'SAM the SIRIAN SAIL-FISH' (w/Jeff)
Painting 'Andy the Andromedan Mackeral'
|'SUN GIVES BIRTH' (for Jeff)|
'SOMETHING'S GOING TO HAPPEN..." (for Jeff)
'AIHE AOTEA MANDALA', Tryphena, Great Barrier Island NZ
ROCK-PAINTING with John & Peggy-anne Garlick
and their grand-kids Jake & Sophie, Great Barrier Island NZ
PAINTED WOODEN BOWL with PAINTED ROCK
OUR FIRST PAINTED CHAIR
OUR SECOND PAINTED CHAIR
PAINTED METAL DRUM
OWL detail, Manapouri Mural
|MANAPOURI MURAL (7 METERS)|
'HOPI RUNNING MAN'
Painted tile for Mother Earth Temple
RAINBOW DJED PILLAR at CROWN CHAKRA WHEEL,
MOTHER EARTH TEMPLE
PAINTED CHAIR (seat, one of six)
LIESBET'S LARGEST DREAM-CATCHER
ART FOR ARNE, OUR FIRST MEDICINE WHEEL (2009)
MEDICINE WHEEL ON GREAT BARRIER ISLAND
ROCKS BY LIESBET
OUR CHAK-ROK BLOG
SPECIAL ROCKS FROM SOUTH ISLAND
'HOPI RUNNING MAN' PENDANT (for Jeff)
LIESBET'S FAVOURITE PAINTING :)
FIRST FLUTE, NORTHERN TERRITORY
NATIVE AMERICAN CEDAR FLUTE, FIORDLAND NZ
|PLAYING AT OUR 'PRIVATE BEACH', |
BOTTLE-NECK, FLINDERS ISLAND
KILLIECRANKIE, FLINDERS ISLAND
BEAST OF BURDEN PUSHING THE ENVELOPE!
KARIJINI N.P. Western Australia
KALBARRI COAST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
'grandmother' rock of Castle Hill, South Island
MAROTINI CIRCUM-POLAR STAR-TRAIL
(film camera, approx. 1 hour exposure w/24mm lens, ASA 400)
ANCIENT BOAB, EL QUESTRO, Western Australia
'MR. SMILEY FACE' ROCK, Mt. Titiroa, Fiordland NZ
AWE-INSPIRING VORTEX CLOUD, Mt. Titiroa, Fiordland NZ
AUTUMN RIVER LANDSCAPE, BELGIUM
MACRO-PHOTO OF FLOWERS
CHEM-TRAILS OVER BELGIUM
MANY-COLOURED LEAVES, BOTANICAL GARDEN DARWIN NT
OVER-LAY WITH FISH-EYE IMAGE
and ACCIDENTAL DOUBLE-EXPOSURE
HITCHING BY LAKE TEKAPO
CROSSING THE NULLARBOR, PORT AUGUSTA
TRAMPING IN FIORDLAND, TO MT. TITIROA
PAINTING A TILE, BALARNIA, FLINDERS ISLAND
'LIESBET WENT AND BAKED A LITTLE PUMPKIN BREAD!'
HOME-GROWN VEGGIES, FLINDERS ISLAND OCTOBER 2011
HELPING BARRY BRAILSFORD WITH NEW BLOGS:)
Castle Hill Village, South Island, March 2011
OUR DVD SLIDE-SHOW of GREAT BARRIER ISLAND NZ
[*LISTEN TO THE SOUND-TRACK TO HEAR MUSIC
FROM SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE MUSICIANS]
EDITING 'AIHE TOHORA WANANGA' trailer,
for our 'beyond film' about the whales and dolphins
FLYER for LIESBET'S EXPO:)
My mind has been blown as I’ve spent quite a few hours over the past few days reviewing and trying to take in, to comprehend exactly what all Liesbet and I have done for the past five-plus years. When you’re going flat-out almost all the time, on the road, wilderness tramping, doing paintings, rocks or murals, playing music, or making films…or chilling out in our own little 'separate reality' reading, crocheting and listening to music...not to mention ‘normal’ things that people do…what I’m trying to say is that usually it’s all so full-on that seldom have we really had a chance to kind of step back and look at or appreciate in-depth all we’ve done. Our journey of multi-dimensional ‘liefde in leven’, or ‘love in life’ is beyond belief. I literally cannot grasp the awe, the power, the beauty, the mystery, the adventure, the shared experiences, the synergy of creativity at every level, the real miracles that continue to sustain us; it’s as if in our unfolding relationship we’ve truly gone to another level entirely with what it means to live ‘in love’. I truly cannot believe that we’ve actually done and shared everything that we have…but our massive photographic documentation proves it…it’s not just a beautiful and extended dream…it’s REAL. In a big way.
I wish to honour my lovely partner of five-plus years, Liesbet Verstraeten, who is THE most amazing, loving, caring, gentle, beautiful, spiritual and creative person I’ve ever known. We would truly need books and movies, several of each, to document the full spectrum, the breadth and depth of our journey together so far; hopefully we’ll get them done someday! Here I share with you some photos that show the variety of the wonder of Liesbet Verstraeten, not only of Liesbet the artist who, like me, is always in the process of creating visual art, photography, music, films…but also of Liesbet the beautiful dolphin-goddess in human form, who, like me, is always in the process of working to create beauty, harmony and awareness at every level of life, working for Mother Nature. Our approaches complement and balance each other, her path tends a little more toward the ‘gentle’ approach and mine sometimes involves the ‘information activism’ approach...she might prefer to work in the garden, for example, while I'm working on a new article...but i, too, love to garden, and she, too, likes to create awareness. Our respective yins and yangs have become well-integrated as we have evolved to become the ‘ultimate creative parthership.’
Right now Liesbet is winding up a four-month visit with friends and family in her native Belgium. Before returning to Australia she is assembling a lovely array of art-works she’s done, some old, some new, all of them fancy and many have blue!...and having her first solo ‘exposition’ in Vorst, a little town between Leuven and Brussels. Many thanks to Liesbet’s friend Anne and her parents who have been making this possible. ☺
Having been Liesbet’s partner for the past five years, I may be a little biased, yet I feel that even totally objectively, I can honestly say that she is a genuinely unique and stupendous talent and that she is a true planetary-level creative spirit. From her very first painting done in the winter of 2007, she’s progressed more as an artist in our five years together than I did in 30 years! I’m not trying to take any credit or anything…heaven forbid that I might have had anything to do with all this:) I’ve always told Liesbet that I’ve never attempted to ‘lead’ or ‘influence’ her…I’ve just been there being myself, watching in awe as it’s all unfolded. In reality, it would be impossible to separate the 'her' from the 'me' in all this; I don't think any other creative partnership has ever come into being and evolved in this most intimate and inter-woven kind of way. It's all been divinely guided. I just honestly have a hard time fully believing the reality of all that we do and share and experience together.
Our recent months apart have been essential and empowering for both of us. We live a truly improvisational life-style that is grounded in our immense love of life; we don’t mind going out on a limb with all we do, because we know that no matter how far out on the limb we go, we are still in the ‘tree of life.’ The further out we go, the further we can see!
You can’t experience the joy of reunion unless you’ve spent time apart; if our relationship can be looked at musically, and compared perhaps to what is known as ‘sonata form’ in composition, first you have the exposition, next you have the development, then your have the recapitulation, or ‘return’ to the initial theme. I can’t think of a better metaphor for our unfolding adventure together: the ‘music of the spheres.’
The reality of art works, especially paintings, does not totally translate into two-dimensional images, but I will let Liesbet’s work speak for itself in these photos. We don’t have any of our joint musical sessions of flute and guitar music on-line yet, but in this array of photos you can begin to appreciate the breadth, diversity, intricate beauty and spiritual power of Liesbet’s many forms of artistic expression and still photography. You can also watch two of our five films on-line.
First her visual art: paintings, painted rocks, murals, some ‘specialty’ items we’ve done like barrels and wine-casks. We’ve done many paintings and rocks together, and all of our larger works have been done by both of us. With these larger projects, the basic pattern is that I've done the big lay-outs and design, and Liesbet has filled in the details.
It’s quite challenging actually to describe how we paint; I don’t think that there’s ever been another ‘Jeff and Liesbet’ partnership on this planet. Certainly we can talk about ‘influences’, each of us ‘influencing’ and inspiring the other all the time; and we can talk about external influences or inspiration. Often people say that they see an ‘aboriginal influence’ in our work. To me, that is the highest compliment anyone could pay us…that and when someone told me that some of my art looked like 'native American space technology' or that it had been done by ‘an aborigine scientist on acid.’ Right…I was honoured!
The important thing to emphasize is the extremely powerful nature of the forces of spirit that have been behind our unfolding relationship all along, from the day we met, guardian angels and ancestors of the dream-time, nurturing, protecting, sustaining, inspiring us all along, working miracles regularly at every level. It is my firm belief that Liesbet and I have together been chosen to ‘carry the seed’ of the ancient spiritual cosmology of the dream-time, that we have been given this because we may be some of the few who ‘heard the call’, responded to it, and are worthy or capable or motivated enough actually to have it given to us.
You be the judge: we have no way of knowing how many absolutely and inconceivably beautiful and unique ‘cultural stories’ and cosmologies have literally ‘died out’ with the passing of elders from various indigenous communities, just because within their network of family and connections, not one person existed who was willing and/or able to receive, assimilate, and carry the ancient knowledge and wisdom, the memories from tens of thousands of years of ancient culture.
In the same way that our 'modern mind-set' has no understanding of the implications of violating the Earth by 'digging precious things from the land' as the Hopi prophecy has warned us against, that same mentality has no understanding of what it means for entire unique spiritual cosmologies of indigenous people...or whales and dolphins...to become extinct...not because they just 'died off' but because we killed them all! Humans of today are 'living' in full-spectrum koyaanisqatsi of our own creation. Sacred indigenous traditions have not been maintained at all costs throughout human history just for fun; the worlds of spirit, of the dream-time are lost to modern man yet their reality is fundamental and eternal, not superficial and ephemeral like 'civilization.' Indigenous art is a sacred process of maintaining contact with these timeless realities which are far more 'real' than ours!
Together Liesbet and I have been willing to accept this responsibility...not a burden but an honour! I feel that what we have been entrusted with is even a level beyond this, a gift of sacred creativity that is truly planetary in scope and dimension.
Our art and creativity has a lot to do not only with indigenous peoples, particularly the native Americans and the aborigines of Australia, but also the whales and dolphins, who are a ‘true extra-terrestrial intelligence’ and ‘the ultimate indigenous people.’ Scientists like Dr. John C. Lilly, with whose dolphin communication group I was involved in California, and Dr. Carl Sagan, the astronomer and anti-nuclear activist, who I got to meet in 1992, both believed and/or experienced that true ‘extra-terrestrial intelligences’, whether they be from this planet…the cetaceans…or from others…totally unknown…would use pictures or visual information as the primary mode of communicating with humanity in our present form. I believe that the art of indigenous people in general, but of the aborigines in particular, represents a form of ‘internal technology’ that is conveying a vast amount of multi-dimensional information to us about the nature of water-based life herself…information that to our current ‘dMOE’ or ‘distributed mental operating environment’ looks like ‘oh, those are pretty pictures!’ but in reality is an extremely advanced form of neuro-biological optical communications technology containing information of urgent value to us if we could only understand it. Our perception and recognition of this information, as human beings, is absolutely essential to maintaining the inter-dimensional communications between the manifest worlds of nature and creation, and the ‘hidden’ worlds of spirit, dream-time, and consciousness, an eternal realm of infinite creativity. Transmitting and understanding this information, this knowledge, this awareness, this connection, this ‘information’ is what the art of Liesbet Verstraeten and Jeff Phillips is all about. Again, you be the judge.
You may see aboriginal ‘influence’ in Liesbet’s art…but ‘influence’ isn’t accurate…what you’re seeing is art that is inspired from the same levels of creativity as true spiritual aboriginal (versus modern commercial) art, directly from the ancestors of the dream-time…see, they are not ‘long ago and far away’ like in some dumb Peter Jackson movie…the ancestors are very real, here-and-now spiritual presences inhabiting what physicist David Bohm calls the ‘implicate order’ of reality…inspiration coming directly from the land, from Mother Earth herself, on the oldest of continents.
OK, I will let Liesbet’s art speak for itself. I include an early painting by north American artist Georgia O’Keefe, because I think that Liesbet’s very first painting is very much like this one, only even more advanced. And note that this was Liesbet’s very first painting; this was by no means O’Keefe’s first painting.
O’Keefe went on to become perhaps THE most legendary of 20th century American women artists. See this link for more information:
Liesbet and I both have special connections with the Keringke group of women aboriginal artists from the central desert, in particular Kathleen Wallace, as well as with Austrian-turned-kiwi artist and ecological visionary Friedrich Hundertwasser.
Lakota medicine man Black Elk has also been of immense inspiration to Liesbet and me. The book Black Elk Speaks conveys a powerful sense of his message, of sadness and despair yet ultimately of the ‘healing of the sacred hoop’ of life, of the true path of the Great Spirit. Our medicine wheels are very much about this healing process.
This in essence is really what our art and all our creativity is really all about: not only sharing the fruits of the immense gifts that we’ve been endowed with, but to inspire others that they, too, are artists with great untapped potential. Every one of us is an integral part of the planetary process happening right now; everything that each of us does, thinks, and intends does matter. We are all participants, not just observers, creators not spectators.
Our creativity is our gift to humanity, to Mother Earth. It is our way of celebrating the gifts of life and being alive, of honouring and sharing our very real ‘love in life.’
Enough words. Here is a link to a folder of over 300 images carefully assembled and organized to give you a glimpse into the creative wonder of Liesbet Verstraeten. You will see many things here…many of these paintings I participated in at some level, and all of the larger items and murals are joint efforts. Note the mandalic patterns, intricate detail, and full-spectrum colour of her work. Shown are some of her 2000+painted rocks, medicine wheels we’ve made, and our ‘Mother Earth Temple’, the largest creative project we’ve completed. You will see her playing native American flute (I came up with a new tuning for guitar that goes along with her flute...we're just getting going with this), doing photography, gardening, tramping, hitch-hiking, designing blogs and baking bread! Liesbet is absolutely brilliant at everything she does! And what you're seeing here is only the very tip of her true hidden splendour!
What may be her ultimate creative gift is her ability as a film editor. Using our combined talents and efforts, we’ve made four full films so far, each one a different style, each one a 'practice run', for larger projects. In June we completed the trailer to the ‘beyond film’ that we are currently working on about the whales and dolphins, who they are as fellow beings and what the real global threats to their well-being truly are. This is an extremely important project that may our greatest contribution to the survival of life as we know her on Mothership Earth.
I believe that all of humanity is being called on to do their best, to exert their maximum effort, to ask the most of themselves at this time, but I believe that Liesbet and I in particular are being called on in a very very big way by the spirit of Mother Earth, by the ancestors of the dream-time and the consciousness of water-based life in the local universe to bring together ALL of our immense creative talents and abilities and exert our maximum effort to share the spirit of life with all of humanity, the real message of the whales and dolphins, through using ALL of our combined creative energies and inspirations in the way of light and sound, visuals and music; novel use of language, singing, poetry; form, pattern, beauty, information; harmony, true spiritual power and our real ‘love in life’…to bring all of this together in our magnum opus, a neo-shamanic ‘beyond film’ about the reality of ‘the ultimate indigenous people’ who are a ‘true extra-terrestrial intelligence’ on Mothership Earth. They are speaking through Liesbet and myself at this very instant: "Invisible worlds of improbable power and beauty exist all around you, but first you must learn to ‘Live simply so that others may simply live.’ "
Our 'beyond film' will be a testament to life on Mother Earth, to the 'people of one heart' of ALL species and kingdoms, and the sacred spirit of divine creativity which is our true nature. It will also be the most mind-blowing, spiritually transformative, and highly sophisticated expression of human creativity the world has ever seen! I kid you not...Liesbet and I will make sure of this! :) It's the LEAST we can do as the 'ultimate creative partnership.'
Here is something Liesbet wrote for her blog a few months ago in the midst of a lot of awareness work about the ecological devastation happening in New Zealand. After seeing a sky filled with chem-trails she wrote:
… I was sitting behind the window, wandering about the future. The worse nightmare I can think up is having to sit inside for our own protection, and having to stare through the window, at the trees leaves flapping and twinkling in the wind, but not being able to feel the touch of the wind on my skin, to hear the rustling of the music of tree and wind, a symphonic melody that ever changes..
when i heard the fantail's sjierping , a wave of sadness struck me. My heart is really soft for all the beautiful and innocent creatures, that have no choice of protecting themselves from our daily harmful doings. They don`t have the options to learn about detoxification, and entering a health food store to get a jar of clorella. Should we start putting little bowls of cholerella-water outside for the birds and other creatures? Do we have to start giving our gardens, trees, forests 'zeolite-treatments'? Dumb sounding ideas of course, but why would we want to survive in a world where in there is no other life left? It is our duty to protect, because we are the ones that have created 'koyaanisqatsi' life out of balance
is it too late to restore?
I was inspired by the fantail's song and the wave of desperation to start adding some words to my paintings that might hit a string to who-ever looks at it.. an (other) attempt to get peoples moving.
Last night, the whales were crying out.
I picked up on the wave of urgency in my dream.
The dream was so real, I feel like the whales were communicating with me, and the message was a message of sadness. Look what's happening to us, look at what people are doing. I've always felt that if the last whale dies... it will be over. For us, for life, .. the whales are stabilizers of the planet, they navigate by the stars, they balance energies by making journeys, they are the higher consciousness of the earth. We can learn from them, if we open ourselves to it. They send waves of joy, inspiration, love to the land for who-ever (people, animals, plants, trees, rocks...) can pick up on it. But they have been sending messages of warning and urgency too, and sadness.. because few listen. They are under attack from what we are doing. They say please stop. They send warnings, with love. There is always love. They have big brains and big/pure hearts.
In the dream I arrived to a coast which looked like it was somewhere in Western Australia. The first thing when I saw the ocean was orcas very close to shore, leaping out of the water. First I got all excited, but then I felt something was seriously wrong, and then I saw the beached orca, and further down the line beached cetaceans, spreading all over the beach.
This was a surprise for everybody on the bus (I think we were a tour or something, and this was our destination, but whatever the plan was we were going to do, it was interrupted by this scenery...) I couldn't get to the whales quick enough, while others followed, but I also feel that many people had no urge at all of coming and helping. Everything around me disappeared and my focus was on the whales, Huge bodies spread all over the beach. Thinking about this now, after waking up, the whales were all different kinds of whales, and dolphins, and some of them looked very ancient.
I arrive close to this huge black body, and realize I am looking straight into the eye of this whale, which is still conscious, but in pain and very tired and dying. The whale flickers his eye, and moves his little fin, as a sign of acknowledging me. I feel like I was meant to be there, and the whale might have been waiting for me. Now I was there, and I felt so much sadness, I think I was crying all through the dream. I touched the whales body, and looked over and saw a few woman desperately trying to keep the bodies wet, and I started helping them, but it seemed like they had been doing this already for a long, long time, and if felt as if everything was slowly coming to an end.
People started giving up as whales were dying. I only remember much mourning and tears, and the feelings coming from the whales, or that feeling that came to me when I had looked into the eye of that one whale, was so intense, it stayed with me through the dream, and through the night, and through me now. I think I will always remember.
There were a few smaller cetaceans that were still alive in the front of the line, so I went over there and there was some kind of machine holding them in the air, which was good for them, which lifted their weight from their lungs.. they were moving heavily, and I think they were going to be put in the water soon.
Other people started to 'wrap' up the dead whales in some kind of bags, and there was one small bag, and a woman came over and showed this special creature that was in it (but dead), It was very colorful, but I wasn't even sure what it actually was, I thought it was a kind of octopus, or very rare animal.. It had red tentacles, and blue-ish body..
I went away slowly, there were no words spoken. I was a little more far from the shore and seeing I was actually in a very industrial area. There was a lot of noise coming from a train, and I remember thinking all this noise might have been part of the disturbance for the washed up whales. Then there was a loud and strange looking plane, that just took off, and flew over the ocean, while dropping part of its body into the ocean. I don't know what that was, or what it was meant to be, but I felt it was some secret military thing or something like that.
I also remember thinking I should burn sage and play flute for all the spirits of the dead whales, and for the ones that survived. I never did that in the dream, but I did that today.
And for all the cetaceans, I have written this down now.. hopefully it can reach people, and bring the message of urgency to you, so you may feel it through your heart and help to get the message out there, to other people, so more people can wake up and be concerned and make changes in their own lives, for the whales and all life!
I also think we can send waves back to the cetaceans, and tell them we think of them, that we got the message and feel their love, and want to help, and have our hearts beating in rhythm with theirs.”
My feeling, my belief, my intuition, my prayer is that our 'beyond film' about the whales and dolphins will be able to make a real difference that matters in re-navigating the human process onto frequencies and wavelengths of ever-increasing love:)
Thanks to everyone out there, family, friends, mitakuye oyasin…and THANK YOU LIESBET VERSTRAETEN for being not only my very ‘speecial angel’ but also the coolest, most beautiful, talented, spiritual, wonder-ful and truly LOVING woman-dolphin-goddess who exists in this reality! I love you SnoezieQ!
Now I will let the images speak for themselves. Here are over 300 photos.
The Creative Wonder of Liesbet Verstraeten
Our main web-site is
Here are links to watch two of our films:
‘Te Wai Waia Dreaming’