''Live today with boundless enthusiasm,
limitless integrity true to your visions
and with a heart full of love''
In the West, feeling "empty" or the word 'emptiness' is often seen as a negative condition or phenomena happening around or to an individual. We conjure up all sorts of dark images such as feelings of scarcity, starvation, not having enough of something, a lack of love, despair, boredom, social alienation, fear and apathy. Most people associate the word with an unwanted condition and an existential vacuum that they wish to avoid and dissolve. Disconnected, unempowered, lost and painful. This misunderstood word suggests an absence and depicts nothingness, a void, vagueness and a sense of not belonging.
I am fascinated by the word 'emptiness' and it has arrived over and over again in my creative process. I have found it to be spacious, I have found it to be vast and infinite and beautiful and when I turn the word 'emptiness' on its head and look at my inner world I can see how it has become transformational.
Emptiness is not nothingness and it does not mean that nothing exists at all it is the opposite.
It is the spark.
The particular meanings vary depending on the individual, religious, spiritual or cultural tradition in which it is used and arrises but I can only approach this from my perception of the world. This is about how I see 'emptiness' and how it relates to my practice. When we approach all of life including our creative expression as one seamless, ever-changing landscape where nothing has any permanence, our roles are not a fixed, our identity is open to change and we embrace the positive aspect of emptiness we discover connection, compassion and love.
It is said that for a person who attains a state of emptiness, the still mind of quietude, silence, and non-action can be a mirror of the universe.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
''When I arrive in my studio, I sit down,
I tear a piece of paper out of my sketchbook.
I begin to paint.
I know not what I paint or why.
Something comes from the emptiness''
Joanne attended the Royal Academy of Arts in London and her work has been collected for private, British and international collections. Joanne is not on social media.
Read more about shows and British collections HERE