Thursday, September 27, 2012

Four senses

| When I bought this album back in June I didn't know that the title would take on such significance within a few weeks. Incidentally, I thought I was buying an album by Madeleine Peyroux - there are similarities, and to me their names have the same "taste". This (as well as her debut album) has been the soundtrack to most of my summer and will be played in my art classes.

 | The fading scent and the aesthetic of dying flowers (and my friend just brought me a new bunch! Sweet peas are among my favourite flower smells)

 | My new helmet haircut (aka fringe), created by my younger sister, refreshed by my older sister. Yes, my hair is a vehicle for our sibling bond.

| Spending weekend mornings outside my house pretending to be surrounded by jasmine bushes by drinking it in the form of tea. There is still heat in the sun.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday morning, ten degrees Celsius...

...but my sister and I are fearless.
I almost chickened out, but we braved the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and it didn't feel much different from June.

One trick a friend told me is to always bring a large bottle of warm water to pour over your feet when you get into your car after your swim (with your feet outside the car, obviously), to rinse off the sand and to thaw what will have turned into clumps of ice. My sister decided to wear tights today, which meant I had the entire bottle to myself. It is up there with the best spa treatments. It also means you will be able to feel what you are doing with the clutch - when I stay in the water too long, I find driving my car afterwards quite difficult.

This was hopefully the first of many autumn swims. When my sister and brother-in-law move here (when?!) they will be living near a lake, so we are going to incorporate that into our swimming life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sorry, Cy

"But at that time I did not understand at all how to make the lines and shapes and colours, simply by the pattern they made together, produce a direct emotional effect, one that was apart from what objects of the external world were actually depicted in the drawing. In fact, I did not then understand in what sense painting was a sensory organic language rather than an idea language." 
(Milner, Marion, On Not Being Able To Paint, Routledge, Hove 2010, p.111)

I saw my first Cy Twombly (who died in 2011) in Frankfurt on a school trip and was bemused by what to my teenage eyes looked like an accident with a pencil. While there undoubtedly still is and always will be a lot of modern art I either do not (want to) "get" or that I find pretentious or too conceptual, there are also countless examples of artists I wouldn't have liked ten or fifteen years ago that are now among my favourites. I have grown to love Twombly's lyrical and beautiful work, the painterly feel of it and the childlike scribbles. (I also think children are amazing artists and that it is the mark of a great artist to retain the immediacy and expression of children's art.)

So I want to take back all the dismissive comments I may have made about Twombly's art in my younger years. 

If I could I would go to the UK this autumn for this exhibition, which juxtaposes him with Turner and Monet:


And I would go to see this Munch exhibition as well:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer moments

This break was longer than I expected. Thank you for the nice comments and e-mails I received while I was gone. The summer has been tough, and while it was good to be at home with my family for four weeks, that time was spent in hope, a hope that ended up being crushed as soon as I got back here - I thought I was prepared, and yet it hit me so much harder than I had feared it would.

But I am trying to focus on good things: my health, my work, the house I live in and the wonderful people in my life who have made me feel so loved. And all the small-yet-big things that are part of it all: the sweet peas on my windowsill that a friend brought, one of many unexpected gifts; the beautiful end-of-summer weather we have had; the books I am reading that are teaching me so much and those I am reading in the middle of the night when I can't get back to sleep; gradually being able to run for longer and faster; Connemara in golden light; feeling more serene in the face of obstacles; making new friends...

These pictures are from my time at home. I didn't capture the best of it on camera (my family, obviously), but they were there, surrounding what can be seen here.

| The cats are part of the family, of course.

| An all-female outing (my mom, my sisters and I) to see this exhibition.

| Evening sky on the way to Heidelberg.

| Trying on dresses my sister made

| ...and having afternoon tea at her place.

| Colourful fruit

| Summer reading while cat-sitting. And the nice feeling of being able to wear a summer dress or bikini all day long (here in Ireland it's bath robes and scarves in the house again).