When Andy and Fiona purchased their new house, I suggested the layout and colour would be ideal to go with a sort of British Colonial (African) theme. They completely agreed, and told me to come to the house before they moved any furniture in to “pick a wall” (any wall) to paint something on (aren’t they GREAT clients!!!!). However, it wasn’t until they moved all the furniture in I knew exactly what I’d be painting. They wanted something they could actually frame (and aside from one other client (see Spirited Beings) stating he was going to frame my wall hanging, I don’t believe any other hanging has ever been framed). I’d always loved colonial African art, and was excited to take on this next challenge. I knew the 3 images I wanted to use, and they all were tied to different quotes in my head.
How joyful to look upon the Awakened
And to keep company with the wise.
Follow then the shining ones,
the wise, the awakened, the loving,
for they know how to work and forbear
But if you cannot find
friend of master to go with you,
travel on alone
like a king who has given away his kingdom,
like and elephant in the forest.
The Dhammapada (Sayings of the Buddha)
As Rafe’s Gawd Parent, it is up to me to be his spiritual advisor throughout his life. This quote is one of my favourites, and has been my life’s motto, even more so in the last 5 or 6 years. I knew I was going to paint an elephant before I knew that, in fact, elephant had actually been his very first word (well, sort of, apparently he was looking at a book with his mom, saw a photo of an elephant, pointed to it and yelled “ella” so.. close enough). So it was quite a bizarre moment when I showed Fiona a sketch of this and she assumed it was because Rafe is so fixated on elephants lately… which I had no idea of. Yes… insert spooky music now thank you….
Everything in this world has a hidden meaning…
Men, animals, trees, stars, they are all hieroglyphics.
When you see them you do not understand them.
You think they are really men, animals, tress, stars.
It is only years later that you understand.
This quote is on the back of my business card, and were I to have an actual Mission Statement, this would probably be it. Fiona always told me that she sees Andy as a tree. He is stable and protective, and a giver of strength.
Was it Jeanne Moreau or Rodney Dangerfield who said:
Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself.
I couldn’t find a definitive answer on the web as to who actually said it…. they seem to have both said it, so, anyway, regardless it is a great quote, and what embodies the painting I did. I wanted Fiona’s mask to portray the middle ground in her left-brain-right-brained world. She very much straddles both spheres equally, while the majority of the planet find themselves more dominant in one realm than the other. Also, Fiona and I met doing theatre, thus the throw back to that quote. I wanted the mask to show how the sides of her brain and the introverted and extroverted sides of her personality are very different, but yet the same somehow.
The title to this hangings has absolutely nothing to do with the art work I created. In fact, I came up with that “working” title rather than just leave it “untitled” (and I thought “untitled” sounded more original than Elephant Mask Tree). Similar to Vienna, the naming of this piece had everything to do with what was going on around me while I painted, and nothing at all to do with what ended up on the canvas. I became addicted to the Long Way Round DVDs of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s 4 month journey around the world on motorcycles. It got me psyched up and ready to leave my comfort zone for my own upcoming adventure.
Long Way Round
December 22, 2005