The Rhythm of Life
When I take pulses I see large, vivid and warm-colored, moving, complex three-dimensional images. Sometimes, I hear sound or even organized pitches; the pulse is the music of the body, perhaps the most profound music of all. For many years I kept this to myself, then a few years ago I began to paint them. They became useful teaching tools in discussions about medicine (my other love), as it’s almost impossible to convey the feeling and texture of pulses in words. More recently they’ve become healing tools around the world; looking at the paintings can produce a resonance in the body of the viewer that is profoundly calming.
I painted these works with natural mineral pigments from different locations in Australia. The dot painting techniques are borrowed from the Australian Aborigines (the oldest living art tradition in the world). These artists paint the absence of separation between the viewer and the viewer’s vision of the world. They celebrate that the number of ways of seeing is limitless. In my pulse paintings, these techniques enable the pulses to move, to occupy and release space, to be timeless, formless, substantial and palpable all at once. The pulse appears as a microcosm of the human landscape, timeless and boundless, imbued with rhythm, full of life.
The paintings represent the rhythm of humanity, the pulse and its messages, in time and space. Issues depicted in the pulse are shown to reach or approach a healing state. A pulse that is too rapid becomes stable, a pulse of great yearning reaches satiety, a pulse that is chaotic reaches a state of peace. In the paintings we see these healings evolve across the canvas. The Qi flows, blood flows, rhythm flows, life flows, Destiny is realized, and healing emerges. (Read more)
In the art of Chinese Medicine, the diagnosis of an illness is made by placing three fingers on the patient’s wrist and feeling extremely subtle shifts in the vibrations created by the movement of blood in the radial artery. This highly sophisticated technique is the subject of many books both ancient and modern (including my own),