Generally speaking I am not intimidated by too many things, however I must admit that I have always been very cautious while swimming in the sea. I guess this is simply the result of growing up in South Africa and from time to time seeing the huge sharks which fishermen have landed from the shore and the rocky coastline.
If you’ve ever been in Africa on a hot afternoon when the smouldering sun is intent on roasting anything which is stupid enough to be found exposed on the dry cracked hot plate of soil, then you will know what the intense heat of such an afternoon can do to an artist’s imagination. One of my favourite things to do on days when all sane individuals have retired to the cool shade of veranda’s and trees, is to brave the scorching heat and to walk into the veld. Once alone I locate a small hill which will afford me an open view of a valley. From such a vantage point I can see miles across the swimming and dancing landscapes as the afternoon heat brings mirages and illusions of cool water flowing across the thirsty scene.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the tiny studio on Tuckton Road Christchurch might not have enough exhibition space to be taken seriously, but that would be a mistake. True, there is not a lot of space and if you wanted to swing a cat around this would not be your first choice of location. As a studio-cum-gallery however all the available wall space is occupied with landscapes, portraits of movie stars and animal portraits, the products of many, many hours of dedicated and focused work.
Generally I keep Friday’s open for local issues, appointments and opportunities to meet with interesting and creative people. This was one of my goals for 2011; to spend more time doing the things I love the most. Fridays have become my reading, writing, painting and meeting day and my diary pages are reflecting that, so far, I am on track.
There are few things, for me, that are as engaging as talking to creative people about their passion for art or crafts and so it was, with much excitement and anticipation, that I headed towards Lee, a small village in Hampshire. http://ow.ly/5y0AV . I had been invited to attend by Janet Langford an extremely gifted lady whose miniatures defy belief in their detail. Janet is the wife of Alan Langford a respected member of the society of equestrian artists. Janet is a lady who is accustomed to “life in miniature” having been a biological researcher for thirteen years. I had met the couple at a similar exhibition in an equally unobtrusive location near Lyndhurst, Hampshire some months before.
What a way to start my birthday, cards, gifts and telephone calls; a Facebook page filled with good wishes and blessing. Rich indeed is the man who has many friends for friendship is truly the only substance which transcends time itself and outlasts the fabric of temporal gifts.
Today, Monday 23rd May 2011, my diary is empty and I will enjoy the privilege of the freedom to enjoy some serendipitous adventure hidden in the hours ahead. It is my practice every birthday to read the words of Almustafa, from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, as he speaks wisdom to the people of Orphalese.
He is asked by an astronomer to speak about TIME and he answers:
“You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable. You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing. Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness, And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream. And that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless? And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds? And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless? But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.”
Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1930 (The Prophet)
It seems that the creative potential in each one of us is ignited when the combination of ideas and restless energy reaches critical mass and we spontaneously ignite into expression. At flash point we head for our studio’s, overflowing with the desire to commit it all to canvas before the image fades and the colours disperse in our minds eye.