‘The Eternal Now’ is a series of paintings I have created of a continual discovery to explore the awareness of the self and the outer universe we are part of. The biggest difficulty is describing the indescribable, meaning that our development of words and symbols do not come close to explaining the notion of enlightenment (Nirvana).
I have used several subjects including friends, family and even a couple of well known figures who have kindly given me permission to use their profiles so that I can try and emulate on canvas ’The Eternal Now’
Before I go into further detail, I want to start by introducing you to the late Western Philosopher called Alan Watts, who has completely changed my outlook on life and hugely influenced my paintings. His main objective was to bring Eastern Philosophies to a western audience, using the teachings of Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Watts points out that we only live in the ‘Now’ and that the past and future does not exist, that these thoughts only exist in the present.
Most of us appear to live in a world where we seem to have separated ourselves from reality. But what is reality? Maybe we have to explore the obvious to build awareness and go through a process of unlearning. Our ego is an illusion or construct that does not exist and is the reason we appear disconnected from what we are all a part of.
In these paintings I decided to paint a portrait of someone looking out into 'nothingness' and illustrate the idea of dispersing all thoughts and immerse the self into the background which they are actually connected with. Here I also use the balance of spontaneity (background) and its relationship with discipline (portrait). The idea of shutting off your thoughts (stilling the mind) and taking in external elements is totally fascinating.
Like I said earlier, this is an extremely hard thing to try and explain in words. But the one thing I have found through my own recent discoveries of practicing Zazen (seated Meditation), is that we all need to clear our minds and experience what we call 'The Eternal Now'. I am not saying we have to look for it, as the moment we do so we will not find it. It is up to ourselves to understand the ego doesn't exist and realise there is nothing to be afraid of, it is already there.