Pentecost Trinity

Monday 25 May - Friday 27 November 2015

Paintings in this exhibition

Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger version with description:


This painting began as a surface to paint out my brushes and palette at the end of each studio day.  The more I painted out my brushes, the more human shapes appeared.  One day I noticed that some of the shapes made a single large head and then I realised that this canvas wanted to speak.  As it did, I realised that no matter what colour, shape or size we are, somehow, we are all one.


Bourdeilles Tryptych

This set of canvasses started life in Bourdeilles, the Dordogne in 1996.  After Brian Wren, it was Pete Gray who made me paint again and he who made this mounting.  August 6, 1996 saw us in Perigeux, buying canvas and stretchers, paint and brushes, turpentine and a wonderful white oval plate for a palette.  All was new.  The first images on these canvasses were of summer sunflowers and French cottages, painted while I listened to James and his guitar merging in music.  In the summer of 1999, flowers and cottages gave way to three couples in differing types of relationships.  In 2000, the canvasses whispered a deeper message and reminded me of the classic medieval triptych declaration of the Trinity.  This is my version. Three parts, three dimensions.  Undefined.

That you may have life

Rainbows are huge for me. I love them because I have to find the dark to see them. Placing my back to the light, pursuing the search in the dark clouds, there they are – all the colours in the universe arching in one (or two) shining bows, reminding the dark that it is only vapour.

I tried so often to paint rainbows, finding twee results. This just catches a moment. It is hard to see on this photo, but the painting is mounted on glass, of which you can just see the faint outside edge. The glass mount is just that, glass. See through to whatever, reflecting whatever. The rainbow is the light, the glass almost water.

The title is from the gospel of John, my favourite theologian, who has Jesus say, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”.

I wrote about rainbows:

You have to know where the light is

To see the promise

In the dark.

You can catch glimpses,

Without knowing.

If you stare at the dark on those caught times,

You’ll see the coloured promise.




Know the light behind you.

Study its source.


each time you see the dark,

Drenched in dour and damp gloom,


With the light behind you.


To meet the dark.

“I promise.”

“No more destruction.”



Word Becomes Flesh

This began in my new studio on a gift canvas from Luke. As I worked, I saw three persons of the Trinity, imagining the top person Creator, the centre person, Spirit and the one of the edge, the Incarnated One.  But as time went on, I recalled the theologian Carl Rahner’s note that any one of the Trinity could have become The Christ.

I enjoyed watching the female creator with her blond plait, but began to see that she could easily be Spirit Light and the Incarnated One could be female.  I enjoyed working with Spirit as an African Caribbean male with his warmth and energy, yet, as he plays with energy, he could be Creator and that the Incarnated One African Caribbean. As the Jesus figure holds light with no fear he could be Creator, and as an Arab, he could have been Spirit at anytime in Old Testament Prophets.  What we know is that Word becomes flesh.

The heavy damask cloth reminds me of heavy curtains in church alcoves and side chapels.  Under the fabric bounces Trinity symbols, pushing through the traditional church fabric to remind us again and again that there is no fixed way of knowing God.

We Know Only in Part

I started this painting some while ago, collecting the CDs and DVDs we had finished with and couldn’t really be passed on. The top left is an individual canvas, stretched by Luke, the wonderful donor of a bulk of my supplies. That grew in my old studio on its own. The seven independent rectangles are also painted on pieces started by Luke. The center canvas is an enlarged painting of a drawing I did whilst listening to a theological conference on scripture. It was only in my new studio with all the room and light that I realised all of these fit together and indicate ways of knowing. As the Bible book of Romans tells us, in this life, we will only ever know in part.

And it Was Good

I had no idea what this painting would be.  It started from the wood and fabric.  The uprights are 300 year old yew, given by a neighbour whose family, generation by generation, couldn’t bear to throw away the pruning remains.  The cross beams are from my son’s old Futon.  The fabric is fine painter’s canvas.  The colour began when I was painting at an Arts-in-Action event at Oxford Castle in 2007. It was stored unfinished, and emerged again at my studio which looks on to the Oxford canal.

It unfolded through the years, making me think of poetry about the blanket of the sky and the unfolding of the universe.  Suddenly I saw the small Yew branch from the left, which felt a little like a magic wand.  And there it was, a creative act of sorts.  None of us truly know how the universe began or why we are part of it.  Scientists know how, more or less, and early theologians of many faiths tell stories about how it and we came to be.  All we know is that at some time, it was good.  The title comes from our Old Testament Creation stories.