I have the sense that there has only ever been one real inspiration for me, all my life (leaving aside the mighty Blues and the Incredible String Band and a couple of hundred other things!). What inspires me and what seems to have come into a new focus for me in 2017 is the amazingness of ‘Oneness’, or what you might call ‘Presence’. That’s what inspires me.
Unfortunately, there are several well-known problems with ‘oneness’ ie you can’t photograph it or catch it and you can’t easily turn it into a sound-bite for social media:– ‘presence’ is not News! But, that doesn’t stop it being inspiring. I actually can’t imagine anything that could be more inspiring.
I’m not what you would call a spiritual person. In actual fact, I don’t like that label being associated with oneness or presence. (Bear with me, I’ll get into a few stories about why another time!) I’ve never been religious but for the past ten years (and that’s only 10 years out of 69, by the way!) most of the people who’ve inspired me have been Buddhists; and I have enormous respect for them.
In my world on facebook, the Dalai Lama and Thích Nhất Hạnh seem to tower above a sorry bag of so-called World Leaders and to personify what it is to be wise and compassionate in the world today. Every one of their posts shows me what it is to bring a warm heart, a clear mind and a generous spirit to our confused 21st century world. They challenge me to step up!
And in the world of podcasts, the San Francisco Zen Center podcasts that I have listened to most days for almost 10 years now, are nearly always talks given by long-time meditators from the Zen Center; all ‘pointing’ at oneness in their own style and as best they can in the moment. Being Buddhists, those speakers often talk in terms of our ‘Buddha Nature’, whereas me and us non-religious artists and musicians in the West might be talking about contemplating the nature of Being, or Presence, maybe. But, whatever we happen to call it, need I say, it’s all the same thing??!!!?? What else could it be? So I love those podcasts.
Anyway; inspired by ‘glimpses’ of oneness after years of meditating and really appreciating the value of those wonderful podcasts – they’ve been the soundtrack to my last seven years, and have been drifting round my ears while I’ve been working on these very ‘Life in the Hedgerow’ drawings that you see on this ‘Drawings By Trevann’ web site; I’m lucky to be alive and well in 2017; re-motivated and re-energised by a strong and personal sense of what I have to say and the value of saying it, matched with a real desire to do what I can – and to communicate! - for other people.
So 2017 is a year for developing different sorts of ‘pointing’ activities; doing my bit; pointing at the oneness we are already part of – by drawing, painting, singing, writing songs, writing a blog...and all that sort of stuff I do, and with a new gusto! (£17.99 from Amazon)
The song-writing has been leading the way. I’m already following along, - only 50 years behind! - in the same footprints of such supreme ‘message’ songwriters as Bobby Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I’ve been writing ‘pointing message’ songs for a few years now. (Just stick my name in You Tube and you'll see what I mean) But this year I want to spread the ‘pointing’ quality of those song lyrics into my artwork and into this new blog! So it's all inspired by and aimed at the same thing.
Then there's where I live and a sense of how fortunate I am to live in such beautiful places. Inspired by our idea and plans; Harriet and myself; to spend half of each year living in Luang Prabang, I’m intending for my new artwork to celebrate the beauty of these two home towns; home in England and one in Laos. So I’m guessing that my seven contemplative years of the sort of‘organic surrealism’ I've been drawing, might be coming to an end!
I’m just about prepared to start doing some studies from ‘life’ again, and this week I found myself looking at 100 ‘naive nature artists’; everyone from Henri Rousseau to Kaveri Ponnapa - and (damn it!) .......a wonderful woman artist who’s been living on a remote tropical island for 30 years and who’s name I put on a postit the other day and that I’ve managed to lose!: all sorts of highly detailed and colourfully, uplifting ways of showing us something about the forests and wildlife; the sacred buildings and the plants and gardens that I love. So several promising starting points are starting to fall into place. By the end of the year, I’m guessing that my drawings will be quite different from those I've been producing for seven years! I’m looking forward to it!
And there’s something else that’s influencing me this year: My personal motivation, as a very fortunate Westerner and a regular visitor to lovely Laos, is to live generously there and to do what I can to support the wonderful, warm hearted people and great local projects that I come across when I’m living there.
So this year I’m going to be putting more effort into selling my drawings and prints and cards, to help me achieve that. That way I’ll be putting my creative energy and some of my money and quite a bit of my time…. where my mouth is! Happy 2017!