Latest artworks in the Vessel Series
I have found new inspiration for my 2017 series titled Vessels. This is a progression from my previous exploration of abstract art using dry brush technique. I like the blurred edges – the atmospheric, almost dreamlike quality that results from dry brushing over a heavily textured surface. My earlier series were totally abstract. However, I now like the look of an abstract background with a stylised focal point i.e. a vessel. Vessels have always intrigued because they are rich in symbolism, tradition, mystery and yet simply functional. I have loved to look at ancient jars, chalices, goblets, crucibles and bowls in museums. The mysteries they hold, the history they have been part of, the culture they represent – legends have sometimes evolved around the very existence of some precious vessels of time…
I digress. I have collected some lovely vessels from my travels. These include a wooden kava bowl from Fiji, a ceramic tagine from Morocco, a painted clay pot from Peru, fragile glass perfume bottles from Turkey, tiny carved spice jars from Zanzibar and an intricately carved medicinal herb vessel from Sumatra.
The 2017 series of artworks is inspired by my collection of vessels. I have included below, one of the last paintings from my previous series, which features an abstract cruciform shape in dry brush technique. The next two images show the subsequent progression to the evolution of the Vessel series. You can see that the colour palette remains muted and the dry brushing still features. However, now a central focus of the vessel has been added:
The representation of a vessel in your healing garden is rich with connotations from ancient times. Alchemists refer to crucibles, cauldrons and mortars which are used to transform the mundane to the precious. Many early cultures saw the vessels as a feminine symbol of the source of life – the womb as a sacred vessel.
The Bible refers to “vessels of silver and gold”, “oil in vessels” and “offerings in clean vessels”. The vessel is the source of truth and knowledge and is regarded as sacred, just as the chalice and the font are regarded as sacred instruments.
The association of vessels by Buddhists as containers for saffron scented water and other offerings, and for valuable food storage, relates to the concept of the “inexhaustible vessel”.
An important component traditional Islamic gardens is the brimming pool or basin of water- that precious commodity in desert environments.
The vessel is such a fascinating symbol to have in many different forms in your healing garden. You could have a Japanese style stone water basin, a terracotta oil jar overflowing with lobelias or a cast iron birdbath. I love the idea of the deep mysterious pool such as Galadriel’s pool.
Some examples of the gorgeous vessels in my healing garden are shown below.