I have been practicing with my new camera that I got for my birthday and sampling a new way of painting after watching Bob Ross. He was on during lockdown and since I think we’re soon to be locked down again I thought I better get cracking.
The Lefkás pictures are not mine by the way. (Also, I’m still reading the feminist books as I took a break for my birthday to visit friends and have my parents visit me.)
Since we are still unable to leave the country as they haven’t decided on which country there can be air bridges too and having had my flights to Greece cancelled twice this year already; I thought I would share some images of Spring transiting into summer in the UK.
Since here in the UK the lockdown is only just starting to be eased with shops opening, social distancing being reduced and the ability to see friends and family through bubbles I thought I would show some of my art that I have made recently.
Lefkás inspired ones followed by Coronavirus inspired ones and pictures of the area.
This is actually a mindset of emotional repression caused by the inherent class system which uses alcohol and a trip to the pub as it’s let off valve. The sports of Football and boxing are also used by men to let off steam, with cricket traditionally being played by gentlemen and rugby being the sport for gentlemen but played by ruffians. Tennis was a much more genteel sport with polo, croquet or bowls definitely for the upper classes as they had time to indulge in leisure activities. Racing whether it be horses or dogs was for lower class gentlemen just like darts is today. Even this delineation smacks of the true division that is still ever present in our society. These are all masculine activities those are women were expected to be barefoot and pregnant as the saying went.
The self deprecating attitude traditionally associated with the English is perplexing to foreigners. We are always putting ourselves down, thinking we are not good enough. We are always complaining amongst ourselves but never to those in authority as we don’t wish to upset the apple cart. We can’t have ideas above our station after all.
We are always queuing waiting for our turn quietly obeying the laws of the land but we are also always gossiping about others who dare to do something different. It is such a scandal when someone does something that doesn’t fit with the status quo. Those that dare to be different though make the most of there lives by breaking out of the stuffy container that we have made for ourselves.
Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, the Bloomsbury group, the Pre Raphealites these were all people who were bohemian that believed the world could be a better place through art and music. They lived a hedonistic lifestyle but they could afford too as they were commonly part of the landed gentry. They could afford to live eccentric lifestyles travelling abroad and living in grand houses attended by many servants. This is harking back to Roman times but more often I think it was a nod to a romantic notion that we all in the UK entertain about life in Ancient Greece. If you think about it we are still ruled over by an Anglo Greek alliance through Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
So in a way you could say we are all striving for something better in our lives while remaining exactly where we are as we have internalised the fact that the class we were born into is the one we will die in. If we achieve a meteoric rise some how then we are frequently brought back down to Earth again abruptly like Anne Boleyn was only not quite so dramatically.
The crab bucket effect is very much part of our lives along with the keeping up with the Jones idea. For those who are not English this is the constant fight to maintain the appearance that you are a heterosexual married couple who are middle class with a good job, car, well maintained house with 2 well behaved children. This idea is a complete fallacy but it’s what we all learn from our environment as what we need to aspire to. If we have not managed to achieve this by age 30 we are somehow incomplete and there is something wrong with us.
With this break from normalcy we should all new values to creep in to replace the old ones which didn’t serve us. You may have noticed that all of the individuals I mentioned earlier were not only artists but engaged in different sexual identities. There gender representation was also different from the norm. This has been so against what society has said was acceptable for so long that we have lost some of our greatest minds like Alan Turing through this ignorance. We need to allow all forms of expression for we are all human at the end of the day. If we are much kinder and welcoming of those that present differently, think how much creativity and intellect will be saved. We will be living in a better world for all concerned.
Art is timeless therefore somebody, somewhere at some point in time will like your work. Don’t censor yourself and make whatever is inside you. The best art just like the best stories, songs, sculptures, movies or photographs contains parts of ourselves. It allows us to look back and say “yes I was feeling that way ” or “yes I was thinking that way.” It allows us breathing space and the ability to gain catharsis in our often frequently congested brains. All art is unique in that way for we are all unique.
Art should not be made into a commodity for sale or profit. It should not be designed because a particular movement is popular or sells well. It should be made because you love to do it. It’s a way of expressing your truth. It tells the world this is who I am. It is what I think and what I feel. It makes me feel alive to be a part of the world by connecting into a greater consciousness. Creativity is the path to self actualisation and becoming the best version of who we are meant to be.
Do not create art for arts sake. Art has a higher purpose which is why you achieve a higher state of consciousness by just letting it all go. When the surroundings are blocked out and there is just you and the canvas then you can create a masterpiece. Don’t overthink it as the purpose here is to let those parts of your brain that are usually inactive to awaken. When your accessing the pieces that are usually only available in sleep then you are making something spectacular.
Art and money do not go together. Do not go into art and expect to make money. If you do then you have hit a lucky fluke by meeting the right people at the right time at the right place. It looks like this happens all the time but the percentage is really quite small. If you want to make money do something else. Only go into art if you can do nothing else. The old adage of the poor artist is true.
However, we do have a ray of hope with Covid 19 changing the world beyond recognition. It maybe kinder, more empathetic and family based with more respect for the environment and less motivated by money especially greed. Here’s hoping that when this is over we live in a much nicer world that we are all proud to belong to. Let’s also hope that we look after it much better than we have been doing recently.
Olafur Eliasson is a very famous Danish installation artist. He looks at things with a different viewpoint to most. He examines the basics and some how comes up with something new continually. Its like he continues the ideas of the Bauhaus but in that Nordic way which we all know so well from Ikea furniture. Its cut down but evocative as it has the essence of good design distilled into them.
It must be a Scandinavian thing because as well as catching him on The Art of Architecture on Sky Arts, Abstract Design on Netflix and in a Tate Britain exhibition; his friend fellow Dane Bjarke Ingels designs tower blocks that are affordable but look more like a village. They look good as they are full of abstract design. They are unique in modular design as they all have gardens, are full of light and air while maximising the space available to create something that looks pleasing to the eye.
Now I know its very unusual to write about the artwork in an airport but this was covered to the extent they gave tours to showcase it all. They were not happening then but you could still take a lot of pictures yourself to document the work.
When we got to Mumbai airport there were an astonishing amount of things to look at while we were waiting to board the plane and there were no crowds. I bought a scarf as I needed to get rid of my rupees (you can’t take them out of the country) having previously only bought a hat at India – Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary, a bottle of water and later on a KFC in an airport since we flew from Jaipur-Udaipur one day, Udaipur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Goa and then finally Goa-Mumbai after a couple of days.
So now we are coming to the tail end of my trip. As we were all pretty exhausted from trekking across India we were all pretty glad to have a couple of days with nothing planned.
We went in the pool until it was closed because of Corona virus concerns. My mother in law had a pedicure but the next day the Spa closed along with the gym because of Covid 19 precautions. Me and my husband went to the beach but were pretty much set upon immediately by hawkers wanting to sell us massages. Unlike like in Lefkas where there all Chinese women with boards saying what they can do; these are locals with only a bottle of coconut oil in their pocket so you can’t pick them out at all and avoid them. After a 2 minute trial which was in fact a 15 minute leg massage I retreated to my hotel.I paid him but not what he was asking as it was too much and he couldn’t enter the hotel to argue. I got the impression that he frequently gave massages to people on the beach who didn’t have money on them and later they gave him money as they felt bad.
The next day we went to a cafe that was halfway between the beach and the hotel with some Americans we met that we had discovered had mutual friends with us. They were much more adventurous than us so had been checking out the local area but they hadn’t found much besides a pizza place. It was as the hotel said in its documentation, a resort they had created out of nothing. Since there kids club and activities like archery had both seen better days and closed for health reasons they were unsure what to do. They had initially planned to tour southern India spending a lot of time in Kerala but since this was hit bad and Goa didn’t have any they had decided to stay put for the time being.
I also tried to find out where the nearest shop was and was told that they would need to organise a taxi to take us the 10 minutes to its location, wait while we shopped and take us back again. I decided against this with my previous experience of shopping in a service station being full of unpriced items so you never know whether your getting a good deal or not. I could also wait until Mumbai which was a much bigger town. I was surprised that the hotel didn’t have a shop selling items it didn’t provide. In Mexico there was and in Berlin there were corner shops but no such thing in India.
After a couple days of reading the newspaper at breakfast and checking social media as you do, we left for Mumbai having explored the rest of the resort and had drinks on the beach.
For the rest of the posts in the series look here:
When we got here we stayed in the same place that Octopussy was filmed at. The interesting thing is that the Palace of the movie is in fact 2 different palaces that are very close to each other. They have patched it together so well that unless you have visited the 2 locations you wouldn’t know that they had done that. Roger Moore named the pond the Lily Pond when he was doing the filming.
While we were staying in the Lake Palace we would get the boat over to the shore to visit another City Palace
and to attend a Hindu temple
which had a service going on. We also visited the gardens that were very beautiful, shady and calming. Udaipur had a lot of construction work going on to build roads but it was still cleaner and quieter than Delhi. People didn’t tend to blow there horns anywhere near as much. Holi is celebrated over several days because there is the initial holiday then the policemen and so on so all members of society participate in all regions eventually.
There are always so many sellers of everything on the streets everywhere you go so its rather overwhelming trying to get anywhere or do anything. By being in a private tour you don’t get to see the real India but its close enough for my liking. I don’t like being hassled so India is not a place to go if your rather sensitive like I am. Which is why my parents had always told me not to go but my in-laws convinced my husband so we went.
This particular City Palace is all about coloured glass as its very vibrant. Its filled with many panels and designs through.
There are lots of temples, palaces and tombs through India all created with marble and inlaid with precious stones which are magnificent to behold but the input gets too much. I was quite ill the day we arrived here.
There are also many fabric and clothes shops as well as those selling tourist souvenirs. There was a tour that we could have gone on to see the local women and the crafts that they make but we were getting rather tired after our extremely long bus journeys around India. The early mornings and the flights were getting to us.
As was the fact that despite staying in 5 star hotels you still get Delhi belly. We started to avoid milk in all forms, dairy, meat even fruit because you most certainly can’t drink the water. We were wary about ice in our drinks too as it was starting to get hot on the west coast of India. Curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner does take its toll.
Its better than the international options when they were around but you just want some plain food occasionally. You do however realise how unsatisfying pastries are for breakfast as its just carbs. Also nobody ever eats the cereal in hotels abroad regardless of whether its India, Prague, Berlin, Tenerife, Mexico or Morocco.
Time for a beach break in Goa which is the next stop.
I know the feeling because today I vacuumed the house, did some more laundry, dishes and weeding. I also wrote a couple articles which will turn up in the next couple days and called a couple people since physical distancing is good but social distancing is not.
This is a style of art from the 1930s that was again a reaction to the harshness of world war 1. It took its name from a exhibition that took place in Crystal Palace show casing all of the new items for sale. Art Decoratif in French or Art Deco as it came to be known in English. Wikipedia has a very good article on this so I don’t need to go into too much detail here but it was fascinating when I went in the Design Museum in Berlin to see object from this era on display. I also love it when I come across examples in painting, architecture or tile.
I really like this as it’s angular and embodies the principles of form and function without redundancies. There is not superfluous lines there just to make it look good. It is streamlined and efficient. It is also aesthetically pleasing.
It was taking place not long after the Bauhaus movement in Germany. It also influenced many of the Greek poets that I have previously written about since they lived in Europe at the same time. I have also written about Bauhaus along with Picasso impact on Cubism.
Which art movements have spoken to you over the years?
I can’t believe I’ve never written about one of my most favourite art movements before! I absolutely love Cubism. I have been a fan of this style since I first discovered this at college. I did an Access course to higher education which grants you entrance to university after one year instead of the usual 2 if you were not able to do your a levels for some reason.
I had a good Art History teacher Lorraine Monk who was also a bit of a feminist so we studied people like Frida Kahlo which is another one of my interests and one of the reasons why I was very happy when I got to visit Mexico. Anyways this is getting away from Picasso.
Picasso invented cubism with his seminal art work Demoisselles de Avignon in 1917. He was affected greatly by the First World War as was everyone else who served in it. Being Spanish Picasso was very emotional so the world was constantly recreated in an abstract way on his canvases. When a friend of his committed suicide he entered his blue period for the next couple of years until he had recovered. It was the Spanish Civil war which caused him to paint Guernica which is another era defining painting.
I think a certain amount of anguish is necessary for art to be created as we need to tap into that resource of feelings which are usually hidden behind logic. The best music is usually created by musicians when they are currently under going some kind of trauma like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac or the Winner takes it all by ABBA.
He Thomas Heatherwick, creates architectural works of art. His buildings that are more like installation art than anything else. He likes using the symmetry of nature along with art, structure, line , form, colour, and material as you would expect from an architect. The Art of Architecture on Sky Arts ran a program on him creating the Vessel which is how I came across his work. They are unique in there design and he has made buildings all over the world.
Since I like to celebrate the unusual I thought I would showcase some of the things that inspire me. I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts but it is nice to connect with others. I’m not good at communicating my thoughts to others in a way that they can understand so I’m trying to improve that. One way is by sharing what I have been interested in lately so that others can possibly find common interests and start up a dialogue about these things.
I recently went to Tenerife on holiday and while I was there I took numerous pictures of the different styles of buildings. I’m a very visual person so I like line, shape, form, colour and all those things which an architect might consider when designing a building. I had also been watching the Art of Design on Netflix along with the Art of Architecture on Sky Arts.
Whenever I go anywhere the buildings are what interest me as I like to see the craftsmanship that has gone into making them. You can tell just by looking whether it was put in a hurry or whether it was a labour of love over many years. This may seem an odd thing to contemplate while you are away but I’ve never been like anyone else. Also when everyone your surrounded by is in involved in building or property in some way it seems in if it didn’t already reside in you.
Since I like drawing, painting and photography it would seem natural for me to be drawn to art galleries and museums. While in Tenerife I went to pretty much everything available in Santa Cruz which is the capital. I gained an insight into their culture and the light which is available there.
When I was in Berlin I also went to many art galleries and museums but there is so much more to absorb here that you need to take a break. I got overwhelmed with the amount of information that I was taking in and physically couldn’t read anymore. The architecture here is more of the kind that while is impressive, it’s so dark that it’s not the kind of thing you want to be pictured by. The history associated with these buildings is immense and thought provoking. There certainly not the happy colours of Tenerife.
This is a German style of art from the turn of the 20th century. It is a reaction against the horrors of the First World War. It was trying to create a new society as the old one had been so thoroughly destroyed. Old habits have a habit of creeping back in though so it wasn’t long before the attitudes of the older tutors started to corrupt the ideas of the younger generation.
The women who attended were soon segregated to the weaving department and this led to development of innovation in the world of thread. Annie Albers developed fabric that could be used for sound proofing that was much better than what was previously in use. This was mentioned in the covering program by the BBC as well as in her own program. Her work was recently exhibited at the Tate too.
After this input I had to visit the original Bauhaus exhibition when I went to Berlin. It was wonderful to learn all that I could about the preliminary exercises, the tutors and pupils, the locations and the effect that it has had on the world of design since. It has made me realise that as much as I think I’m innovative, everything truly has been done before. Therefore it’s freeing to know that I don’t need to try to reinvent the wheel in my art or photography.
I liked the idea they had of exploring colour, paper, light and shade like you had never used them before. It was the throwing out of everything you knew before to start afresh. I have been doing this over the course of the past year at least to explore where I need to go with my artistic projects. This is in conjunction with my therapy to understand myself and the world better.