Hand Painted Sacred Symbols

It occurred to me that the watercolour with salt technique I’ve been developing would look good with well known sacred symbols, since the effect definitely makes me think of what we refer to as the formless void, where limitless Chi awaits to be manifested into form and structure.

The pink lotus was the first one I thought of, since water is indeed symbolic of the void, and the lotus blooms on the surface of the murky water. The blue could be symbolic of the “blues”, or of peace.

Pink lotus on blue painting


Next on the list was the Yin and Yang symbol, otherwise known as Taiji.

Yin Yang on blue painting 001

I thought that I pretty much knew what this symbol was all about, but when you do the actual drawing, you learn some interesting things:

  • It actually contains five circles, and three centres.
  • For those that think this symbol justifies the view that there are no straight lines in nature, it might help to consider the vertical axis which aligns the centres of the two small circles.
  • When looked at as a line drawing, devoid of any black or white, it’s easy to see that the two circles which form the heads of the yin and yang look very similar to a double wave form, or double helix.

yin yang design


Symbolic Abstracts Exploring the Circle

For the series of abstracts I am currently working on, I have chosen one symbol: the circle. Why the circle? Well, there is no particular preference for any geometric shape, it’s just that I had to chose one, and then allow the series of works to evolve around the use of this shape.

It is a very inclusive symbol, and seems appropriate for bringing together my technical and stylistic approaches to reference philosophical and psychological themes.

I am a big fan of Joseph Campbell’s writings where he cites the circle as being the best symbol to describe the hero’s journey, which I like to think of as a healing journey.

Here’s a little dialogue he had with Bill Moyers in regards to the circle.

The hands-on mixing of colours, building up of textures, and making intuitive decisions is what I think of as the existential aspect of my artistic practice, whereas, the introduction of measurement and proportion incorporates the metaphysical and rational Platonic aspect. I want the works to be expressive, as well as decorative, chaotic, yet ordered, small in size, while expansive in their effect.

A4 size circle with green for web

A4 size circle with green close for web

After painting the shape of the circle, I then cut a circle out of pieces of paper which had first been coated with a base colour mixed with sand texture gel, and had had some acrylic pouring and blotching done to them.
I then sliced out a section from this textured circle to reveal the colour underneath add further interest.

These sections could be thought of as phases in the mythic journey, or just as phases in time. The thing I don’t like about analogue clocks and watches is that they can trick us into thinking that we just repeat the same cycle over and over, like clockwork, but don’t account for the unique weather, mood, or challenges of any particular cycle, or phase within that cycle.

Circle on blue with black and black frame for web

Crircle on blue with brown and square frame for web