These paintings began as an impulsive, intuitive exploration of authenticity and individuality, but as the process of painting them unfolded, it felt like it was a bit more than that. I realised that it was about seeing things in their fullness - more to do with recognising the vibrancy of being that is inherent in each and every object, thing, person, moment. And also, that I was wanting to acknowledge a positive dimension to the experience of lockdown during the pandemic.
In Buddhism we talk of the wisdom of ‘the awareness of discrimination’ and the wisdom of ‘the awareness of sameness’. These wisdoms see that all things and all moments are unique and individual, and at the same time that all things are equally mysterious, ungraspable, even sacred. They are different and yet the same, the same and yet different. I think that this combined way of perceiving enables us to fully embrace experience and to honour the person, the thing and the moment that is before us. And of course it must include ourselves. We too are unique, yet like all things partake of the ungraspable mystery. We too are ephemeral and yet vibrant.
Perhaps it is really dwelling in this, and embodying this double wisdom, that makes for true authenticity. It enables us to 'just be', and to allow others to just be too. When the lockdowns and restrictions were imposed there is no doubt that many suffered. Yet despite the tremendous difficulties, and without wanting at all to negate the awful suffering that so many of us have experienced, I have wanted to highlight the surprisingly positive dimension that many people also experienced of having to put things on pause - of the world stopping it’s endless busyness and noise, and of us just having to be for a while. It wasn’t just lockdown, it was also a chance to be free. It would be a shame to forget.