Monday, 30 December 2019

Miracles that may go unnoticed - a final post for the decade

As a result of falling ill earlier in December, my vacation in my hometown of Adelaide took on a different hue. I have not been as sick for as long as I remember, and it certainly knocked me off my feet. Result was that I had to slow down.

Moving at a different pace allowed me to appreciate my friends, family and my hometown more than ever (I am not usually kind about Adelaide, but I have a different* viewpoint now). The vacation, now over, was healing and therapeutic.

On the drive back yesterday I was plagued by urgent urination: I had 2 strong coffees before the 9.5 hour long trek from Melbourne to Adelaide, and as I have not been ingesting as much since getting sick a few weeks back, my body couldn't handle it.

I pissed myself a little before I got to Tailem Bend and had to endure going to a service station toilet with a patch on my light coloured shorts. To avoid this happening again, as soon as the urge hit the next few times I pulled over straight away.

As turns out, I pulled into a stop at the Pink Salt Flats in Lochiel, Victoria. I didn't even know this existed. After I used the toilet from hell there I braved the 45 degree heat to venture on to the salt flats to take this footage. It reminded me of being with Ptahmassu on the Salt Flats in West Wendover.





These pics of Ra majestically finishing His daytime journey (rather close to our planet I might add - it was a very hot day) came from the night before at Brighton Beach, South Australia.



It was an interesting decade.

Onwards.

*somewhat different

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

2019 The Year That Was

I wanted to post this list to highlight the good and great inspirations I found over the course of the year. Performances, shows and music that gave a flavour to the year and formed something of a backdrop for the art I created myself. It's not exhaustive, and more a bit of fun. Take it as you will.

Music
Ladytron VI


Ladytron released their long awaited 6th eponymous album to much acclaim earlier this year. It was a well deserved acclaim as the album is a top to tail wonder of brilliant tracks.
We knew the set would be a winner when the single The Animals was released close to a year earlier - the song was such a powerful return for the group and is likely one of the best songs they have written. The Island followed later and was another exceptional track although very different in feel to the predecessor.
When Far From Home came as the 3rd single (this song is one of my personal faves) at the time the album was to be released I knew that the new CD was going to be a killer.
The album is a worthy successor to the 5 that preceded it and to my ear takes a nod very much to the last 3 (Gravity The Seducer, Velocifero and the Witching Hour).
The return of Ladytron has been most welcome and coloured the year for me as I have thrashed the album so much.


Movies
Midsommar

I was highly anticipating this film having been so impressed by director Ari Aster's previous effort, Hereditary.
I was not disappointed. Aster is creating new inroads in horror with much of it (based on Hereditary and Midsommar) steeped in creepy occult and cult themes.
The artwork throughout the village added another layer of wonder and creepiness that was so simple in execution but so powerful in effect.
The Director's Cut had more clout than the original release but both stand alone as cinematic wonders.

Performances of note
Jack Reynor did a brilliant portrayal of Jack Parsons in Strange Angel. Sadly the series is now cancelled, but he was perfect for the role and a concluding Season 3 would have been most welcome. Note: Reynor also had a lead role in Midsommar.

Michelle Gomez did a brilliant Madam Satan in The Chilling Tales Of Sabrina. The subtlety to her performance I feel got overlooked by the otherwise over the top nature of the show itself, a very dark and well done over the top-ness I might add.

Jodie Comer got an Emmy for her role as Villainelle in Killing Eve so it's no secret she did an amazing job, but I still wanted to note it here.

Series
I loved Strange Angel and the 10th season of Archer this year.


Books
American Cosmic by Diana Pasulka 
I really enjoyed this for the insight it gives into the forming of new religions developing in our world, as well as the commentary of religion and paranormal phenomena over the years. The tie in to UFO culture - which is a great interest for me - forms the backbone of the book.

Face It by Debbie Harry
I have been a Blondie fan since I was a kid, and hearing these tales from Debbie Harry's life was an utter delight. Curiously, we don't learn a whole lot about who Debbie Harry is now - she has managed to keep that private, but the tale is ultimately told of one of the greatest collaborations (musical and romantic) in music history, that between her and Chris Stein.

A New World by Whitley Strieber
I am including this here, only 2 thirds the way through it, because I know already that this is an important book. Strieber is ultimately a prophet of new consciousness and his work will be remembered as pioneering, if not monumental in uncovering layers of our soul anatomy to remember the forgotten things about who we are as human individuals and as a species.
I am pleased he has taken a look into Soul Science via the Kemetic route, too, something readers of this blog know is a major interest for me.

Here's to a great 2020 everyone!

Sunday, 8 December 2019

The Details Of Grief


The Details Of Grief is a diptych that was originally a commission for a friend. I decided that I wanted to make a gift of the set as she and her partner have been big supporters of my work. Between them they own more of my paintings outside of myself.

The original painting from which this diptych is extracted is City Of Grief, created last year.

City Of Grief
Acrylic on gessoed wood panel frame
40cm x 50cm
October 2018

I have said nothing about this painting before, as I feel it is probably the most personal painting I have yet created. It speaks of a moment in my life that changed my destiny forever and resonates to this day. It is the first time I have painted Set in a form other than sha animal related. The oryx is another of Set's sacred animals but not usually seen as part of his iconography in the way depicted here.

I have used the same colours to replicate the diptych, including the mysterious and wonderful black created by Culture Hustle to replicate vanta black. It is interesting to me artistically that despite the absence of Set, Wepwawet and the street lamp, the diptych still very much emerges from its parent work in an unquestionable way.

The Details Of Grief
Diptych
Acrylic on wood panel
15cm x 30cm
December 2019





Friday, 25 October 2019

The Resurrection Of This Blog And Hierophany

This blog

A glance at the column on the right will show that my posts over the last few years have dwindled to single figures.

My decision to post less has been influenced by the rise of popularity of other platforms which coincided with the turning away from blogs generally. There are many dead blogs out there that dwindled in just the same way and many ended around that  2015 / 2016 period.

I flirted with and came off Facebook, am undecided about Instagram, and have kept Twitter going. According to SM specialists, Twitter never got huge in Australia as it has elsewhere around the globe, and many people that I talk to over here confirm this. There is an immediacy to Twitter that I resonate with. Like all the platforms it has its shortcomings, but I do not intend letting it go at this stage.

Which brings me to this blog.

I have considered finishing it up, taking it down permanently, temporarily, revamping it, editing it so only art related posts remain, editing it so no art (of mine) posts remain, and have come to the conclusion that I will persevere.

I am frustrated by the lack of interaction here. Social media was meant to be about sharing and commenting and interacting and as shallow as it may be to say so, the lack of likes and views has been discouraging.

I am aware that blogger as a platform is not popular. I have been told that leaving a comment here requires a process that some are unwilling to undergo (I do not blame them for this) but this still doesn't justify the deafening silence.

I do not belong to a specific Kemetic community, and to be honest don't belong to any communities at all: this has been a lifelong thing. So in some ways, I guess my own isolation has brought this about.

If you read this post, make a comment. Or if that's not on, tweet it, Facebook it share it via the url and do me a favour. In the nearly 10 years that the blog has run, this is the first time I have ever made such a request.  At least 44 people follow this blog, so technically there should be at least 44 interactions if everyone honors my request.

And thank you if you do!

Hierophany

Hierophany
70cm x 100cm
Acrylic on wood panel
September 2019

Completed in September 2019, this painting has a very special place in my souls and will likely not leave my collection. It is currently getting a divine (and expensive) frame.

It is the 3rd work to feature the gate (which is an actual gate in a cemetery here in Melbourne) and the first to feature the Netjeru Abyt (mantis headed) and Sepa (centipede headed).

Sunday, 13 October 2019

David Kendall 1940 - 2019

David Robert Kendall - Australian theatre and acting great

David Kendall passed away on Sunday, August 25th 2019. He was a pioneer in Australian Theatre, particularly in Melbourne at LaMama, and was instrumental in creating drama training for actors in Adelaide, South Australia from the late 80’s. This is how I met David, and he was my acting tutor at the Centre For The Performing Arts which then was a 2 year TAFE affair. I was in the first year intake of 1986.

David created a drama course in Adelaide that was not subject to the admission criteria of universities, and thus provided an alternative to those that may not have fared well in the university environment but needed more than what the many amateur schools were providing at the time. Ironically, David was the first real intellectual that I had ever met, and my own intellectual pursuits were ignited by him in those 2 mad, exciting and ultimately life changing years at the CPA.

David was extremely passionate about acting and left an impression on me about the craft that has remained. He encouraged all of us to expand our vocabulary and to write down words we didn’t know whenever we came across them and keep a kind of dictionary. I did this and believe that because I did so at that young age that my command of a decent vocabulary has never left me.

I learned a brilliant technique of acting from David called the Laban technique (also known as "Yat") which sparked my later interests in psychology, as well as further stimulating my interest in dance and physical expression. David was the consummate teacher of this brilliant method and whenever I recall the ferocity and precision with how he taught it I am reminded how hard it would have been not to be sold on it. I am also reminded to work harder with my own artistic pursuits and not surrender until, perhaps, I can master my craft in the way that he did his.

As a lecturer he was strict, and whilst he had a sense of humor there were certain things that irritated him no end. One of my fellow students had an unfortunate habit of yawning throughout class (especially in the later afternoon sessions) and this drove him crazy.

Larry the janitor came close to extinction with his repeated interruptions at 4pm (standard knock off time for campus staff but not students) just as a student was inevitably discovering an exquisite organic moment that David was so skillfully able to draw from many of us.

My acting skills were pretty raw then and I was distracted by everything else going on in my life, so was hardly an ideal student. He tolerated my new age shenanigans at the time but tried to keep my focus on acting, steering me toward the works of Cocteau, the Australian theatre greats, and Shakespeare (our course training began with Richard III).  He encouraged my interest in Antonin Artaud and the Theatre Of Cruelty but the genre was not to be a crucial part of the curriculum of a then burgeoning small city acting course.

I asked David at some stage (in our second year?) why he chose me to be one of 20 students out of hundreds that auditioned to be accepted into the course. He replied with an honesty characteristic of him, that he did not know what I would have done had he not.

Just prior to drama school I was at a stage in my young life where still traumatized by the death of a friend a few years earlier, I found myself pursuing a career in the record industry and was disillusioned about where I was headed. 

I had begun a band (The Gay Giraffes In Dubbo) and had been in a large amateur production of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus (where tellingly I played the Bad Angel, whose final speech at the end of the play was my audition piece that secured my place at the CPA).

I felt that a regular job was just not for me, and in all honesty I cannot say how my life would have turned out had I not been selected for the CPA. It changed me and equipped me for what was ahead, very little of which (it turns out) would be as a professional actor; but so much I learned from David equipped me for so much else of what I encountered as my life unfolded.

Whilst my acting career was short lived (most memorably a controversial play about AIDS and playing a would be rapist on the then new Australia's Most Wanted series) the skills that I gained there have continued to assist me throughout my life in multiple ways. David as gatekeeper of admissions was a Guardian of the gate that -  had it not opened for me - I don't think I would be where I am now. For this I am eternally grateful.

The last time I saw David was in Adelaide sometime in the mid 90’s. I was working on my RPL submission so that my certification would be recognized as an Advanced Diploma in Theatre (Acting), which I eventually secured. Should I have decided to turn the qualification into a degree (something I had considered but have long since abandoned) this was a step towards doing so, and David again, encouraged me in this endeavor.

Farewell David. I have said prayers in the hope that your transition into the Duat is a good one, and for gates to open for you there. If these prayers are heard I can repay, perhaps, the favour you did me all those years ago!



Afterlogue - thoughts after David's Memorial Service Sunday October 13th 2019

I was sad reflecting on the loss of such a great man, even though it's been since August that he passed, which is when I wrote the above post.

I regretted today not pursuing a traditional acting career, if only by virtue of the fact that I was reminded that I had been taught by such a legend. But those that know me know that I am not a straight forwards creature, and that I will do, in the end, exactly what I am going to do.

I was surprised and delighted to find that 5 of the students of the first intake of the CPA Acting course that I was part of in 1986 and 1987 were at the memorial service. Sitting with them had a strange resonance as I recalled how we sat next to one another in those two years of learning how to become actors at the feet of DK.

Even more delightful was that Neegalah and Robert Wuldi (who met at the course and are now married) opened the proceedings. Robert  with a traditional Ngarrindjeri song and a very poignant, very on point tribute that Neegalah penned. Afterwards I conversed with her, who commented that many of the sentiments she conveyed in her tribute were reflected again and again by the subsequent speakers paying tribute at the memorial.

Six of the members of the very first intake (1986) who attended the memorial service; from left Heidi, Neegalah, Jason, me, Rory and Robert

It reinforced for me the earlier point that I made: I am also reminded to work harder with my own artistic pursuits and not surrender until, perhaps, I can master my craft in the way that David  did his. Again I am reminded how lucky I was to have had him as a teacher and mentor.

Melbourne and Australia has lost one of its most ferocious theatre pioneers. His impact can not be overstated.

To the West, David, to the West!




Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Zemmit

Zemmit
Acrylic on gesso panel
70cm x 100cm
June 2019

My latest work is a larger version of my recent Zemit, and titled Zemmit.

It gave me an opportunity to develop the ideas in Zemit further and to particularly focus on Set in better detail.

Zemmit detail: the god Set shows the hierophant the hieroglyphic text suspended in the air


I have rendered the sky and desert in ways that echo earlier works The Netjeru In New York City (2016) and Montu Mountain (2017).

All of the information about the hieroglyphs and the original genesis of the work can be found in a previous blog post on the original Zemit here.


Utterance 570 from the pyramid of King Meryenre, Dynasty 6, Old Kingdom 


Zemmit is 70cm x 100cm and painted in acrylics on a gesso panel.



Sunday, 24 March 2019

Zemit

Zemit
Acrylic on pine board
16" x 20"
March 2019

My latest painting features Utterance 570 from the Pyramid Texts of King Merynra suspended in a desert like landscape near a monument.

Set - Who is referred to in His name of Setesh in the text - is showing the newly arrived initiate the text. The initiate has arrived through the gateway that the monument is.

The desert landscape is a numinous place that is a location between our earthly realm and the Duat. The Zemit (also spelled Zemmit and perhaps Semyt) is a realm governed by Set.

I first came across Utterance 570 in The Ancient Egyptian Day Book by Tamara Siuda. It instantly seized me as being an exceptional and magickal verse.

My friend and fellow artist iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa then located and rendered the phrase in the first person pronoun for me, and helped with much of the initial part of the process, including determining certain glyph anomalies in the original text as well as discussing with me the artistic rendering that I want I wanted to achieve with the work.

This painting is the first of many where Utterance 570 is featured.

The transliteration reads:

I have escaped my day of death 
Just as Setesh has escaped His day of death

I have escaped my half months of death
Just as Setesh has escaped His half months of death

I have escaped my months of death
Just as Setesh has escaped His months of death

I have escaped my year of death
Just as Setesh has escaped His year of death

Uttterance 570
Lines 1453a - 1453h

Pyramid Of King MeryenRa
Dynasty 6, Old Kingdom

My original render of U570