Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

emptying out

all night long
fan on low
night birds
the call to prayer 
at five am

I get up
watch the orange light
beyond the coconut palms
outside the open
bathroom window
oil my skin
with coconut oil
as instructed
by Ayurveda

eat dry roasted
peanuts and small, sweet
on my porch
walk out
to the black sand

watch rows of fisherman
slowly haul in
their enormous nets
as the sun
catching their white
t-shirt collars
the white of the waves
pale blue sea
pink sky

the heat freezes everything
the blood in my veins
almost to a standstill

my brain
with lassitude
fuzzy from lack of sleep
or from too much
to the soft mattress
and the gentle
of the fan
at midday

words stop
paintings stop
thoughts stop
folds back
into the body
becomes the surface
of my skin
too dry
or too wet
for the smallest
whiff of air


Friday, 22 February 2013


Ambition takes us toward a horizon but not over it - the line will always recede before our reaching hands. But desire is a conversation between our physical bodies, our work, our imaginations and the territory we seek. Ambition takes willpower and constant applications of energy to stay on a perceived bearing; desire demands only a constant attention to the unknown gravitational field which surrounds us and from which we can recharge ourselves every moment, as if breathing from the atmosphere of possibility itself. A life's work is not a series of stepping-stones onto which we calmly place our feet, but more like an ocean crossing where there is no path, only a heading, a direction, which, of itself, is in conversation with the elements. Looking back for a sense of reference, we see the wake we have left as only a brief, glimmering trace on the waters.

- David Whyte
from "Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as A Pilgrimage of Identity"
©2001 Riverhead Books


Wednesday, 20 February 2013


A month in India has turned me upside down. Of course. That's partly why I went, to be turned upside down. So many impressions and images, experiences. Feelings. Who writes about artistic practice as sensation? There's talk of technique, of interpretation, or intention. But creativity is also a response to the experience of life as it passes through the consciousness (using this in the Indian sense here, to mean all of perception, not just the mind....) of the artist. What do I mean by separating this out from the morass as an idea? I don't know.

'Feeling' has been eradicated from the conceptual worlds of 'Western' contemporary art. In the traditional arts of India (where theatre, dance, painting were seen as one), art was aimed at the creation of navarasa, the nine emotions. Thinking about that, though, my understanding is that the artist was attempting to create a particular emotional response in the viewer. What, then, of the state of the artist, as they tried to provoke an emotional response in their audience? The only thing I know about this is texts that discuss the painter or sculptor moving into a meditative state before beginning to create, which seems loosely linked to another frequently occurring idea, which is art as an offering to god.  A different scene entirely....


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Saturday, 9 February 2013


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