Ok, Firstly apologies for not keeping you posted more frequently than every couple of weeks while I am here in Spain. Truth is I am actually doing more of what I came here to do, and that is, making art. It may be the light (I’m in Andaluz! after all!) it may be (very probably) lack of distractions INCLUDING the internet, to which I have been so intermittently connected !. But my time here has been vividly, under the bright skies of Almeria province, connecting me to a different kind of focus.
And apologies in advance also, because of the scuzzy pictures off my camera/phone (they’re only scuzzy cos I haven’t yet figured out how to get the settings properly right yet) and are tending to get bleached out by the exact same light that throws everything into a glorious, colourful stark relief this side of the lens. Anyway excuses aside here are some shots of the work, the inspiration and the story behind my springtime here in Almeria.
Waaaay waaaay back in the 80’s I took my first trip to Iberia. Having had a wider family that was dotted around Europe I was familiar with relative-visiting *holidays* and trips to the main continent. But never really any further south than Marseille, so was totally gobsmacked by the light of the Iberian Island of Majorca first time I went, and fell completely in love with the landscape. A softness and starkness in tandem, while the light, illuminating the skyline, gives the the hills and mountains a sort of cotton wool vapour-dusting. As the peaks stand out against the clarity of the sky.
And many trips to the mainland since, and in particular Southern Spain, I have found a special affinity with the area of Almeria.
So, it is about five years ago now that I was sitting outside a cafe with a coffee and camera in hand, on one of my many….ahem… it has to be said, compulsive forays into the Cabo de Gata national park and the adjoining Filabres mountains. This also being the one and only restaurant in the tiny village of Sopalmo half way between Mojacar and Carbonares, with its clients based on a reputation of extremely good food, and locality; was and is an oasis indeed, so I was savouring every moment.
This was when I noticed someone under a sunshade on a bench with their head buried deep into a book that looked, with the possible exception of War and Peace, like one of the worlds more heftier offerings of literary mass. I remember catching a glimpse of the cover with its pale green sleeve, and, with bendy-vision being one of my not-so-good-traits! I could see a drawing on one of the pages, unmistakably that of some of the flora of the area.
Curiosity suitably tweaked and with surreptitious eyeball-bendyness suitably dropped, I went over and asked what the book was about. Indeed it was just that, a hugely comprehensive and detailed book on the flora, geology and fauna of the area of Almeria over the last century. The owner, very kindly I thought, but also eagerly (as with all us peeps who get bees in bonnets and enthusiastic about such things), went to get pen and paper and write down the ISBN number. Which I have, still, on my desk at home, yet unable after all this time to find any trace of the book. Of course I left the darn number on my desk!, with the plus point of being hidden somewhere amongst piles of other bits of paper (so no one without prior telepathic knowledge of where I put things will ever be able to find it, and email me the details) so I CAN ACTUALLY FIND A COPY OF IT WHILE HERE IN ALMERIA ! derrrr!
So, here is a sort of look book, as to my interpretations of the elements that make up the area which so vividly struck me on arrival in Almeria in February. And the changes since, of light, wind, humidity, colour and sounds (yet to bring the sound/videos of the fauna to the blog). As the transition from winter to spring took place it reminded me of this yearly occurrence giving context to the depth of time, permanence and its erosion.
The clouds (I’m told by a seaman; well a bloke I met who sails yachts around for rich people) reflect the atmospheric turbulence onto the surface of the sea, and inso give a graphic-sea-map of where the current is away from the doldrums! Guessing its a lot more complicated than that! but he was trying to explain to a land-lubber novice!
Stones of the calle’s
Mist rising from the hills as dawn breaks over the sea
Sunset pinks, purples and blues
Sugar-cube hewn quarry in the Filabres Mountains
Village behind the quarry
Man made hewn/blasted roadside rock
From the small and hidden to bold and brazen
Shapes and colours
An urban setting for familiar shapes
Rocks and plants used to demark
The elements permeating
Roots exposed amongst the rocks
Short bursts of vivid colour
Toward North Africa
Inland and Filabres mountains
Out of Invierno: Flora and Fauna series, including works in progress (Fauna in sound and vision coming later)
Flora; Stark Relief series
Out of Invierno: Flora; Atmosphere of Colour, Ink Spot series
Out of Invierno: Flora; Flow de Terreno series
It is weirdly liberating and slightly unnerving to find that when day-to-day *things* like internet or even scraps of info on paper are no longer to hand. Its a simple fact but also reassuring to find that your world doesn’t completely stop because of !
By Hook or By Crook I WILL find that Book!
One thing I don’t think I will be able to improvise or change much is how my hair has responded to the elements these last few weeks what with wind, water, humidity, air-salt and the general fresh outdoorsiness of everything. Suffice to say this shot of a friendly (in a gimme your sarnies kind of way!) salty-sea-dog beach goat in a cove near the Tramuntana mountains, kind of sums up my coiffure dilemma!
Thankfully the tufty hair element is the only reference point here !
I have posted a comprehensive set of photos of my time here on twitpic
The actual art work will be up on my website (when I get some decent photos!) I did take my trusty IXY with me…. but forgot to take the lead to transfer to my pc! What with that and dodgy net-connections (I literally had to go out in search of wifi at 10.30 at night during a storm – ok – I didn’t have to! ) but I was a hairs breadth away posting this in mi casa when movistar informed me with its usual right-at-the-last minute randomness that my ever-so-expensively-precious modem credit had reached its ultimate, I do try and follow a watch while you use net-meter but lose track. So I’m posting this with a particularly fetching version of Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP with similar DJ-STRONG-UP-BEAT-STUFF errrr blasting away in the bar ! Yey! Party!….. laters folks………..!!
Back in a couple!