update from centre d'art i natura
Other than going back to the market town of Sort on Tuesday, I have not been anywhere except here in Farrera all week, and have had a quiet and productive time. My work is going well, although in the past few days, I have had a time of taking stock and asking myself where I'm heading in the studio. Yesterday after some thought, I decided to devote more time to drawing than I have done so far. My intention is to develop some ideas for increased use of line in my work, something I had in mind before coming here. There are so many extremely interesting things to look at and draw here in the surroundings, the rocks, houses in the village, the ruins of old barns, beautiful stone walls, and a myriad of plants. Some of this I will approach in a realistic way, some more abstracted.
Today I took a long hike straight uphill for about two hours through meadows, up steep banks of slate, over tiny streams and through scrubby pine forests. I have been in that same direction twice before, going a bit farther each time, and today followed my impulse to go all the way to the mountain pass, from which you can see mountains in all directions (though less dramatic on the far side.) I had my drawing things along, but the flies were so intense that I stuck to photography. The view from the top of the trail was truly awesome, and worth the effort, though I was pretty done in when I finally got back to the Center.
Last night I showed two visiting Catalan women around the studio, who are contemplating starting an art center like this one, and whose English was very limited. But I understood that they wondered about my use of mixed media, and I showed them my paints and drawing things, as well as my finished or mostly finished work. One of them pointed out various paintings that she especially liked, the other smiled and said, "all, all" ....I was struck by the ability that visual art has to communicate across language barriers.
There have been a few fun social occasions, including a little supper that Marina and I put on in our little kitchen for Amr, from Egypt, and Enriqueta, from Catalunya, on Sunday night (the only night we are not served Cesca's fabulous cooking.) We laughed a lot, had bread, cheese, olives, tomatoes, almonds, and wine, told stories of travel and our various countries of origin, and listened to some of the 250 Frank Sinatra songs that Amr has stored on his laptop. Other nights at the communal dinner table have also been very entertaining...besides cooking, Cesca excels at storytelling, acting out emotions and situations in ways that are both captivating and hilarious. Dinner is definitely the highlight of the day, no matter what else has been going on...and since it is not served until 9pm there is plenty of time for anticipation to grow as smells rise from the kitchen to our studio and apartment.
There is just over a week left for us here, before leaving for a few days in Barcelona, and I plan to make the most of it. The time has gone by so serenely...leaves are beginning to turn, and the moon has gone through its fullest phase, spilling silver light on the hillside opposite my big balcony doors all night long. The days have been mostly cool, and somewhat cloudy, not the intense sun and heat that I recall from my last visit (though it was the same time of year.) I have enjoyed the variety of this weather, the changing light conditions and views of the clouds over the mountains, and one dramatic thunderstorm.