• Being a painter is living the RESISTANCE.

    Pick up your own original or a print from my store.

    Read about the FORMULA OF EDOM in SABATTICA 3, available from Sirius Limited Esoterica (

    Everyone is always interested in the behind-the-scenes secrets as much as the finished painting that hangs on a wall! Its simple human nature, curiousity at play, wondering at all the decisions that made that object, that shaped the clay of it. We like to get under the skin of others, guess at how they tick, figure out what makes their day, what brings the joy to what they do.

    Being a painter is a little like being an author, everyone wants that little piece of background info, to know where the inspiration comes from, the discipline to spend hour after hour, day after day, month after month, decade after decade – writing simple words in strings upon a page or taking to the studio, waiting for the sun to rise and picking up a paintbrush.

    In a sense it is simply a compulsion.

    People are compelled to do all manner of things. For the creative – and we are all in essence creative beings – it is no different than breathing, walking or thinking. The magic happens in the times when creativity becomes as natural as those things.

    Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule suggests it takes that long to master any skill. And he’s probably right because painting is a skill and like any other with sufficient practice and application it can be learnt. Or rather, everything you know about art and painting can be unlearnt!

    It does not matter if you have never heard of Yves Tanguay, Duchamp, Braque or Jean-Michel Basquiat. What matters is that you look at the world around you, the people, the circumstances with new eyes, with the eyes of awe and exploration that have been there since you were a child.

    We are all painters!

    As children we will all have made our marks, without thought of being judged, without thought or method or what is right and what is wrong.

    Being a painter is dancing to that song, glancing at the world with those eyes.

    Like anything that is practiced, there is an evolution, a honing of methods and as a result a development of style. Your individual genius is allowed to shine through and envelop all you do.  In practical terms give inspiration the freedom to rise from the depths of your limitless imagination, allow it to take form and life of its own and to be heard.

    Thatvis the sea-deep siren voice of the muse that voice guides the mind, the eye and the hand in the dance.

    It begins with simple attempts to capture the essence:

    These are often quick, hasty sketches and often contain symbols and inner language that either originates in that deep well of the imagination, or surface from the universal archetypes of which it is a part.

    From these come the honed, tidied up versions, often incorporated into large works, as this one is in the picture FORMULA OF EDEN, which is published in SABBATICA III (2017, Sirius Limited Esoterica, Columbia):

    This evolution can take many forms and shift in and out of different media, from the pencil, to the paintbrush to the digital toolbox and back again, often mutating in its journey. Sometimes these mutations hint at other forms, suggest a fleeting image of something else. These the artist recognises and saves, for they often lie at the heart of that whispering from the void, that dance of the imagination that suddenly finds itself in new halls, with new partners and the call of new tunes and new rhythms.

    In that dance, many sirens may call, many ships may arrive at your shores and you must decide which to board, which to postpone and which to hide from! During the creative process, especially when engaged with specific subject matter, it is wise to keep a camera upon your person and an eye forever open to the manifestation of those sirens. In the Internet Age its easy to think a simple Google image search or a trip to Instagram, Tumblr or Flickr will suffice, but this will not do! Inspiration is in the environment all around you, in the secret byways and places that you may have passed a million times but whose faces you may never truly have paid attention to.

    In a market, lost in an old German city, I stumbled across the Siren & The Ship:

    And so, the journey complete, the artist goes to his studio, unrolls his brushes, sweeps the floor of old papers and swatches. He cleans out his Yves Saint Laurent water jar and takes brushes down that have hung from scarlet ribbons below his easel, drying. He feels the sun upon him as twilight gives way to dawn and he starts to transfer the images in is mind to the canvas.

    He unpacks new paints, leaving the old ones in their places – easier to find, easier for him to flick through the pallete of colour choices in his mind.

    And the adventure begins!

    Until its end and RESISTANCE (IF YOU CAN SEE THIS YOU ARE THE RESISTANCE) is completed:

    And the easel waits for tomorrow:

    Because being a painter is a continuous communion with The Siren & The Ship, with the shapes that sit in the places beyond.


About The Author

Sean Woodward is a British artist, writer and musician. His art is collected internationally and his essays, fiction and poetry have been published in a number of international publications. He is the author of A Grammar of Spirits, Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom, ARCHONIX, NECRONIX, Erzulie of the Deep, The Grimoire of ZAL and co-author of The Infernal Faces of Hekate. AEONIX and Keys to the Voudon Kingdom are forthcoming from

One Response and Counting...

  • L S 08.04.2017

    Very inspiring , must be the Yves St Laurent water jar . !!!

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