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Padmasambhava 2011

 In September when I was giving some healing to a friend and if felt like my Merlin energy connection transferred to him and was gone for me. It was as if my association with M had ceased and with it my ability to touch the creative process. I was sleeping in my car with all my belongs packed in the back. I was in a turbulent relationship which eroded my self confidence. I became indecisive, totally confused, and depressed.
There is a song by Traffic that has haunted me most of my life. It speaks to the aching and yearning I have held to meet someone that would touch my heart. I didn’trealize until 2011, that this someone was Courtney.

No Face, No Name, No Number

I’m looking for a girl who has no face
She has no name, or number
And so I search within his lonely place
Knowing that I won’t find her
Well, I can’t stop this feeling deep inside me
Ruling my mind
I feel no sound
Don’t know where I’m bound
The scenery is all the same to me
Nothing has changed or faded
I’m a part of it, some part of me
Painted cool green, and shaded
So, try to find myself must be the only way

To feel free.

Songwriters Capaldi, Jim/ Winwood Steve, Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner / Chappell Music, Inc.

It was 17th February 2012. I was staying overnight at a friend’s apartment when I woke up in the night to find I was gone. There was no ‘I’ to connect with, only the awareness of the room. There was no Courtney. It was only through the support of a dear Buddhist friend who recognized what was happening and who was gradually able to re-assemble piece-by-piece the fragments of Courtney. But it would not be the Courtney of before. There was still no ‘I’. Just an awareness of life in motion. A separation from reality yet at the same time a oneness with it. Life was never going to be the same again, the truth of reality has been shown for what it is, the game was up.

People talk and write songs about finding oneself. Well, if I was now finding myself, it was everything and nothing like the process I expected. This was an awakening like nothing I could have imagined. It seemed I was moving through a portal to a new self-awareness and knowing. Yet
I went through weeks of that door opening and closing. I was alternately lifted to a peaceful state of bliss and thrust into a fire of total confusion, all the while struggling to deal with the chaos that was permeating Courtney’s life.

I did write about these experiences, thinking that I might one day write a book. But the notes were a chaotic confusion and totally unusable. Frustrated, I turned to my art to find expression. But I would find frustration there as well. Feeling that I needed to be more free in my painting style
and wanting to experiment with acrylics rather than the gouache I had used for the past thirty years, I signed up for a workshop in London.

Split A Piece Of Wood 2010

I would liberally spread the acrylic over the canvas trying to be as free as I could. But I would find some interesting detail that called for embellishment. Each time this happened the teacher would walk over to me with a smile and with a stroke of rag wipe it away. I did manage to achieve one piece of art based on a few lines from the Gospel of Thomas, lines that had always
resonated with me and now spoke clearly to the truth of what I was experiencing. Jesus said “Split wood and I am there, Lift up a rock, you will find me there”. Although it was never finished, this painting is the result of the one and only art lesson I’ve had in my life.

During this time I was staying at the home of David Riche in Northampton for a few months. He kindly and generously supported me through the turmoil I was experiencing and in the space of his home I was able to begin doing some work. My first piece was for my Buddhist friend who had helped put the fragments of Courtney back together a few months earlier. The painting
was of Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master. Paro Taktsang or “Tiger’s Nest” monastery, built on a sheer cliff wall about 500m above the Paro Valley floor, was built around a cave where the Guru is said to have meditated. He had
flown there from Tibet on the back of Yeshe Tsogyal, whom he transformed into a flying tigress.


For the first time in a year I was now experimenting with acrylics and finding a new way of expressing what was happening to me. But no matter how I tried the paintings seemed lifeless. The spark that had ignited me before was missing. This was incredibly frustrating as I felt I had a lot to say. I was so used to art flowing easily for me, often completing a painting a day. Thankfully I was distracted with a large exhibition project called Ravenous For Art, that was to run at The Cube in Corby, Northamptonshire. The exhibition grew and grew with many famous artists contributing to the event and with many offshoots including comic books and a super hero
movie tied to a story of Raven Man who was to be a multi media center piece to the exhibition. I was having meetings in different parts of the country as the project took shape…….then died.



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