Sunday, 28 June 2015

Winter Wonderland in Canterbury

We travelled from Rangiora to Arthurs Pass on Tuesday, 23 June when overnight temperatures were minus five iin Rangiora and colder in the hill country. Around every corner there was a fresh display of mountainous beauty - it truly was a feeling of moving from room to room in a gallery filled with momentous art works. It was such a privilege to witness nature's artistry.

And finally, a big shout out to the people who clear the snow from the roads, making this such a safe journey - you provide an awesome service!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Southern Tributary - new painting by Dean Bradley

We took 'Southern Tributary' out to Icon Art Park yesterday. The tributary in the title refers to braided rivers and also pays tribute to the South Island.

This is the most sculptural work Dean has created so far, with multiple planes.

Southern Tributary

The lace fabric on the tops of the mountains evokes a frosting of recent snow.
This side view most clearly shows the variable levels within this painting. The river trench in the centre is inset behind the river banks.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Wu-wei and the gentle art of going with the flow

I was bashing at random keys trying to figure out how to build a website using an unfamiliar website builder. Steam was coming out of my ears as Dean said "don't forget about wu-wei".

It was the last thing I wanted to hear. Even the sound of that word aggravated my stress!

However, I did eventually step away from my mangled website. And when I came back later for 'one last go' it came together quite easily.

I only had a vague idea about wu-wei so checked out Jean Cooper's discussion of wu-wei in 'An Illustrated Introduction to Taoism'.

"Problems are solved when tensions are eased and one is able to understand the true nature of a thing, hence 'sleeping on it', or the sudden flash of intuition which comes when the rational mind ceases its activity and a spontaneous recognition of reality occurs."

She also writes: "It is senseless to dissipate energy in action for action's sake, in an endless and unproductive agitation. Action should be confined to suitable circumstances. For travelling by water there is nothing like a boat ... this is because a boat moves readily on water; but were you to try to push it on land you would never succeed in making it go, but would have great trouble and no result except a certain injury to yourself.”

This makes good sense, but there is a tricky balancing act between the benefits of persistence and letting go when things aren't coming together easily. I see Dean struggling with that balance every day as a painter - when perseverance leads to a breakthrough and when it creates a mess that takes ages to fix.

It is also a challenge for anyone working from home, who has the choice to walk away from their desk when things aren't working - how to weigh up whether its plain old procrastination or the more worthy wu-wei?!