Into the Village…

It’s a long time since I last posted on my blog. I’m not going to apologise although I know you missed me… I’ve missed you too!

I have been extremely busy since returning from France where I travelled with my tribe in July 2016. It feels like a lifetime ago! Yet, the memories are so vivid, and the many images  we all captured, revive precious moments.

Since then there were chaotic preparations for the Cyprus Open Studios event in October of which I am the primary organiser. Silly, isn’t it? I could be sitting in the sun, reading or painting or gardening or just do another nothing… but those who know me better, will testify that I’m not a thumb-roller. The grey cells always need something to keep them on their toes!

Here are a few shots of happy faces in my home during open studios last year:

My two partners and I then had our review meeting in November and what blew our socks off was that there wasn’t a single complaint! It was just that little bit spooky as it felt unreal… We are hoping to repeat the process in October 2017, but it really is hard work.

We’ve sent the website for plastic surgery and it came back with a brand new face – much improved from the old one! The lucky thing was I didn’t need to learn many new tricks and the logistics from last year worked just beautifully. So, with everything in place, we are now nearing the deadline for this year’s registration: 30 April which we will probably extend for a month… knowing how the Cypriot mind works! However, registration is a bit slow this year…

Besides all the above, last February I had decided to put my gorgeous villa on the market. It was a difficult decision to make as we planned every tile in the house and every plant in the garden long before we moved in during March 2001. Many, many memories were made here and we mixed a load of good with some shitty bad – and in the end, it was still hard to Let Go. However, the market was very slow and over the year I had only 5 or 6 viewings! I reconciled myself with the fact that whenever the time was right, things would happen…  BUT, in my heart of hearts, I just hadn’t reached the stage where I truly could let go.

Something I had/have to get over:

Then, about three weeks ago, I came to realise that it was time to move forward and the thought that popped up was that I could honestly be happy anywhere I lived. It didn’t depend on a piece of earth and what was created on it. But oh, the knowledge that if I moved away from here, I wouldn’t be able to say hello to fellow dog-walkers every evening, wave at passers-by as they wave hello from their cars, everyone knowing everyone else. It is something I never really had in South Africa; on the farm where I grew up, yes – everyone knew everyone’s business! But in Johannesburg, you cowered behind your high walls and in the end, dared not walk your dog in the streets in case you were being watched… Anyway, water under that bridge.

On Monday, the 3rd of April I signed an Agreement of Sale and on Friday received the non-refundable deposit. The strangest thing is that the developers bought the property back at just under the asking price. Just before the offer came in, I was actually contemplating whether to bring the price down… but then it happened all by itself.

If you have ever heard of the Law of Attraction, you will know that this is how it works.

When I first put the house on the market, I approached the owner of a property in the heart of our village of Tala to see if he would perchance consider letting to me once I had sold mine. Their home had been on the market for yonks! I explained that I couldn’t give any solid dates as it all depended on the sale of this one. This place in the village is well-known and has been used as a gallery and wine bar for years – I exhibited there one year. I fell in love with the feel and the look of the place – it’s an old village house, 4-bedroomed with a magical garden. It is about 50 yards off the village square which has just now been refurbished and is rather stunning.

Long story short – the day I signed the agreement of sale, I telephoned Andreas to find out if the property would still be available for rent. He needed time to think, he said. I was not in a hurry as the developers are letting me stay on here until 31 October – after the open studios event. But, I still fancied that property! And Andreas phoned back a couple of days later and we orally agreed that I would move in effectively on 1 October 2017… Told you I know how the Cypriot mind works; they need leeway in case of “unexpected delays”. In Cyprus, those are abundant!

Crazy old woman, am I?  I’m trying to down-size and here I’m going to rent a property with 4 bedrooms, gallery space and a built-in bar! It used to operate as a restaurant/gallery/wine bar so the kitchen has a magnificent gas cooker, which I don’t think I’ll be using much… on the square there are many excellent eating places!

The one thing that would perhaps get me down is the church bell… it’s CLOSE! Just across the square… but I’m signing for 2 years only with an option to extend. The idea is to host small events such as poetry readings, musical soirees, art discussions, and so forth in the fabulous space available. Yes, at 72.5 I might be regarded as a crazy old woman… but I feel good about it, crazy or not. They say 70 is the new 50…

And a few shots taken over several years of The Gallery:

I think that will keep you happy for a while… this last batch is where I’m (hopefully) going to live for a while as from October… je ne regrette rien!

I hope to update you by Christmas!

Namasté

Travels with My Tribe

Unbelievably, it is almost a month since my return from my travels with my tribe. The whole thing was dreamed up by my beloved daughter, Joey, almost a year ago. Some years ago, we went on a canal boat vacation in France and the less said about that trip, the better! The actual boating experience was fabulous but we, as individuals, were having our own private wars within. These things tend to rub off even if we think they don’t! So, we will not mention that again…

However, because the actual boating experience was good, Joey suggested that we did it again. This time, she said, let’s do the Canal du Midi in Southern France. Well, this was something I have wanted to do for yonks! She was on! She started making the enquiries, and eventually the route was determined and the boat booked. It was to be a whopping 60-footer with three cabins for five passengers, each with their own bathroom. It was luxury personified… She then went ahead and booked the rest of the vacation which was to include three nights in Marseilles and three nights in Cannes after disembarkation at Castelnaudery.  We started in Homps – see the map here

And then came the shocker! We were losing one of our party due to unforeseen circumstances. The boating people were not interested in down-sizing the boat; it was booked and that was that. So, we decided we were going to do the 71 kilometres with 44 locks with just the four of us – how brave we were!

Our boat

Let me tell you something: It was magnificent!

I didn’t think that a family with volatile temperaments and internal demons lurking could come together in a fairly confined space and do what we did. I am SO proud of My Tribe and yes, Brittany Haantjes is certainly included in My Tribe! First lunch

 

 

 

Brit and SWE – our first lunch on board.

Being a child of the 40s, the one thing that astounded me was how we all found each other at various points during this vacation! Technology has come a long way from when we had to crank telephones in telephone kiosks, insert money to talk and unfold paper maps to find our way! But, when technology plays silly b*ggers, it can cause problems … like buying a SIM card that you can’t make work! But being resilient and inventive, we fixed everything.

I flew from Cyprus, Joey, Schalk-Willem and Brittany flew from South Africa but on different flights and all found each other! Joey and I spent our first night in an airport hotel in Paris, catching the TGV to Carcassonne early the following morning. A long and fairly boring journey, changing over in Bordeaux which was a bit messy as they were renovating the station, with scaffolding and netting everywhere! Hard to see signage!! Joey and I never stopped talking as we haven’t seen each in yonks.

Happy faces Never liked close-ups …. but these are happy faces!

In Carcassonne we grabbed a taxi to our first hotel in Floure. What a magnificent hotel! The Chateaux de Floure which is also known as the Relais de Silence – it was a small monastery once. Best to see for yourselves:

Hotel de Floure

And here

Next morning, Gerry, the owner (we think) drove us to Homps to board the boat. It again astounded me that we rendezvoused without problems – mobile phones… wow!

Getting to know our boat

Freddy, our very Scottish instructor, took us through our paces as we all needed to know how the boat worked in case one of us became incapacitated… We were warned about head bumping on low bridges, falling in the water at the locks and all sorts of other potential disasters! Freddy got a bit annoyed with us when we interrupted with questions as it upset his flow. In the end, anyone of us could be the captain… well, maybe! After that, we had a lovely lunch under a vine and then we found ourselves a supermarket and stocked up with provisions.

Day 1 – on the boat

We set off up-river and we all realised it was not going to be a doddle – it was extremely hard work whilst we were sorting out how things were supposed to be done. We arrived at our first overnight stop just 15 minutes too late to go through the lock – they never told us that you had to be at a lock 30 minutes before closing time to be let through! It takes a while to get through…

We cleaned up, put on pretty dresses and SWE (Schalk-Willem) also scrubbed up really well. Off we trotted to a restaurant that was recommended and that we took the trouble to book. We had to walk through a freshly-mown wheat field and up a little hill to get to it and it was all pretty gorgeous … until we were attacked – YES, attacked – by the most enormous number of mosquitoes I’ve ever seen! We ran! And when we got to the restaurant we were not allowed to sit indoors … away from the biters! SWE and Joey dashed back to the boat to get repellent and apart from having to fight their way through the mossies, were attacked by a dog on the way! In the end, we were reluctantly allowed to sit indoors. What was served did not look a bit like the pictures on the menu either! Not a restaurant to be recommended as far as we were concerned: Ô fil de l’Ö … it is just before the down-river lock at Marseillettes – remember that! Don’t go there…

We fell into bed, feeling pretty pleased with ourselves for even getting this far! Oh, we had a long way to go!

Day 2 – on the boat

Having had the experience of arriving late for a lock, we decided that we should make an early start in the morning. The locks open at 09.00hrs and close at 17.00hrs AND close for lunch between 13.00hrs and 14.30hrs … and a certain distance had to be completed during each day in order to get the boat to its destination on the final day.

Due to a few miscalculations with getting all hands on deck, we were so distracted that we didn’t realise we had … left the bimini (canopy) up! As Joey negotiated the entrance to the lock and SWE and I were preparing for the rope throwing and fastening to Brittany who was on shore, we heard an awful sound! Where Joey got the presence of mind from to immediately put the boat in reverse, I will never know! BUT we came to an almost immediate stop and had to reverse out again – the bimini had to be folded away as best we could. Phew! What a wake-up call that was! If it were not for the bimini, my head would certainly have had a huge bump on it as I was busy sorting out my rope and wasn’t prepared to duck! The bridge was fairly low… We learn very quickly!

That evening we were pretty subdued as we all felt responsible for the mishap. However, when we moored for the night, we discovered that we could still use the bimini with a few manipulations – it wasn’t a total disaster after all.

Day 3 – on the boat

The indications on the dashboard showed that the engine was overheating when we were cruising at the recommended speed needed to charge the generator. There also seemed to be a loss of power… We telephoned ahead and Le Boat sent out a mechanic to meet us along the way to sort out the problem(s). Very impressive!

We made Trebes for lunch and sorted out my modem that wasn’t working. Lunch was had at a charming back street restaurant called Le Pasteur before pushing on towards Carcassonne where we had decided to spend two nights in order to take in the famous sights.

Day 4 – on the boat

As I now had a working modem I decided to get my external hard drive out of the safe and do some work while the others took various forms of me-time. Another shocker! The safe wouldn’t open! The ONLY backup that I’ve been using for my laptop was not available… Well, Le Boat people decided that the only way to get round the problem was to break out the safe and break it open forcefully! This was something to see… literally safe cracking! In the end, they got my small box of travel jewellery and the drive out and I could breathe easy again, now sans safe…

With a lighter heart I sat down to start work and … the hard drive did not register on my laptop… On closer inspection, I could see that the safe crackers must’ve accidentally given the hard drive a side swipe – there was slight damage and it appeared as if the housing was opened up… It was the only back up I had for ALL my files, including all the work I had done for Cyprus Open Studios!!! My heart lay in tatters on the floor…

In the afternoon, Joey and I sat down and plotted our course forward. We still had 40 kms to go in three days, which meant we had to travel 13.3333 kms per day with a huge number of locks to negotiate. It was quite an exercise and made us feel like true explorers! We also planned the menus for the three days as we realised there wouldn’t be time to stop for lunches.

After that, we went and stocked up our supplies and then went out to a Chinese meal.

Day 5 – on the boat

SWE had somehow become the leader of the band and we cast off on schedule and made good time as there suddenly was hardly any traffic! He was quite expert at handling the boat as all those video games trained him well… I call him my Last Star Fighter now!Last Star Fighter

We were in two minds about stopping at the designated mooring for the night as we were suddenly ahead of schedule… We decided to stay and take a walk to the nearby village and made it as far as the cemetery! It was fascinating!!

In the afternoon we were entertained by the local boys who used the bridge to dive from into the canal. Well, we were horrified as the water in that canal is certainly NOT clean! The boats all ‘mash’ their refuse (all of it!) and spits it out into the water. Yikes!!! We certainly didn’t feel like dipping a toe in that!

Boys diving

While the sun still shone, we put up the bimini and prepared for our evening BBQ on board. What we had forgotten to buy were candles as it got quite dark after sunset. The mobile phones did the job again – wonderfully! Great evening under the stars and the food was outstanding! Here is some of what went on the barbie:BBQ on board

 

 

 

 

Dinning by mobile light

But then we realised that we would have to pack up quick as a storm was moving in… We made it inside and – oh, dear! – left the bimini up!

During the night, as the storm raged on and the wind blew, I heard creaking noises and assumed they came from the trees on the shore. We slept.

Day 6 – on the boat

We had the luxury of sleeping in a bit and when we wanted to set off at 10.00hrs as agreed, we discovered that during the storm, the bimini had slipped sideways as the rain filled one of the hollows between bars. It was now hanging over the side of the boat, making it impossible to go through any lock!The water-logged bimini

Team-work did it again and we managed to bail out the water and salvage the bimini to such an extent that we could move it right out of the way and tie it up on the front of the deck upstairs where all the steering was done from. Now we were really depressed about this darn bimini as it would obviously have to be replaced with us carrying the cost…

We still made good time and had lunch just before the last lock of the day. When they re-opened after lunch at 14.30hrs, we were through and got to our designated mooring at Villepinte around 15.00hrs. Our planning was paying off! After resting, we set off to the village to see if we could find some wine only to discover that the village had closed for the weekend… alas, no wine to be bought but we still had some in stock for the evening!

A game of Truth or Dare ended a bit disastrously but at the end of the day, we were all back in balance again – sort of. We have learned to ‘work’ with each other in a most wonderful way.

Day 7 – on the boat … our last!

This day was expected to be tough as we had 6 single, 1 triple, 1 double and 1 quadruple locks to go through over a distance of 11 kms before arriving at Castelnaudery, our final destination. It was agreed that we had to leave at 08.00hrs latest … and we did! Not too good planning … the first lock was much closer than calculated and we had to hang ten, waiting for it to open. Amazingly there was hardly any other traffic on the canal… two boats and a rubber duck with us and one or two boats coming down river. We made excellent time and decided to have lunch below the quadruple, which we all dreaded.

We had such fun watching newbies trying to handle this dreaded quadruple lock on their way down while we were waiting … it was hilarious! Were we like that when we started? Absolutely!

The quadruple lock  Newbies

The staircase…  and the newbies at the top…

When it was our turn to go up, the audience was still in attendance and we gave a demonstration of how it should be done … and got applause! We felt really chuffed with ourselves and there was nothing wrong with feeling very proud of what we had achieved! After we parked – expertly, of course – we cleaned the boat, rested and put on pretty dresses again.

That evening we ate at a restaurant run by a man and his partner from Senegal – it was the best sea bass I have EVER had! The restaurant was simply outstanding. A brilliant way to celebrate our Canal du Midi experience.

It was a trip of a lifetime!

I was going to continue here with the rest of the travelogue, but I think you’ve probably had enough! Suffice it to say that the 3 nights in Marseilles and the 3 nights in Cannes were equally fabulous and I have come to know my family a whole lot better than ever before. Thank you, Jo, SWE and Brit for being part of My Tribe!

Unfortunately, this tiled in reverse order: It’s supposed to be: We Did It!,  SWE & Brit, and me…

P.S.  It turned out that the bimini was covered by the insurance… and when I got to Marseilles, my hard drive suddenly worked … the gods were smiling on us!

 

 

 

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A CHRISTMAS CATCH-UP

It’s four months since I last blogged and to squeeze in here what has happened in those four months is a bit of a daunting task! However, there are those who said that they have missed my posts and that warms the cockles of my heart … people actually read them!

Firstly, let me share my Christmas wish with you:
2015 Xmas card 002

Since the last post, we have had a jolly good Open Studios weekend in the beginning of September and sitting here with my blanket wrapped around my knees, I can’t believe how hot it was! You can see the gleam…

Resulting from that event, we have decided to create a brand new Cyprus Open Studios and an enormous amount of work awaited. I’m still putting the last touches onto the newly created website where we will also have a store! Yes, you will be able to buy art online direct from us – another daunting task to set it all up! Sucker for punishment…

The first priority was to design a logo and that took several weeks of collaboration and eventually we arrived at this one, which everyone (so far!) likes:
FINAL OS logo

Massive amounts of really careful thinking went into compiling the Artists’ Handbook and the format for the Guide that will be printed for the event which will take place over the first four weekends of October 2016. We are considering moving it up the year to May for 2017 and thereafter, as May is one of the most delicious months here in Cyprus; the island wears her floral outfit which is gorgeous and the weather is superb. Apparently, it is also the month during which tourists flock to the island to soak up the sun after the long, cold and dark Northern Hemisphere winter.

I have two colleagues who both came on board willingly; again, it makes me feel as if we are onto a good thing here. In fact, I know we are! The one is an excellent artist and also teaches art, Marina, and the other, Nora, is an expert in PR and Marketing who concentrates mainly on literature and music but would love to get into the visual arts field. They are both Cypriots which makes life a whole lot easier to get messages across! We have great plans for the future of COS (Cyprus Open Studios), amongst them an ‘artist exchange programme’ where artists from other countries would be invited to participate in our event and they will then invite local ones to their countries for their events. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Do you want to come?

And I was thinking that I was retired! But, I have been told that the more active the brain is, the slower the aging process. I’m all for that!

Today, my house guest for Christmas will be arriving to stay for two weeks. His name is Barney and he is a gorgeous black Labrador – see for yourself!
IMG-20151204-WA0000

He and Jessie get on very well and Barney loves having a bigger garden to roam around in. His mom and dad will be spending the Festive Season in New Zealand. If all goes well, we will do the switch next Christmas, as I’m planning to spend Christmas 2016 in the Southern Hemisphere…

Which brings me to my next piece of news. I have decided to put my villa on the market in the spring as a half-acre plot on seven levels is becoming just a bit too overwhelming. When this body was more willing, it was different but these days it’s my brain that is getting all the exercise and thus is far more active! This decision has not been an easy one as I adore my home; we planned it and had it built for us to enjoy – and we did. I still do. It will be a wrench to move my belongings out of here but it will have to be done. My daughter, Joey, says: ‘Sooner is better than later!’

The main reason for this decision was a directive passed by the EU which caused Cyprus Law to revert back to the old ones and inheritance ramifications may make things truly difficult for my heirs if I were to kick the bucket at this point. I have no intention of kicking anything in the foreseeable future but one never knows when that bell will toll for me…

When Donald and I were scouting the world for our retirement paradise, France was at the top of our list. However, the inheritance laws in force in that country at that time, were exactly as the old laws in this country … to which we have now reverted. At the time when we settled in Cyprus, the Courts accepted the Last Will as written but now … no more. It’s very complicated and I won’t bore you with the details but I do not wish to bring misery to my loved ones when I’m no longer around.

I was fortunate that this step back into the past was not in force when Donald passed away otherwise I would’ve just owned 50% of this property right now… Yes, complicated! Anyway, by divesting myself of property here I am hoping to solve that problem. The intention is to rent an apartment when this piece of my heart goes to someone else.

And this brings me to the end of my epistle – Barney has just arrived!
I wish you every happiness and send you my love and gratitude for being in my life.
Maria.

20151201_105915-1  I’ve had a haircut since Open Studios!

8.8.15 – A GOOSEBUMP KINDA DAY

It has been a while since I last blogged – in fact, just after I came out of hibernation! The reason for this is that I am simply proving myself to be That Crazy Old Lady.

Old woman portrait
In early 2014 I created a website directory for all artists in Cyprus, to try and substitute what we had in the old Open Studios organisation; that one went phutt in 2011 and left the artists who used it in the doldrums.

 
The new website went OK and I had a number of the past participants join the new website ( www.art-en-route-cyprus.com ) and we even staged two exhibitions last year. However, exhibitions were not what I had in mind. I still MISSED the Open Studio experience when I had some 80+ visitors over a weekend and made quite a number of sales. Life-blood for artists as it validates what they do.

 
At the end of 2014 I went to South Africa and spent 5 wonderful weeks with family and friends but as always, even that time was not long enough! I came back to a dreary winter that seemed to drag on and I stayed in my hibernating cave until the beginning of June! Suddenly, I realised the sun was shining out there and I emerged from my winter slumber. Over the winter months I had done a lot of reading and studying and gaining information about ‘How To’ run a website, such as the one I created, successfully.

 
One morning, I woke up with the thought: “Why don’t I arrange an Open Studios Weekend in September?” Now, if anyone knows about these things, planning for such an event would start at least a year in advance. Here I was with three months ahead of me to recruit participants, buy advertising space, write press releases, design promotional material and, in a nutshell, get the show on the road. There was no time to obtain sponsorship or funding of any kind which meant that the participants would have to share the costs equally amongst themselves.

 
Bless their cotton socks – 31 thought it would be worth the gamble! And here we are, each one of the 31 ready to make the best of their weekend. I have supplied a package to each one with invitations, labels, flyers, road signs, and suggestions as to how they could make it as painless as possible and they all seem to think it will work. I only managed to attract two regions this time, i.e. Paphos and Limassol, but I am totally confident that next year there will be 5 regions!

 
Now, here’s the goosebump-thing. I had a radio interview today. As you may be aware, this date is the third anniversary of my beloved Donald’s passing which made it a bit of a heavy day. However, the DJ was really nice and did a lovely job. At the end of the interview, he said: “And for a wonderful lady, we will play something classical : Fur Elise.” The goosebumps jumped almost out of my skin. Why? The station was RockFM and they don’t DO classical! And also, because that is the piece of music that was indeed very special for Donald and me since 1976 when, whilst I was recording a voice letter to him, my one niece was playing that piece on the piano in the background … How about that?! I still have that tape!

 
Yup! I knew you would feel it too.

 
I shall leave you with that feeling for now as I still need to make peace with this day. I have read two books by Dr. Wayne Dyer lately – one was his autobiography called “I can see clearly now” and the other was “Wishes Fulfilled”. My next piece of reading was “Dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani, who was cured of cancer as a result of a Near Death Experience, when she was expected to breathe her last breath. Medical records exist. This book confirmed everything I have ever believed and if you would like to have peace of mind, I can thoroughly recommend this as a must-read.

 
Synchronistically, I watched the Stephen Hawking film last evening and my bedside table reading matter is “Chop Wood, Carry Water” – massively humbling – reading it for the second time. All in all, plenty to ponder.

 
On this Pale Blue Dot in a borderless Universe I wish you: Namasté! God is Love. And the Divine in me bows to the Divine in you.

hA38LTK

AT LONG LAST …

I feel as if I have just finished a marathon … and I didn’t come last!

Nine and a half years ago, with a garden completely established and irrigation system in perfect condition, we acquired two puppies. Over the next few years, the irrigation system stretching over half an acre of garden, slowly gave up the ghost as very young and sharp teeth found rubbery chew rings in the garden. Last year, as you may remember, I said goodbye to one of those two puppies and the other one stopped chewing the pipes a while ago.

Last year I instructed a man to resurrect the system but unfortunately, he was/is not a well man and gave up on the job about 60% through. Since summer is about to start hammering us again, I thought it was time to give me space so as not to hand-water the entire garden, obviously using mobile sprinklers, etc. – a time-consuming exercise! The guys from Green Forest are just packing up and it’s all done … the finish line has been reached: IT WORKS! Phew!!

In the last post but one I was talking about my ‘new’ studio. Well, since then quite a lot has changed and I now have a ‘proper new’ studio. It started out as this
Kitchen porch 1 Kitchen porch 3
Slowly transformed into this
Kitchen porch 4

IMG-20150526-WA0000  First a jigsaw puzzle to put together …

IMG-20150526-WA0001 … which became this – storage space!

IMG-20150527-WA0001   Work space and  IMG-20150528-WA0001  more storage space.

 

It used to be the kitchen patio where everything was parked – until later – then gathered dust and dirt and eventually had to be turfed out as having passed its sell-by date. The sliding doors (double-glazed) I salvaged from a neighbour at a fraction of the price it would have cost new. Expert carpenter and builders installed them and at the same time, installed a shower in the downstairs guest loo, effectively giving me a three-bedroomed house instead of just 2 bedrooms.

IMG-20150515-WA0002

What used to be my studio is now being transformed into study/den/chill room where an extra guest may sleep. As I also want to use it as a sort of small gallery, a few more pictures need to go up on the wall, paper and things sorted out and a mattress for the bed to be bought … and, viola!

20150604_152059 20150604_152110 20150604_152125   Lots more to be done but this is what it looks like now …

 

I’m quite chuffed with it all and feel so good about it that I have decided to launch an Open Studios weekend with my website, http://www.art-en-route-cyprus.com as the host. This morning, the process began … watch this space for more on this.

This morning, as a ‘test drive’ I finished off a painting in my new studio and it really felt good to work there. Here it is …

Another blue door  Uncropped …

 

A few hanging baskets with colourful flowers will just finish it all off beautifully. Slowly but surely, the area will be transformed into a little oasis so that I may host my own open studio in that space and play host to a few more artists to display their work on the pool patio, here

Awnings up

 

Oh, I have also decided to name my villa now : 7 Levels – it is located on 7 levels of garden, I believe there are 7 levels of consciousness, there are 7 chakras and 7 is also a lucky number … A wrought iron-type name will be made soon and that will go up on my garden wall on the outside so that it cannot be missed!

Looking forward to September! The week after the Open Studios, I shall be hopping over to Italy for a week’s painting holiday in Tuscany … pure bliss!

Till next time.

P.S.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

DISCOVERIES AND THE LEARNING CURVE

My first discovery was just how difficult is was to make the WordPress blog an actual website … I still have not succeeded! My desire/aim was to create a homepage that looked like a homepage, e.g. static. Life’s too short! When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she said: ‘Easy peasy’ but I am still struggling …

It occurred to me that when I learned how to type and work in an office, there was hardly any jargon. Typewriter was typewriter and the ribbon that you used in it was just the ribbon, either plain black or black and red. Paper was just paper too.

 

Woman_with_Underwood_typewriter

No, I’m not quite that aged but I can resonate with her! (image: wiki.org)

ibm-selectric-iii

Something like this is what I used when I stopped my 9 to 5 job (image: victor rivera edtech tools)

This technology learning curve almost passed me by as I retired from being an Office Administrator before I had to learn how to do word processing … now I regret not having learned it! I get by, but I miss out on so very much – all those shortcuts and keyboard strokes that do terrific things in the wink of an eye … sigh. No, I cannot start learning something else right now – my cup overfloweths!

In the process of trying to work with the WordPress site as a website, I decided to build myself a separate website. I’ve done this before and can do it again – no problem. I’m working on that. Again, a lot to learn as it’s not the same provider I have used before – this one is free … I just want something really simple!

This all came about when I was doing (still am) an on-line course to learn how to market my art (and the art of other artists) using the internet in its widest spectrum, but specifically through email list building. (See http://chriswilsonstudio.com/art-launch-blueprint/ – he offers a goldmine of information!) Still learning that too … However, the first essential ingredient in this process is to have a website … thus all this learning! I often feel like a forager in the woods looking for the tiniest morsel to satisfy this enormous hunger for knowledge. Every morsel is like nectar …

In my searches, I have come across most wonderful things too. I am sharing with you something that I thought was admirable and lodged the thought of foraging in my mind. Have a look what Nick Neddo of Vermont in the USA does … for fun! And the incredibly beautiful pieces of art he produces. Here is the link: http://digital.vpr.net/post/paint-brushes-and-pigments-one-montpelier-artist-forages-woods

And making that discovery I also came across a name with which I was a bit familiar, but never investigated: Andy Goldsworthy – just google him and feast your eyes! I’ve bookmarked him so that I can go back and look again. You see, I am using jargon!

On this Spring Equinox, the wind is blowing at a force 7 up in some of the mountainous areas and we are being walloped with the ends of that whip – it is freezing outside with the windchill factor making it feel like below zero! The sun is very frugal with its heat today even though it’s supposed to be 14 degrees Celsius. Good excuse to stay indoors and … learn some more!

Till next time, keep on creating!

THE GAME’S AFOOT!

… as Sherlock told Watson.

You will notice that a bit of refurbishing has taken place since your last visit and still further developments will follow. I started this blog way back when Donald and I were considering relocating to the UK and then things went awry and I’m still here in my beloved Cyprus … Since the dust had settled, I have been contemplating my art and writing career – yes, career as I have been receiving royalty cheques, you know! Not that I would ever be able to get rich on that, but it is rewarding to say the least.

And that brings me to my art business. I accepted WordPress’ invitation to create a website and … got this blog … which I already had! However, in the process I changed the name and it is now a dot com – and that’s where the further development will take place: customising the homepage but I am still learning!

I have also started getting my studio up and running as it would befit a proper artist and soon I shall be showing you what happens in there. During the clearing and tidying phase, I came across quite a few half-finished pieces which, upon further consideration, could become something if developed further. That is what I am doing right now and so far, three pieces have been completed. I don’t use the word ‘finished’ as my instructor in Italy said that no piece of art is ever really finished but it reaches a stage when you may feel that it is complete. In fact, he said, a piece should be judged as ‘complete’ at various stages of its creation! But that’s another story. Here are two of them:

Fun on the beach  I’m gonna get you What's in the bucket  What’s in the bucket?

 

They were originally done in watercolour with which I was not at all happy and now they have been brought to life by adding pastels and thus have become ‘mixed media’! They are only small pieces but fun pieces.

So, in order not to break continuity I shall retain what has gone before and take it from there. I shall, however, use this website/blog now in a more creative way and will probably start another blog specifically for communication with friends and family. I just wanted to update you on where we stand right now.

I feel enthusiastic about the stage I have reached and look forward to getting stuck in and create loads of art in preparation for an Open Studio weekend or three during the summer/autumn months. Yes, I am using the phrase Open Studio even though the name has been officially registered as an NGO which only served to hamstring us as far as opening our studios to the public is concerned. However, I have decided that it will be used as it describes exactly what I do when I invite the public into my sanctum sanctorum.

Watch this space … lots and lots will happen soon as the game is truly afoot!