the sum of all

At one time I lived in Tasmania.  Grew up there, marvelled at the beauty of the forest, mountains and colour.  Soaked up the constant hum that seems to vibrate within all natural things there.  I remember laying my hands on trees and communing with the life of it  Breathing it in and imagining what it must have felt being in that space.

It is a sleeping giant.

There is something so vibrant, so majestic, so passionate and dismissive about that island.  It is untamed, for the most part, and to travel there is to see how unimportant we are.  There are once busy towns reduced to the odd brick – reclaimed, which is sobering.  Gravestones awry that no relative must come to pay respects to.  Houses that are crumbling next to shiny new ones on the road to spectacular coastlines that take your breath away and remind you that we are after all specks.

Happy specks – but specks nonetheless.  Busy driving ourselves into a lather over things that are not constructive for the most part.

But I digress.

There have been times in my life where I have not painted, drawn or made art of any kind that was not purely practical.  Work, life and adventure led me steadily away from all of that, and I have felt guilty for not pursuing what was once the thing that I was sure I was put on the planet to do if only I had enough time and space to pursue it.

I realise now that all those of times that I have been active/inactive help to make the sum of who we are.  All things we see, do, feel, or observe, even unknowingly make us the whole.  And it wasn’t until we were driving through lands that I knew as a child on a recent trip that I realised how thoroughly I am a Tasmanian artist – even though I don’t live there anymore.

It is deep in my soul.  It is there in the patterning of trees that I return to again and again (even though it is not there in front of me).  I had no idea that was a real thing until I saw it again and again on real live trees.  It is there constantly in the heightened contrast in my landscapes – creating more light and dark and vibrancy than I am looking at again – but which feels right to me with brush in hand.  There is a magic to the light in Tasmania which we just don’t have in Victoria – so hard to explain, but everything is brighter – richer, more intense.  I love it.

It shocked me in the nicest way to find that the visual imprints of so long ago were such a deep part of me that I wasn’t even aware of them.  And I found that encouraging too – that we must all be sponges of the highest form.  Absorbing and expelling all that we see/do/feel/are.  We are everything, and everything is us.

I like that thought because it means that no time is wasted, even if it feels it is.  Those lazy days when you lie around and read a book might be the most pivotal ones yet, ones that will feed you in years to come in some subconscious way..

And that’s a good reason to do absolutely nothing don’t you think.


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