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: