Halo Of Thoughts
This is a painting created in Cyprus, between 2000 and 2001. It’s 69 x 99 cm, in oil paint, oil pastel
and pencil on cardboard.
I never thought I’d sell this painting, as she was probably the most pivotal and important of my
younger artist years – she heralded a whole new confidence and freedom, during my first year
living in the Mediterranean. There is a season for everything, and the letting go of things in general
is a powerful evolving force. Letting go of paintings that are so iconic in my own life has always
been a move towards trusting the world more deeply – letting each painting go to its right home.
This is one of the few that stayed at the heart of my home for so long.
Halo Of Thoughts – to me – seems to be a woman who knows how to trust herself, her place in the
world, her power, her ability to navigate reality. She might even be letting go of her need to hold
onto safe ground, to keep herself small and protected: she is striding gently-but-firmly into her
beingness, unafraid of showing her vulnerability, her youth.
This painting in particular – though not the first – was one that attracted much projection from the
immature mind, of ‘pornography’. I had strong conversation with an academic in Nicosia, who had
written an expo catalogue for the group show that the painting was in. His written words referred
to adolescent sexual awakening, and to the ‘orgy’ around her head. I asked him to point out what
aspects of the figures in the halo symbolised sexual excess to him, but he was already smirking
arrogantly about how it was ‘obviously sexual’. This comment stayed with me for a long time, as it
was entirely contrary to my energetic intention and my own sense of the meaning in the painting.
In fact, her halo around her head originated from my living at the time in an artists’ commune:
sleeping, eating and working in close proximity to a group of international artists. The contrast of
experience for me was intense, having lived and worked in relative isolation for several years
previously. She began as a lone figure in front of a starry sky, then the multiple figures around her
head began as a loose group, directly related to the feeling of psychic overwhelm in sharing life-
work space with others… Nearing completion, the ‘halo’ actually was a means of containing the
figures – tidying them up, like keeping my mind safe by having a boundary.
I think that this artwork was the first in which I began to paint from a deeper place of innocence,
strength, confidence: I didn’t yet seem to know these qualities – even though something that I was
connecting with evidently did – and this was the beginning of trusting the deeper flow – of
integrated knowing. I began to sense that it might be possible to cultivate a state of being beyond
the pain and tensions of the everyday.
Halo Of Thoughts has lived with me around Scotland and Italy for the past 18 years; a constant
companion. She has some travel wear, including cracking on the black, though her background has
been repainted at least twice since she was created. Just let me know if you need close-up photos
and more information.
– where you can view Halo Of Thoughts and other works for sale in digital format