Can you tell us a bit more about your background and how you became an artist?
I am a sixty-one year old man and a Brother living in Canada, presently in Alberta but soon returning the the river valley of my youth, that of the Ottawa river. I enter the final third of my life and re-dedicate myself to my art and magick.The first third of my life was spent in government service, serving expectation. The second third was spent working in professional theater and the arts, serving my heart. This last third will be actualizing my life,art and magick, serving my spirit.
I had always been interested in the arts even as a child. I tried oil painting very young and got into much trouble for the messes I made. I took up guitar and in school took every arts course available. I was very active in the school theater and upon completion of high school was accepted at the National Theater School of Canada. After my time there I continued my arts education at Champlain College in pottery, hand building and ancient techniques. Life took over at this point and I found myself involved in the mundane. I maintained an active interest and participation but it became of secondary importance. Upon moving to Edmonton I became involved in the local arts scene and found myself immersed in visual art again. I was surrounded by some of the finest landscape painters in Canada. My theater training made me an asset as there was much cross disciplinary work being done. I should add that the esoteric community was well represented within the general arts community and this made it all the more welcoming to me.Under these influences and tutor-age I took up the brush again and began painting in earnest once more. I was blessed to work for a time with the government arts foundation cataloguing the collection. I got to handle and examine many great works of art in many mediums.I also was accepted as a studio assistant by several accomplished painters over that time. I learned a great deal. I found my style, my passion and my voice with the brush. My love of Gaia, my worship of the Goddess is reflected in my landscapes. My vision of magick can be found in my abstracts and my devotion to Hermeticism in my calligraphy. My words and poetry are of the Secret Stream.
Which artists have inspired you in your creative process?
Many artists have inspired me at different times in my life.I took several Arts History courses in university and got a fair grounding in it. The great masters of course influence me in form and esthetic and the esoteric language of Renaissance and the Pre-Raphialite's resonates with me deeply, Possin being one of particular interest. I have yet to explore this fully in my own workings. Picasso speaks to the pagan in me with his immersion in the Elysian dialectic and his connections to the French modernist movement.. His vision and life have had a direct effect on my life. I was blessed to be part of a series of shows highlighting his career called "The Seven Ages of Picasso", an early highlight of my theater life. Vincent Van Gough speaks to my heart like none other. I feel his passion and his pain when looking upon his works, he is one of the few that can make me weep with his brutal honesty. My time at the Art Foundation allowed me to see up close many iconic Canadian landscape paintings. I am moved by the majesty of this land we live in. Each part a treasure unto it self. If I had to choose one painter who has effected me the most then I would have to say Sylvain Voyer. I had the privilege of being his friend and studio assistant. I learned much from him and his clarity of vision and his clean smooth technique called me. His love of the land and sky translated perfectly on to the canvas. A true master, I still have far to go. My calligraphy is inspired by the Brothers of Kell's and Lindisfarne, and by many a past scribe and master of the arcane inscriptions. My words when I write are of the tradition of the troubadours, often of the mysteries and of courtly love.
What is your creative process like and how has the occult, music, ... been an inspiration when shaping you art?
I will actually have to break this into three parts as there are distinct ways I approach each of my main disciplines. I have realized as my esoteric practices progressed that I was very much Muse driven in my works. They appear for me in many forms and call to me on different levels.
When I am in the throws of the wonder of nature, Gaia speaks directly to my heart. The music I listen is provided by Her and it moves me like none other, the sound of the wind in the trees, the gurgle of the river, birds on the wing. When I paint plien air I am in heaven. My brush is moved by the moment and the beauty that surrounds me. When I paint landscapes in the studio I carry this with me and reinforce it with gentle music that maintains that connection, Eric Satie a favourite.
My abstracts are raw energy and emotion, many times magickly driven. I tend to do a series of those when there is much chaos afoot or workings of High Magick are in the offing. I attempt to encapsulate the moment, no different the the chalk circle of Goetia. Some are internal workings and others are expressions of external workings. They can range from multi media to straight oils and acrylics. The ones that are a mix of figurative and symbolics are private workings with corporeal muses and remain in private collections as they are often the results of high magick.Some are the direct result of circles and the energies raised therein. These works are rare and often a surprise when they are inspired.The atmosphere is often filled with the smoke of incense and. the music eclectic, from classical to Tool, depending on the energies present. Working abstracts is very energetic and the energy crackles around me I find. I often need a break after completing a series it depletes me so much.
Calligraphy for me is the most esoteric of my disciplines. It becomes a form of meditation and prayer. It is most often here that I connect to my higher self and my guides and guardians and I hear the muse's voice clearly. Incense and candles and the silence of the temple create an atmosphere of quiet reflection. The power of words, symbols and their forms are one of the most basic ideas of magic. The hours spent in their composition and creation is a measure of devotion. The attention to detail and exactness the wizards tool. QBLH and Goetia rely heavily on the skills of the word and pen, most on the path miss this truism.
Are you working with a certain concept in mind or do certain images 'manifest' while active being involved in occult practices?
This again is a multi-part answer. As I have mentioned I am muse driven for the most part. When I am in nature I try to be quiet of spirit to see with clarity what it is Mother is offering at that moment in time. I do photography as well, often for reference shots and can often return with several hundred images that I was bid capture. The magickal high I can feel when out in the countryside rival any I have experienced in a working or operation. So mote it be. Workings in abstract or figurative/symbolic are often an expression of magickal intent or magickal interaction, an expression of the energy or the aspirants in their magickal state. My Calligraphy is the exception to this rule. It is always done with focus and intent. Quite often the creations are magick in of themselves. For a long time years ago I was the official scribe for several occult lodges creating sigils, scrolls, documents and certificates. Some of which were sent off for Baphomet's seal. My bard's voice is often expressed with the calligraphers pen and more they are usually expressions of devotion in one form or another to the Goddess and her handmaidens. I am unashamedly one of Her's.
What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?
On giving this some thought I will decline giving a technical description of composition and it's forms. What I want to talk about is something that is ever so important for both the magickian and the artist, the ability to be in the now and drink it in completely. We are creatures of our experiences. Our five senses are our windows on the universe and our minds are the place that it all happens. It is a misnomer to say we train our senses, unless they are physically impaired our senses are as they are. It is our mind that we train to pay closer attention to them. We create the mental states of that awareness both in magick and in art. In magick we seek that place between the worlds to work, we strive to rise above Kether to that final place of Ain. To find the place of all. In the arts we do much the same, to take that moment of all and find a way of expressing it. The great masters in both disciplines have found this holy place.
What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
This is a fairly simple but trite sounding answer. But the truth of it cannot be denied. There is not a work of High art or Low art or fine art or Craft that does not contain a part of my heart and soul or a bit of my magick.
How has your style changed over the years?
In many ways I have become more skilled and polished. My use of the various mediums has become more sophisticated. While in many ways my works are much tighter now there is an ease and flow that becomes more evident. As both my art and magical studies continued over the years my symbolic languages grew and their application became either direct or subliminal in application. My clouds have evoked many reactions as I became more connected in imbuing them with their element.