Saturday, 5 May 2012

'Kokopeli' - Finished at last!

After a little over a year of painting in my spare time, I am finally pleased to present my latest painting entitled 'Kokopeli'. This is the story of our journey...

Around the time of its conception, I had been going through a pretty tough time and so it's nice to feel that light can always come out of the dark. I had been working towards a particular style for a while, trying to find a way to express energy and movement, while maintaining a sense of serenity and it's gratifying to feel that this is the first painting in which I feel I come close to that. I was keen to find some time to creatively channel what was going on inside and so I put a blank canvas on the floor, closed my eyes, cleared my mind and waited for the feeling to clarify.

I began the painting with no preconceived idea or concept of what the content might be or what the painting was about, rather to try to connect with this strong feeling I had and to allow the image come through of its own accord. I began by using a blue wash and rubbed it back to ingrain it into the canvas and thus allow it do dry quicker after that I added a slightly thicker purple wash to encourage an image to come through. I then moved into using a mixture of yellow ochre and burnt umber, at which point the central character appeared and from that point I knew where I was going.

Once the image/character had revealed itself, it was then time to move it towards establishing the background, mid-ground and foreground and to establish the tonal qualities of the picture.

As the perspective of the image began to grow and it's depth became more tangible, it became clear that I would be dealing with two light sources; one from the fire and the other from the moon. This was interesting to me as in symbolism, they can be assigned the characteristics of having a male and female energies respectively, which in turn gave the painting an initial balance that would later come to define the painting's overall character.

From this point on it was then about trying to create the style of the painting; to illustrate and highlight the connection between all the elements, whilst trying to maintain the balance of light between the fire and the moon. But I also wanted to have the moon's light slightly more predominant, as I began to feel that the painting was trying to communicate how the feminine energy was returning to the world once again through illumination, compassion and creativity. The purple clouds in the background lend themselves to the suggestion that the moon has been obscured for some time, while the colour purple suggests traits of seeking spiritual fulfilment, peace of mind and/or meditation.

I was still unclear as to who this little fella was in the foreground? I had a feeling that his posture had some meaning or significance. He felt shamanic. Old. As happens frequently when you follow your intuition, coincidence or synchronicity can provide an answer.

As it happened, I had just bought a brilliant book called 'The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook' by Adele Nozedar and when I picked it up, it happened to open on the page illustrated below...

That was it. I had found Kokopeli or he had found me! and the name for my painting. (The working title before that was the 'Hispanic Shamanic' ?!).

Interesting to note that Wikipedia described him as:

Kokopeli is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with a huge phallus and feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head), who has been venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Like most fertility deities, Kokopeli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.

The fact that he was in relatively the same position and that he had a feather in his hat was really satisfying, as right from the start I had maintained that I was going to try to bring through an image by way of my intuition.

Now I knew who the character was, I had to decide whether I should adapt my image of him or stick to the more traditional versions I had found in the book and elsewhere on the web. In the end, I decided that I would try remain as faithful to my original as possible. I added his hands and the flute and then concentrated on trying to find a conclusion to the rest of the painting.

And here it is, having been professionally photographed by my cousin Tiddy (thank you so much Tids, really pleased with the end result!)

I hope you enjoy the painting as much as I did creating it, and please pass it onto friends who you think might appreciate it.

If you are interested, canvas prints are available from my website:


Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Wurzels - 'Sleigh Ride'

Here's my latest animation - A little Christmas number to get y'all in the spirit :)