Landscape of the Threshing Floor

Landscape of the Threshing Floor

My interpretation of a land and walk I love.

All works are my copyright.  Do not use without permission and payment.  I often check Google image search to prevent my work from being used without permission.

This painting is available in my Etsy shop as an original and soon to be a print:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/699391407/landscape-of-the-spring-waters-and-the

 

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Thoughts from a day in London

I took my student to London for the day, and we walked about ten miles.  I felt energised and excited to show her what I loved.  She wants to be an artist and is fifteen.  We only had a day and had to be back for early evening, so I marched her up The Mall,  which I don’t particularly love at all, but she wanted to see ‘where  the Queen  lived’.    When we finally arrived at the destination I love, the South Bank, I felt relieved to show her the South Bank Centre and the Tate.  She loved the Gerhard Richter.  As I was taking a photo of a picture,  she was staring at the texture of the concrete of the wall.  She reached out and touched the wall.  I saw myself in her.

For me the South Bank centre with its Brutalist concrete architecture is a place full of resonance.  Each one of those buildings feels like home to me.  Each one contains intriguing and mystic urban soundscapes.  Music, orchestras rehearsing, conversations, echoes, sounds of secrets divulged between friends.  Coffee cups clinking.  The building which intrigues and soothes me the most is the National Theatre.  Memories of my Dad, who took me to see a couple of plays there, and a drama club I attended a couple of times.  There you can hide.  Walk up the dark purple carpeted stair case, peer around corners, look up, geometric sculpted concrete ceilings; brutalist, but far from brutal.  The lighting soft.  The light appearing through doors leading to hidden mysterious spaces.  Around each corner, behind each giant supporting structure or staircase, appears a newly revealed space.  There is a feeling of being held in a liminal space; of being protected in safety within such a vast, monolithic yet nurturing cultural structure.  The interstitial spaces, non-places, or places between places, are very felt; considered.

When I am in London, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing.  If it’s raining it’s still atmospheric,  Lights reflected in puddles, cars glistening.  The smell of diesel, train brakes on the bridges, the sounds of a myriad of languages, people of all nationalities and cultures.  People standing in reverence in front of a Rothko or a Richter.  In cafes I look at people and wonder about them.  Often they don’t notice, as they are staring at screens, down the rabbit hole,  especially in the South Bank centre, as they are municipal buildings which people use as a sanctuary.  Working in the hushed privacy, hidden away in a corner of the vastness of the buildings, the scent of coffee emanating from the various cafes.

I saw a Picasso I had never seen before at the National Gallery.  When I am in London, I really miss it.  Funny how, when i lived there I barely went into the centre.  Perhaps it’s better that I don’t live there, but in Brexit Britain, it feels like a haven away from the polarisation, and parochial small-mindedness.   It’s a breath of fresh air.

 

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Paintings

Playing with narratives.

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Visual Diary. March for the People’s Vote.

London March 23rd 2019

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My interest in the imagery of the Sacred Feminine.

Thoughts on the sacred feminine written in haste on my phone.

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My painting of Mary Magdalene and the Dove.

When I was a young girl, my first European travels were to France, and my father being an architect and with encyclopaedic knowledge of architectural history, would take me to churches in France and talk at length about them with enthusiasm and passion.  It was in those churches that I became fascinated by the elaborate and beautiful images of the Madonna, the Holy Mother. Having been brought up in a non-religious family, these images, icons and statues in French churches and the reverent hushed stillness of  these sacred places, the scent of frankincense, quiet whisperings, the stained glass, vaulted ceilings, elaborate carvings and secret spaces instilled in me a state of quiet awe.

When we visited Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in Provence, I learned about the Black Madonna, Sara, the Patron Saint of Gypsies.  I also learned that in folklore,  myth or fact, who knows, and consequently talked about as ‘pseudohistory’ because it challenges patriarchal versions of history, that Mary Magdalene was said to have arrived with Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary the sister of Lazarus in a rudderless boat at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and that with them was Mary Magdalene’s small daughter Sarah. The myth/truth//story was that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that Sarah was their child and some say that the Holy Grail was the womb of Mary Magdalene.

The book ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ fascinated me and the story that Sarah  became a part of a sacred bloodline in France and that the Holy Grail is still in the mysterious Corbieres mountains in southern France, in Rennes le Chateau.
These stories of Mary Magdalene and Jesus are said to have been suppressed by the Roman Church.  Who knows how much more has been suppressed. How many more stories have been written out of our commonly held narratives?  How much have women been edited out of the sacred texts and scriptures.  In the dead sea scrolls, there are parts which describe and allude to Jesus and Mary Magdalene being close in more than a spiritual way.  I am not an adherent to any belief system, or religion,  but I know how suppressed women have been. The secrets and mystery of the village of Rennes-le-Château, and the south western part of France inhabited by the Cathars, both a place and group of persecuted religious people who have always fascinated me. My partner and I once bought a house in the Corbieres mountains because I felt such depth of affinity with this area.

My images of the sacred feminine and the Magdalene are my way of putting back the energy of the feminine into the patriarchal versions of history.  I can’t rewrite history but i can put images into the ether and contribute in some small way to a new paradigm; that of the sacred feminine.

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Visual diary. Feb ’19

 

Some days are perfect.  Solitude, driving, glorious weather.  I saw a sign while driving, knowing something was beneath an overpass and found an exquisite canyon, the depth of which took my breath.  There was a tiny chapel at one end of the road, and the canyon below an ancient bridge.  My eyes and mind were bewitched by the sight of such depth and grandeur.

I then drove into the Lecrin Valley and took the road less traveled, passing no one, up a precipitous and winding road from Pinos del Vallee.. I found an abandoned house with endless views and the slightly cold wind was enough to refresh me as I had climbed so high.   I dared to go into the derelict building.  In places the ceiling and roof were non-existent.  There was a threshing floor and an old tiled swimming pool.  The house had once been very grand, or its intentions had been grand.  I didn’t know if it had ever been finished, but I think probably so as someone had added an extension, left unfinished.  It must have been abandoned for years, decades.  There was a dusty old bottle of Cava on a window sill, as if to celebrate something that had never quite happened. Or maybe it was a relic of its distant more glamourous days.

 

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The Leaves

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Becoming the land

While staying here in the mountains,  i meet a lot of people.   Some are friends,  some just momentary connections.   One thing I have noticed in particular,  is how the people who live here, and especially those who have lived here for years, become the land. The women are tough, strong, no nonsense.  It must be a survival thing.  They live in cortijos with uneven floors, low-beamed ceilings, wood that needs chopping, compost loos, land with wild boar, gardens or wild land which are in constant need of attention, acequias which need maintaining lest they overflow and flood their homes or land.  These women are like rock. Like mountain rock.  I make the observation about the women because it’s such a contrast to the women in the UK.  Maybe that’s partially why i am drawn here. I feel I  need a bit of that energy for a time.  To be honest I am not made for that hard life,  although it’s wonderful to dip in and out of occasionally.  To build fires in the evening and really feel the rhythms of nature, but I feel like a romantic dreamer compared to these tough courageous women.  I don’t need to be keeping nature at bay; i need to be observing it.  I need my painting time, my time to dream and walk and sit and watch.

I live by the sea, so I feel I embody more the energy of water.  Fluid,  malleable, changeable, tidal, soft, sometimes strong, emotional. On further reflection though,  I don’t want to become tough.   My favourite country is still Spain   but i am more inclined to be by the sea these days. The sea and Spain seems like a plan for future days.  Then i can still come and drink mountain water and walk the magic pathways.

The full moon has been very powerful; the light intoxicating.  My trips to Ferreirola for the water have been like manna.  Up there in la Taha the energy is like no other i have encountered.  Rarefied,  magical, otherworldly.  I feel i have taken a journey to another dimension when i am there.

It’s my last evening here. Today i decided to just paint and sit and drink coffee, soak up the light, walk a bit.   I even bought a beautiful dress. It’s hard to find clothes here that are not too hippyish but i found one.

I love the sounds of the church bells,  the mopeds, and just looking at the mountains fills me with rapture.  I feel emotional leaving and can’t wait to come back.

The painting below is entitled The Magdalene Birds.

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Visual diary Alpujarra

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Alpujarra visual diary. Feb 2019

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