Saturday, 4 May 2013

A Miscellany

It has been one of those weeks;  we've all had them.  It has seemed as if the week has taken on the mien of a concertina, expanding to absorb the week's subjective experience, then contracting to squeeze the objective happenings into a fixed time-frame.  I had been struggling with a post, rewriting, eventually binning it whilst visiting various other ideas.  I like to have an unpolished post ready before sending a finished post, so that I have some structure in mind, some idea of where I am headed.  Then came the sad news of Heather's death.

I only met her once, about two years ago, although she always sent her love when Lucy visited her.  That meeting was something I will long remember and cherish.  Physically she was a rather diminutive figure, with gnarled, arthritic hands.  But what a personality!  We talked for a little while;  really talked.  I cannot remember the subject of our conversation, and maybe that was not the important point.  What was certainly important was the spell she seemed to weave.  It was like passing through a time portal into another state of awareness, like being transported into a past perhaps that had never really existed, yet a place that was familiar and much-loved.  There was such richness and elegance in that experience, glimpses not quite in focus, a world within a world.  In its own way, the experience was not unlike that of the Abbaye de Boquen (Post 3, 27.4.2013), not so focused perhaps, but then we were talking with each other.  It was one meeting only, but such a precious one.

This week, and for as long as it takes, I find myself in an especially privileged position.  Heather was much more Lucy's friend than mine, of course, and her passing will not be easy to absorb.  There may be times when a piece of sticking tape may need to be applied, an opening seam that will need to be caulked, or perhaps a spray of WD40 on some moving parts to keep the mechanics of living in trim.  My job!
Now that all the commitments relating to Heather's funeral have been met, we will be celebrating another event.  Once again, it's that special time of the year when one might feel moved to say,

"Has it been that number of years we've been together?  How the time has flown."

Compared with some it may be judged that we are relative newcomers.  But I find it worth remembering that we have been together one year longer, and married only one year less, than the nineteen years my parents had.  Anyway, enough of all that;  on to something different.
I love painting in oils.  There is something about the feel of moving oil paint around a support that is pure delight.  And oil is such a forgiving medium.  Unfortunately, the production of an oil painting takes me too much time.  Thus it is that I choose to struggle with watercolours.  Watercolours do have the advantage that they do not take long to paint.  The time I take is even shorter, as I often bin them before completion.  So what I am showing you here is an oil painting I did some time ago after meditating on Meister Eckhart's 'ground' of the soul.

"The Eye of God"

I don't know from whence came that title;  it simply sprang, fully formed, like Athene from the head of Zeus.  Strictly speaking, the eye of God (I must deal with that word some time) is the galactic symbol above the middle of the broken fence.  One of the very real difficulties that arises with this kind of subject is the seeming incompatibility between imagery that is so clear in the mind, yet so impossible to paint in practice.  And in order to be faithful to the imagery, which speaks a language of its own and cannot therefore be altered (it would be like incorrect reporting), certain compositional rules sometimes need to be broken.

Well that's all for now.  Stay safe.


  1. Amazing how some people can really touch one deeply in just one meeting, and you were fortunate in having that. It is sad to lose anyone, and one you have only just got to know. The remembering and the goodbyes - we've had that here too.

    I didn't know you paint, Tom! This is a fascinating one, a bit surrealistic. Wish I could see it in real life. More, please.

  2. Yes,it is amazing and she was special. I know you have experienced the poignancy of goodbyes, as you reported in your post "too many goodbyes." There are times when experience is beyond words, at least my faltering words. It is the same here as I experienced with your post. I would have loved to have said more, something worthwhile.

    As I said, pictures in oils take me a long time to produce, which is why I am trying with limited success to master watercolours. I have one or two small works in oils and one 'surrealistic' (one person described it as metaphysical) painting which I might show some time.

    Well any time you're passing, you will always be welcome.

  3. It is so difficult to describe why some people touch us in such a special way. They know words that touch our soul.
    Count, count, count and keep counting and stay happy.
    You made me reach for Eckhart Tolle.
    Will now re-read 'A New Earth'.

  4. Reeling and writhing and fainting in coils.

    I get to celebrate D's birthweek, in which I am happy beyond words that he was born. Going on 23 years.

  5. Ellena: They do indeed! Bless you!

  6. Zhoen: I am filled with joy at your happiness. Long may your union continue.

  7. Tom, I celebrate that you and Lucy are not only together but ensemble - as in a musical ensemble, which is the high all unions aspire to.
    And how marvellous to discover that painting is also one of your accomplishments! Such intriguing and symbol-rich painting, if this one is representative. A language of your own, therefore all the more intriguing to learn about.

  8. Natalie: Yes we are that, and every day sees movement towards the reaching of that aspiration.

    Sorry for the delay in answering; we have just returned from a two day break.

  9. Yes, it is rare but beautiful when one meeting makes an impression on the hearts.
    Happy happy Anniversary! Days of Love!
    Your painting speaks to me, dear Tom. I wish I could formulate how. I've dabbled in pencil drawings, but have the utmost respect for those of you who paint in oils and watercolours!

  10. Rouchswalwe, Thank you for your lovely, and loving, comment. That it speaks to you at all, in which ever way it does, makes it worth the showing.

  11. Oh dear -- I left a comment here long ago but it's disappeared! Will try to do better in future, but I wanted to acknowledge these exciting paintings of yours, Tom.