Listen to the Land
Listen to the Land was the call back to my own roots. My childhood in the north spent living seasonally according to the berries of the summer, the hunting of the fall, the gatherings of the winter and the runoff of the spring. According to the traditions of my English settler roots and the mixing of the northern and aboriginal community. Listen to the Land became my initial drive to paint. It was a call back to a simpler way and back to harmony with the natural forces. The complexities of today’s world can find powerful solutions sitting and waiting for us if we stop and listen.
I painted The Moose one night, a creature that played an awe inspiring and life sustaining role in my northern culture. The moose drew me and invited a new consciousness. He became The Witness and all that the witness brings in with their presence. He required more of me and began the series.
The Ancestors were another step into listening to the land. I have been taught over and again in my work with aboriginal communities to seek from the elders and to sit at the feet of wisdom with both ears open. The elders teach that the trees are our ancestors and I have come to remember the solace and insight that comes from the simple act of sitting under their branches and leaning on their trunks. I remembered the voices of my own elders, the strength and grace that they lived through hard times and changing ways. The knowing they hold is offered with outstretched limbs pointing to truths that guide our way.
Finding Our Way
The migration of the salmon brought about a loosening of my brushstrokes as they flowed forward, and the paintings became Finding Our Way from the ocean world, back to the hills of their birth. There they are joined by the migration of the leaves falling from the skies, also received back into the earth, the source. The completion of the circle.
Where the World's Meet
As I painted through all these series, I grappled with the complexities of my work. With the lives of children who are seeking reconnection. I came to the edge and found myself at the shores of our coastline – Where the Worlds Meet. The coastline was the outer reach. Running infinite possibility in either direction. But it was also where we come to the end of our comfortable existence, face to face with the rest. All the other worlds and ways. It spoke volumes to me - of personal and cultural identity that I was working through with the children, and ultimately being required to re-examine for myself. Where the Worlds Meet confronted, worked its messages through my painting and led me onwards.
This is the requirement of our worlds coming together. One way or another. With curiosity or with conflict. The choice is ours to enter intentionally or unconsciously. An outcome will occur no matter how we go about it. As we remain open, reconciliation with ourselves, our people, and our land becomes the completion of the circle. Finding our way back to the source. It is an individual journey as much as a collective and political one.
Motion and Light
So I just kept painting and eventually came face to face with the makings of a love story. Something begged a new question, one of living this out. Motion and Light looks quietly to raptors, creatures of awe who live naturally, calmly, powerfully. Between the worlds of sky, land and water. Letting us consider the spirit of this work we are living.
In recent years our local mountainside has been calling with renewed urgency. The Keepers came into focus. What is that love story and the legacy we leave? The great spirits of the forest hold out to us the responsibility. After all, we too are part of the natural world. How do we join that awe to honour both the magnificence and the vulnerability? Come then, walk through the ancient forests and join the conversation it begins.
I began 2014 with another series ...At One. It is about how we handle life when the stakes are high. Beckoning our courage in the face of vulnerability. When integrity is called for not by choice but by the ultimate nature of the situation. It invites us to show up fully and with our highest intention. It offers a place for our spirit to break free and set out beyond the shores of the comfortable and the known.
2014 closed with the next realm showing its presence. I continued exploring further into the heart of the forest, The Spirit that Lives and the legacy we leave. I found myself painting the spirits of the trees that will remain after all is said and done. There is much to consider in this meditation... so very relevant to our current times. Both here on the Sunshine Coast and well beyond. We are all spirits living out a physical realm...
The Land We Share
2015 became an upheaval of my world and moved into a year of transformation. The ecosystems of our physical and spiritual realms hold the essence of life itself. It makes us remember that the actual molecules of our body are as old as the universe. My collaboration with Rick O'Neill and Candace Campo, explores our journey of connectedness and and invites a renewal through The Land We Share. The grizzlies are returning to this area. Restoration and co-creation is possible when we enter true relationship and receive the teachings of the land that are known by First Nations. The earth has called these teachings back and is offering them to the rest of us who have forgotten what we once knew. Reconciliation is a personal journey that starts inside each of us.