A Clear Circle of Brightness

I left work after dark today – no time or light to even open the door of my studio. So I thought I would post a picture of an acrylic painting I did a while ago.

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A Field of Boundless Emptiness (Acrylic, 76 x 50 cm, 2015)

Last year I tried for a few months to get back into a painting routine. Having not painted regularly for several years, I thought I would try a new medium – acrylic. I painted bigger and bolder than before, and the painting above is one of about six that I kept (the others went to the big paint box in the sky).

In the end – probably because of a lack of skill – I simply could not get the depth and subtlety of colour that I look for in a painting. I needed something a bit more lustrous and transparent – and acrylics, for me, dried too fast and with a matt finish that did not appeal to me.

But there were a few high points and the painting above is one that I remain very fond of. This is an invented landscape, one that I painted before in watercolour. To me, this represents a mythical land where there is utter serenity when evening falls, an emptiness that is almost overwhelming.

When I was about 13 years old, the movie “Quest for Fire” made a deep impression on me – mainly because of the scenery which included vast open spaces and solitary exploration – a quest – by a single individual. For those of you have have never seen this, here is a link to a trailer on YouTube. The image below was snipped from this video at 1:07 and shows the sort of imagery that influenced me deeply at that age.

Quest for Fire
Image from Quest for Fire trailer at 1 minute, 7 seconds

In my painting above, I think I was seeking for the same imagery and spirit. The uniform tone in the foreground water suggests extreme stillness – not the slightest breeze or movement disturbs the water. How much comfort I have found in that type of stillness of mind, something that becomes possible at times during extended meditation.

In the book Cultivating the Empty Field, author Taigen Dan Leighton translates Master Hongzhi’s words as follows:

The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down or brush away the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness…With thoughts clear, sitting silently, wander into the centre of the circle of wonder. This is how you must penetrate and study.

Many, many sincere thanks to all who have encouraged me to keep on painting and who have supported me with follows, likes and comments.

I close off today’s post with a sneak peak of what I am working on at present. This is a work in progress – you can see the under painting over the yellow imprimatura. I took the photo just after I started to apply the sky colour.

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Work in Progress (Oil on Panel, 10 x 8 inches)

13 thoughts on “A Clear Circle of Brightness

  1. I’m glad you kept the “Boundless Emptiness”. I love the colors. To me, it has both a sense of serenity and a feeling of energy about it. It makes me think of taking “time away” from the daily routine of life to become still within. The world goes on as we meditate, but for that moment, we exist in our own space.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How interesting is the painting at this early stage. Clearly the element of meditation is there from the very beginning. Like Moon in Capricorn above, I’m also glad you kept “Boundless Emptiness.”

    Liked by 1 person

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