Friday, 19 September 2014

Groove Salad and The Cat and the Thistle

Here is a link for you. Check out Soma FM. It's an online radio platform. I've selected the station Groove Salad....there are others that might suit you better. I have to tell you, this station helps me paint. I can't say I would play this particular station just for listening pleasure...I'm more an alt folk or dub girl. But the easy confident flow, the river-like beats of this station help me to paint. Once the brush is moving, and your mind is going in deep into the blending of the oils and the colours, the music gently pushes you along.

A few days ago I began painting this cat. I've had Balthus on my mind a lot, had my books of his art slung open all over the place on the sofa....and somehow got inspired to do the cat. I'm adhering to a Balthus-like palette (my take on it anyway)....pale greys and mauves and beige and lemon yellow....oh I love the muddy blending of his work, the lack of lines between figure and background. My friend plucked me a round-headed thistle this summer and I left it to dry in a little earthen vase. The shades of green on the leaves fascinated me...silvery blues and olive greens all on one stem...and the delicate pale mauve of the round thistle head charming. It only so happens that at the time of this painting unfolding, Scotland was going through a huge shift with the possibility of establishing independence from the UK. Having an English mother and a Scottish dad, my blood did churn in anticipation but I hadn't been so close to the core of the struggle to have a real attachment to either outcome. I found my instinct leaning toward the NO vote, not because of a liking for the status quo but because I felt the impending change would create more of a fissure and division...anyway, it's been voted on and means far more to those living their lives directly in the region. Well, it will be hard of me to look at this painting without feeling my Scottish roots tugging at me, a reminder of the time in history I chose to paint the cat and the thistle. I'm keen to finish it, but here it is so far...

It's been a long drawn out summer. No rain whatsoever...and our well suddenly dried up in August. I had been frugal with water before that, but once we dried up of course I couldn't water my beloved garden anymore. The little lush green world I had nurtured so carefully fell to drought.The grass turned brown. My plants withered. We were without running water in the house for a week until our darling landlord came through for us and installed a huge cistern. Out here friends and neighbours always come to the rescue and I was able to shower down the road at H & J's house. Meanwhile I had almost killed my a bad mother abandoning her child, I turned my back on it  and refused to look anymore. I stopped mowing my magical maze. I figured autumn would slowly creep in and sweep the yard with leaves and hasten in the cold winds of the turning seasons, sweeping my guilt away with it. But no, it has been hot and dry for two weeks into September. Now  I open my front doors onto my panorama of neglect every morning and rush off to work.

K has grown restless and wants to move off the island. I could be open to the idea but I have always been content in this little house, burrowing in like a  nestling, making the best of it. As renters, it's very hard to beat the situation we have in this spot. Affordable rent, a wonderful landlord who allows us to have pets, a beautiful serene forest setting.....we have a little cabin out back that had been trashed and treated poorly...and I decided to renovate one fulfilling house project. I painted the walls a soothing pale green and my artwork seems to suit the back drop. I call it my zen's a place friends can drop in for tea and respite, or to vent. It was so satisfying to build this gorgeous space, I'm moving along to the little back bedroom next, which I plan to paint pale yellow, then put in a twin bed and dresser and curtain dowel with lovely curtains. Pics of that to come when I'm done, but for now, here is the zen room:

Life is what you make it (what a novel concept!!) ....I'm content to create a beautiful world wherever I am, and not spend every waking minute wishing I was somewhere else. But of course I love my partner, and can very much respect his urge to move on....island life has other ways of taking a slow toll on you. People come here seeking a certain privacy, but the community that is so close and supportive on one hand can also be smothering and oppressive on the other. Anonymity is an illusion and more easily attained in the busy urban world.
More art to come. I hope you too are making art wherever you are, because....

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”
Neil Gaiman,
Make Good Art

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