I began yesterday with renewed vigor; after a period of insomnia the night before, in which I was struck with a sudden inspiration to create a ‘space’ in which someone could reside in isolation, and reflect upon their being. Mainly inspired by a walk I undertook a week or two ago, one that lasted around 3-4 hours and took me from my residence to the very end of Penarth’s beach, and back again. On this walk, I reflected a great deal on my life; my worries, my aspirations, my current mental and physical state, It was a spiritual walk, I re-evaluated everything and very almost broke down, but pushed through it.
I have decided to focus one of my final pieces on this spiritual walk; as an attempt to make sense of the developing changes in my mind since moving into Cardiff, as well as my own spiritual and emotional growth, of which I am reading into a great deal of Zen buddhist texts.
As I retraced my journey, I came across the area in which I first sat down and looked out at the sea on this walk. It is only a small place by the bay, just off the cycle track that leads down to the barrage in Cardiff Bay. I sat and looked out at the water, and felt a shift in my mood. I often feel a great release when I sit and stare at the sea, and i’m not sure why (I have an intense admiration for Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ because of this). The remains of the barrages and docks also reside here, slowly deteriorating away into the water, allowing nature to take it’s course.
I then proceeded onwards, down to Penarth, but only after picking up and taking a stone that I felt a certain affinity for, which I then left on the beach in Penarth. The idea of movement and time have been of great interest to me as of late; and the aspect of ‘interaction’ also seems to bleeding into my work, in regards to the theory of ‘Cause and Effect’. The best way to explain it is; I am interested in the event in which something is changed in some way through interaction with another force, but only as a concept that has been playing around in my head. I chose to leave the stone there, on Penarth beach, in the hopes that it continues it’s journey until it is broken down into nature, and is reclaimed.
I also found some coal, which is always handy to have, and also looks beautiful on account of it’s long history.
I then sat on the beach and basked in the warm sun, the tide was high so unfortunately I could not go very far down the beach, but this didn’t matter. The sea lapped gently a few meters away, and the warmth of the sun was all around me, it was a wonderful feeling. As I began to think about my ‘zen circles’, I noticed a few rocks dotted around that were coated with a thin layer of crystals, giving them a reflective, alabaster hue. I was immediately taken aback by the similarities to my own works, consisting of objects disguised with a whiteness, becoming seemingly more important and valuable in essence. I then proceeded to scour the beach for more of these white stones, collecting a large amount, beforr lining them up to better see their uniformity when together. As they are only coated thinly, you can still see the powerful, earthy tones of the stones coming through the slightly translucent and pallid surface.
I then thought back to my interest in ‘Ensō’, and it fell into place.
Alongside my works, I have been keeping a small book, in which I paint an Ensō each day, as a form of self reflection and meditation on the day’s events. The beauty of each circle lies within it’s irregularities, and I have been drawn to the image of the circle for some time now, especially as a space of reflection and solitude; The transmutation circles within my alchemy project, as well as the cocoons I crafted last year, it is a recurring symbol in my works.
I then returned home, and began to experiment with this image of ‘circles’ and of spaces, and began to play around with the designs I had drawn up previously, trying to create a ‘circle’ of stones. The imagery is simple, and the symbolism apparent, anyone from Adam down could see that this space has been cornered off for a reason; it has been removed from it’s surroundings by human hands, in an effort for a human to claim it as their ‘own’.
This is much like the spaces within a city we inhabit; we make them our own, somewhere for the purpose of solitude and of self reflection.
It’s like we carve out a little piece of ‘Eden’,