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

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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.

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!