Is today the shortest day of the year called the winter solstice or winter equinox? Google dictionary’s definition of the winter solstice says the sun reaches its minimum declination in the Northern hemisphere. Where I live in the UK, sunset was before 4pm today. With new virus strain and more restrictions imposed everywhere, we have too many reasons to get bogged down easily. However on a positive note, we are one step closer to Spring from tomorrow…
A couple of nights ago, I saw a beautiful skinny crescent moon peeking in and out of the clouds in the dark grey sky. And it reminded me of my picture above that I created in 2019 when things were still so called ‘normal’ then. I wanted to create a comical random piece like a scene from some kind of a folklore tale. But it turned out to be a heart broken mouse and his bride-to-be goes crazy over a big chunk of cheese and a flying saucer floating above them. Ha ha.
No doubt she was shouting with an excitement, ‘CHE FORMAGGIO!!’ (what a cheese!). This one seems to be my eldest son’s favourite and once we can all travel freely again, I will fly and hand carry it to him as he is the proud owner, my very first client! He had an onslaught of hardships one after another this year. I hope he will never ever stop pursuing his goals because he truly deserves to be happy whatever he decides to do in life.
I have a rectangle shape hot pot mat in my kitchen that I bought when I lived in Azores, Portugal. The middle part is made of ceramic, surrounded by cork. Everyday I use it to place pots and pans off the cooker or a cuppa when it’s still boiling hot. One day, the usual sight of the design suddenly caught my attention. I wanted to create something similar. A challenge accepted! And after a couple of days, my art piece no.32 LA SERENITA was born.
My creativity is normally very random but this time was different. Maybe I was, for a moment, reminiscing a life on the Island of Terceira (one of the seven Azores islands) in the Atlantic Ocean. It was filled with traditional festivals, hand made white ceramics with painted design in blue, wicker baskets, Alcatra cooked in a clay dish and anorexic looking cows that were allowed to walk on the motorway. Oh I should not forget my favourite ‘Galao’ (café latte, sort of)…well, back to my picture. I am quite happy how it turned out in the end. If it conjures up a feeling of serenity by looking at the picture, my title does the justice.
I decided that I would start writing my blog on my birthday 10 days ago and here I am. Above is my art project no.13 and its title ‘IL MAESTRO’. To capture the feeling of the piece I make, Italian language does it for me. As always I have no particular reasons or motives to create the picture. The whole image was dwelling in my head for some time and I had to dig it out to make it tangible. I don’t paint nor draw. No talent for that. I don’t design ahead either. Just start cutting origami into pieces and collate them together and get excited about how true and precise my end product could arrive where the original image was.
9 out of 10 I succeed. Not bad, huh. Well no one can judge it but me, oh well. Having said all that, I still hope this picture can make someone smile by glancing at it. I think deep down I intend IL MAESTRO to be more like a magician who can make miracle happen yet never ever claim a credit for it. Transcended from worldly affairs. Serene, angelic. When I made this picture there was no pandemic around us. But now we are facing anxiety and fear of unknown future every day and many sleepless nights. So let’s remember to breathe. We don’t always have solutions outside us. Perhaps this is the time we can explore a bit more about our own selves we think we already know.
There it was – Klimt’s world famous masterpiece, ‘The Kiss’ at the Upper Belvedere stood magnificently in front of my eyes. I went to Vienna with my Friend, Atsuko back in 2010. She used to work for a tourist agency and she is an avid traveller/a connoisseur of fine arts and cuisines. And thanks to her, the trip enabled me to encounter Klimt’s art works at the Leopold Museum, Secession, Albertina, Belvedere Palace and more! Klimt is definitely one of my favourite artists by far. So how could I refrain myself being extremely ecstatic?
Nevertheless I am secretly hoping one day, ‘The Stoclet Frieze’, the Klimt’s beautiful mosaics on the dinning wall of Josef Hoffmann’s house will be allowed for a public viewing. Oh, one episode I must add to this blog. On the last day in Vienna, we were having a coffee at the Café Aida. Whilst my friend was gone to the restroom, a very elegant, elderly lady sat at the table next to mine, turned to me and smiled. ‘Sprechen Sie Deutsch’? She asked. So I shook my head and said ‘I speak English’. Then she leaned over to me closer and told me the most incredible story I ever heard.
She said she was a holocaust survivor who had spent time in Auschwitz when she was 11 years old. Then she moved to the States and built her family there… Because I was overcome with such a dismay, my brain went totally hazy and lost its capacity to take information in easily. It could have been no more than 5 minutes when she was talking and next thing I remembered, she was not facing towards me as my friend returned.
Was I having delirium momentarily? Was something in my coffee I drank? No, it was real. She somehow chose me to reveal her story. To this date, I painfully regret not having asked, at a bare minimum, her name. I wanted to give her a huge hug and tell her how much she means to the world and the entire humanity. And promise her that we will never repeat the foolishness.
So here I have created my Big Bad Wolf smartly dressed with a necktie, buried amongst random creatures. As I explained in my ‘About Me’ section of this website, the image was lingering in my head for some time. And my creative journey started with this wolf. In fact, I initially made the wolf chasing the red riding hood with a bouquet of flowers but I made his head so big that it couldn’t fit within the picture frame (abovementioned)! I had to separate the two… Still the vivid colours of the wolf’s head was shouting loudly at me despite the fierce look. It was telling me to do something about it.
Meantime, my old self was serenading the elegy of pessimism – ‘no just leave it, you can’t create anything artistic that is worthwhile anyway’. Hmm. In the end I made up my mind. ‘Alright Mr. Big Bad Wolf, thanks to you that I will create something randomly chaotic and visually so cheerful’ – my version of an origami-collage art. By the way, unlike water colour/oil paintings, origami colours are fixed and rigid. There is no way to modify each defined colours. Roses are red, violets are blue. But that is why it’s interesting to work with origami colours. Within the means, actually I had to ‘throw off my mental chains’ (thank you, Howard!!) and to bend my conventional perspectives. In my world it became okay for roses to be gold and violets light green. This is a creative world so liberating and so unique.