My art college tutor who had been a Zen monk introduced me to the basic laws of karma and the ideas of Zen Buddhism. I was raised as an Irish Roman catholic and as I reached adolescence had difficulties with the dogmatic approach of Christianity, particularly Catholicism.
Buddhism offered a very different way of thinking and being…, It had less hocus-pocus and more reality. It was kinder.
Practising Buddhist meditation is a way to explore the self, to train the mind to be aware of what we perceive to be the self. To see things as they are, and with practice own up and be responsible for ones own thoughts and actions. And perhaps how to have a positive effect on those around us in the world. As I grew older I deepened my commitment.
For the past 30 years or more I have focused my study on Tibetan Buddhism and have been inspired by the beauty and complexity of Tibetan art particularly ‘Thankas’. These intricate paintings are used as a meditative tool and whilst on retreats at Samye Ling monastery Scotland I was instructed in visualisation practices using the images of deities focusing on aspects and qualities of the mind. This had an insightful effect on my way of seeing and being.
I have now returned to a Zen based practise that I feel is more akin to my understanding of the world that I inhabit, and this has influenced the paintings I make.
My aim is to create secular images for contemplation that are accessible to all faiths or non-faiths, whether they are sited in a church, hospice, workspace or home. With this in mind, I strive to keep the structure simple, relying on the textures of monochromatic paint with a focus on a central icon that I sometimes highlight with gold or palladium leaf.
Thank You. jim MacAirt
All images © 1990-2018 jim MacAirt.