“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks, “Education through Recreation”
Being an artist is not what it is cracked up to be at times. My fellow artistically inclined friends and followers know that producing work is only a quarter of the daily studio tasks. What is not seen or maybe acknowledged is the daily pressure of marketing, writing proposals, accountancy, replying to emails and other right brain activities which take so much time and energy…then adding the daily struggle we may have with producing the work and the dreaded creative blocks (read my last month blog post for my ways of getting out of that funk) studio life can get rather nerve-racking at times!
So once in a while it is necessary to switch off and close the door of the studio,
literally and metaphorically.
A compulsory self care break, to recharge the batteries and reconnect.
Last week, I headed for the wilderness of Andalusia for some well deserved holidays.
The idea was to switch off, drive to a charming Moorish whitewashed ‘lost’ village on the edge of the Almijara Mountain range, BREATHE deeply and do nothing remotely artistic.( Watch this little video to see the sheer beauty of the place)
Something I did in great length under the Andalusian sun.
‘Eat. Drink. Explore. Repeat’ was my motto for 4 blissful days.
I swam in hot springs, climbed little hills which filled my nostrils with the sweet smells of wild herbs, marjoram, dill, rosemary, jasmine and thyme… followed by feasts of goat and boar cooked in almonds and honey, and dipped my toes in the great Mediterranean Sea. It was bliss and the studio felt so far away. I actually did not even think about it at all. How shameful!
Yet something ELSE happened when I was not paying attention.
“I am learning to see.
I don’t know why it is,
but everything enters me more deeply and doesn’t stop where it once used to.
I have an interior that I never knew of.
Everything passes into it now.
I don’t know what happens there.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
One morning I woke up, picked up my camera and while I was still waken up and sipping on my coffee, and started taking images of random textures and colours in the courtyard of the little house which had become my temporary home.
Something stopped me in my tracks.
Everything around me, all the colours, textures, reminded me of the paintings I had been producing over the last few weeks. The turquoise, cobalt teal, Phthalo Blue, ultramarine, celadon and malachite, my favorite indigo and celurian blue, they were all there, all around me, vibrant and alive, freed from the bounds of Time! It could not be! How could I have imagined these in my misty, grey Irish wintery landscape?? I was literally bathing in my paintings…Suddenly, deep within, I felt a great sense of connection, of something higher, bigger than me…something which was guiding me and I felt humbled and overwhelmed by the flow of emotion right there and then.
Zdzislaw Beksinski wrote
‘I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams’.
I understand this now so perfectly.
For months, unknown to me, I had been painting my inner worlds, my desires and dreams of other lands. I had used the Irish landscape as my vehicle to access my inner landscape; the colours I had used or had unconsciously chosen were ‘other’, not of the visible world. It is only at that particular moment, standing on that little yard bathed in the morning sun, that this profound realisation became clear. When we are in contact with nature’s vibrant force, engaging all of our senses, mind, spirit and soul, our visual understanding becomes sharper and we gain an understanding of nature and more importantly of ourselves.
My eyes had opened to see the world and myself as never before and I felt grateful.
You’re not really doing so in order to move around
You’re travelling in order to be moved.
And really what you’re seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life.
Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
Since I have been back, recharged and boosted up, life at the Wild fire and wax studio has been busy with two exhibitions coming up; my head is spinning with joy!
Firstly, I would like to invite you to the opening of my new solo ‘Watery depths’ taking place at 7 pm on Thursday 28th February at the Snug in Mountshannon, County Clare.
You will have the opportunity to see the latest encaustic paintings I have mentioned above and some artworks which have not be shared yet,
(yes I do have secrets)….
and you will be able to meet me in the flesh.
So come over for a glass of wine and a celebration!
Lastly, if you can’t make it that far west, I am inviting you to the opening of ‘Connected’, an upcoming exhibition, in the Copper house Gallery, featuring 12 females artists ( including myself) who are connected via the vibrant Biscuit Community.
The opening is taking place at 6 pm on Thursday 7th March and it is promising to be a fabulous evening!
A great excuse to celebrate creativity and community!
Do you want to be part of the journey and find your flow? Are you curious about encaustic painting? Are you looking for something new to spark up your creativity this spring? Then I would love sharing with you my passion for encaustic painting!
Have a wondrous and creative week!
Don’t forget to share the encaustic love to anyone you would think may be interested into trying their hands at this amazing process and do not hesitate to drop me a line if you wish to know more!
Thank you all for your wonderful support and looking forward sharing this amazing process with you in the near future!
PS: I post regularly my artist process, free encaustic demonstrations and what fires me up along the way on my blog. If you wish to be notified by email, please subscribe to my mailing list, thank you!