The title ‘Meditations on a Small Stream’ is intended to convey a number of aspects of this work. Firstly, these are paintings of the landscape within the tradition of the realist landscape genre. Secondly, the subject matter of the work is one particular stream near my home, and as such I hope that it conveys my strong sense of my attachment to this place. Further, and most importantly, the work is meditative in nature – it has been created meditatively and it seeks to create a meditative frame of mind in the viewer.
The philosophical underpinnings of this work are Taoist, and I have drawn on my readings of and around the Tao te Ching in making it. The symbolism of water is very important, representing the fluid, creative, changeable and productive power of the universe, which though yielding, yet has the power to carve through mountains. The Tao, in fact, is often referred to as ‘the watercourse way’ . Because water, light and stone, the principal components of my small stream, are universal, I have not felt that this subject matter is restrictive. I hope that any person looking at these paintings will be able to recall some time when they turned off the chattering internal voice and gazed thoughtlessly at flowing water, and through this work I am seeking to renew that experience.
Another, and more challenging goal of my work, is to evoke in the viewer a sense of connection with the universe, such that there is no boundary between the self and what is seen. We are part of the universe in the same seamless way that birds are part of the sky and fish are part of the sea. The work is not intended to be challenging, confronting or puzzling, nor does it lay claim to novelty. It rather seeks to beguile and seduce the viewer, creating an experience of calm enjoyment.