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Desmond Sweeney: a soul learning lessons in nature

Take one look at the art of Desmond Sweeney, and you can pretty much guess where he feels most at home. His paintings are like love songs to the ocean: waves breaking on deserted shores, beaches fringed by cliffs and palm trees, occasionally the raw power of a mighty ocean swell. His murals, which include exquisitely moody scenes of misty forests, mellow landscapes and tranquil mountain views, adorn the interiors of everywhere from private homes in Western Australia to the coolest of restaurants in Sydney.

An artist who honed his skill in the demanding profession of scenic art for theatre sets and backdrops, Desmond is now resident artist at Kawa Heart Studio in Fremantle, where he lives  with his wife, designer and stylist Dee Tang.  The couple has three children: Rafa Rose and Beau Sunray who are with their parents on this earthly life, and their beautiful firstborn Kawa Leaf, whose presence continues as their angel daughter.  

A year ago, we talked to Dee about her connection with nature. Now it’s Desmond’s turn to tell us how he draws learning and magic from the natural world:

What’s your favourite thing to do in nature?

Going surfing is my favourite thing for sure. The flow sensation while surrounded by colour and mesmerising reflections is like nothing else, and the space in between waves allows me time for contemplation and connection.
Describe your connection to nature: what positives does it bring to your life? 

It brings me an awareness of the beauty of this playground we have been dropped into as souls to learn our lessons for this lifetime. It connects me with the past and brings me joy to imagine what my children could experience in this lifetime.

What are your fondest memories of spending time in nature?

The fondest are moments of discoveries in and around the ocean with my three children. There is a magic that enters through the thin veil of reality at the water’s edge. The times I have been present to witness my children experience that magic for the first time have allowed me to slip into those Peter Pan moments. 

Many of us are time-poor and might not get out into nature as much as we’d like. Any suggestions for a quick nature-based pick-me up? Something sensory, experiential…? 

Make time at dusk or dawn to experience the transition of light as we enter or leave the shadow of the day. Take it all in with an awareness that we are hurtling through space, spinning around the sun, in one of many infinite universes. It will only take a minute.

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