28 February 2010


I remember a short conversation between the Buddha and a philosopher of his time.

"I have heard that Buddhism is a doctrine of enlightenment. What is your method?"

"We walk, we eat, we wash ourselves, we sit down....."

What is so special about that? Everyone walks, eats, washes, sits down...."

"Sir, when we walk, we are aware that we are walking; when we eat, we are aware we are eating.... ...When others walk, eat, wash, or sit down, they are generally not aware of what they doing."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Keys

27 February 2010

Ali Baba

This image I clipped out of an Art magazine here in Australia a few years ago. I had an immediate attraction to it then, and still do today. Its by an Australian artist named Ken Whisson. It was done in 1967. I see that it has infected something within me, for the good, I should add, and it has influenced me in some obscure but concrete way. I just stumbled across it today in the computer (Ali Baba's Digital Cave).

More to be revealed, as they say.

25 February 2010


TO the 6th Asian Pacific Triennial contemporary art exhibition in Brisbane, Queensland the other day. An interesting show of various artists from the pacific rim filled the cavernous new wing of the Queensland Museum. Somehow, I felt that many of the works on exhibit were far less pretentious than what I am used to seeing in Europe or especially America. I risk being dragged over the coals for uttering such a thing, I know,... (but you would have to catch me first)
Several thing left me speechless (for the better), some of these are shown in the small clip above.

The night before, to see an exquisite version of Hamlet at the Roundhouse theatre till March 14. Like everyone else we loved it.
I forgot that Shakespeare had come up with the line:
"Brevity is the Soul of Wit"
Actor Toby Schmitz

(from the ABC website)

David Berthold’s critically acclaimed contemporary reinvention of Hamlet must close 14 March. With a top-shelf cast that includes Cocoloco's Trevor Stuart, multi Matilda Award winners Eugene Gilfedder and Helen Howard, and the incomparable Toby Schmitz in the title role, Hamlet guarantees an exhilarating edge-of-your-seat drama.
This is the must-see theatrical event of 2010. Don’t miss it.

"From the opening seconds of David Berthold’s Hamlet, you know you’re in for a new experience. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen Hamlet in production, you won’t have seen a Hamlet quite like this one." - Katherine Lyall-Watson, ourbrisbane.com

"...the most downright gripping Shakespeare production seen in Brisbane for many a year... It's no exaggeration to call this production a triumph. You should see it." - James Harper, The Courier Mail

"As a critic I have probably seen more than my fair share of productions of Hamlet but never have I seen one as good as this...the effect is nothing short of electric... A Must See!" - Nigel Munro-Wallis, ABC Brisbane

"...the production, and Schmitz's portrayal, hit the mark for an audience that was regularly in peals of laughter." - Bree Hadley, The Australian

"Inventive and powerful…Berthold's first play with La Boite is a triumph." - Tonya Turner, The Courier Mail online

24 February 2010


Early morning rain,

The groan of gutters, and drips ,

Sound of drowning birds.

23 February 2010


51. As a beautiful flower that is full of hue but lacks fragrance, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practice it.

-The Dharmapada, in Walpola Rahulas's What the Buddha Taught

20 February 2010


150 X 100 cm

Rather uneventful days, I am pushing into new images which are drawn from an age-old desire to work in an unusual way. I have always wanted to make completely non-objective paintings. This (above) is not finished but it isn't far from it. Can they resonate as do melodies from a Persian lute in the early afternoon?...... do they mimic the waves out at sea? Is this possible to create in an oil painting?

19 February 2010


I have been reading a biography of Henri Matisse by the British writer Hilary Spurling. I picked up the second of two volumes covering his life from 1909-1954 (from when he was 40 years of age to his death). Its such a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves those years before and after the two world wars know as Modern Art. That admiration, I confess, to have come to it late in my life. I have always loved the work of the lesser known artists of the south of France: Charles Camoin, Albert Marquet, Henri manguin, Raoul Dufy, the early Derains of what was to be know as Les Fauves. But I was suspicious Matisse!
Mostly, I didn't like his stiff drawings which seemed academic and awkward after seeing so much lyricism in the drawings of Albert Marquet. So I come humbly to him with my paintbrush lodged between my arrogance  and my legs.

18 February 2010

Dr Sketchy

Dr Sketchy has come to Byron Bay. It was started by a New York stripper, and artist, a few years ago who was tired of straight academic drawing classes. The idea was to create drawing sessions around the theme of Burlesque; slow strips and wild lingerie poses. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it. The event itself was in fact rather tame and somewhat boring. It was immediately apparent that it was more entertainment than serious drawing from a model, clad, any which way. (peu import) I don't know if its because it has obviously been franchised out and hence watered down from the original but it was not a success in my eyes. However, I did manage to get a few drawings out of it.

17 February 2010

Sidney Nolan

Yesterday with Cheryl to see paintings by Sidney Nolan of his "Galipoli series" at the Tweed Gallery in New South Wales. Most of the work was done during the fifties and seventies in London where he had settled. Of all the work there we were very taken with these portraits. 
They are quite large (about 100 cm X 60 cm)

Meanwhile it rains often these days.

16 February 2010



The Sufi's have a saying,

"Praise Allah, and tie your camel to the post"

This brings together both parts practice: pray yes, but also make sure you do what is necessary in the world. Have a life of meditation and genuine spiritual experience and, at the same time, discover how to manifest that here and now.

-Jack Kornfield, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom

15 February 2010


Spiritual practice is difficult in the beginning. You wonder how on earth you can ever do it. But as you get used to it, the practice gradually becomes easier. Do not be too stubborn or push yourself too hard. If you practice in accord with your individual capacity, little by little you will find more pleasure and joy in it. As you gain inner strength, your positive actions will gain in profundity and scope.

-The Dalai Lama, Flash of Lighting in the Dark of Night

14 February 2010


December 30 2004                            for C 

Your fireworks smile,

Wish to steal from the black sky,

Lock in my glass heart.

12 February 2010


Most of the time we go through the day, through our activities, our work, our relationships, our conversations, and rarely do we ground ourselves in an awareness of our bodies, We are lost in our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our stories, our plans.

A very simple guide or check on this state of being lost is to pay attention to those times when you feel like you are rushing. Rushing does not have to do with speed. You can rush moving slowly, and you can rush moving quickly. We are rushing when we feel as if we are toppling forward. Our minds run ahead of ourselves; they are out there where we want to get to, instead of being settled back in our bodies. The feeling of rushing is good feedback. Whenever we are not present, right then, in that situation, we should stop and take a few deep breaths. Settle into the body again. Feel yourself sitting. Feel the step of a walk. Be in your body.
The Buddha made a very powerful statement about this:

"Mindfulnes of the body leads to nivana." Such awareness is not a superficial practice. Mindfulness of the body keeps us present.

-Joseph Goldstein, Transforming the Mind, Healing the World

07 February 2010


Thomas Mann has said:
"One may not possess. Yearning is giant power, possession unmans"

04 February 2010


The artist's dilemma and the meditator's are, in a deep sense, equivalent. Both are repeatedly willing to confront or control. Both are disciplined in skills that allow them to remain focused on their task and to express their response in a way that will illustrate the dilemma they share with others.
And both are liable to similar outcomes. The artist's work is prone to be derivative, a variation on the style of a great master or established school. The meditator's response might tend to be dogmatic, a variation on the words of a hallowed tradition or revered teacher. There is nothing wrong with such responses. But we recognize their secondary nature, their failure to reach the peaks of primary imaginative creation. Great Art and Great Dharma both rise to something that has never quite been imagined before. Artist and meditator alike ultimately aspire to an original creative act.

--from Stephen Batchelor, Tricycle Review, Vol. 4. #2

03 February 2010


Summer rain has come.

Lime green moss painting the cracks,

What will the ants think?

02 February 2010


Gazing with no thought,

Timeless under cherry tree,

Pit clocks my bald head!

(Regard dans la vide,

Cerisier; intemporel,

Noyau cogne la tĂȘte!)

July 13  2004  #3