Neil Young -Thrasher

April 25, 2009



I have started a triptych which is the final work in the (Im)possible series. The three canvasses exam Death, Mourning and Rebirth. I have also seen the three canvasses as reflecting on Good Friday. Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The main painting will be the (im)possibility of Mourning( Holy Saturday). As I worked through this process I have been considering  various forms of “Loss” .

Today I had conversation with a close friend regarding friendship and the loss of friendship and community. My friend mentioned that he was felt as if he was mourning past and lost friendships.

When Neil Young wrote “Thrasher”, in 1979, he was 34 years old, I first heard this in 1980 and I was 16 years old. It was the song that introduced me to Neil Young’s music and even though I have always love this song, I feel that a long journey of time is needed to fully appreciate this song.



Lyrics and brief notes:


They were hiding behind hay bales,
They were planting in the full moon
They had given all they had for something new
But the light of day was on them,
They could see the thrashers coming
And the water shone like diamonds in the dew. Read the rest of this entry »


An acrylic painting on canvas  55cm X 55cm

A dark painting inspired by Christian Mystic writings, particularly the 14th Century book “The cloud of Unknowing“.

The notion that God dwells in unapproachable light and our minds causes us to blinded into a place of darkness when approaching God.

However, since completeing the painting I have had a further thought that possibly I’m holding a torchlight and all I can see is the back of the torch and what I choose to illuminate. 

An Acrylic painting on Canvas.  65cm x 65cm

By way of  introduction,  I must mention that as an artist I’m foremost concerned with the aesthetic value of the work. In other words the colour, composition, lines and visual impact  must be pleasing to the eye.  A secondary concern is the message. So I will usually sacrifice message and meaning  for good composition,the decorative value and the desired style. Those artist that can equally combine both are truly brilliant.

Elements of Hope– Most ancient faiths, religions and believes systems speak about the four (sometimes five) basic elements of water, earth , air and fire. You will find them mentioned from Buddhism to Neo-paganism and of course Greek philosophy as stated by the 5th century BC philosopher Empedocles:

 At the beginning of time, Love completely dominated the universe. As a consequence, the four elements were unified into a sphere and segregated according to their type– a quarter of the sphere was water, a quarter was air, and the remaining half was divided equally by earth and fire. However, with the introduction of Strife “The Sphere” was gradually dissolved, slowly scattering the elements throughout the universe. The complete dissolution of The Sphere was achieved by the eventual predominance of Strife. However, Love began to gather strength again, causing the elements to congregate in clusters, and thereby creating life. Eventually, the elements will form a second unity, a second “Sphere,” and the cycle will reset. (Empedocles of Akragas by Jesse Weidman)

In this painting I have represented  the four elements as a dark mysterious spiritual sky, a green earth that can feed us, a sphere of fire providing light and warmth surrounded by life-giving water. The idea that the unity of these elements can result in universal love can also be seen as an expression of the Creator’s love and this  provides Creation with hope.

I thought this painting would be a good start as far as “getting” my artwork “out there”  

It is an acrylic painting with certain semi-recognisable elements, however, a focal point that is totally non-representational. This begs the question being asked in the title of the work. I see the light. But what is it?

What is the essence of God?

In a Christian context it is light. In a Buddhist context there is no concept of god  but Shunyata, “Emptiness”or “Voidness”. The sky is seen as a metaphor for the Shunyata

Is it possible to understand the nature of God? If God is only light are we to be curators of light or are we light?

How can we fathom emptiness? Are we – and if not, how are we to be – enlightened?