A path well trodden, but how much longer will it be?

Coming here to the North of Kefalonia  it always felt like I was coming home, arriving at the airport, the warm moist air enveloping me as I take the first step from the air conditioned cabin. The familiar face of Makis greeting me and taking my case to the taxi, the breathtaking views as we climb north driving ever higher.   I have been coming twice a year now for 6 years, a long time for me but for others I have met here this is nothing, Some people have been coming to Kefalonia for 16-20 years or more.    The farmhouse always held me, its wild gardens, olive groves, views across the ionian seas to Ithica, the wildlife,  the chickens and goats, this was a sanctuary away from the deadlines and constant pressure that hounded me  when back in the uk.   Now that the pressure is off  I wondered if returning to Kefalonia this time would feel different as I am no longer fleeing the pressure of trying to spin all the plates in the air, run a home, a business, staff, family issues and so on.  Its doubly hard when there is nobody to share this burden with me.  Designing interiors, mixing colours and textures, choosing original artworks, designing my own furniture pieces it gave me the  best feeling in the world and I was in my element, but the procurement  and installation , working along side architects, and building contractors and the male dominated construction industry who wouldnt know good design if it bit on the bum, all this side of designing took away that feeling completely.  Even though I won awards and various accolades it just wasnt enough to keep me fighting the design battles anymore.

So her  I am and  pleased to say that the feelings, even though the first two weeks have been in the coldest ever apparently, haven’t changed a bit,  I still love the island, well the norther part anyway, south more built up and busier.   Guess the one thing that has changed  is the longing to live here.  For one ,I do not like the fierce summer heat, so July and August would be a definite no no for me and two, I have found the uk version of northern Kefalonia, its wildness, rugged cliffs and coves, forest and quiet windy roads where I feel drawn to make my permanent home.   Still visiting Evreti, Kefalonia for 2-3 months each year I can have the best of both worlds, and still continue to travel and explore the uk and of course spend time manifesting creative objects into the world.

Of course with the advancing years, 70 last January, there is that little conumdrum of how much should I be spending?  how long will my money have to last, how long will I be walking in this world?  Something one never considers when younger, there is always decades to enjoy, thing to try out and if mistakes are made, plenty of time to put it right.  Now though decisions seem more important to make as not time left to rectify anything. Do I say to myself another 15 years, divide it up and spend the said sum each year?  Do I buy a house with an income, (holiday rental cottages} and run it as a small business?  Guess I am lucky that my business was successful and have these kind of issues to contend with.  I am not having the live on a uk state pension, the lowest in the whole of Europe!  Actually there was no luck, I gave my all to my company, blood sweat and tears to make it successful!  All I know is that this is whole new chapter in my life, one where for once I have the total freedom to choose, a real adventure awaits and I am very excited to watch each day unfolds and just where this path will take me

A few pics of the past weeks

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Moel Hirradug

This painting of Moel Hirradug has had several lives, three different attempts, one all green, one multicoloured and this one I think I like the best.  Still feel the need to try again though, next time might be acrylics and pastel.  This one is oil and it shows the iron age fort that sits atop.  I have it on my friend’s authority that the view from the top is amazing, sadly I didnt even attempt it.  Far too hot.  The painting also depicts the parched earth, no rain now for 54 days.IMG_9614

Faces and Cold Wax

IMG_9515Not working at the day job today so had time to relax, breakfast on the Pantiles then back for painting and trying out a new medium, new to me anyway.  Gamblin’s cold wax, its a mix of pure refined Beeswax and Gamsol, odourless mineral spirits.  Wonderful stuff and it makes the oil paint a thick butter consistency.  Thought I would try painting the South American woman’s face I tried a couple of week or so back and this time I am much happier.  It  has colour, the paints rich texture makes wonderful marks, using long flats and egbert brushes I managed to make  really nice painterly strokes,  even painting alla prima I could still, with a light touch flick a different colour over the first layer and create wonderful colour mixes and movement to the strokes.  Blending the colour to create a blurred outline is something I am always trying, this medium it just happened without really trying.  I used Rosemary Ivory brushes, long flats in sizes 6,10 and 12

day 6 many days late

I am still taking time to be creative, but not always with colour and image making. My writing is taking up some days, spending time looking at all the books I have collected over the years and seeing if they still inspire me now.  Researching materials and storage for all the pastels, they are such a messy medium, but oh so vibrant

This paper is Sennelier pastel card, doesn’t seem to hold the layers very well.  Going to try a 400 course grit UART paper next time, have also ordered a trial pack of all the types from 250 – 800 grit

this is today’s 30 minutes of creativity

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making marks

stack of white paper, stark white canvases,  plentiful tubes of luscious colour, pastels, charcoal, pencils, ink.  The weekend has arrived, my art studio has been professionally cleaned and organised by a friend  and I am about to make some marks on all this whiteness !!

Looking at the images surrounding me, the marks I have made on paper, board, canvas and card have all been curves, swirling, entwined, marks, curvaceous  languorous limbs, swirling fecund growth with swelling fruitage, usually heavily paint laden, deep grooves made on the paper with my pencils, there is a will,  a strong will that controls not on the visual element but in the way the medium is applied.

Today will I produce something similar, without a doubt it will be “rounded and abundant” ,  this is how I think, this is how I am and this is  how I express myself.  Maybe I could try something different, or perhaps could say that I do try to make marks in more geometric, angled shapes, but it doesn’t come easy, I have to think about it and when I think about painting or what I am to do, its then that a blockage restricts  my flow and nothing comes out !!!

One more sip of coffee, perhaps sitting in the sunshine, then lets see what happens

Yikes

this morning awoke at 4.45am.  not unusual for me on these long summer days, I then had the urge to create something, not the usual paper, paint, pencils kind of stuff but some flapjacks !!  Then It suddenly dawned on me I have been in the creative doldrums! Yikes !.  So much of my energy has been consumed by the interior design side of my creativity which has been very much to the forefront these past couple of years, but  that when it comes to my time, the output has almost come to a standstill.

peanut butter and almond flapjacks

Design doldrums, kind of design constipation, but if I am honest the interior design is like a fast flowing river and maybe separating this from my personal work is actually diminishing my talents?.  Maybe it’s not Yikes I am in the doldrums, it’s that I am creating  so much that I need me time to rest . replenish and find inspiration to keep the river flowing

 

The nuts and seeds here, not only look delicious and nutritious, but they are an abundant mass of ideas that inspired me to make an entry on my blog. Nuts and seeds are kernels of ideas, this is where the magic happens and design ideas get triggered.  However this morning “little meeces” came to mind,   I have been invaded by mice, dear sweet faces looking up at me whilst stuffing their faces in my cupboards !!.  I have caught three in a humane trap, but still they come.  They are now bypassing the trap and  gnawing their way through hard plastic containers,plastic lids and having a feast !!  3/4 jar of peanut butter and a whole untouched jar of Nutella whilst away this week !!  I love mice, had them a pets when a child, but having them cheerily peeking at me from my food cupboards is getting a bit much.  Going to bait up my trap with some of my flapjacks, all the things they love here, so keeping fingers crossed I can catch the blighter’s.

 

Have to save some for me !  especially as they contain wonderful golden  honey from my daughters bees !!

1 1/2  cups of toasted whole rolled oats

1 cup of whole toasted almonds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1  1/2 cups dates, sour cherries and barberries (combined)  dates only whizzed to a paste in blender

1/4 cup of whole Earth crunchy peanut butter ( heated until runny with the honey)

1/4 cup of Honey

Combine all, flatten in an oiled tin and refrigerate. When cold slice

Be warned, put in a small tin so they are at least 1.5-2cm thick, too thin they fall apart.

also they are very morish so cut and put in a tin out of site, and bring out one with a coffee.  If you don’t it will disappear in a flash