Walking and Autonomy

I’ve been reading a book entitled ‘A Philosophy of Walking’ by Frederic Gros, and although a very good book in many ways; it covers many aspects: the pilgrimage, the urban Flaneur, walking as meditation, as inspiration, as a cure for melancholy, for health, the necessity of walking for so many writers and their practice, but there is a glaring hole in the book; that of women as walkers.

As a woman, I find this omission to be a big oversight.  Women have always walked, although in the book they are mentioned as companions to Nietzsche, students of Nietzsche.. probably walking to hang on to his every word.

Women need to reclaim their autonomy, or find their autonomy as walkers in their own right, who walk as part of their own art or writing practice, or simply as part of their daily regime.   As a walker, I am often asked by men, ‘Where’s your dog?’  As though I can’t possibly be out on a walk, by myself, without a dog.  I am polite by nature and I just laugh or smile and say nothing much…  But this is a feminist issue.  Women have often walked together at night to ‘Reclaim the Night’ as protest.

I need to write more about this.  To be continued…

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Meditative Art Retreat in Andalucia

Meditative Art Retreat. 21 – 28 October 2017

For my next art retreat I will teaching how to paint a self-portrait as our symbolic / mystic-self.  I will be offering meditative, gentle guidance, setting intentions, using guided meditations, knowing the painting as a secular prayer. Painting modern iconography. Teaching my own techniques: the methods I use such as painting my birds, or other spirit animals, how to paint a face, a figure, light and shade, a symbolic landscape, glazing, colour washes, pattern, how to bring forms forward or push them back through glazes, using under-painting through abstracted techniques, adding white, or leaving white space, using words as under-painting too. Techniques such as glazing, dry brush work, stippling, acrylic pen-work, detailing, and stenciling. Working from my favourite themes: Iconography, Goddess archetypes, the Divine Feminine, Jungian archetypes, symbolism, mysticism, metaphysical art, shamanic and alchemical totems, sacred geometry, pattern, ornament, process and intuitive painting.
For me, there must always be the still-point. The point where you find the zone, where the painting is painting itself through you as the conduit. Or you come to a point where there is a deep meditation.  This is my intention in my art practice and in teaching.
Painting in the studio, walking in the Alpujarras mountains, visiting Granada, beautiful healthy food cooked by Steve for every meal, yoga most mornings with Steffi, guided meditations. All meals, materials, yoga and activities will be included in the cost.  Cost doesn’t include flights or car-hire. Transport to and from the cortijo can be arranged (extra cost.)  Again it will be in beautiful Cortijo Las Salinas in Andalucia. To register an interest, please use the contact form or email me: alicemason64@gmail.com.


Cost £950 (GBP)

Includes beautiful accommodation with ensuite bathrooms, all materials, art tuition, access to the art studio at any time, yoga, all meals, (emphasis is on nutrition and dietary requirements are catered to.)  Also includes a trip to Granada, guided walk in the mountains, dining together, access to all the facilities the cortijo has to offer:  swimming pool, honesty bar, a beautiful communal living room and kitchen, an outdoor Moroccan chill-out area.

Cost doesn’t include flights or car-hire.  Airport transfer to and from the cortijo can be arranged through our private driver (extra cost.)

It is advised that you take out your own travel insurance.

The nearest airports are Granada or Malaga.





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Hollyhocks, Lupins and the Sea

How beautiful this weather is.  Last night I dreamed of the vast seas again.  It always goes back to the time we sailed to Australia when I was a small child.  This informed and formed such a huge aspect of my psyche.  The dream was also a painting.  I dream in paint, it seems.  The colours were hyper-real.  The sea was paint.  A colour I love.  The deepest brightest turquoise.  In the dream, we were on a large boat, with other people, everyone was excited and we were hovering around a land, very far from our original homes.  This is a recurring dream.  It is always as though we are on the other side of the world.  In anticipation we are viewing the lands, and there are islands and bays and inlets.  On the land were growing giant pink hollyhocks.  Bright, architectural, elegant.

This morning I awoke and thought about all the variations I have had of this dream, and it’s always such a beautiful experience.  Arriving somewhere completely new on a boat.  Dreaming, I am so close to the land and sea, like I am here too, on the cliff top where I live.  The fact that I live close to the sea and above the sea is part of my own version of psychogeography.  The Saxon Shore Way is a path I walk as often as possible.  It is never static.  The movement of the sea, the view out to the horizon, to movement and possibilities.  The cargo boats moving through.  The walkers moving through and across the landscape.  Life passing through like a river.

I realised that the dream was visually similar to a painting I made a few years ago, although the flowers were lupins, not hollyhocks, the colours were the same.

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Writing The Map


‘Wanderer, your footsteps are

the road and nothing more;

wanderer, there is no road,

the road is make by walking.’

Antonio Machado

The UK has the highest rate of internal migration in EU, (3.5% of population move annually). Our identity exists in the places we come from, live in and our journeys between the two.  The journey is an opportunity for exploration and reflection.  Writing The Map derives from a 192 mile walk, between the artist’s place of birth and present home, to explore ways identity is linked to journeys past, present and future. Maps – both digital and 2D – enable us to undertake journeys of discovery. They are objective representations of landscape, inviting us to follow prescribed directions and routes. They also enable us to reflect and organise our knowledge to better understand and share it.

Writing The Map draws on psychogeographical practices to subvert traditional mapping to…

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Me and a yellow cup


Tea with my friend Susanne makes me happy so I asked her to take a photo of me.  We were sitting in her sunny kitchen.  She is always there, with her beauty and calm, and the kettle is always on.  Susanne is a rare being.  She laughs easily and we talk and it’s just easy and light.  She is an artist and everything in her home is bejewelled, covered in sequins, patchwork, upholstery, embroidery and joy.  Like me, she creates quite compulsively.  It’s so necessary for us both, like food, or tea.  I love my friends.


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I painted this image after learning a little about Shinto. Shinto, also called kami-no-michi, is the ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.

The word Shinto (“way of the gods”) was adopted, originally as Jindō or Shindō, from the written Chinese Shendao (神道, pinyin: shén dào), combining two kanji: “shin” meaning “spirit” or kami; and “tō” meaning a philosophical path or study (from the Chinese word dào). The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami are defined in English as “spirits”, “essences” or “gods”, referring to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places, and even people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.


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A large painting on canvas.  In my Etsy shop.


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The Blue Room


The Blue Room.  Copyright Alice Mason 2017


I love the subject of rooms and interiors and especially those with open windows.  For me,  the French post Impressionists are the most inspiring,  because of the play of light and colour, the detail of the rooms, the brushwork, seductive light, ‘la douceur’, the way the eye is led through the window to possibilities and the romanticism of the southern French light which was clearly intoxicating to the artists.  Some of my favourites are: Edouard Vuillard, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Pierre Bonnard.

This painting hopes to portray the sultriness and langour of a hot afternoon.  The sea breeze,  the woman in the room holding flowers, receptive, in a reverie, window open, birdcage open, perhaps alluding to a former containment or constriction which has now been released into freedom, into the blue.

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Red Guitar

An original painting on canvas.  A painting about my childhood in Australia, the sound of the guitar my Dad played, growing up in the sixties and seventies,  my love of colour, pattern, spirals, idealism.

red guitar2

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Future Retreats

To be on the mailing list for future retreats and to learn about Alice’s next art retreat at Cortijo Las Salinas in Andalucia, Spain, please visit the website www.art-retreat-spain.com and visit the link: http://www.art-retreat-spain.com/future-retreats/


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