The background and Margaret Olley

image courtesy of Tweed River Gallery, Murwillumbah


I recently visited the Tweed River Gallery in Murwillumbah for an art day with some friends. This is now home to an amazing recreation of Margaret Olley’s home and lifetime of art. Every surface in the home was/is covered, much of which are little still life’s as seen today in her paintings. I have to confess, I have never been a huge fan of Margaret Olley’s work. Perhaps it is because I have always felt so drawn to abstract artists. Thankfully there are plenty of those to explore and ponder as one moves around an art gallery these days. However, on this day I was coming to the end of my meander through Margaret’s home and I heard two gentlemen discussing and admiring one of her paintings. They were standing back quite a distance and I heard the words… “just look at the background, that use of colour blue.” I turned, and true to these words, the blue background of the still life they were admiring just jumped out at me as though it had come to life. The colour was so intense it almost seemed to be vibrating. I stood there transfixed in a moment of art viewing wonder. My eye wandered to another painting featuring a background in greens that also seemed to be shimmering in the late afternoon light of the gallery. I felt my heart open to something connected to and coming from the viewing of the background of these simple and yet elegant still life paintings of flower arrangements. A few steps futher along and I stopped to watch a short video featuring guest speakers in Margaret’s home and the memories they had of her in that environment. It was towards the end of the video that I was again struck by words… “Margaret use to say to me, ‘this is all an illusion, just moments’.”  Again, I felt my heart open and something click. Margaret Olley was awake and aware to the truth of this reality, and she had come to this understand through art. In that moment I felt a new found respect and love of this woman and what she has left as a ‘pointer’ for the viewer in her paintings. It’s all in the background. Mx


from the vacumous traces of life, something else emerges

from the vacumous traces of life, something else emerges     150 x 70 cms     mixed media     2014     melinda blair paterson

from the vacumous traces of life, something else emerges     150 x 70 cms     mixed media     2014     melinda blair paterson

Laying on my yoga mat, deep in contemplation, the words appeared…

from the vacumous traces of life, something else emerges

There is a journey of pointing that begins to occur for me from the moment I accept a painting commission. There is a knowing or a resonance that arises within my awareness with each pointing.

My attention is drawn to words that are heard within and without,  images or scenes that appear in daily life, and particular colours that flash into vision. Together with inner visions, these pointings all begin to lay the foundations of contemplation for the painting. It was one of these moments that I heard the pointing… from the vacumous traces of life, something else emerges.

The weeks that led up to committing paint to canvas were somewhat fraught with doubts and fears about how to begin, along with a mix up from the canvas supplier.  I also remember the client saying she was going into retreat and I felt then that nothing would probably come until after this time.

So it was with some amusement when I had tried in vain to start the painting in early January only to cover most of this with my hands rubbing layers of pale yellow, green, grey and white onto a cream background. Feeling somewhat frustrated I flew off to Melbourne for my birthday deciding I would revisit it on my return.

On the afternoon of the 28th January I entered the studio again to be greeted by a canvas that was still in it’s bare bones and I stood there wondering where to begin?
The phone range. It was the client. I picked up laughing, she returned my laughter saying… ‘You rang?’  I plonked myself down at the studio doorway and we chatted for what seemed like hours until I felt the deep peace come over me. When I finished the call, I stood up, turned and picked up the brush and commenced. I painted for four hours straight, never feeling a doubt or concern, but moving with quiet confidence and knowing action. Over the next days the painting just kept evolving effortlessly and each layer and stage was clearly apparent in the moment it was needed.

The painting became the living demonstration of it’s title…. Mx

Rainy day collage etc

It’s certainly been awhile since I posted to this blog. I’ve been waiting for something to move me or inspire me to write! Nothing has come, or if it did, it fell away faster than I was able to gather the thoughts and pound the keys to express it. What has happened however, is I’ve started a daily artistic expression and am loving this. You see, where I live has been deluged by constant rain over the past month, including a cyclone and I’ve been flooded in. So lots of time to sit, be, and watch in which I’ve started to listen to some videos from Rupert Spira. This helps me move into a mindless space, and it’s from here I pick up the blank page, pencils, scrap paper and images and start to play. Somewhere along the way something Rupert says drops in and that becomes the name of the piece I’ve created. Sometimes there seems to be a noticeable coherence between the title and the piece… sometimes not. What I’m loving is the feeling of freedom in my artistic expression that it doesn’t matter. I thought I’d share a few with you. Mx

giving this understanding back to you

the mind is not party to this

would you have any knowledge of a foot or a floor?

the Universe will find ways of letting you know that you are treating it in a way that is in line with reality

it felt like a distraction for whom?

like death there is nothing to grab onto (Suzuki Roshi)

how are you relating to this?

the transposition to what we understand

It’s a Yellow Day…

image: detail from artwork by Colleen DaRosa

I woke up this morning with images of yellow paintings stalking my thoughts. Only the corners of paintings mind you… a peculiar phenomenon. I’m an artist, and at the moment I am back in the studio playing with paint again. I went to art school a few years ago and came out of it with lots of great technical info but also lots of concepts. Prior to art school I called myself an intuitive artist. I use to paint people’s Soul Essence, whereby, I believed I was able to tune into a client’s soul and express this on canvas in an abstact way. It was just where I was at… at that time. I did this quite successfully for about three years before attending art school. Since leaving art school I have really struggled with my artistic expression. Whenever I approached the canvas and made marks all I could hear were my teachers in my head. I felt I had lost my artistic intutitive or authentic place within, subsequently I choose to put the brush down and just wait… wait for the voices to subside… wait for an authentic place or movement towards the canvas to arise… wait for inspiration!

About two weeks ago I picked up the brush…  and I also started jogging. Finally there was some movement at the station after months of depression, anxiety, ‘couch potato’ and an expanding waistline. In this time I have watched a lot of things fall away… beliefs, concepts, interests, friends… but I have refused to let go of chocolate!  During my period of abstinence… painting not chocolate… I started to explore this idea ‘what would ‘Void, Stillness or Silence’ look like on the canvas?‘ Initially I approached this like art school. I did my research on the internet, cut out images, read art magazines and non duality books, did some sketches, kept a journal… which all came to a pretty disappointing end. Again, I put it all away and just waited eating chocolate. Months went by. Finally the day arrived. I got up… I went for a jog… and in the afternoon I went into the studio. My first couple of canvases have been pretty bad… doing what was familiar… crosses… I’ve always had an obsession with crosses. It’s one of the first symbols I ever painted and turns up again and again in my work. I thought ‘oh no, not this again!’ and wondered if I needed to put the brush back down. However, over the next few mornings I began to see corners of paintings in my mind just on awakening… and I mean corners. I was seeing corners of colour in the corner of a canvas. I ignored it for a few days and kept on with my bad paintings and crosses…. working, reworking, overworking… until in frustration I painted the corner thingy. Stepping back from the canvas I watched within and realised… for now it speaks to me!

So at the moment I am experimenting with paintings that have corners of colour. Perhaps this may lead to a representation of ‘Void, Silence, Stillness.’ Yes I know… it’s still a concept, but hey… it speaks to me for now.  What do they look like you may ask? Pretty blank… colour… minimalist. I heard Adyashanti in his radio broadcast yesterday say “When you believe with every fibre of your being that content (thoughts) are untrue… it all falls away.” Hmmm maybe that’s what is happening on the canvas also? M x

Waking up

Well yesterday it seemed like a great idea to start this blog whereby I intend to diarise, journal and share my thoughts on my path to so called ‘waking up’. Today I’m not so sure. I mean, what have I got to say that is of any interest or significance to another on this subject? Hmmm… point taken. However, seeing I’m not expecting anyone to find this blog in a hurry or maybe even take the time to read it, let alone respond, I might as well flick those doubts and get on with it.

image:  drawing by Vernon Ah Kee,
a great contemporary Australian Indigenous artist.

Ok.. firstly I want to say I’m just an ordinary person with an ordinary life, who happens to have a ‘thing’ that never goes away. Some people may call it a passion or purpose; maybe even a destiny or fate… but for me, I don’t even know what it is anymore. It just seems to keep going, exploring, inquiring, wanting to know, trying to understand,  and searching for something. It’s been there as long as I can remember, its pushed and pulled me through a miriad of spiritual experiences, some of which make great stories that I may share in later posts.

This ‘thing’ is internal. It’s not a thought, or even a feeling, and yet it will present itself as both. Whatever it seems, again and again I find myself drawn back to the path of ‘waking up’… and by that I mean I’m trying to understand myself and my life beyond what I’ve been told and accepted is real. And I think ‘trying’ is the operative word here. I’m probably ‘trying’ too hard, and all the books and teachings say there is no point in ‘trying’ to ‘wake up’ because the ‘I’ can’t make it happen. Why?… because the ‘I’ doesn’t actually exist. Get that! ‘You’ or ‘I’ don’t actually exist. Yeah its a bit of a brain fry when you first hear it. I know I just sniggered… until I went looking.

When I was first asked by an awake friend to see if I could find an ‘I’ or ‘Me’… everything internally went very quiet. I mean I could feel my physical body and my breathing. I heard my thoughts and saw images… but when I tried to see ‘Me’ internally there was no one there… everything became very black… very blank… spacious even. It’s a bit weird to try and describe, and unless you have had the same experience or similar, it probably sounds a bit crazy, but I couldn’t find an ‘I’ or a ‘Me’. I suppose this was a significant moment in my journey so far.

What do I mean by the words ‘waking up’? Well the dictionary says:  the act of waking. Derrr…. well I’m blonde so I thought this definition might help 🙂   Non duality teachings say it is to awaken from the illusion or dream. My version to date is that I can see the thoughts and feel the emotions, but as I watch them, I also see them fade away. I suppose what I’m hoping for, presuming maybe, and endlessly seeking is a seeing that is not of the mind, not of the ‘I’. And that my friends has not occurred yet, although if I am to believe the books and teachings apparently I am that already… I’m just too caught in the ‘I’ to see it. Bummer! Mx


Hi… This blog is an idea I’ve had for awhile, and for whatever reason, today is the day I’m watching myself start at the ‘Beginning’. I’m not sure what will transpire here, however the intention is simply to share my journey of awakening (if I can be so bold to presume I’m waking up!) with honesty and clarity, and perhaps you might like to share a little of yours in response.

falling into milk - melinda blair patersonimage:  falling into milk (detail of etching) by melinda blair paterson

a little about me:

I live in Byron Bay, Australia where I reside in a little cabin at the back of 170 acres, with great landlords (just over the hill) and some 40 head of cattle for company. It’s a very quiet existence and I spend a lot of time at home. Why? I have no idea. I don’t remember planning my life like this, and yet I have always yearned for space, quiet and lots of free time. I’ve worked in the corporate world and had my own small businesses;  travelled around the world, been married for a nano second, and am still out to lunch on the relationship status. I suppose my primary relationship is with moir. Parenthood didn’t occur, so it seems I’ve been given a lifetime of ‘time’ to ponder, wonder, inquire, create and explore myself through religion, new ageism, cults, spirituality, creativity, and in more recent years, non-dualism and awareness teachings. I live an ordinary life, with its normal ups and downs, and yet I have to acknowledge it is incredibly blessed. I have good health, good friends, a roof over my head, organic food on the table, clothes on my back, a reliable car, and am debt free. I’ve discovered I need very little in life to be comfortable and happy, and yet again and again I feel the pull to know… ‘Who am I, without the ‘I’?’.  My name is Melinda. I look forward to sharing the journey. M x