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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Spain visual diary. Part one. Feb 2019

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Imbolc

Imbolc
by Caroline Mellor

I am the dream of awakening.
I am the returning of the light.
I am the tough green shoot pushing up through the pavestones, I am the first kiss of sunlight on the unfurling petals of the snowdrop. I am the wind which whispers the gentle pull of home to the migratory bird.
I am the drop of ice melting on the mountainside with its great dream of the ocean.
I am the sap rising in the blossom tree just before it reveals its sticky buds to the sky; I am the riotous celebration humming away beneath the earth’s mantle of frozen sleep.
I am the rousing of the bee from its winter slumber, and the soft pad of the mother-wolf’s paw on the snow as she prepares to birth her pups.
I am hope, potential, rebirth and promise. I am the kindling breath which transforms the flicker of inspiration in your creative core into a blazing torch.
Give me the silent crescent moon rising over the sea and I will build you a bridge of silver light so you can walk up and lie in it.
Give me the frost-hardened wilderness and I will breathe radiant green life over it.
Give me the healer, the writer, the craftsperson and the storyteller, and I will replenish her essence and make her new again.
I am Brigid, Bast, Inanna and Hestia. I am the fierce protectress of the sacred fire.
Tonight I bestow my gifts of power and courage at the hearth of your soul: power to step out of the shadows of self-doubt and negativity which have held you in darkness for too long, power to shed all that which no longer serves you, and courage to clear your heart and mind for the dawn that awaits you.
I am the time to honor your unique gifts for their true worth and to protect and nurture your creative self as you would a child. I am the deep longing of the spirit which refuses to be consumed by a narrative of fear and chooses instead to place itself vivaciously on the side of love.
I am the stirring in your belly which knows exactly what you are capable of — and that it’s time the world found out.
I am the fire within which will not be contained any longer.
I am the quickening, I am the serpent uncoiling, I am Imbolc.
I am the dream of awakening.

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Rio Chico

Well, the rural idyll which was the beautiful hovel in the campo of Bayacas, situated on a mountainside with only a couple of donkeys as neighbours so intoxicated me, that I didn’t at first notice I was being bitten alive by creatures, ( fleas? bed bugs?) And even the cicadas drowned out the sound of the creatures eating away at the wooden beams above my head.. The beam-eating creatures became so loud that I wished I’d brought ear plugs..I could positively hear them chewing and crunching their way slowly through the wood..Funny sort of life that…at least you don’t need a calendar…I would ponder the existence of a creature whose sole purpose is to chomp through wood day in, day out..

One night there was a thunder and lightening storm and i ran outside arms wide to receive the magic. Never do I feel that sense of freedom and aliveness as I do in these mountains.

I am now here, near friends in a clean house in the wilds of the (currently) dry river bed..The heat makes me feel lazy, so I am not fighting it..

I plan to paint, read and walk a bit..

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Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

10th – 17th August 2019

With artist Terre Cerridwyn Busse

and Alice Mason.

“We have forgotten that we were born
of celestial cataclysm.”

“We have forgotten how to dance
bare-footed on the earth to the cadence
of our souls. We have forgotten the ritual
fires and the acrid tang of holy smoke
on our tongues.”
― Beth Morey, Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul

************************************
Explorations of the Wild Feminine through Paint, Story, Ritual and Adventure in Southern Spain

Including a workshop with me, Alice Mason on the Landscape and the Sacred Feminine in Nature.

Cortijo Las Salinas
cortijolassalinas.com

August 10, 2019 to August 17, 2019

Retreat Description:
Cost $2,300
Early Bird (by 3/1/2019) $2,100

Please use exchange rate conversion into your currency. Cost is via Paypal or bank transfer to Terre.

Cost includes:
7 nights luxury accommodation
Gourmet meals – Chef will cater to dietary needs
Transportation from and to Malaga airport
Transportation to and from Granada
Guided day tour of Granada with writer Chris Stewart, (Driving Over Lemons,) (lunch and dinner is your expense.)
Workshop and Art instruction
Art supplies – canvas, brushes and paints
A day with guest artist and teacher – Alice Mason
Yoga in the Shala – 3 mornings
Dance in the Shala – 2 mornings
An Evening of Flamenco Dancing and Guitar
Use of the sauna, pool, terraces and Moroccan chill out area
Use of a private kitchen near the Art studio
Outdoor bar (additional charge for alcohol & non-alcohol drinks)

Cost does not include:
Flight to or from Malaga, Spain
Lunch and Dinner while in Granada
Cost of alcohol or drinks from self serve bar
Massage or Reiki from Steffi on location if desired

Non-Workshop guests welcome. They can enjoy the Cortijo or day trip while you workshop. They can join us in Granada and during all the meals. Cost is $500 less.

“For some she came in a dream. For others in words as clear as a bell: it is time, I am here. She may come in a whisper so loud she can deafen you or a shout so quiet you strain to hear. She may appear in the waves or the face of the moon, in a red goddess or a crow.”
― Lucy H. Pearce, Burning Woman

To register an interest, please email: terrewillowrose@gmail.com

                                                              or alicejulietmason@gmail.com

 

 

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Why Create?

What was the reason people first felt the urge to make marks?  Some of the first cave paintings were found quite by accident, many metres below the earth, by explorers.  What compelled these ancient people to make images upon the cave walls?  Was it some kind of prayer, or offering to the earth?   Or was it a place where they could dream and bring forth new presences?  14,000-16,000 years ago, before farming, before tools, hunter- gatherers left a trace.  They were ice age artists before there was any idea of an audience, where nowadays we are so involved in our meta language.

In Niaux in the Pyrenees are more cave paintings and Perch Nerle in the Lot valley some even earlier cave paintings dating back 28,000 years, were created by human breath and a spitting technique.  Paintings of horses and stencils of hands created by this technique of spitting pigment in minute consistent quantities around the outline of the hand.  Black dots adorn horses.  Perhaps the black dots symbolise the spirit of the horse.

A Temple of Nature.  An elemental process.  Fire for light, charcoal from the fire made the pigment.  We touch the rock and make the rock eternal by tracing around the hand.   Leaving a trace while we are so lightly here.  We exist in time, we are subject to time and we will not have time.

Art makes us present.  It is the absolute being in the Now.  Here, Now.  Art takes self reflection.  Neanderthal cave art is 66,000 years old, found in El Castillo, Spain.  In Indonesia they were making art at exactly the same time.  A collective unconsciousness.. The same hand stencils thousands of miles apart.  Leaving a mark.

The indigenous art of Australia in Kimberly is possibly the oldest found art in the world.  Their spiritual beliefs governed their relationship with the land.  A moment of lived time.  The Art of Australia is not found in caves, but covered rocks.  The art there is more delicate, complex, pictorial, symbolic.  Sensitively revealing different relationships.  Plants and their relationship to humans.  A celebration.  Images of the Creation Mother.  The Sacred Feminine.

Art is trying to understand our place in the world.  A human need to express the inexpressible.  To go beyond the horizon and leave an ephemeral presence.  A present-absence.  A moment of lived time against the truth of geological time.  In Australia, rock art is still a part of life.

Art is intrinsic to who we are; it is our better self and expresses a joy in being, a connection with all living things and the imaginative, to mark our existence.  Through art, we are being fully ourselves.

We are creating dream worlds, weaving dreams with our hands and eyes.  Our consciousness is expressing a new way, and through the audience or the intention, it is amplified to improve, heal or transmute.  It is alchemy and it is balm.

To be a part of my art workshops in Spain, visit:  www.art-retreat-spain.com

Some thoughts on art and creative impulses gleaned from watching Anthony Gormley talk about How Art Began, a documentary of the same name.

 

 

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