Remembering our Original Pattern Ancestors:
Painting as a Way of Knowing Earth

Visual Language is our first language, our Mother tongue, the language we dream in. Visual Language is the language of Earth, the material world, of all living systems.  

Left: First photo of Earth from space
Right: We are Ocean, We are Light
15cm x 10cm 
Watercolour paper, acrylics, gold dust

When I was twelve, three things happened that shook my world. My family left the ochre sandstone and eucalyptus bush of Sydney to live in the slate grey moors of Yorkshire in the north of England, then remigrated to Australia nine months later. I changed school four times that year and was initiated into painting by my high school art teacher – Mrs Eve.  

In our first lesson Mrs Eve asked us to randomly sketch a pattern using wax crayons. I scribbled a flame-like pattern using red, yellow and white then put a wash of black paint over the top. The black paint momentarily obscured the crayon marks, but as I watched, the waxy colours reappeared even more brightly through the pool of watery darkness. 

In that moment I had an experience of recognition. I felt, heard, and sensed the painting speaking to me. On some obscure intuitive level, I knew that the painting was alive, had a voice and it wanted to speak to me. 

Later, I understood the painting was telling me an essential truth about my own inner nature: that my soul would always be present, no matter what was overlaid on top. I had an embodied experience that ‘I’ could not be covered up no matter what was done to me or in later years what I did to myself. I was not able to say these words to anyone, but some part of me knew that I had been spoken to by a wiser, more ancient voice, a voice that was born and spoke through the life of the painting.  

In the decades since this experience, I have moved in and out of my creative process tracking this voice and often failing. When I tried to direct the paint to look the way I wanted, the painting acquired a feeling of ‘as-ifness’ –  became a facsimile of itself. When I allowed the authentic materiality of the painting to show itself by becoming present with my own body – a process  Donna Harraway describes as ‘sympoeisis,’ creating with– something else happened. Paintings flowed as a river, or as a view of Earth from above, from within, from beyond.

Left: Northern Lights over Iceland
Right: Minerology
135cm x 120cm
Constructed paper, acrylics, inks, natural pigments, gold dust
Left: Giant Fig Tree buttress roots – Bangalow Rainforest NSW
Right: Earth Papers – wax paper, acrylics, natural pigments, gold dust 

When I stopped trying to paint ‘something’ and opened to listening to the voice of the painting, Her body stories arrived.  Guardian spirits emerged from the pigments; rock beings protecting the sacred interior of cave and womb came through onto the body of the paper, sloughed-off beeswax serpent skins shed themselves as actual living material forms from the canvas to floor. The Great Mother’s tools showed up: stone axes, cloaks, blankets and cups, star bodies birthing whole galaxies, hollowed-out bones, baobab ancestor tree spirits, mycelial sporic tapestries, intricate webs, beehives, prehistoric animal guides.  The Devas of Earth were calling out from beyond the veil to trust our original pattern Ancestors.  

Mycelial Tapestry 
180cm x 165cm
Constructed Canvas, Beeswax, natural pigments, inks, acrylics
Baobab Dreaming 
180cm x 145cm
Constructed canvas, Beeswax, Natural pigments, acrylics, inks, pigment pastel

The unconscious, unscripted, co-created paintings that emerged from this co-participant call-and-receive practice are energy stories that track the in-between, watery crossings from one side of the quantum membrane to the other. These paintings arise as visual pattern-holders of Earth’s DNA, the generative blueprint of the patterns held in creation itself. The visual stories that emerge through watery layers of natural pigment on canvas coalesce into a shared pattern kinship that remembers Earth’s own body and our bodies. This pattern language is the visual thread connecting us to everything and everything to us. The paintings tell visual narratives that remember us into relatedness.

Ground of All Beings 
180cm x 155cm 
Constructed canvas, beeswax, natural pigments, acrylics, inks
The Beginning of the Beginning – Part 1 (detail)
100cm x 125cm
Watercolour paper, Beeswax, inks, natural pigments, gold dust
125cm x 100cm
Watercolour paper, Beeswax, inks, natural pigments, gold dust

We are all part cloud, part star, part leaf, part tree, part animal, part fungi, part living soil. Her body is our body, our body is Her body. These patterns are our Ancestors telling a visual narrative that shares the same language as Her body and all that has been born, will ever be born through the body of Earth.

What I understand now is that the act of painting can be an actual liminal portal, a crossing-over place to the multiverse of Creation itself where the principles of reciprocity, mutuality, and awe reign – where life continues to birth itself through patterns that have visual and energetic consistency with all Matter.  

Crossing through Dark Night
75cm x 90cm
Constructed paper, acrylic, natural pigments, inks, gold dust
The Beginning of the Beginning – Part 2
100cm x 125cm
Watercolour paper, Beeswax, inks, natural pigments, gold dust

Painting is a way of listening to the voice of Earth – to Spirit, to spirits, to our own bodies, to the bodies of others, dead, alive, human, animal, to light bodies, air bodies, mineral bodies, terrestrial bodies, cosmic bodies, animate and seemingly inanimate bodies. All bodies that communicate the sporic, tentacular intelligence of the multiversal, multidimensional mycelial entangled web of life that we live in, and lives within us.  

Painting is a way of knowing Earth. Painting is a way of remembering our Ancestors, coming to know ourselves not as bystanders witnessing our species teetering on the edge of ecological catastrophe, but as activators who share cosmic DNA with Creation itself.  We are made of the same complex luminous fabric as the Universe. Painting is a way to know this truly – in every shining filigree of our Being. 

About the Author

Painting is the heart, soul, and compass of my spiritual practice. Alongside creating large works on canvas my other creative love is Visual Medicine – a radically transformative painting technique that I have developed over the last twenty years. I teach Visual Medicine as a distinct visionary language to groups and individuals from my studio in London, UK, and via online courses. Visual Medicine is a practice for creating oracular images that tap into other dimensions of knowing. I have a professional background in Body Psychotherapy and spiritual counselling. I am an ordained Interfaith minister.

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