Category Archives: art

A t shirt full of ancient stone

I had an interlude on the old Kaipara today, an impromptu quest for the smooth heavy brown stones that I’ve carved from time to time – including lately as I live alone in the Hall of the Ark while I finish relining the hall for the hopeful new owners (who want to teach yoga in it). I put a crystal on the brow of the Bird and made holes in the pupils so you can sit inside and look through its eyes…:)

It was just an interlude between taking sofas and gas tanks from the land before handover day and going back to the Ark to cook dinner and prepare to get back into the renovations, but a bit of magic opened up by doing it.

I have written a whole ebook on the subject of these stones, kind of – it was discovering them that set me to thinking about loving stuff, all stuff, beginning right here with what is to hand that we relate to. A dollar on Amazon How to Love Everyone and Everything….Starting with a Stone  and free on Smashwords  Here. And I did relate to these strange, ancient smooth stones, all sitting on a section of the muddy shore in a kind of ancient convocation unearthed by time. So, now we have sold the land which is close to the Kaipara, having loaded the trailer I thought why not walk the dogs and seek a few more of these sacred little stones, so unassuming but like gold for a carver…

 

It’s a bit hard to do a good selfie while holding 63 heavy pebbles in your t shirt!  Funny, when I counted them later – that’s how ooold I’ll be this year… So, maybe I went a bit greedy prospector, but I know eventually I or someone at Dreamspace – Tiana are you reading this? -will probably carve them all. Some could just be polished a bit and left as found objects of great antiquity, too…

The lone mangrove tree marks the spot. In the sunset it was like a tree of life standing in the tidal mud and oyster-covered stones…

Magic. Oh yes the carving is my evolving take on ancient fertility goddess figurines. And the adzey thing is a chisel I angleground today from a piece of hard old steel I found inside the wall of the hall.

Next post here I may already be back in Gisborne to stay, creating more things I ‘know to be useful and believe to be beautiful’. Here’s to Dreamspace Gallery and workshops!

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Being me now – everyone else was taken!

Three fifteen is a dangerous time to wake up. If you start thinking it usually goes downhill fast. So you try to go back to sleep.

What if you don’t, but instead look at why your thoughts are gloomy, why your energy is so low?

I did that this morning at around 4 AM, Gisborne time – we’re ahead of the world so maybe I was the first soul to wake this day?? Well apart from the worthy farmers and shift workers. OK the first artist? OK at least the first philosopher! So, I got to thinking… I’m so… blocked. I have a monstrous block. Maybe I need a phsychologist to sort me out. No, I really know what he’d say, and if he didn’t I’d now what he should have said. So why not just do that!? What would a good psychologist say to Peter Harris aka the Wizard of Eutopia? ‘Put up or shut up’. Or what Paulo Coelho’s  Alchemist told the Englishman who wanted to become a real alchemist and not just a book one: ‘TRY!’ Try and transmute that lead into gold. Even if you think you tried before, now, this time, in THIS moment, TRY it.

What did my inner Alchemist tell me to try? What all inner Alchemists tell us all the time if we’d only listen: BE YOURSELF ALREADY! But what is me? Well, what’s my name? wizard of eutopia… hm… wizards do what? Well they change situations, make eutopias happen, catalyse. They’re alchemists of culture, turning the leaden societies about them into gold. They create portals through which people may go into a golden era. They hold a space, they plant a flag, they declare the ancient divine platitudes to a new generation of unbelievers who want the courage to believe them. Hm… haven’t I been there, tried that?

So I need to come out and TRY it AGAIN. Better. Eutopia is a phoenix bird, needs the wizard to revive it. But first he must revive himself.  ‘The kingdom of heaven is within us’. Amen!

SO, my plan is to

1 Get a space (I have one in mind – it’s big and spacious and cheap, here in Gisborne), start communicating with people who come there, have a round table with a phase timer so we remember to do all the dynamic things, in good order, in the divine Balance: 1 Love and listen; 2 Imagine and envision; 3 Reason and plan; 4 Act and communicate. For the logic of this see my www.4phase.org

2 Do my art in that space, and make the ferrocement hobbit havens and other sculptural icons.

3 Maybe open the space to other ‘harvesters, creators and rejoicers’. On the front it will say something like  ‘Eutopia. All welcome’ Or Altars of Art. Names and naming does tie me in knots often, but not this time!

email me wizardofeutopia@gmail.com if you like the  sound of this. If in Gisborne you could join me

So, what has been my biggest, monstrous, block? I think those who know me would agree (?) it’s shyness, this huge reluctance to engage with normal people out there in the normal world. The more I become ME, the weirder and more alien and threatening that ‘normal’ world and those ‘normal’ people seem to become. This morning I got that I am NOT shy per se – just shy of the idea of these implacably normal people, the System they represent that’s the real Monster out to get me, kill my soul, deny my dreams and visions. So it’s simple, really: I get with people who aren’t like that, who do want to be truly alive and think for themselves, and create new things and a better life and a better place. Eutopians… and ‘show them the rainbow and the stairway to the overman’. (thus spake Zarathustra)

Zarathustra’s monster he called the Spirit of Gravity, that mole-dwarf of leaden spirit that denies and drags down. His weapon against it was to fling it off his back and say ‘Stop dwarf!  I! Or you!’ And to show it the endless circle of life and to say Yes to it. I think what really defeated the dwarf was that Zarathustra danced. And that he laughed… like the shepherd in his vision who was choking from a black snake crawling into his throat. He bites off the head and jumps up, no longer a mere mortal but an overcomer, and he laughs. And Nietzsche writes, ‘My longing for this laughter consumes me…’

What is your monster?  When (and how) will you bite its head off and leap up, laughing?

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing again, naturally!

Ah, it is a fateful thing to begin writing! It always demands more until the tail of the writing wags the dog of life… so to speak! Or the world of the tale bends around and swallows the writer whole.  See here for my post on what is afoot in the world of Apples of Aeden, a world big enough to swallow an army of writers! https://applesofaeden.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/the-narrator-staggers-back-to-the-desk/

This painting I did last year is one little image from that world. I hope to do some more images, this time sketches or illuminations to go with the text. Another tail that could wag the dog!

enthorned they dream copy

 

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Sleepwalking through a wonderland

I realized today that’s what I’m doing when I’m ‘busy making other plans’ all the time and miss the staggering wonder of life – people, babies, children, dogs, cats, birds, trees, flowers – a cascade of things and beings, most of which are not out to get me or ruin my life, and some of which (take dogs, for example, ok Poppy and Honey) have amazing, unflagging love and devotion for me. If you are also lucky enough to have someone who lives with you and puts up with you and even occasionally tells you they love you, well  – thy cup runneth over!  Then there’s children and grandchildren – a huge theme of this year for us as our second grandson was born.

Why the sudden appreciation of all life? A near-death experience? No, mercifully all it took was a few hours collecting some of the photos we took this year, for a pictorial Christmas card. Some of grandchildren, some of children, some of my art labours. Here’s the draft.

Christmas card A4 2015-1Christmas card A4 2015-2

Maybe this WAS a particularly lovely year to look back on and wish I had been more ‘present’ to it. (Yes – thanks to brother John were were even in Paris and Oxford, and Florence and Cannes this year, and nobody shot us or anyone of the peaceful multitudes we saw). But really, life is so abundant and fractally amazing, even a year in gardens looking at leaf patterns could have done it for me – if necessary! Those adorable beings which periodically invaded our Appletree garden were a fantastic bonus.

Life is like the transfinite numbers, from which you can strip whole infinities of lower order and they remain the same (!!?). That’s why I suppose many of those who have least have learned the secret of appreciation of what remains – and can see ‘infinity in a grain of sand, or eternity in an hour’ WOW! Right on! And I am not even (and never was) stoned, either!

Why not try making a compilation celebrating YOUR kaleidoscopic, fractally infinite, year of 2015?

 

 

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Homemaking, the Last Homely House, and the meaning of Life

Raewyn had a home day yesterday – we both had colds. It was sunny so we went outside and pruned the big appletree. It was good… Raewyn looked so nice up in the appletree I wanted to share this photo…

raewyn pruning the Appletree apple tree 26 8 15

I have been thinking about modern art, the agreement (seemingly) reflected in it that beauty is ‘only skin-deep’; and how much I hate this view, which is so unthankful and based on some kind of dumb reductionist demand that anything that is good or beautiful must be good in essence, the same through and through, instead of the process kaleidoscope that all physical things are. And I started to think a Homely House is a good and beautiful place where the vision of ideal Beauty and Truth and Goodness is forever being aimed at, never fully achieved, but it’s all right, there is enough there to keep us happy – if we don’t dwell on the gaps but on what is actually there – including the good intentions of the home-makers who are holding that kaleidescope of meaning for themselves and others to enjoy. I thought how all those alienated souls in our culture who lack a sense of home (and we all have a home of some sort) therefore lack the experience of it, and hence lack a sense of meaning in life. The meaning comes in the practice of good things. The practice of the Homely… But I am of course just a ‘romantic’ and don’t speak the ‘language of Art’ as one smug Ponsonby art dealer once informed me. As they informed Tolkien… Well I am with Tolkien, Middle Earth, and the Last Homely House.

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I’m 61, washed up, and in a Good Space!

What’s a good space to be in that takes 61 years to get to? The space of knowing it’s up to me to be me, and that it is possible, indeed it’s natural! And knowing that all I need I have in memory, experience, and the present, and that creation ex nihilo is right now possible…

I’m writing this post in Gisborne where I never thought I’d be. Dislocated, most of my tools up north, unfinished business everywhere, a flat to set up, no one showing up yet, a grandson to frequently drop off and pick up, and some way of earning money to be developed (the plan is hobbit cabins as in www.hobbithaven.nz ) But the opening into that space has already come, as I have looked within and seen things that inspire me, and abilities that still remain – writing and thinking and painting and sculpting and building. But above all, doing Art. That is, coming from the space within and around me that is mine. Electric with possibility.

What else do I know now that helps me feel sure I can do good things? That I don’t have to unify it all – it all comes through me, and that is unity enough. I love that! So much energy and time spent agonising what to do next, and what not to do. Well,

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” (Kerouac. emphasis not intentional – it pasted like that – but good!!)

need i say more? Now I will go out and paint something. Not ‘I should’ (god knows i probably ‘should’nt’!) but I WILL. Probably a vision of the future, of the place I will rent a little space in – the old Gisborne railway station. Just today got the word there’s a room available. It’s run-down, spacious, dreaming sort of place, a waitangi settlement apparently. I had a vision of such a place before we came here – run-down, spacious, cheap, near the river, the beach, and the city centre. It didn’t take long to find. Wow. There’s magic in the air… and birds: a flock of pigeons, some white heron, ducks… the doglets love it here.

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Helped today reading ‘steal like an artist’ by austin kleon. one of the quotes in it is: ‘don’t worry about unity from piece to piece – what unifies all of your work is the fact that you made it.’ see some of his work here: :))))

Now get the heck out into the world and make something great that is YOU! (please! And get let me know what you did).

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