VISITING JOHN WATSON SCHOOL - New Beginnings and Hope - An Oxfordshire Artweeks inspired exhibition 2021
John Watson School
John Watson School is a community special school located in Wheatley, Oxford. It "offers a relevant and balanced education that recognises individual achievement and prepares each individual well for their future lives". The Arts are very important part of the school's curriculum, serving many purposes. It allows many of the children to express their emotions and experiences in a safe and therapeutic way. Some of the children are also quite talented young artists!
New Beginnings and Hope
'New Beginnings and Hope' is the theme of an Oxfordshire Artweeks inspired art exhibition in Spring 2021 at the school.
"The aim of the week was to celebrate our student’s work after a particularly challenging year and every student has a piece of work represented in the final display. Each pupil joined in with a week of creative experiences involving painting and printing, taking photographs and making sculptures."
Every class selected an artist they felt inspired new beginnings and hope and the children painted their own version of one of their artworks. The results were stunning! Each piece of art reflected the personality and styles of the individual children. In many instances the art provided valuable insights into the children's inner selves and perceptions of the world around them.
A VITUAL GALLERY is available to see on the school's website. A small selection of the magnificent artwork is in the gallery below.
Wish Upon a Star
It was an honour to be selected as the 'muse' by Adele reception class (5 year olds) as an artist reflecting 'new beginnings and hope' in their artwork. Out of the blue I received a lovely email from Jennie Eyles, telling me her class were using Wish Upon a Star as the inspiration for their own artwork to, 'send a message out to the universe'. The class were using it to engage in their own sensory exploration. Jennie had discovered Wish on the Oxfordshire Artweeks website.
Well done Adele class! Your artwork and exhibition were amazing. I really enjoyed meeting you all, seeing your art, and your stunning tie-dye t-shirts.
Adele reception class - 'WISH' ARTWORKS
After a wonderful tour by Deputy Head Sue Woodward a group photograph with a few of the children was taken beside the Tree of Hope. Each child had hung a dove or rainbow decorated in their own way, sending out their hopes into the universe.
Paint Along With Karen
At Cornerstone Arts Centre (on 14th March 2020) I ran a Paint Along With the Artist workshop as part of International Women's Week.
Using acrylics has the main benefit of drying fairly quickly so we could add layers and do some acrylic flow with some success. The them was going to be zoning areas of square blocks but it became very apparent that I could not 'box' people into doing this. Instead I encouraged different shapes of colour areas. Acrylic flow then integrate or differentiated these zones, plus it added an element of chaos to the order. This certainly contributed to energising the artworks, which were very static.
'Expression' by Karen L French
Well done to the 7 artists for their stunning 'expressions' of themselves!
STEP 1 - First a Brusho water colour background was created, a chaotic cloud of potential, of many vibrant colours in the void. Then I had the urge to create circles in random locations.
3 'major' circles resulted, each a container and also a point, placed a-round a central copper circle. This middle copper circle is the focal Point of the painting.
Creating accurate circles with clearing defined edges is tricky. Any slight deviation or indent immediately shows. Straight edges are much easier! All the circles were made using 3 layers of lustre, applied with circular strokes, then polished and sealed.
STEP 2 and 3 - More circles of copper lustre were added, moving freely about the energetic domain. They all lie outside of the space delineated by the Trinity.
Each of the 'major' circles in the Trinity were haloed by a geometric shape - red circle:green square (space), green circle:pink circle (time), rose pink circle:green octagon (Directions). These 'major' circles are bound by force fields (symbolised by the yellow lines) to create a sacred space.
3 is the number of creation, of Mind Body Soul, different states of Being (such as liquid, solid, gas). From the Centre of 3 a created Being emerges.
The central copper circle, or sphere, has a crystal code within it that is the basis of the structure of the Being emerging out of the quantum field.
In Step 3, gold lines and patterns where then added around each of the shapes. Recognising the sacred nature of the creative process through the use of geometry and colours from light.
QUANTUM BEING - So much like the emergence of a form of being out of the Void, constructed out of geometry and light, so too did the geometric grid in the painting Quantum Being emerge out of the canvas.
Using it as a meditative tool for visualisation you can either focus of the centre and move outwards to see what form of being emerges, providing you with some insight for interpretation depending upon what is created. Or, you can choose your own body, or that of another object/animal/person/plant, and move inwards into their central code in the quantum field. At the end of your meditation move back to the point where you started. Reflect on the impressions you had as you move in and/or outwards, and also any insights you gained.
Alchemical Art is transformative, changing anyone who works with them. This can happen merely by looking at the artwork or being in its proximity. Each piece is contained within the sacred space of its boundaries and is a fusion of the dynamics of geometric forms, emotive colours and one or more of the Classical Elements. The latter may be symbolically represented in the image or made out of specific materials due to their symbolism or vibration. In this instance crystals were placed on four paintings of my alchemical art paintings to incorporate their qualities. The results were stunning to look at and to work with. It would have been interesting to add further Elements, such as bowls of water and burning essence for air and fire, and also to use sound to activate them.
Each of the alchemical art crystal grids were made by some participants of a crystal group run by Karin Bain. Karin has written an e-book called Networking With Crystals that will soon be available in paper form as well.
Crystal grids take many forms, they can be simple, intricate or complete. Invariably there is sacred geometry in their layout and so they are actually a yantra, or "thought form", the principle of all man-made sacred geometry artworks and structures. By adding the vibrations of specific crystals the crystal grid yantra becomes a pulsating vehicle for connecting your Mind to the underlying basis of reality. The effects are very personal.
Yantras are covered in detail in The Gateway Series books and I also recommend the book Yantra by Madhu Khanna.
Any sacred site using sacred geometry and specific earth materials brings additional vibrational qualities to their function and use. For example, Stonehenge and its bluestone rocks that were deliberately brought a great distance for their vibrational purposes. In the aerial image below notice how the central stone grid is enclosed within a larger Circle. It is part of a larger site that has several smaller yantra that all work together. This sacred structure is a huge crystal yantra that still has the capacity to draw thousands of people to it.
It was a unique experience painting with acrylics in torrential rain showers during this year's En-Plein in Windsor. As painting en-plein is a rare experience for me I took improvised rain cover, which was not sufficient for the heavy rain and wind. Regulars had an array of quite amazing kit that kept them dry, such as an umbrella with a zip-on sheet to make a cosy shelter.
My painting was literally washed off twice, as I battled to dry it in-between each downpour. So instead I did a high speed pen drawing but it got to the point that my hands were so cold they were shaking. Another shower and more wind send me packing to the welcome shelter of Windsor town centre. My resulting piece is not polished but I like the ghostly image of a smaller shadowed castle within the larger drawing. At the beginning, in the sunshine, I was going to do a smaller castle with its windows and more of the formal east garden, but soon realised I wasn't going to have sufficient time outside to complete so much detail.
It is a rare privilege to be able to go into the east gardens of Windsor Castle. These are the Queen's private gardens where she walks her corgis. A dog bowl of water by the stairs was a reminder of this. I chose to paint in these gardens because of the formal geometry used in their design.
These three images are (left to right): Canvas ready to go, my view through scaffolding, stock image of the east gardens.
These pictures are my washed off painting on the left to which I added some colour.
This year all the entrants' paintings were displayed under cover in the Windsor shopping area by the station. A line of easels ran along the shop front windows and made a very interesting display. Many people had a close look and voted on their favourite painting.
Overall a throughly enjoyable day as it was artistically challenging and sociable.
Archetypal symbolism using a variety of geometric shapes is ancient, stretching back to the dawn of man's earliest artworks as seen in petroglyphs around the world. Our ancestors’ simple drawings on rocks and artefacts gave tangible form to the harmonious patterns of life and the intangible order uniting the Universe. They give 'form to the formless' and are abstract expressions of the science manifesting reality.
Ueshiba Morihei (founder of aikido):
Down the generations all cultures have used simple shapes such as these and they, like Zen artists, had the same profound understanding that the simple patterns shaping the Universe were themselves sacred and empowered. Other examples, used extensively in my books, are yantras and mandalas. Tantra Yoga is the path of union with the Absolute through geometric visualization in Tantric Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Central to Tantrism are elaborate and precise geometric patterns, known as mandalas or yantras, some of which are thousands of years old. In this tradition the triangle, circle and square were significant Vedic forms which symbolised spirituality, evolution and the Earth respectively. Additionally in both Indian and Japanese esoteric teachings, such as Mikkyo, these shapes represent earth (square), water (circle) and fire (triangle).
Simple shapes embodying intricate complexity, the circle, square and triangle structure and bind the 3 profound concepts of time (evolution: Mind, serenity and perfection:water), space (Earth:Body:earth) and being (spirituality:solidity and applied control:fire). The empty circle, the vessel for all geometry shapes, when totally empty is the essence of enlightenment.
Here is my version of these timeless concepts:
All ready for Bucks Open Studios 2017!
A wonderful space for exhibiting a large selection of my art, cards and books.
Set within my exhibition is a display of, bespoke milliner, Tracy Field's beautiful creations.
I even managed to find an alcove in which to work, so I am really enjoying myself.
'Brush With Fame' on Sunday 28th May 2017 - a tremendous initiative by the Bucks Open Studios organisers to encourage people to visit artists studios in the coming weeks. I was one of the lucky artists to be there, in Milton Keyes, painting Michael Praed's portrait over 4 hours.
After the first hour of nerves I settled into the process (it has been many, many years since I last did a portrait). It was wonderful that so many people, including other artists, really appreciated my unusual approach to doing his portrait as an abstract painting using mixed media (acrylic, liquid water colour).
Watch this space, more portraits to come...
Here we go
The end result
Wishing everyone a very happy 2017
2 + 1 + 7 = 10 the Divine Light
The end (01...10) is also the beginning, it is the eternal Moment.
In astrology the 'Wheel of Fortune' works with the 'Star' so we have a year filled with hope and optimism. As we start a new cycle of the numbers the Wheel turns and brings in a new 9 year cycle.
'Follow Your Star' and in every eternal moment be centered, fully conscious of your dreams and choices as they influence the direction of your path and circles you move in. Fill your Self with light and be like a radient star. Shine through the veils of illusion to reveal your true Self to the world.
Every image I create is imbued with symbolism - sacred geometry of shapes and patterns, light and colours, flowers, animals, Gods & Goddesses… All are visual expressions of the science manifesting reality. Images for connecting into with your Mind to enhance your experience of reality. To see more in my abstract and conceptual art look beyond the surface images and think of them as a 'thought forms' to blend into and work with.
I often post one of my pieces with a short interpretation and insight for that day. As examples here are a couple that I posted on my facebook page in December 2016. Enjoy!
Infinity and Emotions
Emotions colour our lives. Every time you are triggered by events in your life to feel blue (sadness), see red (anger, hate), feel green (with envy).... they happen to reflect back and show you the inner work you need to do along the Spiral path towards the inner, central Self where unconditional Joy is experienced.
Look at the subtle images within the paintings, which were not created intentionally. For example I see a swan at the centre. Swans symbolise grace, the awakening power of the inner Self, balance, inner beauty and the 'rising glory' of a new day.
As 2017 approaches here is a thought for the new year. Allow your potential to unfurl to reveal you in all your splendour. Awaken your senses, exeperience the colours of life and learn from them.