M. A. Muller: a third generation South African, Marguerite Anne Muller (Anne) grew up and went to school and university in Johannesburg, lived in Cape Town where she had both her children and moved to Durban where she taught until she and her family moved to the wilderness of the western Transvaal; there she and her husband Max founded and ran the famous Sun Valley Leadership Courses until 1976.
After years of continuous opposition and objection to the then incumbent regime the shootings during the Soweto demonstrations of 1976 finally disillusioned her completely and she decided, along with her entire family, to leave what was to her a dearly beloved land. They left Africa.
After considering many alternatives, the decision was made in 1977 to move to Ireland where they settled in the Parknasilla Woods near Sneem.
During her South African years Anne’s life encompassed many adventures, miseries, marvels and miracles. Her move to Ireland however, with its contrast of peace, allowed her to finally immerse herself in and develop her talents in the world of fine art. Something that she had always wanted to do and had never had the time to devote to it properly. With the support of wonderful and loyal patrons from all over the world Brushwood studio-gallery has prospered through the years and she has the pleasure of knowing that her paintings bring joy to thousands of people worldwide.
Anne has a theory that Ireland brings out the writer in people and she began, almost by accident, to put down her thoughts and experiences on paper. The result so far: a play CINDER'S STREET, an historical novel THE DRUM AND THE BELLS, children’s stories THE ELFREE STORIES, art and psychology ABOUT COLOUR, spiritually orientated revelation MESSAGES, - most available from AskifPress.
"The time for warnings and protests from artists is gone. We are all aware that the world is set on a dangerous course and that we are surrounded by sadness and pain. What I want to achieve through my painting is the uplifting of people's spirits. So I use pure colours and paint for health. I have succeeded in my aim if a work I have created inspires positive emotions in its viewer."
Painters used to help us find our humanity through the use of colour, but art today is more one-sided: Caliban in all his disgusting disintegration is depicted with great glee and relish. We are told it is the message of our time. These pictures, in their lifeless blacks, lurid reds, muddy browns, discordant greens and dusty, lifeless purples and greys may fill us with inner disgust, yet the intelligentsia deride us for not being completely awe-struck and won over by their cleverness. Beauty, we are told, is now to be found in the hideous, and the nastier it is the more we are told to admire it.
The kind of beauty that freezes you to the floor and makes your heart beat faster and fills your mind with longing and joy seems no longer to be an aim, but a hindrance in art. Now the easier way, which is to shock and horrify, and make you step back and feel nauseous, seems to be, in the eyes of modern critics, the only acceptable form of art. I cite The Turner Prize - ironically named after a painter who brought the wonder of colour and it’s sublime power to us all.
The imbalance is glaringly obvious, the message as unsubtle as being smacked on the head with a mallet. The glorification of Caliban - this thing of darkness - leaving us blunted and brutalized, AND PROUD OF IT!
The investors in this type of art can’t afford to have new and heart-stopping art - that once again refines and refreshes the spirit as well as stimulates the interest - break into the art scene. Their vested interest will make them fight it tooth and nail for the status quo, and the galleries will have to follow. They don’t seem to realise that the ugly is valid too and they can keep their investments as interesting items for discussion.
Contemporary art has a way of sweeping over the stale and overstated and becoming established in time, although it is rarely favoured by art critics, who are rarely in the vanguard of a new movement and are, historically, painfully conservative.
Art should speak with the true language of its age. What concerns me is this obsession with the grotesque, which, although mirroring some of the negative and grim realities of our times, is not the whole truth.
Along with the colours that make us shrink back from the horrors they display, is the glory of colour; the magic and mystery of its ever changing beauty, its grandeur in nature and in the landscape, how it plays across the changing skies, how it inspires and uplifts and talks to us of the treasures of the spirit. We are Prospero and colour can be our wand, our early warning system and our rescue.
Some people are predicting world shattering changes as we move further into the 21st century; and they are right, but we are still people, not just numbers in a herd, and evolutionary development of the individual has a way of happening in sudden leaps forward followed by smaller advances. We are now at the beginning of one of its sudden leaps forward, and our whole world will be changed dramatically because of it. People will use new powers to interact with each other that will force changes in every field, and no one will be able to stop it or prevent it.
Colour sensitivity is like a tidal wave. Hardly recognised now, but soon to break into everyone’s consciousness. When it does we will look back on the self-mutilation of today’s society and think we went temporarily insane.
Colour teaches us balance, that word so often used and so little explained, and teaches us to know ourselves. When it is fully understood it inspires us to love ourselves and our neighbours, to love our world and our universe, and makes us want to take better care of them all.
It is a great paradox that the very tools we are given are misused and block our way.
Your mind, when cluttered with trivialities, conditioning, desires and plans, is much less than it was designed for. You don’t use a fine chisel to force in a screw. Your mind, put constantly to ill use becomes blunted and twisted, as would the chisel.
Not only do you misuse the tools you have been given, but others, from tiny childhood onward, have misused and blunted your mind. You were the chisel in the hands of the ignorant.
Your mind has to be re-awakened, re-sharpened, reset, for the work it is destined to do is not vulgar, coarse or rough, but fine as a vapour, as light as living and alive as The All -- utterly brilliant, awake, in-tune, balanced, vital.
Start with your conscious mind. Start where you can gain control. For without this control you can never begin on the subconscious, which will not be accustomed to trust (self-trust).
Every lesson absorbed is another jewel in the treasure house that is you.