Greener Grass

Coming to Barcelona, its not necessarily that the grass is greener, its just different. And sometimes different is good. And sometimes different is needed. And sometimes it is realy good. And sometimes it makes you realise how rich your life is in the old grass. I dont want to go back to Bristol just yet but I know how rich my life is there.
Mostly I wish I could see things in the present instead of working them out when I have left.
El Borne was beautifull and going back down there from here I realize how lovely it was to be there. As I say I was happy to move, move within Barcelona this time for the greener grass of a terrace but as here is like the suburbs, it feels a long way out. I have the fomo.
I just hope I dont always miss the grass of my location..

23rd July
I still have the fomo and I am excited to move again, to the beach this time, but I have appreciated my time here, the big park on the hill and living with ‘normal’ people, with the locals. Its given us a good perspective on the city rather than just living in the posh bits.

Rocío Molina

For someone who makes a performance over things, is prone to being dramatic, making things complex when really they could be taken lightly, flamenco is right up my alley.

For a northern european it seems strange to have such a gut reaction to it, but I always have, and the flamenco festival was one of the highlights of this trip I was looking forward to. We have been to one tourist flamenco place which was brilliant and small and hot and sweaty, young performers use it apparently.

This woman was another thing altogether.

She was ‘woman’ at her very finest.

She was stunningly tense, powerful, beautiful, sexy, precise, sensitive, accurate, delicate, poised, spoilt, tempestuous, shocking, clever ; a wild spinning magnificence. Sometimes a bull, sometimes a snake. She was like a musical instrument that could move. The four of them together made unbelievably complicated rhythms of stamping, slapping, clapping, clicking fingers and guitars and the singing was so full of pain and strong and loud.

JOSE ANGEL CARMONA, “CARMONA”, singing and mandola JOSE MANUEL RAMOS “EL ORUCO”, handing clap and beat 

The whole performance was so tense I had to concentrate to relax.

You can see a bit here but it doesnt give their presence, the noise they made was so much part of it which doesn’t seem to get across. To me it had so much more than any other dance I have seen as it seemed so full somehow. And, real, in a way. Obviously hours and hours of practice and experimentation but it less formal somehow, I will think this through a bit more as I am out of my knowledge base, obviously there are formal elements….any way here is some info´s-wells/?lang=en

JJ Cale

Since cambridge and my attempt at a foundation course, since ploughing the fields as a summer job in hampshire; there has been one constant man in my life. A calming influence that glides over the ruts in the road, slides through the days turning them silky warm and sunny.

Went back to him today after my turbulent days of painting, back to JJ Cale* and I also returned to my clay. Maybe yes, out of cowardice but also to enjoy life.

as the man says

aint no shame in tryingaint no use denyingeverything will be alright

I am adrift when I am painting; in Barcelona I am just too much adrift already. I am bobbing about and I want to enjoy it. Take away home, friends, family and language and then change my work as well is maybe too far from the shore for me to feel ok.

With my sculpture my raft is large, I can enjoy the turbulence, lie back in the sun and feel the movement beneath, not care if I go into deep water, just think its funny and exciting.

So bye bye to the rotten vegetable shop ( we keep missing the market ) with the flies, bye bye dark peaches and wriggly peppers, I am gong back to the flying girls of my imagination.

It could be lack of cojones but I am not worried, I will try again later, just thinking of it makes me feel light again. I had put so much pressure on myself to be Rembrandt in a few days and I only had this chance here to do it, now, it was wearing me out. Like Chesil beach with its slippery pebbles, weighed down by heavy diving gear, in shallow water so the weights weren’t carried by the free deep sea, crawling on all fours trying to extract myself from the cold foggy water as each wave pulled me back under. Half drowning in shallow water. Quite the beach babe I seem to remember.

I send Graham a link on spotify of a ‘sensitive kind‘  as a way of an apology for being such a nightmare these past few days. He said we knew it was coming, the transition from holiday to living, the come down from the excitement of all the work to get here and getting here, the moving to the bedsit in the dark streets from the lovely apartment with the sunny terrace of opera.

But I am going back to holiday, to being a tourist, to seeing the world in it’s best shiniest light. I remember thinking this living in London part time, I think its the best way to see things, just remain a tourist so you remember to enjoy things, see them for the first time. Do the nice things as well as the work. I am going back to being a guiri* and to bobbing around on my big raft of sculpture.

Think this is pretty much finished now after leaving it a while, I couldn’t decide about the hands before wether they should be flat on her legs like the swimmer sculptures ( it sort of makes them point forward more ) but I like the idea of the hands making her look like an insect more. I also couldn’t decide wether to fill her wings in, I have wanted to do fragment sculptures for ages so this is a part way to that I guess ( and I can always fill them in later in wax ) and I like the idea that

she has put on her wings and her flying hat but it is futile,
she cant fly.

( if thats too sad I can fill them in )

she can fly in her head?!

John Terry‘s comments

I love your ‘bug’, poor girl with great holes in her wings -but she will fly despite or because of them – it’s how we use our faults that defines us. No room for ego – which is a lead balloon.

* not what he looks like mind, just his voice and his music!

* ironically a teenager shouted guirri at me as I cycled along on the way home, I was completely fully dressed, I am not burnt, I was not wearing flipflops, I was not looking at a map on a street corner, I was not lost! Maybe the little cow bag was just reminding me of my place here!

apologies for the cheesy water analogy, it must be the sea getting in, its a bit much this time but I cant help it!


This is not a tranquil peach of Lagrasse dancing merrily with it’s partner on a plate in a courtyard jostled by high white clouds racing through sunlight. These are not the peaches of the English taste in France. This is Catalan, it is cut, it is bleeding colour.

This is a country girl living in Barcelona, this is trying to paint, this is an uncomfortable experience. This is not a holiday.

This is a blood red orange of a peach, sliced by a blunt knife, torn, flesh bleeding. This isn’t silent sunny days of village life punctuated by swallows.

This is squelchy flesh dented through white cloudy bloom, deep purple, thin skin that hides volcanic colours. Like rotten fish when pressed, it’s flesh doesn’t spring back, it leaves a bruise. This peach is from one of the crevices of the cities of Catalonia.

This is punctures and stolen front wheels and growlers and not speaking the language and shit on the front door step. This is people sleeping where the insects can crawl in their hair and the shopping trolley recyclers and the blind staring man and the things I don’t understand. This is alzurian crimson.

This is not knowing what to do with myself, my life, or even just that day. This is a friends slow death. The junky shit. The pain of childlessness and the sometimes pain of being alive.

This is not being in my own studio, not having my own space, This is taking too long to get to work, this is jostics, this is arguing neighbors, this is “The Killing”. This is blood life colour.

This is the sound of wet clay being pummelled, the longing for a weekend in the English countryside of lazy buzzing bees and pints of beer, of exchanging the hard piss streets for the smell of fresh green grass under feet, this is opera, this taking the hits, the bruises of life, this is the sound of the trains and the decision not to be a farmer. It is the fact that I am a better painter in my head than on paper, it is fighting a million distractions and having the balls to carry on and the eyes to see and the heart to feel.

This is today, and I only have this day with this peach, this peach is dying, drying before my eyes.

And when I can say all that in a painting of a peach I will be a painter.