Living like a local

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Living like a local

Odd title but I truly feel that is how it is. As Karin has to work a normal working week the day starts quite early. We feed the dogs, shower, quick breakfast and off we go. Karin has very generously let me have the use of her car, so the routine is, I take her to work the donkeys are moved to their spot for the day, we have coffee and then I go to my work. My work!! To just go and paint… That is all I have to think of.

I feel inspired, and so so lucky. Hotel Bij Blauw have given me this amazing space. It’s right on the water front and as I paint the waves crash against the near by rocks feet away from me. I’m painting seascapes, but now I am amongst the waves as they spray me and my canvas. The wind constantly blows and everything is anchored down. I and all around me is covered in paint as the wind grabs the paint and it takes on a life of its own adding a splash or a mark that I decide to live with. I think the whole experience is what the art world would call action painting at its best. There is a sheltered corner behind cover where my paintings are stored and now mounting in readiness for the 3rd May Sunday 4.30. I can’t actually believe this is real. I have been here three weeks and now producing work to be exhibited! The hotel owners Titia and Ruud have offered me an exhibition in their very glamorous but relaxed outdoor bar and restaurant. The invites are out and people are coming! Imagine.

Before I know it is 4pm and time to collect Karin. The donkeys are fed and watered and put back in their stables for the night. The shop is locked and we make are way home. Usually stopping off for a cold beer or two on one of the beaches and even maybe going for a swim. Supper could be bought at the supermarket on route or…. We may eat out.. And as I have said Karin knows everyone so sometimes can get a bit lively! Or we may come home and even just watch TV, one such night Karin translated a whole Dutch program to English for me as we watched. She was exhausted – made me cry and everything!

Sunday and Monday are our days off and have been equally as busy. But this time has been spent touring the island. In a previous life Karin was a tour guide so she is an expert. The island is very beautiful, with a contrasting coast line of rugged hostile volcanic rock to sandy beaches and blue blue water. There is a huge history of the slave trade here with grand Land Houses that many have been left to decay. It feels very strange standing amongst these old houses, to think that the slaves had been brought from Ghana and the Gold Coast. I spent my early childhood in Ghana and the thought that I must of gone to school and played with Ghanaian’s who’s ancestors were brought here and here I am walking in their foot steps! Our life takes us on mysterious journeys, but the truth will out.

This Monday was Kings Day. This is a huge national Dutch holiday which is celebrated through out the Kingdom. Basically this is like wandering a round a maze of street party’s with music,dancing, eating and drinking and as I have said Karin know everyone so this was a very full and fun day….oh and everyone wears orange…..

http://www.hotelbijblauw.com

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Curaçao

imageFirst impressions

Curaçao is a one of the Dutch Caribbean A B C islands, and on a clear day you can almost see Venezuela. It’s tropical and to me quite lush, although the locals think it is to dry. The coast’s lines I have seen so far are rocky with small inlets of sandy beaches. The water is not so warm yet but I have braved it for a quick swim. There is a constant breeze so it never feel to hot, but it is very hot and I am constantly reminded to use sunscreen. The main town looks like Amsterdam with its coloured buildings along the water, then you turn a corner and its is how I imagine Cuba would look. There is a an eclectic mix of culture from Portuguese /Spanish, Dutch, American and the local Caribbean. Everyone is very friendly and lucky for me most speak some English.

My very kind and generous host Karin lives it a beautiful spot on the side of a hill over looking the the sea. Her house is a lovely open plan old style cottage done in a shabby chic chic cozy way, with inherited antiques mixed with modern art. There is a large deck to watch the comings and goings along the water. Always something to watch as most of the house’s along the water have pontoons and boats – this is a spot you could easily waste time.

Karin is probably one of the busiest women I have met. She has a successful interior design company, she makes lamps and shades for both private and corporate clients covering most of the surrounding Caribbean islands. All this based from a lovely shop she shares with colleagues, selling indoor and outdoor furniture, tiles, lamps and artefacts. She is well know across the island and has time to chat to all she meets, she is happy with a quick wit and a cheeky sense of humour. The best is she is kind with a big heart. She has five dogs …yes five… all rescued, mainly from the roadside or brought to her for safe keeping. These are the best behaved dogs I have ever met. They worship her and hang on her every word. She also has two donkeys, also rescued from the brink of death and now living a very content life. The newest edition is a bird, injured and stunned at the side of the road as we were walking to a bar on my second night here. We picked up a box from one bar, water from the next and brought him home. The bird ate and drank from her hand and is recovering well, in a few days he will be fit to fly away, my bet is he will just stay with her like all the rest of the injured and lost souls! One of the dogs has been assigned to guard the bird, so she sits by gthe cage and warns the others away – you couldn’t make this up!

Karin has taken me to many spots and introduced me to her friends. One being Annemieke a very talented sculptor, ceramicist and painter. Annemieke is involved with many community projects and runs workshops with disengaged teenagers. We will have a lot to talk about I am sure. She then took me to her friends very nice boutique hotel who have genegrously offered me the use of their waterside terrace to hang out and paint!! Karin has very quickly orientated me sending me off to explore, but true to form I have spent much of those times lost! Best way to find your way round I say….

Oh and I have done a painting …. Which became a lamp shade ….Ta Da!Ta da!Jazz bar

Artistic Adventure

Free Spirit
Sandy Curry  Free Spirit.  2015

Artistic Adventure

I’m going travelling.

I’ve wanted to say that for such a long time. I’ve certainly been thinking about it for what feels like forever. It’s every artist’s dream to take time out to travel and be inspired.

I’m excited, my friends are excited and my family are excited.

A little under five years ago, I moved to Hamble where so many good things have happened. My children grew into adults and moved into their own homes and my two grand-daughters were born. When I opened Sea Sky Art Gallery, I put my heart and soul into it. I felt I’d put down roots and it helped me feel like I was part of a wonderful supportive community. I made many friends and consider Hamble, home.

Over the last few weeks, friends have dropped by for coffee and asked me why I want to go away, especially as I was doing so well with the gallery. Good question, I thought so I decided to write it down.

I need a reason to paint. Finding that reason is the hardest thing as an artist. Coming to the end of my residency as Artist in Residence at a female prison, was one of those life changing moments when I realised I had come to the point where I need to make time to unpick that experience. What started out as a six week project lasted almost six years. It was a big part of my life. Prison was intense

Free Spirit, the body of work I created over the last couple of years is complete. Somehow, I’ve become what I painted – a free spirit. I want to think about that work now; take time to reassess and understand the process of how one piece of work led to another, then take the ideas and contemplate how I got those ideas. I have questions that need answers. Do I need to hold on to some of this work or is it done? Is there an important part of it that means more than to me than I thought at the time? It’s like re-reading an old diary, or looking back over old photos and letters. A time for reminiscence.

Having the gallery allowed me to meet like-minded people, like Karen, an Interior Designer who lives in Curaçao. She introduced me to a gallery there and said: “Come and paint with me.”

I feel that circumstances have led me to this point. Because I got into art late in life, I feel that time is precious, it’s important and I’m grateful for it. Now that the door of opportunity has opened, I don’t want to go back. So, Curaçao is the starting block for my Artistic Adventure.

I’m scared. What if I go there and don’t do anything and end up treating it as one big holiday? My biggest fear is that I might not create anything. I’m quite a responsible person and wonder if what I’m doing is worthwhile? I feel guilty too, asking myself if this is simply self-indulgent. I suppose that’s part of being a mother. I’m going to miss the daily contact of friends and family, and have to keep reminding myself that the world’s a smaller place if I need to come home. I just hope that I don’t come back with my tail between my legs.

With only a few days to go before I leave, I’ve cleaned, dried and packed my brushes. I’m eager, hungry and ready to try new techniques. I can’t wait to see all the new sights and colours and light. I wonder how being with other artists will influence my choice of materials. I don’t have a preconceived idea of what I’m going to do. If I go with my usual brushes that might make me do my usual stuff. Do I buy paint there? In that light I might want different colours! I tend to have an emotional response to things I’m involved in and that influences and translates into my paintings.

This trip is about art, about meeting artists and talking art. If I can sell a painting, great. That will allow me to move on. But I’m not going to be precious about bringing my work home. It’s the experience more than anything I want to hold on to. I hope that I’ll come back a better artist and person.

It’s the big day on the 9th of April. I’m off with some brushes, paint and a head full of ideas, so please check back and join me in as I begin this amazing adventure.