Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Years ago, a friend sent me a copy of the Prajnaparamita, known as the Heart Sutra based on realizing the non-conceptual simplicity of reality, “form is emptinesss, emptiness is form”. Having a heightened interest, a passion really, with wondering how mind works and how mind is, reading the Heart Sutra changed my life on the spot! Within a week I was practicing and studying Tibetan Buddhist meditation, my teacher became Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Mahamudra, Dzogchen meditation master and artist. He was the most profound teacher of life, art, and mind. I received ‘pointing out instructions’ from him which brings the investigation and recognition of mind’s flawless nature into personal experience cutting through conceptual obscurations, that is our endless, dualistic thoughts and emotions. My abstract contemplative art practice is completely informed by these realizations. My path of making visual images became the inner structure of mind and how its’ patterns of confusion obscure recognition of this vast space of ceaseless energy. For 10 years I studied and practiced meditation with Trungpa Rinpoche until his death in1987. Since that time my work has gone through a process of increased familiarity with how mind works and how to present that familiarity thru visual images.
When you create, what inspires you?// What is your medium of choice? Why?
Work on Paper
Around 2010-present, I began to explore drawing & painting on paper relating to my experience of my Tibetan Buddhist Meditation practice of the basic nature of mind. I chose to work with environmentally friendly paper & materials. At first the drawing implements were branches & brushes, with powder pigment & oil. I recalled instructions from ChogyamTrungpa Rinpoche, meditation master and artist, ‘art arises from a deep merging of mind & heart, seeing from within, drawing from pure awareness without visually grasping, beginning from uncertainty without reference point’. I devised a way which allowed the essential nature to be drawn freely without visual judgment; spontaneous & personal. Beginning with small oil on paper drawings finding my way into materials, techniques & process I felt a particular kind of confidence & freedom. As my direction became clearer, Trungpa’s words came alive. The drawings increased in size, the tools & techniques became intimate & varied, like sticks, stones, grass, cardboard, string, hands & feet, anything that made marks with controlled spontaneity, & brushes, powder pigment & oil.
For me paper is the most responsive material for investigating the mind through art. I added the technique of collage using drawing & painting on paper as collage material. With the floor covered with painted paper, ripped, aged & often walked on for days or months, the rhythm of art making came newly alive with spontaneous unpredictability. This process
determined the piece. There was an active sense of design & circumstance, accident & accumulation of everything discovered so far. Each piece pushed me towards a different way of sharing discovery, discipline without control, a puzzling together. The paper has a living quality due to how I treat the paper. Because of my dependence on time & light, it takes on added depth & accelerated impermanence just like we do. The paper ages, becomes fragile, yet remains like those things we search for & cherish. Its ordinary insignificant quality becomes special. Touched in any way there’s a response; a fingerprint, wrinkle, rip, drip or tear, which becomes texture & language. The images are a continuation of looking at ourselves thru sign & symbol, abstracted representation of how we manifest & grasp our world. Both image & title invites you to move beyond boundaries of the image into a space of speculation into your own mind. This abstract contemplative work is developed with the view that art can infuse the experience of everyday life with awareness. Using my experience of passion, aggression & ignorance I explore the discursive thought patterns & emotions that obscure clear awareness.
How did you first discover your love for creating?
I suppose discovering my love of creating was in high school in art class.
Until then I had no idea I could paint.
fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel anger?
Seeing the terrible injustice, ignorance and self-importance at the expense of others, including all animals and the earth itself. What we are experiencing right now in our government creates anger for me. All based on lies and being bamboozled.