Saturday, 5 August 2017

Profane Egyptologists

I am very pleased that my painting This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again is featured on the cover of Dr. Paul Harrison's forthcoming book, Profane Egyptologists.

Dr. Harrison has written about the modern revival of the Ancient Egyptian religion today, and I am very looking forward to reading the book when it is published later this year.

For information about the creation of my painting you can view the original blog post. One piece of information that I did not include in that post relates to the very first sketch I made of the work that I remained faithful to in the final rendering that is known today: it was made on the train that goes from New York to Boston. I had a little booth like thing that I shared with another bloke, complete with table. We did not carry on hardly any conversation with each other, but when he glanced up and saw the sketch he remarked, "I love that Ancient Egyptian stuff - cool man". (I was on my way to the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts where further inspiration awaited!)

The painting was later to be accepted as a finalist in the 64th Blake Prize Director's Cut - the 3rd of my paintings to be so honoured.

You can pre-order a copy of Profane Egyptologists here.

This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again
Acrylic on linen
72" x 48"
September 2015

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Do Not Tear The Cocoon

Do Not Tear The Cocoon
Acrylic on gessoed board
20" x 27.5"
This painting is one of the most direct statements of personal initiation so far.

Conceived in a visit earlier this year to my hometown of Adelaide, and featuring the Adelaide skyline as taken in a photograph by me from the Belair Road hill by the cemetery (cemeteries have played a part in my artwork of this year). As the true yield of the internal process unfolded, so did the painting fully emerge.

The original photo taken as I came from down the hill on Belair Road - note Set statue on my dashboard

The edited photo of the Adelaide skyline featured in the painting

The painting was commenced before Winged Heru and finished after the latter was complete, the image features 9 Netjeru (Heru, Set, Wepwawet, Anpu, Montu, Auset, Nebt-Ht, Serqet and Het-Hrt) and says something of soul anatomy again also (the cars, the cocoon).

The painting is on a gessoed board, acrylic, and measures 20" x 27.5"

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: NebtHt, Serqet, Montu, Anpu

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: Wepwawet, Set, Auset, HetHrt

Do Not Tear The Cocoon detail: cars and cocoon

Friday, 28 July 2017

Winged Heru

My latest painting is Winged Heru
72" x 48"
Acrylic on linen

The text reads:

Hail Lord Heru
Golden One whose body is sky
And eyes the sun and moon
Lord of the sky
Bone breaker

Grant me the powers
Of strength, courage and perseverance

May this be a million times true now and for eternity

The original sketch that the painting is based on, and which I intended to capture

The outline on the canvas ready to be rendered!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

5 More Essential Oils

Further to my post from last year about my favourite essential oils, I write now of some new discoveries that have really stimulated my ever eager olfactory senses!

I bought these from Eden's Garden, and am really impressed with them.

Muhuhu (Brachylaena hutchinsii)
Native to Kenya and Tanzania the hardwood of the Muhuhu trees is utilized for providing flooring. 

Also known as African Sandalwood, Muhuhu is woody and not unlike sandalwood but take the succinct sandalwood note into a new direction. I felt a different kind of calm when inhaling this, and feel it may even supersede my love for Sandalwood proper!

I have been finishing a large portrait of Heru and felt it was most proper to inhale this scent as I did so.

Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annuum)
Also known as Moroccan Tansy and Moroccan chamomile, this is one that I have wanted to add to my collection for some time. As Blue Tansy was listed in the ingredients of a blend that I recently purchased, I was curious to see if this was the note I could smell and could not identify. It was.

It is related to the chamomile family and so has a chamomile note, but it has a distinctive smell that distinguishes itself from these flowers.

It is a rich bright blue colour that makes me think of the skin of Amon.

Davana (Artemisia pallens)
I had heard about this oil on various sites and publications but was not prepared for the intoxication it brings with it. It has a grape-like smell with a hint of tea, and is very very uplifting. I have read that it helps with depression and has been used in sacred traditions as a fumigant.

The oil is indeed extracted from a plant that bears grapes as fruit, but apparently the whole plant is used in the essential oil distillation process.

Valerian (Valeriana wallichii) 
I have not found use for valerian as a herb when suggested as a sleep aid, but the essential oil is another story. It has a heady smell that is indeed sleep enticing, very calming, and reminds me somewhat of vetiver. There is also a wood note to this oil.

Nootka Tree (Cupressus nootkatensis) 
This oil smells strongly of pencil shavings, and in this manner it is similar to Arborvitae. It has a richer more solid, full bodied aroma however than the latter, and is most .enticing.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance

Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance
Mixed media (acrylic and moulding paste) on linen
72" x 48"

My latest painting is my first larger canvas (actually this is linen) in almost 2 years (the last was This Has All Happened Before And This Will All Happen Again).

The painting is mixed media and includes moulding paste which I have used to bring movement to the ocean. It is the first time that I have used moulding paste in a work and I am pleased with how it has turned out.

The Netjer Nehebukau descends and hovers above a beach, conveying blessings upon the hierophant. The blessings are a unifying of the hierophant's soul anatomy in a way that will take him from soul blindness to true vision. The blessing that He conveys assures not only the unification of soul parts but His divine protection also.

This photo better shows the iridescence around the hieroglyphs of blessing

This painting is the beginning of other new projects on a similar topic, including a short film that I am making and a triptych of paintings on the same theme.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Historic Syme Memorial At Kew Cemetery

"Reason has not much to say in favour of a future state of existence, but instinct has...... this desire and belief is as strong as the instinct of self-preservation itself. It is stronger than reason, more powerful than the evidence of sense. It withstands ridicule, contumely and persecution because it is rooted in the innermost nature of our being." 
David Syme 
(from Scores Of Symes Vol. 1 by the late Dr. Veronica Condon; the quote can also be found on the website dedicated to Sir Geoffrey Syme, her father and David's son)

David Syme (1827 - 1908) was a Scottish-Australian notable in the early history of Victoria (an Australian state) where on settling in Melbourne was to become proprietor and Managing Editor of the mighty The Age newspaper. This newspaper is still an establishment of some consideration to this day in contemporary Melbourne. The company stayed in the ownership of his family until selling to Fairfax in 1983.

David Syme
Mr. Syme had a spectacular tomb built in Kew Cemetery* that has only recently come to my attention. It is a breathtaking rendering of a Ptolemaic Temple complete with art nouveaux interpretations of essential Kemetic themes. 

Entry to the memorial from the main cemetery gates
Visible from the principle cemetery gates upon immediate entry, the tomb stands in majestic contrast to the stone urns, crosses, and Christian memorials of the immediate surroundings. It is astonishing to see such a monument so far away from Egypt, and so exquisitely rendered.

After further research, primarily from the website mentioned above by the late Dr. Condon, the inspiration for the building was indeed the Temple of Auset in Pilak (the Temple Of Isis in Philae).

The capitals from The Temple Of Auset on Pilak (Philae) island

The entrance from the other side; the gates were added after the memorial was built to prevent people walking through
Two entrances open into the monument, the floor of which has a large horizontal hatch featuring an epitaph of the names of David and Annabelle Syme with a winged disk atop. 

The door to the underground vault which lay beneath the memorial

The winged disk motif representative of Ra Heruakhte can also be found above the entrances. The epitaph seals the vault below in which are buried David and Annabelle Syme, their son Francis and daughters Gabrielle and Caroline (the latter two died in infancy). At time of writing, I have been unable to ascertain if the vault or contents within continue the Kemetic themes of the spectacular exterior and of course I am curious.

In research for writing this article I am learning a lot more about David Syme, and I am particularity interested to get a hold of his last volume, The Soul: A Study and an Argument (1903). Towards the end of his life he and wife Annabelle showed an interest in spiritualism - a very popular topic of the time it appears. But apart from the letters written to Annabelle by the architects of the tomb, Butler and Bradshaw, explaining some of the motifs incorporated into the design and references to the "Book Of The Dead", just how far the interest into Kemeticism went I can not ascertain.
These gates were added later in the building's history; the uraeai design remain true to the 136 that cap the monument and surround the interior and exterior of the cornice 

The tops of the bolts that hold the vault door intact are grasped by Khepera - a charming design addition

This scarab beetle is one design of many on the monument, fitting for the resurrection and transformation David Syme expected of the next world; this is found on the rail fixture surrounding the lower part of the building

This wonderful tiling feature can be found on all 4 corners of the inside floor of the building exterior; a beautiful rendering in art nouveaux style of the winged scarab

The cobras with sun disk on their heads surround the inner and outer cornices of the building and go in separate directions accordingly

The capitals feature a different style on each column denoting those used in pharaonic times

At the time, much of Kemeticism would have been informed largely by still new Egyptology; Theosophy was being introduced at the time in Melbourne also, but still very new. Tutankhamun's tomb discovery was still over a decade away. In light of all of this, the statement that the monument makes is bold. A circle left on the horizontal vault door suggests a vase or perhaps a statue had been present but now removed, and I wonder what this was? If it was a vase, was it sculpted in an ancient Egyptian style, or more the nouveaux look that was still flourishing as a result of the earlier Egyptomania of the 1800's?

The Syme monument is located in the Kew Cemetery* and is listed on the National Trust Heritage register. Before visiting the monument I checked that it was Ok to do so, and obtained permission to take photographs. 

I have approached this topic with reverence and respect for the Syme family and the incredible memorial that has been created to commemorate them. I would like to see the monument cleaned and maintained in a grander state of preservation with the view for it to last for eternity, as I am certain David Syme intended.

*Boorondara is the name of the locality this Eastern Melbourne suburb is located in and often the cemetery is referred to by this municipality 

Much of the information I have gleaned in my research for this blog comes from the work of Dr. Veronica Condon, the grand daughter of David Syme who has documented much of her family history
The Temple Of Auset - a remarakbly well preserved temple dating from the Ptolemaic period of Egypt's history

All of the photos in this blog were taken by the author, except the photo of David Syme and the spine of the book Scores Of Symes Vol 1. by Dr. Veronica Condon taken from her website

Monday, 6 February 2017

Montu Mountain

Montu Mountain
Acrylic, 23 carat gold leaf and lapis lazuli on linen
36" x 48"
February 2017

My latest completed painting is Montu Mountain, and it is the 5th painting in my series The Netjeru In America.

Montu Mountain
Acrylic, 23 carat gold leaf, and lapis lazuli on linen
36" x 48"
A Kemetic landscape: a mountain beset within a crimson sky wherein the Netjeru Montu and His avatar BaAkh appear. Montu bestows blessings of His Akh and Sekhem as I meditate at the mountain base below. The mountain is irradiated with the power of Ra Himself.

The painting is primarily in acrylic, but features gold leaf gilding (there are 52 sekhems, 49 akhs and 151 sun discs). The wadjet eyes at the bottom of the painting are in lapis lazuli pigment.

Montu Mountain is in the Utah desert, sitting behind the Bonneville Salt Flats looking from the town of West Wendover which sits on the Nevada side of the Nevada / Utah border.  I visited there in 2015 when I met Ptahmassu and his husband Brent, and was overcome by the landscape there that resembled the landscape of Egypt where the pharaonic civilisation flourished so long ago.

The mountain ranges behind Bonneville Salt Flats
Photo credit: Ptahmassu
The West Wendover part of my trip was a highlight; here I got to finally meet Kemetic iconographer Ptahmassu who has become a friend and supporter of my work. I also met his equally charming husband who helped make the trip smooth by driving us everywhere and organising accommodation for me.

Montu Mountain is the outcrop on the right
Ptahmassu took the photo of me below as I meditated at the bottom of the mountain, and this has been reproduced in the painting. It is he that named the rocky outcrop Montu Mountain, and I certainly resonated with this when we went there.

The original photo of me meditating at the bottom of the mountain; the photo has however been reversed - you will note that the photo features a mirror image of the painting; actually, the painting is the way we saw it from where we had parked and walked up to it, but I was siting in the opposite direction which I reversed for the painting
Photo credit: Ptahmassu

This landscape is mystical and I would love to know more about it from the perspective of the Native Peoples of America. The area is also near a military installation, supposedly carrying out secret agenda according to conspiracy theorists. The day I visited a very loud sound erupted across the otherwise silent landscape that made me think a massive machine was being powered up.

Using my projector, I began the mountainscape on the canvas with the photo I took at its base

More projector fiddling

Early black-lining
Photo credit: Kitten

Montu Mountain detail: the divine Netjer BaAkh
Avatar of Montu
Bull of Medamud, Uaset, Armant and Tod

Montu Mountain detail: being blessed by the Akh and Sekhem of the Divine Netjer Montu
Lord Of Uaset
Lord Of Eternity
Ruler of Everlastingness
Lord Of The Army
Lord of Medamud, Tod, and Armant

Montu Mountain detail: The Divine Netjer Montu

Montu Mountain detail: Wadjet Eyes
Ptahmassu and I inside aircraft relic from WWII; the area has great historical significance to WWII - a fact not lost on me as I manifest a paiting of one of Kemet's most powerful war deities
Photo credit: Brenton, Ptahmassu's husband February 2015

On completion of Montu Mountain in my studio February 5th 2017
Photo credit: Kitten

***please note that the images of my painting are taken from my Android - professional images will come later and be published on my official website Setken