Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quiet dark days with bursts of sunlight and colour

It seems to have become a recurring theme here for me to announce that I am sick again and that it must be my body telling me to slow down, that I need to deal with certain issues instead of waiting for their manifestation in illness. Thankfully it has never been anything serious - the worst would have been kidney infections.

So here I am transitioning into the new year with a bad dose of sinusitis. My running gear has been sitting in the wardrobe waiting for the day I am able to hit the beautiful country roads and forest paths here. I was going to add 'patiently' to 'waiting', but Stephen King has succeeded in making me think twice before I go near an adverb. This is always among the top ten writing tips, but I tend to forget. I am reading books I gave to family members a few years ago and liked the sound of, one of them King's On Writing. Maria Popova from Brain Pickings did a post on his thoughts on 'creative sleep'.

The new issue of Happinez magazine is out (it's a Dutch magazine, but there is a German version, too) and inspiring as always. I love watching Eckhart Tolle on youtube, and his column in Happinez often serves as a timely reminder of something I might have let slip: accepting what is, for example. I will do my best in 2014.

The brevity of daylight gets to me some days, but candles help (including real candles on our tree as per tradition), and there is something nice and restful about the darkness. We have been going out for short walks in the evening, not knowing what we are stepping on and into.

Instead of bemoaning the lack of exercise and my throbbing head and aching jaw, I can see this time for the bed of roses it is: Reading for hours, being surrounded by family and cats and cosy with a fire lit, well-fed, painting, playing Tori Amos piano music... And today I received a heartwarming e-mail from a relatively new friend who feels like an old friend - one of those friendships where a closeness and connection seems to precede the first actual meeting.

~Happy New Year to everyone reading! May 2014 be filled with light and beauty!~

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


 Made things (the gorgeous crochet hook made from sustainably harvested birch was a gift from my sister)

 "What would she draw tomorrow? A loaf. Roses. More fruit." 
(Madden, Deirdre, Nothing is Black, faber and faber, London 2013, p.151)

There was more about things and in particular artworks-as-things at the end of the book (I loved the ending), and some beautiful paragraphs about life in general, which I won't give away here.

On painting:

"'There are days when what I like most about painting is that you're making something solid at the end of it, and there are other days when I hate it, for that very reason.' [...] 'You work and you work and then you're left with all these things and you don't know what to do with them. It must be great to be a musician creating nothing more tangible than sound.'"

"'But what I love about [painting] too is just that: the energy of things [She goes on to talk about a Vermeer painting and its meaning "beyond words, beyond time"] To take things and make something charged with that sort of knowledge and energy. It's worth devoting your life to that.'" (ibid., pp. 139f.)

"'Painting's a bit like life [...] There's no point in just sitting there thinking about it. You have to get the paint on to the canvas. You may not like what you end up with; it may fall short of what you had thought or hoped it would be - in fact, it usually does. But at least there's something there; at least it's real.'" (pp.141f.)

I brought my paints with me to my mum's house (there are some here, too, but I need certain colours I might not be able to get here) and will start work on two commissions while I am here, with these words, especially the last few lines above, in my head.

~ Happy Christmas to everyone reading this, and thank you for visiting despite my haphazard posting schedule in the past year! ~

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Being and nothingness and things


"She thought of Giacometti, shocked out of domesticity for ever by an early confrontation with death. It began with a chance, brief meeting on a train with an elderly Dutchman. [...] They planned a journey together to Venice, but had scarcely set out when the elder man fell ill and died. Giacometti was twenty. The horror he felt on seeing the transition from being to nothingness would never leave him. In the face of certain annihilation, the clutter of domesticity was, to him, a monstrous lie. Why pretend life is anything other than transitory? Why pretend you are anything other than utterly alone in your existence?" 
(Madden, Deirdre: Nothing is Black, faber and faber, London 2013, p.109)

I have a difficult relationship with 'things'. Seeing interiors that reflect my taste, even collections of things, I can imagine happily inhabiting spaces filled with objects without perceiving them as a burden, and to a certain extent I do so in my house/sanctuary, but at the same time I always crave the freedom of less, and even the relatively small number of my own belongings can overwhelm me, for reasons expressed in the extract above - though I should add that my own view is nowhere near as bleak.

I do derive pleasure from new things and presents and adhere to the 'beautiful and/or functional' criteria (I include 'loving it' under 'beautiful'). And I have noticed that often it is simply a question of feng shui: the dead energy of things I need to let go of that are sitting somewhere with no purpose. Once they are gone, new things are welcomed in their place and used with enthusiasm.

Over the years I have acquired a couple of gadgety items that I like (a handheld blender comes to mind), but overall I keep them to a minimum - as a magazine article I read recently (in the new mindfulness magazine Flow my sister brought back from Germany) said, they can make life more hectic, despite their time-saving claims: when you expect every chore to be sped up or done for you, you don't give yourself the time out to do the task at hand and let your mind wander (or, even better, become absorbed in the task). I may whinge that my arm is sore from whisking egg whites sans kitchen machine, but it is much more satisfying this way.

A few days ago I sold a painting, and mixed in with the usual delight at having someone value what you create was the relief of 'one less painting taking up space in my house'. Art-making always means a lot of objects (both materials and creations), so the secret part of me that wants to be able to move around freely unburdened by material possessions would never be able to coexist with the artist me.

Apologies for the slightly depressing tone of this post just before Christmas (maybe brought on by the sheer quantity of things the pre-Christmas period spews out. Apart from that I love Christmas). I guess it is about traversing this strange transitory existence with these "necessary" lies, as the protagonist in Madden's book calls them, and which can give us security, but in the full knowledge of the truth, and not be weighed down by either. I am trying.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Skyping with kitten wrapped around my neck

This week I am catsitting Branwell. When he is not in play mode, attacking my face, feet and hands, he likes to nuzzle my neck while purring loudly. This must mean I am mother number 4 (after real mother, my sister and my brother-in-law); he is scenting me and claiming me as his.

On day two I got sick, and he accompanied me and watched as I vomited countless times. I like to think it was concern on his part, although it is more likely that it was simply tremendous fun with a novelty factor. He is wrapped around my neck as I am writing this - bad news for my back (although he weighs only 1.6 kg), but we have become very close friends. Apologies to my sister for calling him a monster (he has yet to learn the meaning of the word 'no' and a raised voice, or that a claw dug into the thin skin under my eye is not a good idea).


The Jumbo book is now available in Charlie Byrne's and the NUI Galway bookshop (thanks to the lovely staff there for putting it in the window display!). I am excited to be working on a new/old book for children - it started life as a children's show, and it will be great to have it in a printed format. More on that soon.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scene from the weekend

Another week has gone by, and there has been more knitting and painting. We did one craft fair on Sunday, and there will be another one this weekend. The day itself did not really feel like work, and the hours flew by, but I was exhausted afterwards - as an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person any day surrounded by lots of people seems to have that effect. Too many stimuli. I took most of yesterday off - Monday often happens to be a day off for me* - and am looking forward to an Epsom salt bath tonight and the sauna tomorrow.

* Incidentally, I found out yesterday that Marc Allen doesn't do Mondays and finds that by Tuesday afternoon he is absolutely eager to work. I watched some Marc Allen youtube videos because I am re-reading Shakti Gawain (they co-founded New World Library). I like his work-with-ease approach. Apparently, he never works more than 20 hours a week. For many people that is not an option, but as someone who works part-time in her day job and in productive bursts at home, I can relate. You can get more done by doing less. And quiet time is so important to refill your "creative well", to use Julia Cameron's words, and let ideas emerge or develop.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Daily drawings | Not drawing, but painting (and knitting)

I've been having fun with these: tiny canvases to do quick paintings on (I chose a Galway theme). If I make the Daily drawings a regular feature, I had better change the title to include painting.

I find myself using the colours of recent evening skies:

And another colour pairing: I only noticed when I started knitting with this yarn that it matched my nail polish.

My sister and I are preparing for a crafts fair this weekend, and in my usual fashion I am doing lots of last-minute projects - painting by daylight, knitting and crocheting at night.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Jumbo book is here!


Jumbo Wants to be a Hippo arrived last week, and I am very happy with how it turned out (thanks to Conor, who designed and put it all together and added the subtle colour to my drawings, 'colour-coding' the different animals). Thank you to everyone who has bought the book so far. We really appreciate your support.

If you know me in real life and would like to purchase a book, I am selling them here in Galway, directly and via bookshops and crafts fairs. An online shop is on its way (slowly).

There is more information on my website.

This collaboration with Lionel and Conor has been so much fun (and there are two more stories to be published; it is a trilogy), and I am lucky to have more illustration projects waiting for me. This week's chapter in The Vein of Gold is guiding me to find out what I want to be doing more of and which directions to take, but I already know that illustration is high up on that list.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Daily drawings | Wool

Another work-in-progress. Just playing around with Graphitint pencils, following the pattern of knit and purl on a moss stitch wrist warmer - the kind of drawing that is trance-inducing.

And noticing all the green around me moving towards a more muted palette among November's greys. 

I am wearing my green coat, knitting green socks and eating my greens. 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Water, stars and scents

Birds bathing on the roof outside Matt's apartment

"When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?" 
Virginia Woolf 

"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently." 
Bill Watterson

Looking at the stars (on evening walks, or when I get home and it is dark, I make a point of stopping and directing my gaze upwards at the night sky), water in various forms (swimming, baths, steam room) and breathing into my back (here is a post on the topic on Rejuvenation Lounge) are keeping me afloat at the moment. My problems are indeed small and insignificant, but I do have to remind myself to stop catastrophising.

I have been worrying and fearing and getting upset over unfairnesses (and as a result been hypersensitive around certain issues), and my body has responded the way it always does - aches at first, and then being properly ill.

So this weekend is for resting. And, having a reason, I do not have to feel bad about taking it easy.

Other things that have helped are rubbing geranium oil into my hands and then pressing my palms onto my face for a minute. You cannot not relax when being enveloped by this scent. Along the same lines, my favourite two Yogi teas at the moment are Rose (same effect as geranium) and Green Balance, a blend of green tea, kombucha, peppermint, lemon grass, elderflower and lemon verbena that is silky and delicious.
In her new book Ann Patchett describes going to the swimming pool at lot when she was upset over her disastrous first marriage. She says something to the extent of how being in the water let her dissolve in a cathartic way, and I feel the same when I am a ball of anxiety over something. Salt water is even better, and really I should try being in the ocean under a starry sky more often.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Daily drawings | Work-in-progress

I like the idea of regular posts with a specific theme, but so far have never managed to incorporate any in this space. Featuring my daily drawings here (but only once a week) might provide me with the self-imposed accountability that I often need in order to stick to a new habit.

A while ago I committed to drawing something just for fun every day, but when there are other projects to work on it is too easy to let it slip. After a busy couple of weeks I sat down again today, with fresh inspiration from a visit to my sister's house. 

Matt and Branwell were reading the paper together, and Branwell was all eagerly outstretched front legs and eyes. I am working on several drawings of this scene. Fathers with their babies are always a heart-warming sight, but for an animal lover who doesn't want children herself nothing beats a man holding a tiny four-legged.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Feeding the muse

my sister's windowsill

My sister is serious about crafts. Whenever I met up with her recently, she would have a new elaborate project going on, while I would still be knitting the same never-ending wrist warmer. We want to participate in various crafts fairs, so there is a deadline of sorts approaching, and I am hoping it will motivate me. My sister knits and crochets every day of the year, whereas I seem to take a break during the summer (an exception is cotton and silky yarn - wool just feels wrong in the warmer months), but now I am slowly getting into it again. One reason for the slow pace is having to prioritise other work. Once again I have spread myself too thin with commissions and my own projects and can feel panic tingling at the edge of my awareness.  

What I tend to do in such times is shut myself away from the world, thinking I need time at home both to work solidly and also to recharge for the next burst of productivity. In a talk she gave with her writer mother-collaborator here in Galway last year, the illustrator Polly Dunbar said her friends were used to not seeing her for weeks on end when she is in the depths of working on a project. 

I recognised my own work tendencies in that. But ideally I will find time for everything that is important in any given week - people, work, leisure, exercise, rest. I realise I am actually more productive when I make time for friends and for attending things. This week was packed full with activities and events I thought I wouldn't have the energy for but that ended up energising me. These two musicians (and wonderful people) were a heart-warming part of a fireside soirée that included a panel discussion based on Jean Cocteau's contention "The arts are essential - if only one knew what for". They talked about being subversive and how everything we make is art ("cleaning one's kitchen really well") and children being the most incredible artists of all - topics I feel passionate about. A friend invited me to see the beautifully shot Renoir and I have resolved to go and see more films from now on. With the internet and a DVD player you have endless inspiration available all the time, but there is something about going out and seeing something live or on a big screen surrounded by other people that makes me feel more inspired and more alive than anything I absorb via my laptop.

I still haven't found the magic solution. While I saw friends and went out and did things, I somehow forgot to make space for the essential task of buying groceries, so I lived on peanut butter sandwiches and meals out (and of course those lovingly cooked for me). I've been feeding the well of inspiration but neglected feeding myself properly. There was also very little meditation and yoga; they were replaced by almost daily glasses of wine, which is a rather inadequate substitute.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


My week included tiny feet (photo taken during a little rest from playing while babysitting) and a tiny kitten my sister found (or rather it found her, travelling in the engine space of her car unbeknownst to her after having made several appearances in her garden. Some of its whiskers seem to have been chopped off. The first weeks of its life must have been tough, but already it trusts people and purrs loudly and eats until its belly resembles a balloon. They think it's a male; if that proves true, he shall be named Branwell). 

Both these playtimes helped me get out of my head. Not that I have had a lot of time to wallow around in my head recently; October has been a very busy month so far. But it always strikes me how easy it is to switch off the endless chatter in your mind when you are forced to because a small being needs your attention or you get absorbed in how it navigates the world (or its sheer cuteness and life-affirming joy). Something I struggle to reach in meditation can be so simple. [My emotional wellbeing would only be one of many many reasons I would get a cat. Seriously thinking about it again. Especially now that my sister and brother-in-law live nearby and are available to cat-sit and also after reading this. I, too, seem to have become "an expert in future living" in some respects.]

Monday, October 14, 2013

Purity of heart

"[...] purity of heart, which, according to [Kierkegaard], is what makes one do the thing, whether it's embroidering an altar cloth or making a crème brulée or writing a story"
(what Edna O'Brien aspires to, as told to Susanna Rustin in the Guardian, 28/09/2013)

My fascination with accounts of old age and what it means and the life stories of septua-/octo-/nonagenarians continues. I have always had friends of all ages and always more older friends than from my own age group, but recently I have been more and more drawn to the elderly. Maybe turning 30 - still quite young, but nevertheless very different from the feeling of being 21- earlier this year had something to do with it, carrying a heightened awareness of mortality and the brevity and preciousness of life.

So I seem to be collecting life-affirming stories by people with plenty of life experience behind them. My almost 80-year old neighbour, who had to endure several tragic losses in her eight decades, was dancing in my kitchen the other day, eyes sparkling with mischief and joy. She regularly goes to a nursing home where she teaches people younger than herself knitting, signs up for courses, travels, exercises and goes to concerts and other events. She probably has a busier week than me.

This piece by Penelope Lively was very insightful, and I loved this interview with Edna O'Brien, one of my heroines. She describes her routine, which includes making "endless cups of rooibos tea" and reading "something astonishing" before settling down to write, as well as going for walks. These are people to whom "retirement age" means nothing and who continue being creative *.

And then there are those who only find their calling late in life and embrace it fully, spurred on by the knowledge that there is not much time left and ending up with a prolific late-life output (Mrs Delany, the subject of The Paper Garden) - reassuring when I worry about having wasted so much of my twenties being depressed when I could have been productive, or, productivity levels aside, enjoyed myself more.
Should I be lucky enough to make it to old age and find myself in reasonable health, I will make sure to make the most of it, with "purity of heart". 

* though of course there is nothing wrong with just enjoying retirement, whatever that may consist of. My focus here happens to be on writers and artists, because they are of special interest to me personally, and also because most written accounts prerequire that the person is a writer).

Monday, October 7, 2013


I was absent here for a while for various reasons - family visiting, work in the Uni starting again after my long summer off, needing time away from the computer after long sessions of teaching myself Adobe InDesign - and came back only to find Blogger stubbornly refusing to cooperate, so I have temporarily lost bits in the sidebar. While I attempt to solve this, here are some glimpses of recent happenings and be-ings:

View from the prom in Salthill. Galway Bay was eerily still for a few days - a mirror-like surface, coupled with thick warm air and people moving slowly; it felt like walking through a dream.

Encountered on another walk. I must emphasise I do not approve of people dumping old furniture in the landscape, but this was at least aesthetically pleasing. It also reminds me of that famous Cranberries album cover. 

My sister and I are busy preparing for crafts fairs, Christmas markets and online shops. I am trying to establish whether buttons or hooks and eyes or snap fasteners work best on crochet cuffs.

Baking. There has been a lot of baking, for birthdays, hikes, visitors and visits. I found out that liberally substituting honey for sugar is not always a good idea (banana mash instead of banana bread) and that a cake described as "really moist" in the recipe still can turn out excessively moist (pear mash instead of pear cake), to the delight of my visitors, who thankfully were all family and brave and ate it anyway.

Rab and I presented some of our collaborations at the first ever Cong Arts Festival. My sister and brother-in-law kindly helped out in various ways, from driving to filming our show. Cong is a picturesque village most famous for the film The Quiet Man. We loved this sign plus painted ducks' footprints.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good things

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." 
(opening sentence of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson)

Listening to: Eckhart Tolle on youtube. I like that he and Tara Brach, whose talks I also listen to a lot, can be very funny; it lightens the delivery of the content. The Power of Now remains one of my favourite books in its genre.

    In terms of music, I have been playing Anna von Hausswolff's "Mountains Crave" on repeat (I bought the album Ceremony). The church organ can be a bit of an acquired taste - I love what she does with it. Here is an interview with her.

Reading: I am haunted (sorry, I couldn't resist!) by Shirley Jackson's way with words (I had never heard of her before; my sister lent me the book). I can't wait to see the 1963 film based on the The Haunting of Hill House and read her other books.

Drinking: green tea with lemongrass, my new beverage obsession (also via my sister), the last of 2011's sloe gin in homeopathic doses, and, tonight, red wine instead of non-alcoholic beer. I rarely drink these days - even one glass can make me feel hungover the following day -, but I trust my instinct and will give in to my craving for earthy red (antioxidants and all that).

Looking forward to: autumn activities (not restricted to autumn), which will encompass hikes, sauna-and-swim sessions, picking sloes, making ghee, films, family visits, repotting plants, cozifying, gathering seaweed at neap tide (for compost) and a lot of reading.

* The photo and quote are a random juxtaposition - I enjoyed the rainy windy day in Ballyvaughan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Being and doing

I am trying to get out as much as I can when the weather is good - parallel to the autumnal chill there is still heat in the sun, and last week I spent hours sitting in sun-traps for al fresco lunches and reading -, but I also enjoy sunny days in my house, pottering about, painting, planning.

REAL peas my sister gave me (funny how accustomed we get to frozen produce)

a new project


Food preparation and drawing are my tonics of choice these days, and they have a lot in common. I'd been wanting to draw this boat for a while. The photograph it is based on has been my desktop background for months, and I always found myself staring at the loops and chains and ropes, knowing how much I would enjoy drawing them. Something about certain patterns - just looking at them makes me so happy, every time. And then, when drawing them, they are an instant gateway into flow. It's the same with shelling peas: the pleasing pattern and design, the acitivity of your fingers keeping you in this moment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stop and feed the horses (and pick the blackberries)

Last year almost every run I ventured out on was accompanied by my pedometer (it becomes addictive). Then I was getting pains in my knees and took a break from running. When I started again I did so according to the physio's instructions, alternating running and walking and taking it slowly. After a while I tried running with no walking breaks, and my knees were fine. So I thought I could get serious again, and I remembered the pedometer. But its battery had died, and I haven't replaced it yet.

I live in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. My neighbourhood is a Tolkienesque wonderland with horses, donkeys, cows and dogs, and I do appreciate it every single day, but you are able to take in so much more when you are not racing along the paths and bogroads at great speed. Running sans pedometer has made me slow down again, and instead of focusing on times and kilometers, I have been on long walks with a bit of running in between and vice versa.

This year the blackberries are in abundance, and we have been picking them everywhere we spot them.  Last week I picked some during one such run-walk. Some runners attach weights to their wrists; little bags full of blackberries aren't that different (and they didn't turn into jam from all the bouncing). I watched caterpillars cross the road and said hello to the horses. I got lost on purpose. The endless chatter in my mind was turned off.

The endorphins and the feeling of accomplishment after a long sweaty run are hard to beat, but at the moment I prefer the quieter contentment of my random approach to exercise.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happiness is... a new book


This week I finally treated myself to Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of her Life and Work, published in honour of her 90th birthday in June. What a treasure! While this is mainly for the sheer joy and pleasure of it, I also consider it essential reading for my work (not that I feel I have to justify this purchase, though it did come at a time when I had decided to work my way through a pile of unread books I already own before buying any new ones).

It is beautifully put together, down to details such as the endpaper - I have a slight obsession with endpaper - and imbued with Kerr's humanity and warmth. 

I was delighted to revisit the Mog story we had as a book when we were children, which is reproduced in its entirety - he's my favourite Creature. I hadn't looked at those pictures in years, and yet they were so familiar - it shows how intense a child's experience of a picture book is. I have a whole world of imagery from children's books nestled somewhere in my memory, and the shapes and lines and colours have become part of me.

The book is filled with Kerr's art, illustrations, sketches, photographs, notes and other memorabilia. She tells the story of her life and work herself, and I love her explanation of the title of the book, given opposite the frontispiece, a photograph of her family: "My Manx husband always referred to his parents as his creatures, so this title includes not only much-loved animals but also a much-loved family."

There are countless reasons I would love to have a cat again, and this book reminded me of one of them (see last photo above): that blissful feeling when painting/drawing/writing with a purring cat on your lap (who will occasionally decide to sit on whatever you are working on). One of the best things in life.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Light and white


I am growing mint in a cup (fingers crossed) and looking forward to using these hand-printed napkins (thanks again for these beautiful gifts, Sabrina and Christoph!). Kitchen roll is banned from my kitchen - though I do use it when teaching painting -, and while I keep a packet of paper napkins in the drawer, especially for meals featuring ingredients likely to cause permanent stains, I use proper cloth napkins 90 per cent of the time.

My house has been painted white - badly needed it -, and I have added gladioli and lemon balm (both gifts as well; I am very lucky) to the potted plants outside my door. Everything feels fresh and light and adds to the lovely blank-canvas-feeling of this time of the year.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

72 summers

"There are only 72 summers in one lifetime" - this sentence jumped out at me in a piece by Hilary Burden about her decision to move to rural Tasmania after years working in London (her book is called A Story of Seven Summers: Life in the Nuns' House). 72 - more perhaps or less, but even 100 seems a pretty small and precious number.

Previous summers in my life passed by almost unnoticed in a daze of personal problems, rain and unusual cold and staying indoors too much as a result, but this year we got a proper summer, both in Ireland and Germany.

A couple of years ago in the Avoca shop in Dublin I was leafing through a whimsical book about summer pursuits. It conjured up a picture book atmosphere of picnics and garden parties and walks in the countryside, summery foods and drinks, sun-drenched beach life - I remember a pang of regret at not having done the majority of the things it described in a long time, magnified into a panic of  "I am not living my life". This year I made a point of really noticing and drinking in summer's flora and light and general summerness. I was able to wear all my summer dresses, attended a wedding in a beautiful setting in Shropshire, had impromptu barbecues in the garden, swam in the sea for much longer at a time than the rest of the year allows and jumped through the water spray of the lawn sprinkler at my mom's with my younger sister, drank rosé (my sister wrote a beautiful post about the colours of her summer) and water with fresh mint and ate homegrown vegetables.

Now it feels like autumn is coming and summer was too short, but at the same time I am glad to be living somewhere with four distinct seasons.

- I loved this interview with one of my favourite writers, Deirdre Madden. Just when I am pondering here how time goes by so relentlessly fast, it is reassuring to learn she thinks "one gets more cheerful as one gets older" (she attributes the melancholy of her earlier novels in part to the fact that "one tends to be quite gloomy when you're young".)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Art highlights

 In the Rivera Room at the DIA, with sunlight streaming in

This summer I was lucky to experience two art highlights:

- I got to see Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals, something that had been on my bucket list (which exists loosely in my head and across various notebooks; I have never written one as such). It was impressive, and the new audio iPad tour is worth listening to in full.

- Earlier in the summer a friend invited me to a film about the wonderful artist Pauline Bewick. It explored her creation The Yellow Man (and her Grey Man, representing a darker side, who emerged from sessions with a Gestalt psychoanalyst) and was absolutely beautiful.

Yellow Man Grey Man is available from the director Maurice Galway's website. He currently has a gorgeous picture of Pauline from the film on his home page. There is more information, including a short video, in the news section of Pauline Bewick's website. 

"It's rather sad really. I was searching for the perfect society. That's why I went to The South Pacific and that's why I invented The Yellow Man. He to me is perfection. I created The Yellow Man because if our society were made up of Yellow Men it would be a marvellous place." ~ Pauline Bewick


On a much smaller - but personal - scale, I was delighted to come home to the second issue of Skylight 47, a poetry publication, which included one of my paintings.