Friday, 23 December 2011

What A Life !

Howzabout that then.... I'm in the January edition of Essex Life !! Very many thanks to Jonathan King for thinking of me and writing the article.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A short walk but the journey is long

I have everything up to date and finished in the studio. What a relief. 
I like the serenity of this piece. The more I look at it the more I like it. The temptation to clutter it with boats was big. But it doesn't need it. The calm water and drifting gulls finding moments in time and space. Memories lifting out of the water, leaving no trace.

I can now start on the 'Pilgrimage'. For weeks now I have been carrying a small book around with me, jotting down ideas, words, scribbles, scraps of magazine cut outs etc.
I know where the pilgrimage is going, I just need to gather everything together and start making a work. I sat for a long while looking at the blank white canvas, make a start, make a the end I got some very dilute paint and threw it on, letting it dribble down the the white gesso. 

I also really like the idea of making a wooden 'book'. Something with hinges that opens like a triptych. Like opening a book on my life, a short walk from here to there. I need to start the walking. Today, with a beautiful start, the sun breaking through the rising mist, was the perfect day to walk at Alresford Creek.

Such a beautiful spot. There are not many houses I really covet, but this one I do. The perfect setting as far as I'm concerned. Well ok there is a gravel pit close by, but it's still lovely. Right on the edge of the creek. wading birds and clanking halliards are all that disturb the peace. Who needs a garden when you can walk out of the door straight on to this?

The sunlight on the mud is lovely, making it look metallic. reminding me again of gold leaf on a triptych.
Where do I go?, why do I go? Do words explain the picture.

A view like this really needs no words to explain. It communicates a truth beyond speech or silence. Triggering something deep.

A disused boat shed. Rusty hinges, rotting wood, tangled corrugated iron, steel left in the salt water to rust.
(note to self)

Footprints in the mud.

Channels in the mud resembling an Andy Goldsworthy.

It's all in the subtleties, that's where the discoveries are.

Friday, 28 October 2011


I am working on a collaboration with a group of fellow artists and like minds. We are planning a travelling show of our work for next year. An exciting venture where four people who work using different media are coming together under a working exhibition title of 'Pilgrimage'. We have a couple of venues booked and await news on a couple of others watch this space!

‘A Pilgrimage is a journey of risk and renewal. For a journey without challenge has no meaning; one without purpose has no soul, by difinition it is life changing. A pilgrimage to lose yourself or to find yourself’ – Phil Coustineau

I want this show to be an opportunity to steer myself away from work I have been doing over the last couple of years...whether this actually happens, remains to be seen! I am hugely inspired by the work of land artists such as Richard Long, Hamish Fulton and Robert Smithson. Words and calligraphy have an important role in my work, not only for their meaning but also their pattern qualities and the shapes they make on the page. I love the idea of using words to map a walk and video footage to create an atmosphere....the sound of the walkers quick breath or the sound of footsteps. I love the impermanence of land art.

My pilgrimage is to the sea, it is both renewing and balancing. I am constantly drawn, into my car down the busy carriage way, until I reach my destination. The smell of the sea, the pungent smell of seaweed and mud, the scrunch of shells and pebbles beneath my feet, the clanking of halliards in the wind. I sit with a big rock I my hands, letting it find its own center. The balancing of a rock is like the balancing of my body in zazen, each vertebrae stacked one on top of the other, and when the balance s finally found, not a muscle is needed to hold me in place. I sway slightly in the light breeze. In the same way a stone rocks gently as gravity tries to pull it one way or the other. It takes concentration to feel your way, adjusting slightly as the weight shifts. When the rock eventually finds its centre it suddenly becomes weightless, I can feel it stand away from my finger tips, the whole universe is channelled through that balancing rock into the earth. The once incredibly heavy lump of a boulder can balance on the tiniest slither , its an extraordinary feeling. Sometimes they only last long enough for me to stand in awe and other times they balance seemingly precariously for hours until a vibration sends them crashing.

I also love to walk along the rope walk at Brightlingsea, or along the old railway track, so this may form part of my work.....There are Buddhist monks who live on Mount Hiei in Japan, who since the 9th C, have circumnavigated the mountain so many times, that after seven years they have walked the the equivalent of the circumference of the globe...WOW. Not sure yet how this will transpose onto a canvas....we'll see !.....exciting.

I think it was Hamish Fulton who said that 'Art is not about form, it's where that form takes you'
In other words, it's not the finished art work, but what it invokes in the viewer that is important.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

All done

These will be on show at the Waterside Marina gallery Brightlingsea from Nov 12th for a month. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ize in a raaat muddwle

I'm feeling claustrophobic ....big time ! I'm in a mess, I am trying to do too many things at once and thus spreading myself too thinly over everything. I have 3 projects on the go, planning a very exciting exhibition with a couple of friends with like minds, for next year and have taken on a commission. My 'Winter' job is kicking off and I need to keep half an eye on the wrinklies. Friends are being pushed to one side and I don't like it!! My daily zazen practice is being squeezed. My head feels like the scrapbook effect of my studio wall.
I love to cut out scraps of ideas and stick them on my wall, along with notes about where pictures are hanging, a photo of beautiful daughter, Johnny Depp (sado, lol), and a looky likey of a friend in a faraway country whom I would like to see again. A Tibetan pink tourmaline ring I want, and a shack on a deserted beach , called 7ubi, that I will have.

I've started some small collages on board. I love to use words in my work and so I am basing these collages on a lovely poem about being grateful for everything in our lives......including the rubbish stuff. Which generally turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

Still fiddling around with images and experimenting with printing words onto textured paper using my laser printer.

A lovely lady who lives in Brightlingsea, has asked me to paint something for her, for a particular spot in a room over looking over the saltings. A glorious position and I am very jealous! I don't normally take on commissions, as invariably the finished piece is nothing like the idea the client had in mind, and they find it very disappointing ! But this lady is lovely and I have agreed to paint 'something' in a size required, vaguely a subject she is looking for and possibly similar colouring to my other works, with no obligation to part with cash if she doesn't like it.!!! That said, I'm still finding it hugely restricting. I think it's the fear factor of having someone waiting for me to finish and the expectation. Normally if  I don't like something it either gets painted over or pushed to the back of the studio. Pressure.

Laying down some initial washes.

My daily zazen practice is being squished and I am only managing 15 mins or so before the day kicks in. Either I need to get up earlier, which in the winter is a big problem, or I need to start my working day at 9.30 ! I find 'sitting' before anything else makes the day go more smoothly, or I go more smoothly! It's like stone balancing. Once I have balanced my spine, body & mind everything else during the day just seems to slot in. .....and when I don't do it, then the day feels awkward. People succeed in winding me up, or plans don't work, 

This capping verse for a koan I am working on, just seems to hit the spot today.

Right within light there is darkness;
right within darkness there is light.
going to where life springs forth,
the body of suchness is revealed.

Monday, 17 October 2011


Walking along by the sea, dreaming a dream of what can be. 

On recent walk I came across an interesting bit of old pallet that had been washed up. It sat around on the window sill in my studio, while I dreamt of living by the sea. A box of metal detecting finds lay next to it. Slowly slowly pieces began to take shape and suggest eyes and a fin. This is what finally emerged. I think I will scribe some words on the top flat bit, not sure yet!
If you would like a closer look, Alex is having a show at the Coach House coffee shop next month and I shall put this in, along with another new piece of work.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Each time the wave breaks

The sketch is from my ideas book- Inspired by the Haiku below. The finished painting is now languishing at Sea Green in Brightlingsea.

Each time the wave breaks
The crow 
Gives a little jump

~ Nissha ~

'We live in a dynamic universe and we are called upon to respond. Haiku writers, respond to the world through their writing. Haiku, by revealing the hidden affinity between things, confirms the basic interconnectedness of all life.'
When I feel at odds with the world, when not all is going to plan and I can't see the bigger picture, I think of this haiku. Responding to the moment is the key.

The raven becomes one with the waves and I go back to where I started.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


I think I first heard the word serendipity, some time back in the 60's on a Dr Who episode ! It's one of those words, that when you are 7 years old or so, kinda sticks in your head as being  funny.....anyway, it's a very useful word. Today it is the happy accident I discovered whilst trying to mop up too much paint from a canvas. Using 'Juan sheet of Plenty' Lay the paper onto the paint, lift  off to find a really nice texture remaining. Repeat as many times as necessary !

Here I'm painting three canvases using some really fab bowl shapes. Each bowl has a different texture, one is crackle glazed, one is turned wood which has a really nice grainy texture, and the pair are ceramic with swirly detail. I want to keep the 3 works, not so much as a trio that can't be separated, but just 3 different works following a theme.

I have used tissue paper within the bowl shapes to add a dimension. The colours are muted and of a similar tone but slightly different hues.

Must get on !

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Making the most of it

I suspect this is going to be the best day until sometime next April....not to waste a drop of the rare October sunshine, I headed off down to Brightlingsea. It was an exceptionally low/high tide today making the creek look like an arena for mud wrestling !  A touch of stone balancing was in order. Even though my concentration was broken by a gathering crowd!!! I did manage to balance 3 impressive rocks but only captured 1 on film. The other two toppled before I could position myself with the camera.. Although the point is not to boost my ego with 'proof' , it is nevertheless nice to keep a record.

A long walk along through the salt marshes, watching the wading birds frantically feeding, before the tide rushes back in along the well worn gullies......I do love this bit of coast. Not traditionally pretty but it feels very real.