Wednesday 20 September 2023

 This new circular painting of Peaceful Vajrapani explores stillness and movement. The figure is an embodiment of energy.  For me wrathful Vajrapani correlates with Piti (rapture) in meditation: his energy bursting out and full of movement, and peaceful Vajrapani correlates with Sukha,(bliss) a fuller, more intense and more contained form of the energy symbolised by the figure. This painting is currently on display at the North London Buddhist Centre in an exhibition on the ground floor. The exhibition runs for a month.

28 years ago (1996) I made a life size painting of him after a vision in meditation the previous year where he came forward out of a visualised array of figures on a refuge tree, shining out like a blue sapphire, vivid and luminous and brighter than the other figures. This early version was painted during a stay in St Ives, Cornwall. The bright rainbow light reflecting off the sea found its way into the painting. The way I painted the figure and composed the piece owed a lot to the formal influences of Matisse and Patrick Heron. 

Five years later (2001) I made another version of Peaceful Vajrapani where I was playing with the pictorial space in a different way, exploring the spatial paradox of painting a dark blue figure where, because the dark blue melts back into deep space the figure may not be immediately apparent. I was interested in the connection between pictorial space and the inner space of the mind. And I used a few pictorial devices to create the spatial effects in that version.

Friday 15 September 2023


This painting was inspired by solitary walks on Hampstead Heath tuning into the elemental energies of the landscape, tracking the ley lines and significant shapes.

It is an attempt to describe the Genus Loci: the spirit of the place.

There is a circle of trees on a raised mound where I like to imagine the Druids gathered in times past. It is not far from Boudicca’s Grave, a raised tree covered tumulus, thought to be Bronze Age, and a site for Druidic Solstice celebrations.

Memory is in the painting too, remembering spinneys and copses seen on travels through the West Country.

And I was thinking about cartography and how we map the world, and how the maps made for navigation differ from our personal experiences of following trails across the land. 

The painting is on view for a month at the North London Buddhist Centre as part of a small exhibition of my artwork.