I brought all my paintbrushes in my suitcase. One needs familiar choices when the landscape outside is different. Yes, that is a Shakira CD...remember one of my theme songs is "She Wolf!"
I have started to use all the remaining smaller spaces of the studio to work on smaller pieces. I have to wait nearly a week for the large panels to dry enough to scroll them past to expose the blank canvas.
For the past 2 days, I have woken to the sound of wind and rain lashing against the front windows. The door, when I open it to let Guinness out, needs a great deal of force to be closed against the wind’s strength. With the sound of harsh rain against the window, I lay back down to rest and think, knowing that Guinness and I would be soaked before we even got feet from the door.
And then, I get up as the sun is pouring through my eastern window and I can’t imagine it is still raining. I don’t hear it either. And there it is … a blue sky with spots of clouds and white dotting numerous parts of the sea. I can see haze against the shoreline of Hoy. The waves are crashing strongly against its cliff face.
We will have our walk this morning. We will walk the full circuit. Today we have the time and the sun and the wind. I will have eaten my brightly colored fruit, showered, and had my local eggs, and Guinness will have eaten. Then my body and my dog will be ready for the new metabolism I am setting in motion in all sorts of ways.
When we return, I shall begin to create a cooked lunch and begin to cook on the next panel of my long horizontal land and skyscape in the studio. I will dance and sing and melt into the paintsticks I use. It is remarkable that the very material I have chosen to fall in love with for my painting, is made by a son of a colleague. He is the paint master of R and F Paints in Kingston, New York. With each stick I take hold of, I know the humanity of its creation. I attended his wedding and I gifted his first son. How is it that so often we use things and move about them without any regard for their creation?
I look ahead to Monday with anticipation. Instead of attending my regular traditional dancing in Kirkwall, I have started to attend the Stromness dancing on the Tuesday. On the Monday it was amazing to spend over 2 hours dancing to an accordion and drum surrounded by smiles. Yes, everyone on the dance floor and even those who sit out, have a smile…a genuine smile. When a dance is announced, there is quick conversation to see who remembers the steps. Then the leader or instructor walks us through and we are off.
Even when I totally mess up the pattern, gentle hands come out and push me her and there to get me up to snuff. And there is laughter in how I make my mistakes. I remember one dance session last spring, it was a large dance night, and I know I was the entertainment for a group of folks sitting out. Each time it came my turn to be the lead couple, they watched with slight smiles to see if my partner and I would master it. When I continued to be out of step, the hid their smiles for the boundless laughter my errors gave them!
At the Christmas party, my friend was the leader of the night’s dances and there were party games as well. When we were passing frankfurter shaped balloons between our legs from one to another until the music stopped, well, my skirt and I were the source of much amusement. At one point, when that balloon found itself in an all too provocative place between my legs, the drummer came up and took a photo, as I roared with laughter. And why not?
This is why I go to dancing. It is simple, sweet, honest, and present. They are a group of folks, mostly middle aged women, who just enjoy the moment, the sweat, the challenge of it all. There is laughter in their mistakes. There is something in the connections made as hands go out to continue the rhythm of the dance. Palms touch. Shoulders are cradled and the waltz begins. Humans touching humanity. There is joy when it works like magic and the dance is smooth and easy.
Dancing with the dog around the standing stones!
There is no desire to be the best, the better…it all just is…rather like the landscape where it is punctuated by the verticals of the standing stones. Humanity connects with the earth and there is a harmonious relationship.
There is an affluence in the confluence of people that intermingles with the history and the land. It is this very interaction that underlies the inspiration of my painting. I am so lucky to be staying in a late artist’s home. It is homey and it is arty. It is just what was needed for the way I am trying to work.
There is the big white wall and to the left, my countertop of paintsticks. The studio boasts the consistent north light and there are not windows looking out to the island of Hoy, that I am painting.
I needed a big, white wall and I have found it here. There are large flat surfaces as well and I can spread out and paint to my heart’s content. I could paint more, if I had more accessible surfaces. But then more can often be just that ..more…instead of inspiration.