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

paintings

Paintings

My work is exhibited regularly at the Eagle Gallery, 101 Castle Road, Bedford MK40 3QP. See the Eagle Gallery Website for details of coming exhibitions. Other exhibitions are listed on my page here. You can also follow me on Pinterest!

All paintings below are available from me as a limited edition giclee print using lightfast inks on heavyweight archival 100% cotton Hahnemuhler fine-art paper. Each print is signed by the artist. They can be ordered via my website at suewookey.com, where you will also find more details about each print.

All paintings are the copyright of Sue Wookey/Galley Hill Art and can only be used by permission.


Lunar Owl is the latest in my series of animals with the Moon and is a companion piece to The Listening Hare, Badger Moonrise and Moon Horse. The words around the border are by me and read: 
'Owl goes hunting, soundless, white, hunting moon floats over fields of night. Bright feathers, bright bow cleave the dark with light.' - SW






White Hart is the latest in my series of animal portraits with the moon. (See also Lunar Owl, Badger Moonrise, The Listening Hare, Fox and Lunar Eclipse and Moon Horse). A beautiful white Fallow Deer Stag stands poised with the moon behind him. The words I've composed for the border read:
Hart of the White Fire, silver swift, poised between stillness and the leap, keeps the secret of the unbroken moment and hears the forest breathe. - SW
 
The Listening Hare is a companion piece to my Moon Horse and is a painting reflecting the value of quietness and listening to the subtle flow of life all around us. Hares are always so alert, paying attention to the smallest sound and movement. I wanted to capture that alertness and also those moments of complete stillness which come between bursts of activity.The words around the border were written by me to reflect this meaning: 
Love silence and listen, as the hare does, to the quiet reaching upwards of the grass and the drum of the full moon rolling over the round hill.

Fox and the Lunar Eclipse is the third painting in my series of animal portraits (the others are Moon Horse and the Listening Hare) and this time the moon is shown entering a beautiful lunar eclipse, echoing the ruddy colour of the fox's coat. The fox is looking straight at us, challenging us to take the two quotes around the border to heart:
Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better - Einstein  and All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it - Samuel Butler
 


The Owl's Gift shows a Barn Owl gifting a feather. The painting is a reminder that nature is constantly gifting itself to keep up the endless cycle of life, a hugely complex support network that we bulldoze through at our peril. The quotes around the border are wise words from Emerson and Wordsworth:
The only gift is a portion of thyself - R.W. Emerson
Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher - W. Wordsworth




Cosmic Tree of Life is another Tree of Life, part of 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. There are so many complex spiritual symbols and layers of meaning in this painting that I think it's better if I just let it speak for itself, hoping that others will discover them as they study it. The words around the border 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. - Chandogya Upanishad

Autumn Oak shows one of my favourite trees shedding its leaves at the end of Autumn, while the promise of new life is concealed within in the form of a acorn. The setting sun also circles a glimpse inside the mound where a fox is sleeping, nestled amongst the roots of the tree. I've always loved the way acorns look like little green eggs sitting in their own egg-cups, bursting with life, so the words around the painting read:
Autumn sees the falling of my crown, yet to spring's hope I life a thousand tiny cups to the light and, furled within, the secret of my entire Kingdom - SW 

The Green Lady is a companion piece to The Green Man Ready for Battle. Where he shows nature at its most implacable, The Green Lady is much gentler! She represents Nature at its most abundant and generous. I've surrounded her with honeysuckle, field bindweed and blackberry blossom. I've also painted in my favourite butterflies and a couple of visiting bees. The quotes around the border read: 
Nature never did betray the heart that loved her - William Wordsworth and In leaf and blade, in bud and bloom exultantly her gladness grows - R.W. Service


Balance is one of those paintings that just went its own way, starting off as a straighforward Tree of Life painting. After the circles went in I don't think I knew what I was painting until the title popped into my head and then it all made sense. All life is delicately balanced on a fragile support, take it too far one way or the other and everything is off kilter. This applies as much to nature as to ourselves and the way we live in the world. It also applies to our inner harmony. Nothing in excess - as the old adage goes.


Wisdom of the Ash shows a great Ash Tree, the Norse Tree of Life, stretching between heaven and earth. Beneath it a badger sleeps protected by its roots. The words I've written to go around the border are:
Wisdom of the Sun Lord and the Moon Lady, wisdom of the deep Earth and her sacred well, wisdom of the Ash who touches earth and stars and teaches how to hold all in balance.
Unicorn shows a shy and gentle unicorn bending towards a field of white lilies, both symbols of purity and light. My unicorn is not quite horse-like, not quite deer-like, not quite like any earthly animal, but is inspired by the small, delicate unicorns of medieval paintings. The words I've written for the border are:
Seek the pure heart of your childhood and sit quietly within its hidden garden, flowers will unfold all around you and shyly, step by step, beauty will come.
The Green Man Ready for Battle started off as the usual 'Green Man', that woody spirit of all things green and growing that puts his pagan stamp on churches up and down the country. But the leaves he's spouting wanted to form a helmet, and he started spewing brick destroying ivy and wearing a sprouting seed as an emblem on his forehead. The sort that comes up in your concrete path and gives it what for. This is the Green Man taking a long look at us and getting ready to demonstrate that Nature may be battered but in the end Nature will always win.

The Three Running Hares is based on an ancient symbol. No one knows the real origin or meaning, but it is found all along the Silk Road from China to South West England where it can be seen on church roof bosses and in stained glass. The Three Hares chase each other around and share three ears. The symbol could be connected to the lunar cycle. I've put moons in the painting anyway because - to me - it represents the cyclical passing of time which both races by faster than we can catch it and repeats at one and the same time.

The Owl Knows shows a tawny owl in an oak tree, but is also another painting of my favourite theme, the Tree of Life. The Owl knows that after autumn and winter, new life will spring up again, but he also knows that the Tree of Life grows within as much as without. The words around the painting are from WB Yeats poem 'The Two Trees' and read:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart, the Holy Tree is growing there, from joy the holy branches start, and all the trembling flowers they bear.

Leave it all Behind is a painting about one of those magical journeys where we sense we are moving forward in life. Old habits that hold us back, old troubles, and unwelcome difficulties are peeled away by a cleansing wind and fall like autumn leaves. Having served their purpose, we reach the point where we really can truly leave them all behind and look forward to new beginnings. The words around the border read:
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine into flowers,
the winds will blow their freshness into you,
and the storms, their energy,
and cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- John Muir

Moon Horse has really come from deep inner imaginings, and I think you'll agree that he is a horse with a great deal of presence. Although mares are usually associated with the moon, in this case I have painted a stallion, and I wanted the dappling of the moon to echo the dappling on his body. The words around the border read:
Over the hill runs the Horse, above the hill rides the Moon, silvered with the forgotten fire - the dappled Horse and the Moon.


Sun Horse shows the fiery horse of the sun's chariot and is pictured with the dawn sun rising behind him. Full of blazing energy and light, he has the symbol of the sun emblazoned on his arching neck. The words I've written to go around the border are:
Over the horizon, the morning sun rising from the hearth with heart of fire, ignites the dark to forge the day and strikes the sky with hooves of light.
Day and Night shows the contrast between these two times, the hare - animal of light and the sun - chasing the badger - animal of dark and the moon in an eternal dance. The words I've written to go around the border are:
Night follows Day, Day follows night, round and round dance the moon and sun, meeting shyly between shadow and light at the secret gate where they are one.
The Indian Tree of Life and Knowledge is a version of the Cosmic Tree of Life, based on a 17th century Indian chola bronze. At its centre is the image of the Snake, a positive representation of the life force itself. The Tree of Life stands at the centre of all things, at the place where the one separates into the many.








Twelve Hares is a painting based on the fascinating symbol of the Vesica Piscis, two overlapping circles creating a central mandorla. The symbol represents the birth of life and this painting is filled with circles, defining the shapes of the twelve hares found in this work. Dancing between day and night they show Nature's abundance and continual renewal. The words I've composed for the border read: Year by year on the hill rises the golden corn, and over the hill swings the reaping moon, and always on the hill leaps the nimble hare - Sue Wookey 


Eostre's Moon has some of my favourite things in it - the moon, the trojan maze, a megalithic temple and a leaping hare. To lead you around the maze of symbols I've created, the sliver of the New Moon is ready to be reborn where it will follow it's winding path to completeness. And the leaping hare represents the spring goddess Eostre who was associated with the renewal of life and the spring equinox, when she would take on its form. I love the idea of her dancing for joy as the world is renewed with the coming of spring

The Golden Seed is another Tree of Life, and is a companion piece the The Indian Tree of Life. As in the previous painting, there is a balance of opposites within the Tree (which represents all Creation), but this Tree is bearing suns and moons as its fruit. It's springing up in all it's profusion from a small version of the simpler Indian Tree. An archetype holding the Seed from which an endless variety constantly evolves - God in all His creation. The words around the border are from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.

Earth and Fire represents the Elements of Earth and Fire, with the stag representing fire. Stags have a longstanding relationship with the Sun in many cultures and have been regarded as a sacred animal since neolithic times. The words around the outside are attributed to St Patrick and describe his imaginative vision of all that is staggy:
Light of sun, radiance of moon, splendour of fire, speed of lightening, swiftness of wind, depth of sea, stablility of earth, firmness of rock.

Owl Dream was inspired by dreams of flying and owls, the shaman's guide in the spirit realm. The words around the border read:
Between dark fall and light rise, between lost dreams and sudden waking, the stars dance the silver winding path, and only the Moon and the Owls know. - Sue Wookey

The Road started out as an Open Studios painting demo of the Trojan Maze and ended up absorbing me completely. This is a representation of the life journey we all make to find our true selves. It's a difficult and winding road were we often feel very far from our goal, while at other times we we are tantalizingly close. Yet the labyrinth shows us that every step takes us closer to the light. The words around the edge read:
The journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom - RW Emerson

The Tree of Transformation came out of nowhere and painted itself while I had no idea what was going on. It just sort of grew. I don't know what you might see in it but I see worlds being re-formed and re-born, and it took me quite a while to realise the bird was going to be a Phoenix. I love it when paintings create themselves!

Skellig Michael (Michael's Rock) is one of the world's most amazing places - the site of a tiny 7th century monastic community whose beehive huts cling to the top of the sheer rock, 9 miles off the coast of Kerry. It is also the start of the great Apollo-Athena line that links the island with countless sites dedicated to Michael, and the ancient oracular centres of Delphi, Athens and Delos. I've depicted the crossing of 'Apollo' and 'Athena', and in the doorway of the hut can be seen another cross - the ancient island one that has worn down almost into a figure.

Sleep is a painting about - well - sleep, and falling into a dream world where familiar forms become symbols from the unconcious.

The Raven with the Sun is a painting about inner journeys - the Raven has the sun in his beak (as in the Native American myths where Raven gave light to the world), but here I've set the light at the heart of a maze - in other words in the heart of us, the Light at the centre of our life journey. The feathers are souls that the raven is guiding inwards towards wisdom and self knowledge.

Michael. Instead of trying to paint a convincing Archangel (I wouldn't dare!) I've chosen to represent this Angel of light and fire with his symbols of the sun (both a real sun burning in the background and a symbolic one in the foreground), his sword and the balance. A great wing sweeps across the painting like a rainbow, both a symbol of God's covenant with Man after the Flood and of Michael's role as protector of Mankind. The words around the painting read:
Michael, Prince of Light, Quis ut Deus? Protector of Mankind, Guide and Herald.

World Tree. This is my interpretation of the World Tree, the cosmic symbol of life and knowledge which appears in many cultures throughout the world.

The Cradle of Life is a painting based on the fascinating symbol of the Vesica Piscis, two overlapping circles creating a central mandorla. It is the basis for sacred geometry and is found on the Chalice Well cover at Glastonbury and in many other places and religions all over the world. As it symbolises the birth of life I've chosen to paint it with the four elements of earth, air, fire and water and with the Sun, Moon, Earth and Stars.

The Midnight Tree is a painting which came in a dream of a sacred tree, which draws energy from the moon instead of the sun.

Grove is - as you can see - all about trees. In fact a whole grove of trees forming a sacred space (hence the joined roots and the sun at the centre). A quiet place within Nature to do all that contemplating we mean to do, but never find enough peaceful moments to get around to enjoying. A green, tranquil island within our busy lives. A miniature grove for the home if you haven't got a forest at your door or a humungously sized garden.

The Innermost Garden reflects the idea of the mystical garden (the inner Eden) that features so much in religious art and alchemical drawings, with the Water of Life flowing from its centre. The whole painting is based around the sacred geometry of the Flower of Life and looks like an exotic tiled floor or sumptuous carpet. The words around the outside read:
I am a kind word uttered and repeated
by the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the blue tent
upon the green carpet.
- Song of the Flowers, Gibran


The Temple of the Moon is a companion piece to The Temple of the Moon and shows the sun rising on the morning of the Winter Solstice. This always brings the promise of new life and new birth as the year finally turns and the days get longer.The double spirals on the stone - found carved at many prehistoric sites - track the winding course of the sun through each year, as is declines and increases.The words around the border are written by me and read: 
The Sun rises and the world rises from darkness with him. The seed of every seed, King of green and gold,even the grass drinks from his Golden Bowl. - SW

The Temple of the Moon celebrates the 2011 Spring Equinox Lunar Perigee and is a painting full of mystery. Like Eostra's Moon, the moon is being reborn inside an ancient mound, but this one has Guardian Trees and the traces of a labyrinth on the top. Behind it a full moon hangs over a misty lake. The words around the edge read:

Behold the glow of the moon
illumine the world's four quarters
perfect light in perfect space
a radiance that purifies.
- Shih Te

Four Elements shows the four classic elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water placed in the Four Directions they are most associated with, starting with the Hare (Earth) in the North, the Hawk (Air) in the East, the Stag (Fire) in the South and the Celtic Salmon of Wisdom (Water) in the West. Ether, or spirit, is usually placed in the centre, and here I've placed the sun/moon that I've put in several other paintings. For me it holds the Fire and Air, and the Earth and Water in balance. The words around the painting read:
May Fire inspire and transform you
May Air purify you and set you free
May Earth uphold and sustain you
And may the blessing of Water make you wise.
- SW

On Galley Hill shows a wind blown hill top with its leaning hawthorn trees, yellow rape and hare. Beneath the path, flints push their way up, reminding us of our past when they provided tools and fire sparks for our ancestors. The words around the painting were written by me and read:
Up high on the hill, the soft grass bending over nubbles of flint, dark fists pushing upwards under hawthorn tangles and a grey-snagged sky. - SW 

Galley Hill from the East shows the far side of Galley hill and one of my favourite walks. Following around the base of the hill you eventually reach the ancient Icknield Way, one of Britain's oldest trackways. The words around the border were written by me and read:
The old way and the winding way,
the overgrown way that the hare loves,
between the white chalk and the white elder
and the quiet hill rising. - SW

The Healing Light shows a bright blue orb of Healing Light, guarded by a circle of ancient standing stones. Beyond the circle you can also see the green of the forest with a starry sky above. The words around the border are an old Irish Blessing and the wise words of that lover of nature and light, St Francis of Assisi:
May the blessing of Light be on you, Light without and Light within - Irish Blessing All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle - St Francis of Assisi



The Apple's Heart shows that most complex of all symbols, the Apple, token of wisdom, fertility, healing, sacred gifts and much more in myth and folklore. With its star shaped heart and association with the mystical Isle of Apples, Avalon, the painting barely touches the magic associated with the fruit of the Tree of Life and Knowledge. The words I've composed to go around the border read: The wassail fades from Wisdom's field, 
yet full I grow and branches part 
for Avalon and Gawain's shield, 
and you who know my secret heart. - SW




The Old Way shows one of the old routes that winds across England, The Icknield Way, an ancient trackway that is believed to be one of the oldest roads in the country. People walked it before the Romans arrived and it may even date from Prehistoric times. In my painting, the only being on the road is a fox, crossing from field to field. The words around the border are written by me and read: 
The flint path, the forgotten path, the green way where old secrets wind
between the hawthorn and the hazel, and under the ash and the oak.
-SW



Raven's Flight is inspired by the Native American legend of Raven stealing the sun so that mankind could have warmth and light, but the painting also symbolises hope and the eternal birth of light from darkness. The words around the border read:
If you are a true lover of the Hidden Light, welcome the night wings of Raven as he brings you the Sun. - SW


Holding the Net of Life shows all life upheld by the Elements from which life is woven, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. The figures around the fire embody the Elements, but they also represent the powers that sustain us - Guardians, Teachers, Family, Friends, Ancestors - all that holds us up in our walk through life. The words around the border are:
Woven together in the Web of Life. Woven together with Spirit, Woven together with Earth, Woven together with   Air, Woven together with Fire and Water. - SW

Moon Dance celebrates the cycle of the moon. I've used her crater markings to map out the body of the drummer as she bends over her drum. Around her the Moon dances through all her phases, passing over the Earth and the oceans. The words I've written around the border are:
Through the shadow, through the light, sometimes dark and sometimes bright, round and round to the drum of the moon, dancing the dance of life. - SW




The Protecting Tree shows a stylised Hawthorn Tree protecting a sleeping hare. Hawthorn is the tree of spring, light and new life, and is a strongly protective presence. I've depicted it with both blossom and fruit, in both its spring and late summer aspects, protecting the light of day within the surrounding night. The words I've composed for the border read:
When weary all, the Hawthorn bends her net of branches round the heart, with berries red and bridal bloom, she protects the golden light.. - SW
The Forgotten Stone depicts a standing stone marked with the spiral pathway of the Sun and a Celtic sword. It sits deep at the centre of a mysterious green grove, surrounded by protecting trees. The words I've composed for the border read: 
Venture into the heart of the forest deep and within the spirals of the green grove, seek the forgotten Stone and claim its gift, for a piece of the sun has fallen to earth. - SW





















All paintings © Sue Wookey