Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Garden Report

It's been so beautiful here that I've got a case of spring fever. Plucking roses, making bouquets, painting canvases; that's all I can make myself do. I'm as drunk on spring as the fat bumblebees.

The Wednesday Painters met a week ago and I haven't left the studio since except to admire the garden. No Memorial Day celebration, nada. Just the slap slap of my paint brush and the idle weeding in the overgrown flower beds.

Helped the farmer transplant these leggy snap peas.

And every evening I wash a sink full of greens.

Peonies have popped and I've eaten my first strawberry.

Everything's green and luscious.

Roses, roses, roses.

This bean house is covered with reemay now but I wanted to show you John's clever construction.

These connectors are made for chain link fences and allow John to take the little house apart at the end of the season for easy re-use next spring.

Here are the pepper and tomato houses.

It gets really warm inside.

Can you see the strings attached up to the top "beam" of the roof?

The strings allow you to attach the branches like this so the plants grow up with support. Then John prunes the bottom branches so the plants grow really healthy. I'll show you the results later this summer.

Now the plants get a nice layer of mulch.

June approaches. The best month of the year in Oregon. Live deeply, love the one you're with. xo

Monday, May 14, 2012

Adios Can Serrat

One last, quick post before I begin packing my gear and preparing myself for re-entry. I leave tomorrow morning and after 21 hours and 23 minutes travel time I'll be home. So far away. Then it exists only in my memory and in my journal. But there is evidence I was here.

Two nights ago we put on our glad rags and had a Blues Concert here along with an art exhibit by the residents. Can Serrat was full of people, music, lovers of the arts.

Of course I positioned myself in the middle of the fun. 

Taking my cue from Miles Davis I titled my works "Sketches of Spain".

We set up the exhibit in the grotto where the concert was held. Really a wonderful, atmospheric and magical place to have a show.

Chicago Blues. These guys were really good and I got to hear some of my favorite blues music. 

Have I mentioned that I love to be around artists, writers, musicians and good cooks?  

Then last night we had a quiet party with only a few friends.

Friends with kind hearts.

Polite, talented, young. It was a joy to be included. There was magic afoot.

Now it's time to cut the canvases off the stretcher bars and roll them up for the trip home. My emotions are mixed as you can surely imagine. It already seems like a dream that I made up. A dream of an imagined life. How can such beauty exist? Oh, life, you can be so hard and yet give us moments of such perfection.

Adios mis amigos. Véale detrás en el país. xo

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Barcelona and Can Serrat 6

Precious hours. Filled with gratitude. Surrounded by beauty. 

"A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why."     

 Yes. I have heard the nightingale singing at Can Serrat.

We are joined at Can Serrat by the latest resident, a painter from Denmark named Grethe Mariann Maurseth. Yesterday Grethe, Melissa and I went by bus into Barcelona and had a day relaxing in the city.

Here is Melissa as we wait for their beer and my Limoncello.

And in the foyer of the Picasso Museum.


Back at the residence Felix goes about his business.

Felix and Luna really do seem to be in love. They hang together quite a lot. Felix arrived at the residence first and after a short time brought his "wife". They are a beloved family here.

One morning I let myself into an empty room and shot atmospheric photos. I love the old paint on the plaster walls and the diaphanous curtains on all the windows. The light is amazing.

Five I think is the most beautiful number. I love its shape and variations in typeface design.


I continue to scribble and play.

I don't need a subject. Just the movement of my body across a broad canvas.

I took this shot after I'd mistaken a bottle of poisonous medium for my water bottle. I had the bottle in my mouth before something warned me that something wasn't right. I was so deep in the process of painting. This is probably why you shouldn't eat or drink in the studio. All is well though, I didn't actually drink any.

The blue painting evolves.

One more session should do it.

Can you see the dressmaker's form in the middle of the studio? I wrapped Melissa in duct tape to make a mannequin for her textile creation. She has such a tiny waist. I made one of my body two years ago and it was shaped like a penguin.

Tonight musicians are coming and we're having adult beverages and a big big party with the people who'll come from El Bruc and nearby towns. Can Serrat will rock! 

Later, 'gator. xo

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Can Serrat 5

This morning bright and early the Norwegian artists packed their bags, their big canvases (rolled up in ski bags), ate their breakfasts and headed back to Oslo. They will be missed.

Skol my dear friends and tuk tuk tuk!

On our last evening together Marcel showed us how to judge the age of wine. If you're a Catalonian you must know wine. It is so good here and so well suited to the food.

We had strawberries, whipped cream with mint and bubbly for dessert. Marcel is an amazing cook and even accommodated a raw food vegan one time. He and Karine have worked diligently to see to everyone's comfort and special food requests.

Kind Olianne bequeathed me some canvases when she departed so I did some mark making exercises this afternoon.

Mark making is like your own signature. It's a good thing to investigate in color, mood and variation. Yours will look nothing like mine.

I was invited to sit in on the summations at the end of the painting sessions. Here Markus makes comments of the paintings by one artist. Most of the artists made what I consider an amazing amount of work in their nine days here.

All of them carried sketchbooks and worked on their fields of interest. This woman made a number of moving self-portraits.

Felix is resting here while his mate Luna delivers four precious kittens in the night. I'll get photos for you later but right now the mother is very protective.

Marcel allowed me to use some of the pigments left over from the painting of the monastery. I will treasure these paintings (which are not finished) simply knowing they contain them.

Another canvas just begun. 36x36 inches square.

I love the way the pigments separate and flow.

New grape clusters are starting to form on the vines that wrap around my balcony. And today it was hot.

Karine prepared our food today while Marcel rehersed his part in a regional performance.  A light asparagus soup and Salad Nicoise with Dijon mustard dressing. I love all the seafood, tiny lettuces, traditional French and Catalonian food we've experienced. I did not expect to be pampered like this.

And how do I spend my time here? Well, loving my journal, exploring paint, reading, observing myself trying to fit in and exploring a new experience from head to toe.

The old farmhouse has uneven tile floors, odd little rooms, skylights and many stories that it holds close. One story is of a Chinese artist who was to have arrived tomorrow but who was turned back at the airport in China for having a passport that someone forgot to stamp. A little procedural glitch that makes us all sad as we were looking forward to exchanging acquaintances with him.

Time for a sip of wine or tea with my friend. If you want to see some beautiful photos taken in the past week they are here at the Can Serrat site. These photos were taken by Marcel and you can see Melissa's goodies here.

Namaste. Take care of each other.