Late Summer

The earth stopped me in my tracks today

As I set out for a walk

Sometimes I can just feel it

As I step out of the door

A different and altered state

 

I know it’s coming as I head up the road and turn the corner

Onto the cliff path

And as I arrive above the sea

It announces itself with quiet fanfare

Iridescent shimmering alive soft

 

Shoals of fish move as my eyes try to follow them

On the land, cabbage white butterflies dart and hover

Blackberries in abundance

The land whispers

A seagull calls

 

The sheep are not in the field

Moved to another field, I see them across the valley

Things to do, my mind jumps to daily details

What to make for supper

How to paint a certain commission

Should I be doing more?

No

 

This moment is life

It’s what we are born for

Don’t rush through it

Sit, look, feel

How quickly life passes

These late summer moments are everything

Stay.

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The Six Faces of the Feminine

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Green Tara

Deeply inspired by my recent trip with friends to the Centro Budista o Sel Ling in Soportujar, Las Alpujarras, I just had to paint Green Tara.  She is available in my etsy shop.  Link here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/720204610/green-tara-painting?ref=shop_home_active_2&fbclid=IwAR3saX9eQKDn6_4U40DUxq_OlVJeL-obMYuuiwAc0eOkvuA70IXdXK4buZw

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The Waterfall, Salto de Paula

Terre at the waterfall

We found a waterfall that had previously been hidden and made accessible. It was finding heaven. Our cups ran over. It was everything.

Moments are precious and fleeting, but also eternal. Feel them. We later chanted Adi Shakti under the shade of a vast chestnut tree in front of a sacred mountain on a threshing floor.

When I returned home yesterday, I unpacked and went into the living room and N was watching Easy Rider, because Peter Fonda had recently passed away, and at the moment I walked in, it was the point in which the men were swimming in the lake to the sound of the sitar film score, tuned to the same key as Adi Shakti. It was yin/ yang. Wild men reflecting my thoughts of us women; mirroring my ponderings about how often the universe reflects back to us our vibration and feeling.

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An unforgettable workshop/retreat in Spain. Explorations of the Wild Feminine.

Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

What can I say about something so moving, so life-changing as this?  It was more than an art retreat.  Even in the intense heat of August in Jaen province, tucked away within the endless mountains of olive groves is Cortijo Las Salinas, a beautiful old farmhouse, lovingly restored and with Roman origins.  Each room is carefully and thoughtfully considered, with beautiful views.

We had twice-daily circles, where we shared our truths in safety and love.  We held space for each other.  There were tears.  As a woman who has many friends, I used to think this is something I frequently do, but it is not.  Our lives are so busy and caught up in details.  We are deeply private.  Some things we never discuss.  We talked about our lives and experiences as women.  We shared so much as women’s lives often contain similar patterns, themes, paths.  Terre read poetry, writings, thoughts. She held space in strength, love and vulnerability.  We all wrote, we had guided meditations led by Terre, and these meditations informed our paintings.  Terre guided us through the process of intentional creativity.

We painted every day, so in flow and reverence, to our work and all we had assimilated through our women’s circles, meditations and writings.  Steffi taught us yoga in the mornings and performed gong baths, reciting poetry before and after.  Oh my goodness, I have chills even thinking about those gong baths.  The intense power of the sound of those gongs, within the mountains; rococheting, echoing, altering, cleansing, moving, shifting..  Steffi also held a Kundalini  yoga class, chanting Adi Shakti while the full moon rose over the mountains.

There was so much laughter.  The vegetarian food was nutricious and delicious.   I gave a workshop of the landscape and the sacred feminine in nature.  We walked with wonderful writer Chris Stewart in Granada, in some places I had never seen.  Mysterious places, magical places.  The home of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla was a delight.  The day was blissfully cool as Granada in August, the heat can be fierce, but it was perfect.

Sometimes I had to escape from the group and walk to the top of the mountain behind the cortijo in early morning, to the Balcon de Don Rafael to take in the extraordinary, strangely Seurat-esque, pointillist olive-dotted vastness of the landscape for at least a hundred miles, or so it seems from up there..  I am a private person, and want to experience things alone sometimes, so in the cool of the early morning I made my way up to the top in slippy sandals, as the land was so dry it was sometimes like skating.  Note to self:  bring hiking shoes and/or poles next time.

After the retreat, many of us traveled together to Las Alpujarras mountains, slightly further south, and settled in Bubion, a high mountain white village,  with water running from fuentes everywhere.  The sound of water, the healing, life-giving vibration from it gave the village a cleansing feeling and we walked through labrynthine pathways, under tinaos, places built for shade, sat in cafes, walked up and down mountainsides.  We walked from Ferreirola to Atalbeitar, stopping to drink from the gazeosa spring, with effervescent iron-rich water.  Then to the incredible waterfall, the Salto de Paula, bathing in its freezing iron-rich waters.  The heat was often intense and fierce. I often felt on the verge of heat-stroke, but learned somehow to temper it through soaking myself in cold  water at any opportunity, and once after a particularly hot walk just threw myself into a horse trough surrounded by thirsty wasps, miraculously escaping their stings, and much to the bemusement of the village children.

We visited the Green Tara statue at the rarefied Buddhist Temple O Sel Ling, near Soportujar.  The drive up there was hair-raisingly precipitous, on hairpin bends on narrow dirt tracks with no barriers.  We climbed further still, to the Tibetan prayer wheels and prayer flags fluttering in the breeze.  We chanted Adi Shakti together on the threshing floor (Era) at Ferreirola in front of the mountains.  Three weeks I will never forget.

Some photos of our magical women’s art and exploration retreat in Andalucia in Spain.  For more info, or to be on our mailing list email:  alicejulietmason@gmail.com

or visit:  www.art-retreat-spain.com

 

Such a transformative experience working with Terre Cerridwyn on an intentional creativity workshop on the wild feminine in Spain. Held at Cortijo Las Salinas in Jaen, we painted, used guided meditation experienced gong baths, yoga, flamenco, dance, a tour of Granada with writer Chris Stewart, poetry writing, sharing our stories. With nourishing food and deep connection, it was deeply revealing and moving in every way.I gave a class on the Landscape and the Sacred Feminine in Nature.

 

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So much beauty

 

 

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If I were wild

If I were wild

I would jump on the back of a motorbike and ride with a man along the coastal roads and into the towns and villages of the cote d’Azur

I would make love on tables and in the sea

I would chant with my sisters on the threshing floor in front of a sacred mountain in Andalucia

I would tell people what I really feel, with no fear of judgment

I would deliberately take the unexpected turning and drive through the mountains, and lose myself

If I were wild, I would dance with abandon

I would sing a long folk song in front of an audience in a summer pub garden

I would occasionally drink too much wine

If I were wild, I would laugh with tears pouring down my face

I would play music that makes me cry and paint pictures to soothe myself

I would tell people how much I love them

I would march in the streets of London against injustice and shout at the top of my lungs outside Downing Street

If I were wild I would walk barefoot on the earth

All these things I have done.

If I were wilder I would move to Spain

And paint.

If I were wilder, I would jump into the blue.

 

 

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Rainbow over the sea

I was sitting in my favourite spot above the sea in Pett Level.  It had been the hottest day on record in the UK and I had finished lessons with my student, completed a painting and the heat had rendered most people inactive.  I had also checked in with my Mum who was sitting with the curtains drawn, fan whirring and we ate strawberries. There was a promised thunderstorm approaching so I walked up to the cliff’s edge to welcome it and watch it over the sea. I watched forked lightning for some time and chatted with neighbours who had arrived with wine to enjoy the same. They left when the rain started.  I stayed, relishing the experience. After a little while I sensed a golden flash before me and looked up. There was a double rainbow over the sea. It was like a beautiful portal. It stayed around an hour. Hot gusts of wind interspersed with cool gusts. I stayed with the rainbow. The colours grew and pulsed in intensity and I watched in awe. I took some photos although they don’t represent the immensity of its beauty. It felt like the most beautiful announcement.  A fanfare.

 

 

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The Sunflower Room.

An original painting on canvas. 40 cm by 40 cm. Painted on the hottest day on record in the UK.

All works are copyrighted.

Do not use without permission or payment.

Available in my etsy shop.  Link here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/710149348/the-sunflower-room?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Clay Head. Woman and Bird.

I am enjoying the process of clay so much, it may become my new obsession. Of course i will always paint but i find the medium of clay so soothing and time just doesn’t exist while doing it. Luckily my mother has a fully equipped pottery studio. What a joy. Next is the glazing and firing once this has dried further.

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