On my way home from town, I looked up and noticed the fresh snow on Bogorno. Something down my feet caught my eye eventually. I quickly came off the spell of the mountain’s beauty, There, about to be squashed by my own foot, a brown leaf covered by newly formed water drops was my source of inspiration today! I quickly grabbed my watercolors to catch on paper, something so simple yet fascinating.
After a very long absence, here I am: I’m back in Ticino, back in Ascona!
Yet, not everything is as it was. Although I never thought I would find a nice studio like the one I once had in Ascona, I was lucky to have found this beautiful rustic atelier in the Onsernone, a valley so wild, not many know where it is! However, just like Ascona, the valley has been home to many artists and writers who, like me, were looking for a special place to find inspiration.
And indeed, it’s not that difficult to feel inspired between these beautiful mountains! The deep green colors of its forests in summer, the colors of Autumn, the bitter cold yet sunny winter, and the smell of herb and wild flowers of Spring. There is no boring season in the mountains!
My new atelier is on the main road of the valley in the picturesque town called Russo. I am surrounded by thick, solid and steady Ticinese walls. Time has only been able to destroy where once was a fresco…in the back wall. Little is known about the history of the house where I am at but for now it sure makes a nice cozy place where one can spend hours painting or making a sculpture.
I am so looking forward to doing exactly that: create, explore, and teach. Yes, this time around, I open the atelier to people curious to give painting or sculpting a go! The lessons are tons of fun…strangers becoming friends, friends working together, laughing together! My new atelier will be filled with plenty of smiles! And so here I am, a happy me, back in Ticino!
Another year painted…full of new faces, new places, great memories!!! I wish for your 2019 to be full of….surprises; that’s the pepper in our lives: surprises!
They carry their beauty without arrogance or ego. They swim, walk, and fly as if oblivious of my persistant pursue to try to get a proper glance at their elegant black and white heads. In fact, they avoid selfies altogether!
I paint as fast as I can. It is I, after all, the admirer, the expectator! How I wish I were this beautiful! I’m hypnotized by the contrast of their black and white colors, and their long slender necks that, when one looks closely, convert the sun light into a blue/black reflection. In the heat of the moment, almost subconsciously, I see down my paper to find the same golden color of the Arabian sands; that color that covers all those deserts that seem so far now.
A famous quote by the American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rushed through my head just as fast as that gold color made its way into each water droplet of my watercolor: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Perhaps, I thought, I am carrying the beauty of the desert in my hands, my core: my Canadian geese with the stunning golden sand colors of the Arabian gulf !
Today I stood, and stared…felt the grass between my toes; I smiled as I felt it tickling the core of my soul…
Another moment arose to paint again. It’s been a while. Who would have thought? Such tiny leaves can make one feel so…INSPIRED!
And the door opened and I was happy to see familiar faces…I was at my second home, the house of good friends. You know, the kind of friends who become family.
Doors: we all pass through them every day of our lives. They are barriers we pass through to enter work, home, a place to talk to our God. They protect us. They keep our privacy. Yet, we open and close them without finding their purpose fascinating! I blame this on the fact that most doors are too plain to admire; too plain for us to give a thought about them.
Here in the Middle East, I have found doors that come in all shape and sizes…more sizes than shapes, in fact. I’ve passed some really tiny ones, and some so tall I feel very small!
It’s almost hard to ignore them, the Arabian doors. I look at them with amazement, these art pieces that hide behind them human life, human history, and a place for us to rest our tired souls and bodies.
Have you ever had the urge to go back to a place where you’ve left unfinished business?
Inspiration called me this morning to head up to Sharjah, to finally put an end to what seemed to be my obsession since last Friday night. The Friday, when for the first time, I managed to get myself into a taxi and said:
“Where exactly, Ms.?” Asked the driver.
“I don’t know…drive me in that direction till I say stop.” “Please.” Smile.
That warm evening while on Corniche Street, I noticed Al Noor mosque with the most amazing sunset kissing its roof good-bye for the night. The white walls were stained orange and I knew that’d be only for a brief moment. I cried out: “this is my stop, thanks!”
I knew then, I’ve made a big mistake for leaving my watercolors at home….till this morning.
I found myself again, sitting on the spot where I had admired the beauty of this structure. Looking for shade, I sat on a bench. I was in the place I wanted to be. I was once again outdoors, fascinated by the many wonders of the place I now call home.
The end result of my study….
And the final touch….
I have been spending a lot of time in the area of Deira, Dubai. I can’t have enough of the old city, despite the heat, the crowd, and what many consider: the “messy” streets!
Yes, Deira is far from being the glamourous Marina or the downtown area….the palm! Yet many tourists (and residents alike) in my opinion, miss the opportunity to see the authentic Dubai, and where it all began!
I admit, I never thought I would find a lot of inspiration in a city like Dubai but I’ve been proven wrong! From the my trips to the old souks and Deira itself, I have managed to capture beautiful everyday ordinary times on paper. My favorite subject is the beautiful dhows in the Dubai creek.
Although a group of dhows can make a joyous sky like the many instruments in an orchestra, I prefer to isolate each dhow at a time. Each with its own unique details ..
Yet, like once was said: ” Two is better than one!” What do you think?! 😊
In the heat of April’s early mornings, I stood like a kid in a candy store, not knowing where to go or look; everything attracts me!!! It isn’t my first trip to Deira, I have come here many times. Yet that feel of novelty always lingers in the air when I am there. Deira isn’t just a shopping for rare objects, or spices but a place to find inspiration!
Between the so many mosques’ roofs popping in the skyline I sit and sketch my first watercolor. This beautiful and colorful round dome is just breath-taking.
Just as I come out from the shaded corner at the entrance of the old souk, I see an older man taking refuge from the radiant sun. Next to me, and unaware, he stays still and poses for me…
It is nice to have a day to celebrate the existence of someone (and hopefully more than one!) who makes your life worth…living!!!
If you have ever thought people exaggerate when they say: “life in Dubai is exciting,” they’re not lying!!! I wake up everyday hungry to start my day. Everyday brings another opportunity to either meet interesting people (from all over the world), or learn something new, be it something about the city, or just life in general.
Today was a day to have a small taste of the art scene here in Dubai. My neighbor (and a friend I feel I’ve known all my life) and her friend (a new friend I also feel I’ve known for ages!) invited me to come to Alserkal Avenue.
Alserkal Avenue is a cluster of warehouses that over the years have been converted into art galleries, art studios and other creative shops. Alserkal Avenue oozes creativity, culture, knowledge…emotions! It is not wonder why this place has evolved into being an interesting art hub in the city.
Overwhelmed and tired, I have come home to write about my favorite pieces. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Tony Cragg in Leila Heller gallery:
Safwan Dahoul in Ayyam gallery:
Angelica Dass and her project Humanae…which goes beyond skin tones. It touches the very core of human existence, who we are and how we define ourselves.
And since today is valentine’s day, I thought I would include a love story piece. Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of this photographer.
And last but not least..