Street Garlic

Went to the studio today and had an argument with some garlic. Not a complete fall out, but a bicker, a long bicker and I leave a bit tired and grumpy as what was going to be the delicate, exquisite subtulties of whites and purples is not apparent. Now I know why I started with an egg last time. Not sure how my huge painting of the arc will pan out if a bit of garlic is an obsticle.

It wasnt very nice garlic anyway, ( now I am bitching ) I bought four bulbs from a guy on the street corner for one euro, thought it would be poignant to draw from one of the people selling on the street but tomorrow I think I will go and buy some expensive flowers.

sea looked amazing this morning

finish the argument with the garlic the next day


First proper day making at the studio.

I went to the fantastic art shop called Barna Art yesterday on my bike to get some canvases, obsessed with painting and how brilliant I will be at it! They have what I have wanted all along, a smooth surface so I can draw and paint at the same time, they will make up the canvases as you wait. Pablo was really helpful and sincere about surfaces as I apologized for my lack of language.

It’s strange being in a city cut off from the crowd. A city that is more about the people than any other place I have been and I, like there is a smoke screen around me, can not intercept them. When I walk Molly people talk at me and I am silent, awkward and it exacerbates my insecurities and my confidence dwindles. In a way its quite, you can be with your own thoughts in a metro full of people, but at the same time you walk around the city full of life, alone.

This week it is finally sinking in that it is going to be sunny every day in Barcelona. And if I don’t get something creative done I am going to start feeling like a bit of a looser. Well, it is as if I have to. To regain some of my identity, my mojo, before I sink down into self destructive pity of an aging lady with a double chin, who cant speak Spanish let alone Catalan.

We spent a bit of sunday on the beach, and yes the sky was deep blue and it was funny to be there, and I felt amazed and lucky. But the sky can be blue and the sand can be soft under your belly as you let the warm sun heat goose pricked skin from the cold still water of Mar Bella Beach, but it’s meaningless without your mojo.

And the beautiful naked things around you only agitate a rising insecurity and lack of confidence that you could brush off surrounded by the pink bodies of Paignton, but here, with the beautiful people, insecurity disguised as self loathing creeps in like a bad smell so when I go to the studio tuesday I cant do anything.

I don’t know what to paint nor have the courage to start, so in strange surroundings of a new studio I listen to a song that sings “I had it all” and I miss my studio, and I scrabble and wrangle and slightly panic and then I do what I know. As Graham said to me a long time ago when I was stuck ‘why don’t you do a standing figure?’ knowing that as soon as the clay was in my hands and a form under way someone would come out, and she has.

mojo also means …. a Cuban sauce or marinade containing garlic, olive oil, and sour oranges.

Monday to Friday

Monday 1st April we go to the sticky, rocky land that is Cassa Woodruff. It’s green this time of year as there is plenty of rain; the water tanks that collect it from the roof and terrace are full, despite having lost some previously to a leaky valve. The sun shines intermittently so the batteries are full despite Malcolm’s four children using the sun to keep up their connections with home.

The grass is not the tended thick fresh and lush lime green meadow that you would, let out of a winter stable, gallop into and roll hoofs up rubbing tired skin. There is no underbelly of the yearly tended thickening of grass to make a moss like covering of the earth. The grass is thin here and the land bumpy and when wet the top layer of clay, like subsidence is slippery, clawy.

White flowers bloom where the land has been cultivated and further down the valley olive trees stand proud in lines with black pipes of drinking water at their feet.

One day there is a much discussed cycling trip which would be too fast for Molly so we find a tall bridge and deep cold water to play in. I don’t read or draw but just throw the stick for Molly and sit. My head full of other people.

Molly decides she has had enough swimming and wriggles and rubs her wet body against me sending giggles of laughter down an empty open valley of white cannelloni bean pebbles, smoothed rocks and rows of secretly tended trees showing their appreciation in blossom pink.

View from the cassa terrace

 A walk collecting rosemary and thyme to take back to Barcelona

 the three boys

 Malcolm, Sarah and Graham

My walk to the bridge and back

Yana – a tired cyclist!

day trip to local some what deserted village for another lunch,  yana in green

A Good Friday

So as Jesus finishes carrying his cross through town, flanked by masked faces in sinister tall black peaks, 10 of us gather together and circle round a beautiful naked girl, sitting in pain, so we can draw her, I guess we all have our weird faiths and our burdens.

But soon graphite slides like silk over smooth cartridge and my feminist angst subsides, I remember how fond of this I am. It is about sensitivity, respect, the simple act of finding form in space.

Maybe the BDS was too much of a good thing, or maybe it was naïve of me to think you could organize something and enjoy it. But for the past year, my love of life drawing had gone, or maybe it was just resting.


The crowd is chattering

then silence as the masked people come out


Good Friday is a sad day here