(You can skip the chit chat and see the details for the print at the bottom of this page)
This picture came to mind fully formed while I was asleep. It woke me up into a half-dream at 3am, and hovered about there until I mumbled a description of it into my phone and went back to sleep again.
Pictures rarely, if ever, come to me like this, as it's usually a gradual process of putting an image together from chance encounters with elements from my print collection, or an idea I've had for a while.
My nights and sleeps haven't been usual of late, as I've been going through a very strong four months of extreme pain and really full-on sickness, due to a large tumour that made itself known to me back in July.
I'm on a course of a lot of morphine, which has just started to work properly after months of it not being enough, even in large doses, and other pain-killers and medication to take care of the side effects of these medicines.
Pain is a deep and insightful thing. David Whyte writes about it beautifully in his incredible book of wisdom, Consolations, and begins talking about it like this: 'Pain is the doorway to the here and now.'
This opener reminded me of the opening line in the chapter on pain, maybe my favourite chapter, in Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet: 'Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.'
I've been reminded of the Buddhist approach to pain, as repackaged and presented simply and effectively by Vidyamala Burch, and how, when instead of getting carried away by what may be torturous pain we can manage to zero in and focus solely on the primary source of pain, instead of the secondary reactivity and so on. The pain becomes immediately more negotiable, simple and intimate.
Anyway, this has all been happening around the time this picture showed up.
I'd been playing around with some of my own versions of rorschach ink paintings, and was really loving the outcomes of these, and soon enough scanned them in to Photoshop and started working them together with elements of landscapes. I loved these, and soon enough the dream happened, and I ended up mixing this with an old portrait I found in my collection.
The resulting picture works well at a smaller size, due to the source image for the body being such a small print too, and I thought it was a perfect fit for another A4-sized release, so here we are.
The title The Unwavering came to me when I was meditating with a friend who stayed over with me last night, as part of a beautiful crew of friends I have here on Dartmoor who are caring for me in shifts and being the most amazing people I can imagine.
We were sitting together after having talked much of the morning about pain in its various forms, and our respective health issues, amongst much else besides. The Unwavering came suddenly to my mind just before our little bell went off.
Right now I'm experiencing the unwavering love from my family and from very real friends near and far; and there's the unwavering light, or love, that I sense and know is within and behind all things; and the love for life that I have in the midst of all that shows up to challenge me really is unwavering, even as the world feels like it's falling apart, and even as pain turns the volume up on what matters all over again.
Timed release limited edition print
Available from 5pm GMT Friday 17 November
to midnight GMT Sunday 19 November
£45 per print
21cm x 29.7cm (A4)
Archival pigment print on 310gsm textured heavyweight Hahnemuehle German Etching Paper