Friday, 29 January 2010

A single mixed-media painting on 20 A4 pieces of recycled paper, to be hung together on a large wall in 20 separate recycled certificate frames.

Just imagine.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Fatalism for the Five-Year-Old

Now I know what the blog is all about. Sometimes, when someone is a bitch to you, you just need someone to agree with you about it. I'm feeling better about the last post.

I had an English class with some 5 year-old Spaniards today. I was naming an object on a colouring-in sheet, and telling them what colour it was. There were 4 students, and 2, maximum 3 of each coloured crayon. (You can see how the game has a competitive, musical chairs kind of feel to it...)

So I would call things out. "Strawberry......RED!" "Flower....BLUE!"

Then I got a bit distracted (the game is not that stimulating for me).
"Sock....RED! oh no, sorry... Sock.....GREEN!"

The two initial winners of the red crayons stared at me in disbelief, and down at their half red-coloured sock in dismay. The slower two seized the opportunity to grab the green crayons, and begin colouring their un-marked sock with chattery glee.

"Your sock is ruined. It's coloured half-red because Hayley played a trick on us. (not true) I'm glad I didn't win just then, because I would have wrecked my work",proclaimed one of them.

The guilt of having stuffed-up was outweighed by the feeling of having contributed to this valuble life-lesson kind of moment. So I didn't even offer the "winners" another photocopy...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Lavender, Carrot Seed and Patchouli

I was supposed to be leaving for Argentina in a few weeks, but I'm not. My flight was booked with Air Comet, you know, the company that no longer exists?
Salva will be going on his own.

My Mum is a fan of the "everything happens for a reason" philosphic doctrine (more commonly referred to in academic circles as fatalism) Sometimes I think I've jumped on that bandwagon just because it's easier to stay positive that way. Easier to think that I was just not supposed to land in Buenos Aires now.

I recieved a really bitchy response from someone from a uni in Antwerp, Belgium where I applied to do a masters.

Of course Linguistics has nothing to do with Fine Arts, you'll need to sit an exam and enter at bachelor level.

Why did she have to say of course? It hurt my feelings.
I wrote back:

Thanks, I'm not interested in doing another bachelor degree. Are there any other universities in Antwerp that offer a master of Fine Arts?

It will all be the same. You won't get in
. -Replied the Belgian.

Now, I know it's not true, because I have a good chance of being accepted in Brussels and various Dutch places... where I've also applied, but I felt quite crushed when she wrote that. I didn't want to write anything back to her. So I thought I'd document the situation here.

Was that a bit nasty? Or is it just me?

I am all kinds of teary and bloated. The type of hormones that make you feel as though your blood were about 10 degrees warmer than usual, your breathing quite dangerously shallow. My voice box is Pandora's box. It should never be opened because it's full of exasperation. Shrill exasperation.

I need someone to slap me around a bit, because despite these little things which have been rocking my apparently fragile world, (and not in a positive way, like the way Led Zeppelin rocks my world...) there is absolutely. nothing. wrong here.

Life is a nearly silent evening, alone in my living room with a glass of red wine and generous wedge of French cheese, brought by a little french fairy who is staying with us for a while, and who knows all about the power of good energy.

I'm looking to aromatherapy to pull me out tonight. Hopefully I'll wake up grateful and serene.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Colour Therapy, Mixed-Media on Paper.

This piece is about cheering up.

I've been out of sorts for the last few days. I think I'm a little bit hormonal, I feel busy, and a little bit rushed. Not enough hours in these short winter days. I probably drink too much coffee.

I am disorganised, and I can't run a house.
I am demanding. Much more than I used to be. and exasperated.

This morning I caught myself planning to impose a rule about the washing- S doesn't touch it. Ever, until it has been washed and folded and placed in the appropriate drawer. This is not because I'm a control freak. It's because I'm so incapable of order that involving someone else in my master plan is just not an option. I can't afford to leave my drawer contents declaration open to artistic interpretation...

-Because winter is an endless search for missing socks. Neither he nor I ever wear matching ones, and when we visited his mother at Christmas, a comment was made, an eyebrow was raised in my direction, and my heart was broken. Just a little bit. Because I'm trying so hard.

I have a complex about my housekeeping skills, and it might be deduced from the previous sentence, I might be just a little bit over-sensitive about it. I feel like people who run a functioning house in a relaxed cycle of washing things and putting them away are the grown-ups, and I am a grotty teenager despite the best and most earnest of efforts.

When I saw him taking socks from the line this morning, (unmatched, because of course I didn't wash both socks in the pair in the same load...) and the shriek "Step away from the socks" was manipulated into a strangled sounding "are those socks matching?" , I relised I may have taken it too far.

I may have turned into some kind of moody, nagger... which isn't as fun for anyone.

All over non-matching socks, and an untimely raised eyebrow.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

24 Today.

My childhood storybooks are still with me (not physically, unfortunately). One of them is especially relevent today: The Choosing Day. The story is about a little girl who wakes up on her birthday and is granted her every choice of activity and the full attention of her Mother. It’s just great. She does the best stuff. She chooses cake for breakfast (which was written like it was a big deal, so she mustn’t have been a continental European where that is quite normal..). Then she chooses the day’s outfits for her and her Mum. A long pink dress for her, pearls and silver sparkly shoes. The Mum wears her wedding dress.

I can’t remember exactly what they do then... I know they go to the park and meet some friends, (but no Sangria) meet the Daddy of the family and have some icecream, before falling asleep in the dress and pearls.

I’m 24 today, which has got me feeling old and young at the same time. I feel old because my birthday, unfortunately, isn’t that special anymore.

I feel young because most of the people around me are older than me, and because I still walk around today wondering if people can tell it’s my birthday just by looking at me, and wanting to tell them proudly if they can’t. Then I feel old again because if they asked how old I am I wouldn’t be able to show them with my fingers.

Anyway. My birthday has a bit of bad Karma about it usually, but today has so far been the best one I’ve had in a while.

We had breakfast out, which we hadn’t done for a while. I had a glass of Verdejo with lunch, and bought myself some lacey undergarments, which, when worn under clothes, make one feel more dressed.

Now I’m going out to dinner with Salva, and plan to accompany this next meal with another glass of wine.

It’s not the perfect day that Lou Reed sang about, (due to sub-zero temperatures) but those days are gifts that can’t be planned. I’m happy enough as it is with today, slow, sweet and normal.

I’m off to consider myself at 24.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Dos and Don'ts of Christmas Travel.

It is so good to be home. To sleep in my own bed, eat my own cooking, do work and be productive, or not.
So good.

It was a draining trip. Too much food, family and organisation. I got to thinking that it's a pity how Christmas often turns out like that, but then I realised that most of our trips to Italy are not without their trials. So I thought I'd try to pinpoint some mistakes I made, and some I'm glad I didn't make. I'm sharing these reminders here in this public space in the name of extending some traveler's wisdom (or lack thereof).

Do spend time finding inexpensive, thoughtful presents for your extended family members. Watching this little one grin and flap with his yellow rubber duckie nearly had me sobbing.

Don't leave important administrative details (like an international money transfer for the house you are purchasing) to the morning of departure.

Do read weather reports prior to embarking on the 3 hour drive to the airport.

Don't necessarily believe them.

Do offload the joint that the flautist in your partner's band left in your car on the hippy that lives downstairs when you see him passing by, before leaving for the airport, remembering that "I'm just holding it for my friend" however true it may be, does not cut it with most law officials.

Don't expect any increased sociality from said hippy upon your return.

Do research the wherabouts of your airport terminal before leaving home

Don't ever, EVER park in airport carparks, no matter how late you are, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Do avoid rail travel in Italy at all costs, especially at Christmas, especially on southbound lines, and ESPECIALLY on night services.

Don't be too proud to beg conductors to be allowed to sit in first class because you're tired, because it's Christmas, and because you are not from around here.

Do wake up well before your stop the following morning.

Don't exit the train in a flurry of thrown luggage, strewn clothing and a spectacular flying leap over somebody's suitcase in the aisle, especially if you are carrying your partner's new laptop, and have the kind of bum that just can't hold a pair of jeans over it.

Do enjoy the culinary aspect of the festive season.

Don't eat every course a Southern Italian family serves you, or attend every meal they invite you to unless you are a subject in a scientific experiment.

Do propose your own personal preparation of a dish for a family meal to your Southern Italian Mother-in Law.

Don't expect her to take you up on the offer.

Do keep calm and sweet natured throughout the whole ordeal, and remember that you do love everybody present and that it is all worth it.

Don't think about your own funny little uncomplicated family too much.

Do try to relax, take some portraits, and talk regularly with said family.

Don't worry. The next one is a year away.

Photos are of Salva and Emanuele, Christmas Lunch, and Gabriella.

New Beginnings