living temple

You may also like

Back to Top