Dearest Friends,

Thank you so much for your kind Birthday wishes and thoughts. I am touched and grateful. May this year be great for you the climate and the world and may your green impressions count in this year of the Rooster which is shaping up as a most interesting time.

Whilst I continue to enjoy my journey of life with travel (these days more pilgrim than traveler) music and art and highlighted this past year walking the sacred but blood  – drenched lands of the Levant, I’m somewhat disheartened with the world I see around us that is been torn apart and its worth reflecting at this birthday juncture.

Carl Jung said “The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man” and  David Attenborough the renowned British naturalist and TV presenter also has some pretty scathing words for humanity: “We are a plague on Earth” he said.  “This is the most dangerous time for our planet” echoed Professor Stephen Hawking. The problem seems to be our human affliction with some sort of despair and tragedy dominating our lives but at the same time there is also a search going on for meaning i.e unleashing creative ways of looking at the world for the better. It is the only way.

The soon to commence new Trump Presidency is set to spawn a new era of revolution during his term equivalent to what was witnessed in the sixties that produced a conviction that “democracy” is in the streets.  But whilst legacies of the sixties are all around us we shouldn’t be looking back, that was then and this is now. The forthcoming elections in countries like France, Germany and Iran this year will also see more change and upheaval across the globe. The battlefield in Syria continues where foreign powers direct and bankroll fighters to further their own political agenda whilst the cries of the Syrian people forced from their homeland by war continues to go largely unheeded. The demise of Turkey such an exotic country that I visited six months ago going up in flames saddens me terribly.

Whilst all this is going on we are also seeing new creative/ mystical art and music manifesting like breaths of fresh air. (Much like how the 60’s were) This was and still is after all the zone and the duty of the artist to improve society and take people to another space. Art and music has the capacity to do just that and help others find their own means of creative expression.

The new form of protesting witnessed in Turkey is so encouraging. Just thousands of people standing in complete silence, protesting in squares and public places…. … baffling the police. No yelling. No screaming. No fighting. Even creating a calm curiosity, instead of tension and aggression.

So yes exciting times ahead, in spite of all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Happy travels.

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Bearing witness to nature

As an artist I want my art to bear witness to nature, documenting her incredible beauty and power. I want to use art as a medium for tapping into the inherent beauty within us all.
Sadly the natural world is in grave danger and unpleasant as that is I am drawn to painting the natural world before it is too badly impacted and completely destroyed by the very real threat of climate change. Because we have been led astray by the short term fossil fuel profit of powerful corporations, we are going to be leaving behind a badly degraded planet as a consequence of the waste products of our civilization. Imagine the world today if we’d accepted the science of climate change seriously a half a century ago. Since then our population has grown by five billion people and consequently the problem has become a lot more difficult to solve.
But trying to appeal to people’s social responsibility is hard. So perhaps through the power of art, music and the sciences there may be more persuasive ways of appealing to people and bringing light to important issues.. We must move with determination to inform and enlighten people and speak out as loud as we can and promote healthy debate. Let’s just hope that we can leave the planet in better shape than when we came here – for the benefit of our kids and grand kids and future generations – while taking the time to treasure the gifts of the natural world. If we want to achieve peace on earth we cannot ignore climate change. It is the greatest challenge of our time and we must recognise that this is as much about human rights as it is about the environment. This threat is even more real now with the voting of the new President – elect Donald Trump. He has said he believes climate science is “a hoax” invented by China to steal jobs and has vowed to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris Agreement aimed at limiting global warming. What is often overlooked in this debate is what gives meaning to life which is our connection to the natural world and our relationships to other beings. When we are deprived of these connections we become unhappy and unwell from deprivation.

A movement with heart, and it started in America

The successful integration of reason, logic and science with spiritual, personal, humanistic and environmental concerns can be seen in the success of  a rapidly growing segment of the US population known as “cultural creatives”. It is a term that was coined by a socialogist and psychologist Ray and Anderson. The overall philosophy of the movement transcends traditional political positions, incorporates integrity and optimism with emphasis on personal and spiritual growth as well as  social and a deep concern for the planet in which they live.

It is a movement that is rapidly spreading all over the world and indeed it started in America.

Socrates dictum

This is that all human error or wrongdoing is involuntary for man can only choose what he believes at the time to be the good that will bring happiness. His only ERROR is that he cannot discern the real good from the illusory good. Socrates dictum