Monday, 30 September 2013

Herding cats

The logistics of condensing my life into a van and then transporting it across Europe is proving a bit of a nightmare. Like herding cats. Hey, nothing I can't handle though. It seems the easiest way to get from Italy to Malta is by ferry from Salerno, which lies just below Naples. The drive down should be scenic, if there is time to avoid most of the motor ways. The original idea of going all the way down to the toe of Italy was thwarted by the fact you can't get a van across the Strait of Messina. Cars and arctics...but not vans ! Don't quite get the logic in that. Anyway, so the Salerno ferry it is. Only hiccup is the ferry only runs twice a week in the Winter. No worries I thought, can work around that. I spent some time estimating drive time, ferry / sail time, unload and turn around time, return time, drive back to England. Booked the van to fit in with ferries. Booked ferry tickets, all done, sorted phew, one job out of the way. Or so I thought. Phone call last week from ferry company saying they had changed the ferry days due to  cancellations.......NOOOOOOOOOOOOO    grrrrrrrrrrrrr 
Now having to pay an extra 2 days for the van (not cheap) and re arrange everything else that had butted in quite nicely around the original plan. Humph. Is it me, or am I going to have to get used to the Mediterranean blase way of doing things ?

On another note, as I have packed away my paints ready for the off, and am now twiddling my thumbs. I don't like not having a creative outlet. Even if I am not working towards an exhibition, I like to be able to experiment with my art. What this gap has done though, is to really get my brain thinking about the way forward in Gozo. What direction will I pursue? I have a lot of ideas in my head and need to write them down so I don't forget. I bought one of Stefanie's customized sketch books at the sale a few weeks ago and it is the perfect place to start a new Gozo ideas book. 

 Stefanie hand embroidered a sample for the cover. So pretty. I rather wish now I had bought all of her sketch books. Packing away my art books, I couldn't help flicking through them as I went. Song of the Earth is a wonderful book about land art. Very inspiring. Leafing through this has given me lots of ideas to work on. I have always loved words in my art and calligraphy has featured strongly. Richard Long uses words to describe his walking and these words become the art it's self. Pawing over a map of the Islands recently, the sing song sounding place names caught my eye. In particular the names of valleys. 'Wied' means valley in Maltese, I suppose, possibly derived from the Arabic word Wadi- meaning river ? It sounds exotic and mysterious. I wrote down all the valley names in Gozo. Maybe I will use this somehow.

Making pigment from the strong coloured sand and rock may also be something to consider. Anyway, lots to do and think about between the bouts of packing. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Good bye to all that

My last event in Brightlingsea took place last weekend. With a sale of bits and pieces that had been lurking in the depths....long forgotten. A necessary clear out before I move. Everything I am taking needs to fit into a van and this clearly is a very limiting experience. So, GO, some things must.
The Studio sale, was a resounding success. I am very grateful to all those lovely people who came into the gallery and supported us. We had a lovely collection of work for sale from Stefanie Moss and myself, Donna Howard and a couple of others.  Stefanie and I manned the gallery and were inundated with with buyers on both days, despite the grim weather. We arrived with boxes laden with paintings and textiles of all shapes and sizes on the Friday to set up for the sale. As we were hanging our work, so people came in, hoping to get the best of the bargains before Saturday morning and they weren't disappointed ! Even as we arrived on Saturday to open up, there were a few people waiting to get in. How wonderful it felt to have such a response.

It was a real pleasure to see old faces, people who had bought work before and wanted to see what else they could buy. Old customers who I had never actually met and now wanted to wish me luck. New customers came who were not familiar with our work but had heard about the sale on the grapevine and wanted to check us out. Everyone one was interested in the stories behind the artworks and all were very generous in their purchasing. It was so lovely to spend the time chatting to people who were genuinely interested in what I will be doing in the future and my mammoth move out to Gozo.  In the mix were a couple of paintings that I had rather forgotten about, left over from an exhibition a few years back. They had been lurking behind canvases in the studio. My inspiration had come from an earlier trip to Malta when I had become a little obsessed with narrowness of Maltese streets and the closeness of the buildings, with only a slither of blue sky visible. This is a theme I may well revisit in the coming months.

This view above was the basis of a couple of paintings. One below, but the colour is not really representational of the original. They were muted but not that misty !



By the end of the weekend we had almost completely sold out. How pleasing is that ?! What a relief that I now don't have to take anything with me and I can truly start afresh in Gozo. There, the light will be different and the colours more vibrant, the contrast between light and dark will be stronger and it will take me a while to get used to a different way of seeing. One customer who bought a couple of paintings. who incidentally was also an artist, was talking to me about how different it is, painting in the Med. He pointed out that the clarity of the sea allows one to see through quite deep water and all that lies below the surface. Rocks, fish, sand etc and this becomes an important and very different perspective. (That's what I love about being in the gallery, I always meet such interesting people).

So this is where the adventure begins. A new start. Hope to see you along.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Freedom to commit to plan B

Isn’t there a song in there?

Lists lists and more lists. I am constantly making lists and losing them. Scrappy bits of paper litter the house. Bank, Dr, storage, letting agent, new laptop and printer, PG tips big supply of, take stuff to the dump, check out route through Europe and cost. Book flights for family out in Dec. Don’t forget things still going on here, studio sale, paint workshop, son’s birthday, catch up with friends, drive to Wales to see reli’s, deal with legal stuff,……Whaaaaaaah
I constantly have a headache. I think it’s to remind me not to forget things ! A bit like tying a knot in your hanky. I seem to be always waiting for other people to do things. Waiting… see this post in a previouslife ! and now I am even in bardo between blogs lol

Plan B is actually plan 472 c . Do I go out with 1 small bag and hope I can get everything I need there, having put my clobber into a massively expensive storage unit ? then at a later date come back for the things I need. Or do bite the bullet and  shell out,  taking a van overland (oooh that sounds exciting) and a ferry, with the understanding I may have to bring it all back again?  Hmmmm. Do I commit to a new life or do I keep one foot in Blighty in case it all goes bottoms up ? Either way it costs money. What eves, I need to do this. I have, it seems, been waiting for this my whole life. Now everything is coming together. As my daughter says ‘ I love it when a plan comes together’ ! It’s still daunting though.
Commitment is a word I hate. People bandy it about as if everyone’s lives depended on it. It leaves no room for error or a change of mind or heart. It’s stagnant and  constricting. One can have a very best intention to do something or be something, but I really believe that if the very best intention doesn’t work out, then it’s ok to take another route. Freedom. No past, no future, just taking appropriate and caring action in the now.  
Captain Pugwash returns soon from adventures on the high seas, with, I hope, an altogether fresh eye on the situation and with a sensible solution. That is before he refills his biscuit barrel, scrapes the barnacles off his bottom and sails off again on his voyage of discovery. 

So every step is taken when absolutely needed. Everything to the wire.  It’s not a lazyness or complacency but a way of calming and not becoming overwhelmed. So that’s it. Happy Sunday. Chill.