Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow ...

The October south-east breeze is fresh
and carries with it such perfume,
through casements, with the morning light 
the sweet scent fills the room

Make some time to know the gift
of this holy Trinity,
performing perfect miracles 
for those who pause enough to breathe

Flowers, oh so aptly named
bright colours that so swiftly fade
as with the Oriole’s song
delight in Now, before they’re gone

Mauves and purples pass to white
like moments of one's fleeting life;
All our loves and all our sorrows 
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow … 


to live among such things...

“Isn't that the only way to curate a life? 
To live among things that make you gasp with delight?” 

[Maira Kalman, My Favorite Things]


precious pearls ...

“True joy of nature 
is when every drop of water shines like a pearl.” 

[Anamika Mishra]


making time f l o w ...

“Time is a created thing. 
To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.” 

[Lao Tzu]

I am realising of late that I live a life where it is often hard to find time to do the things which most nurture my self.  In particular, creative pursuits such as art-making, photography, writing, singing, playing music.  All of which energise and inspire me. Some in which I am formerly trained and are a source of income; yet I all too frequently struggle to justify their part in my life, as a single mother of two young children.  

Lately I've been challenging the semantics of my dilemma.  I have decided that time is not something I must mysteriously find, but something I must make. It seems there is never enough time to even cover the essentials in each dayso the idea of somehow finding more time felt flawed from the start.   Making time however, both acknowledges this reality and offers an opportunity.  Making time is a recognition that there are limits, decisions and a hierarchical structure to how we choose to spend the precious moments of our days.  

Making time implies choice and the decision to prioritise; 
what I value
what I require
what can be eliminated altogether

Over the last few months I have done a great deal of assessing of how I spend my time.  I've read of others undertaking assessments of their own priorities, often described as 'life audits'.  In a way I am undertaking the same process but with quite a specific goal; to increase my time for creativity in a life often overwhelmed with practicalities. 

Case in point: I am choosing to write this now while my son is sleeping, ignoring the generous pile of dishes in my sink and the fact that if I do not vacuum soon I won't know the colour of our carpet.  Choices, priorities.  Somehow the dishes will still get done, they always do.  Practicalities always reach the top of the list (when there are no more spoons, or we've run out of pasta bowls).  Creative pursuits can linger towards the end of such lists  indefinitely; particularly for creative women.  

As I am practicing this conscious act of making time my two poets are adjusting to my choice to create in our home, rather than solely maintaining our home.  As this becomes a part of our routine they seem inspired by seeing me creating rather than endlessly managing things.

I have come to realise my passivity in hoping I would find time.  Waiting for that magical moment to arrive like a rare bird landing in my hand.  Making time invites self-assessment, ownership and action. 

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying.” 

[Sarah Dessen Just Listen]

I am making the time to listen.  I have been missing the sound of my heart skipping a beat amidst a creative moment.   I want to make opportunities for such moments to occur again a priority. 

Earlier I mentioned writing this while my son was sleeping... that was some days ago now. I have had to make time when I can, to put these thoughts down over d a y s... but in choosing to prioritise this, each time I do, it is easier.  Thoughts, words and images are again threading together.  I am doing what I can with the little time and resources I can access.  At times these are little more than a blog post and the camera on my iPhone.  I am 'starting somewhere' with what I have on hand.  Funnily enough, I note that I also made the time for those dishes, the vacuuming and a number of other big household jobs I have been wanting to get around to but seemingly couldn't find the time.

Sunday was spent by a mountain stream, tracing the journey of a leaf as it moved through the water. Watching its bright, delicate form at times lifted by the current, moving along rapidly, then caught by rocks, slowly pushing through, sinking, then sailing again. An apt metaphor for my striving to make enough time to maintain the creative  f l o w...

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.” 

[Arnold Benett]


passage [the letting go...]

Bek LARKIN, Passage I, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage II, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage III, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage IV, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage V, 2016

Bek LARKIN, PassageVI, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage VII, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage VIII, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage IX, 2016

'Some of us think holding on makes us strong, 
but sometimes it is letting go…'   

[Herman Hesse]

Passage [ the letting go …] is a narrative of nine large scale photographic images documenting the annual release of seeds from the pod of the Adenium obesum [Desert Rose].  

In this series the boat-like forms of the Adenium obesum pod and the star-like structures of its seeds are exploited for their symbolic potential. The pods are removed from their literal environment to float amidst a limitless black space.  In this context these forms become vessels of an allegorical journey and the seeds representative of that which [as is implied in the title] is surrendered, released…

The work is deliberately open to interpretation as to what the journey refers to and that which is being released, but the process is one not of violence, but of surrender, acceptance and transformation… 

Bek LARKIN, Passage [The Letting Go], KickArts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2016

Bek LARKIN, Passage [The Letting Go], KickArts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2016

Passage [the letting go...] is on exhibition at KickArts Contemporary Arts until June 11, 2016.


The obstacle on my path IS my path …

Bek LARKIN, Buddha Mountain, 2016

The obstacle on my path IS my path… 

[or as the buddhist saying goes: ‘your teacher will find you’…]

It has taken six years of motherhood to arrive at the above reflection.  This realisation came to me a few weeks ago, entering my mind like a drop of water into a clear pond.  The desire to continue to live the spiritual and creative existence of my days prior to birthing my wonderful children - my hope of again finding the freedom to meditate and create has at times wrought much suffering these last few years, as I have struggled to maintain my artistic practice within the context of my new life. 

Over these last six years of motherhood - it has felt at times that obstacles litter my pathway to creativity… dishes piling up in the sink, un-mowed lawns, baskets of washing waiting to be folded, meals to be shopped for, prepared, eaten,  and then tables to be cleared, floors that needed vacuuming that lay-in-waiting beneath a strata of lego, plushies, superheroes and stormtroopers.

Beyond these daily realities lay the path to my previous art practice - if only I could just work my way around these daily obstacles and find enough time and space to regain my creative ‘flow' ... 

The funny thing I found was it seemed the harder I worked to overcome these obstacles, the more there were… no matter how hard I tried to clear the path, I could not find my way back. In the past my art practice blossomed through voluntary isolation; time spent alone, sometimes for days, weeks, months in remote outback locations - immersed in the exposed strata of our land’s geologic history, fascinated by the sense of humility and mortality of one’s short lifespan against the expanse of time geologic.

Creativity within the realm of motherhood has at times felt a less voluntary isolation; with my days often immersed by strata of an altogether different kind… the daily layers of life that are endlessly deposited and [hopefully] excavated - only to constantly re-form with each new day… and at times oh, so humbling…

As years passed by, my desire to work with the striking form of Djarragun [the Pyramid] seemed to be endlessly frustrated by my inability to find the right time or moment to climb it even once - let alone the many times I had hoped to in order to create new work… Amidst these failings I found great solace [and at times some resentment] in my morning ritual of yoga and meditation in my backyard.  Starring up at the unobtainable, yet inspirational peak, at times the mountain seemed like a sentinel, at times a witness; always a comfort in its constancy.  After five years of waking each day to contemplate its quiet, enduring presence it has become to me something of a Buddha Mountain - and every year around its distinctive form patchworks of sugar cane crops are grown, harvested, sown again… 

So it was, over the three years of discussing and considering whether to commit to this wee show at The Flying Monkey; my constant desire - to find a way to overcome the obstacles and regain my place on my path.  As time passed and deadlines came closer and closer I found that not only was I no closer to attaining my desired position - but that the obstacles were larger and more challenging than even I had anticipated. 

Then one Saturday - surrounded by children and almost obscured by a table full of dishes and food I asked a friend and fellow mum, seated across from me, to take my portrait.

And reflecting later that evening on these images  I took a deep breath and surrendered… 

Threw away the concepts I was trying to reach somewhere beyond the life I was living… 

and arrived at the realisation that perhaps  ‘the obstacle on my path IS my path…’

And so with very little time to spare I got to work with a new-found acceptance not just for the work, but for the minutae of my life. Remembering the well known buddhist quote ‘before enlightenment chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment chop wood, carry water’ …

Thinking also of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn and his wonderful use of Gathas to assist in mindfulness and gratitude within the mundane, and writing my own Gathas in relation to each work… 

Bek LARKIN, Before and After Enlightenment I, 2016 


‘Mowing the lawn 
I am reminded of the fecundity of life
I am grateful for this beautiful garden 
in which my children laugh and play'


‘Washing the dishes
I grateful for the friends 
whom have joined us, sharing
food, stories and laughter’


‘Folding the washing 
I am grateful for our clothing
of such colours, textures and patterns
to decorate our bodies’ 


‘Sorting the paperwork
I am reminded of the many services 
that support and bring comfort 
to my life’

Bek LARKIN, Before and After Enlightenment II, 2016


‘Stumbling through sharp lego
I am reminded of the immediacy of childhood
and the gift of play and imagination’

In creating this exhibition I feel as though for the first time in some years my art is addressing my life as it stands now…  To embrace and contemplate this unexpected turning in my path.  

This exhibition is also an acknowledgement of the creative dilemma of many women, as explored in Rachel Power's book 'The Divided Heart - Art and Motherhood' and recent articles doing the rounds on social media.  Such creative dilemmas DO seem to be predominately gender specific.  One of the wonderful aspects about this exhibition for me has been the conversations this work is generating and the sense that there are many other creative women travelling similar roads… 

The Art of [Domestic] Enlightenment was on exhibition at The Flying Monkey, Cairns in March/April 2016 and Trolley Studio, Gordonvale April/May 2016