Playing Hamlet

We all have roles to play; this is me in my former role as President of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, according to Jackson Pollock “Painting is self discovery. Every good artist paints what he is”….So what is that really?…..


“It’s very important to remember that we all have Buddha nature. That cannot be emphasized enough. We, all of us, are in the depths of our beings, the combination of wisdom and compassion, That’s our true nature.

Our tragedy is that we identify basically with all the wrong things. We identify with our conceptual mind, our gross mind, our race, our gender, our professions, the roles that we are playing, our memories, our childhood, things which happened. We identify with our hopes and our fears and our plans. We live in our conceptual thinking mind and we think, “This is who we are.”

And the great insight, the great breakthrough of the Buddha was to recognize that everything that we normally identify with is exactly who we are not,

….and it’s also our tragedy—because, while it’s fine to play a role—we all have to play roles. But if we believe in that role, and think that’s who we are, then we are in trouble. An actor may be a brilliant actor onstage, but if he comes off the stage and still thinks he’s Hamlet?

And this is the problem— that we don’t recognize our true nature.” ~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

“Golden Weather” – Kare Kare beach West Auckland. oil on canvas, 60 x 90cm

My painting here is at Kare Kare Beach on the wild west coast of Auckland. Its a beautiful, special place and there can be felt there a primal power that opens your heart and connects you to all things, if you allow it. There seems no need for any role to play, only to be open to the experience of just being,


Then maybe an answer to the question is this….from the poet Rumi: “If words come out of the heart, They will enter the heart” 

there are more of my paintings at

9 thoughts on “Playing Hamlet

  1. Wow Ian beautiful thoughts shared and the oranges and rust colors are my favorite beautiful place to rest my eyes! I can image in the original size it gives the mind a place to rest as well! Have a blessed beautiful day! 😄


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