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!
Arms of a Cross mark doorway into the square setting out stable foundations on the earth. Each door also is a doorway out into the regions of the cosmos. Through these you enter the model gradually moving into the central bindu via the 9 layers, or chakra. Each of these 9 levels have a distinct shape, name and are associated with a number of aspects of the Great, or Supreme, Mother.
In essence, you enter the constructs of the physical world and our bodies, bound within it, to ultimately experience the union of Shiva and Shakti in the Point of unity at the centre, the highest peak of the mountain.
Every yantra has a mantra(s), tones in ancient Sanskrit that activate and invoke the power of the geometric model. During Sri Yantra puja about an hour of these are chanted by the swami. The presiding deity of the Sri Yantra is Maha Tripura Sundari, the Great Mother. Each layer radiating out from the bindu has mudras, or deities, residing within them. This is describe in the Sri Devi Khadgamala Stotram, a hymn to the Divine Mother, which 'bestows a garland of swords upon those who recite it, symbol of the energy that enables us to transcend attachment and rise on the spiritual level'. This Sanskrit stotra is a progressional worship of the many Goddess forms within the Sri Yantra and is considered as the highest form of worship to the Devi (Godess).
This is a simplified description of a multi-step, sacred ceremony that is many centuries old, with layers of rich symbolism. Doing a full worship is extremely difficult to do properly and few can do it!
The Sri Yantra puja is said to remove all negative things from your life.
Experiencing the Sri Yantra Puja
This summer Jaswinder Chali kindly invited me to join her and participate in a Sri Yantra Puja held in the Adhya Shakti Mataji Temple in Uxbridge, UK, a great honour. It was the first time Acharya Umesh Tiwariji (Instagram: Acharya Shri Umesh Tiwari) had visited the UK. He is a noted master trainer in the Sri Yantra Sadhana from Shrishri Vidhyadham.
You can experience the mantras of the Sri Yantra Puja by Acharya Umesh Tiwariji in the youtube video below.
Numerous times I have had conversations about how worthwhile it would be to teach children the significance of mathematics using examples of geometry around us in Nature. In fact, using examples everything we interact with and the many fun ways in which we use it - as in our games, clothes, music and so many other relevant ways that a child can easily relate to, and understand it.
Sometimes I dabble with the idea of producing a book for children describing the richness of the language of numbers. Maybe I will do one day, but in the meantime I searched around to see if anyone else had already done so.......and discovered.....
This Disney animation, "Donald in Mathmagic Land" was recommended to me. It is an example of how much more interesting, and memorable, mathematics could be made using visual, real examples from around us.
"The Greedy Triangle"....and several books that were already showing how fun the world of geometric shapes can be for the younger audience. In fact there were DOZENS approaching geometry-shapes and colours from different 'angles'!
Books on geometric shapes for young readers
"The I Hate Mathematics! book" by Marilyn Burns - '....a way of looking at the world and that it can be relevant to everyday life (Street maths) and fun'.
"Shapes, Shapes, Shapes" by Tana Hoban - 'Whenever you are - inside or outside - there are shapes to discover.'
All encompassing circle
Rings, or Circles, bind everything within as one. It is the nature the circle to encompass, hold and support whatever is contained within it, like a bowl. All geometric shapes are constructed with their corners touching the Circle from which they originate and are maintained. Indeed, all forms of existence shaped by geometric principles are contained within the circular vessel of reality.
THE INTENT and nature of the Centre radiates out in all directions, as light does. So if it is negative, or "rotten at the core", this also spreads outwards. Much like the inner Circles around a source of dark power when corrupted will influence outer Circles to eventually affect the whole community revolving around this source. Light and love will permeate the Circle, so whenever you are central to a Circle radiate out positive, loving intent.
For more on the characteristics of Circles and other geometric shapes please refer to my books in The Gateway Series.
The Lord of the Rings
The famous Bodlaien libraries in Oxford, UK, are holding a major exhibition of JRR Tolkien's work from the 1st June 2018, including his illustrations, poems, letters and personal items. As a fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, which I have read several times, I am looking forward to gaining an insight into the creative process of this gifted author. The binding power of rings and the significance of the intent of the ring bearers, being destructive dark or healing, loving light, are central to the success these epic stories.
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.
The concept of Bio-Architecture emerged from Roger Green's 'International Sacred Geometry and Ecology' conferences. It is a term coined by Dan Winter who inspired many architects to use the geometry seen in nature's creations and integrate it into 'living' architecture. These principles are also incorporated into other environmental designs such as the Bloom the Desert projects.
Mike approaches his designs with the intent that everything is alive, interconnected and conscious. In essence a building is a living form! Being within such structures is invigorating, life sustaining, up-lifting....life enhancing.
Bio-Architecture conferences have been held in Budapest (2007) and South America. As a general theme, the merging of nature and man in designs is increasingly significant.
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:
MusicMadeVisible app Music has always been associated with cymatics, the geometry within sound waves, and there are many examples where cymatic imagery is used as a visual, dynamic art form complementing the originating sounds. It is VERY exciting that John Stuart Reid, inventor of the CymaScope, has launched MusicMadeVisible. It is an app that allows anyone to capture the dynamic geometry of their musical creations, or recorded sounds such nature and even their our own voice! It is a brilliantly accessible way to harness the power of the cymascope and the apps potential for creating art forms is limitless.
Here are examples of the cymatics of two very different types of music - Pink Floyd's 'Welcome to the Machine' and dulcet tones of 'Clair de Lune':