Welcome to Paint and Ashes

Landscape - Isle of Wight

What can you do?

Are you quirky and free-spirited – but perhaps struggling with depression, grief or anxiety? Then this site might help. There are three things that can always help. The first is compassion for yourself and others – but it’s not always easy to find it. The second is nature – but perhaps you aren’t able to get out. The third is creativity. Nearly everyone can be creative, we were born that way. The absence of the trinity of compassion, creativity and contact with nature is largely responsible for the pain we experience in ourselves and others. If that absence could be remedied then all our lives would be very different. Sometimes it might be enough to look after a pot plant and dance to the radio. At other times you might need substantially more.

Who am I?

I’m Martin Southwood. I’m an artist, writer, walker and recovering psychotherapist. My views are non-conformist, of bright green buds and dried leaves. I avoid judgement and pursue ideals of inclusion, compassion and love. My writing is free to read. If you find something useful here I offer original paintings and limited edition prints for sale. The more I sell, the more I can offer free. This website has ongoing costs, and I have to eat and keep a roof over my head.

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My philosophy

There’s a lot I could write here, but the piece below resonates:

It may be surprising to associate the diseased with the divine and culture with deformity. We do so want the gods to be pristine, models in marble on Olympus, pure as driven snow. But they are not without their shadows, their afflictions and infirmities. As they are beyond time (athnetos, “immortal”), so these shadows of disorder that they portray in their myths reappear in those human events that are not affected by time, that is, in chronic disorders. Since we are created in their images, we can only do in time what they do in eternity. Their eternal afflictions are our human infirmities. … I look to arts for understanding, to ritual for enactments, and to the lives of men and women of the past and how they came through. I need something further than community and civilisation for they may be too human, too visible. I need imaginal help from tales and images, idols and altars, and the creatures of nature, to help me carry what is so hard to carry personally and alone. Education of sensitivity begins in the back ward, culture in chronic disorder.” Hillman, James. A Blue Fire. HarperPerennial 1991