'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Friday, 18 May 2012

Cosmic Tree of Life

Cosmic Tree of Life
© Sue Wookey
Another Tree of Life but this one has gone cosmic - I can't see that I'll ever stop painting them! Each one has been a series of developments from the Indian Tree of Life and Knowledge that I painted a few years ago, based on the simplified image of a 17th century Indian chola bronze tree of life. It was a shape I fell in love with and here it is again.

There are so many complex spiritual symbols and layers of meaning in this painting that I couldn't begin to describe them. I think it's better if I just let it speak for itself, hoping that others will discover them as they study it. Like a lot of my paintings, it went 'off piste' and took it's own course. Originally it was the other way up - which made more sense to me as I was painting it. Then I accidentally put it upside down to take stock of it and decided that I liked it much better that way! But to me it was still 'wrong' so I intended to keep it the way I originally painted it. A few days later, I was ready to put the writing around the border. I always start at the bottom. I really thought I'd put it the 'right' way up... until I'd finished, and then I realised that I had, indeed, done it upside down. I guess the painting was always meant to be that way, with the dark above emerging from the light below. Sometimes you just can't fight these things!

The words around the border are from the Chandogya Upanishad and read:

As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart,
Both heaven and earth are contained in that inner space,
Both fire and air, sun and moon, lightening and stars. 

Cosmic Tree of Life is available as a limited edition giclee print from my website Galley Hill Art.


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