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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My feeling for snow

Suddenly folks are back on their feet, they're walking, they have to, cars are useless, buried under mounds of snow The village has come alive and we are visited by neighbours who help us clear our driveway, who call asking us if we need any supplies, who spread  this embracing joy of being alive.
That is what snow does to us; it makes us human once again. Schools are closed and in the still air you can hear the distant cries and laughter of children.

This is pure enchantment. It takes us back again into the safe embrace of Mother Nature.
This air is coming straight from the Steppes of Russia. As it roars across the humid and warmer Adriatic, it thrusts upwards and the condensing droplets freeze and crystallize into snow flakes each snowflake being absolutely unique, and wham! 35cm of snow dumped upon us overnight. Isn't that just incredible?

Our minds slow down too, we are so enraptured by the beauty around us that those ever present nagging repetitive thoughts seem to dissolve and release us once again to see wonder in simplicity

I remember from childhood, and always will remember, this little poem by W.H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

This is why I run my workshops at Cittadella in the Sibillini National Park.
Because, being immersed once more in Nature, we let go of what we don't need of ourselves, of our lives, and allow creativity to flow through us once again. And we paint and sketch, write poetry and make Wild Photography
My neighbour, Enrico, taps on my window and snaps me out of my reverie
He wants me to check the state of our little road.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

That wonderful state

'The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable'......Robert Henri

I love this quote by Henri, because it sums up in very few words what our workshops are about.
Let me explain by putting it into the context of Cittadella, our creative home up in the sky in the Sibillini mountains of the southern Appenines in Italy.

The Tango of Creativity part one
Days begin early.
Before breakfast we put our bodies and minds into our fresh new space around the magnificent pool, with Ci Kung or Tai Chi, and we learn how to release ourselves from what we have no need of during the day ahead, and what to give our energy  to instead.
After a delicious breakfast on the patio, the activity begins. We play with colour, words, sketching, painting together and always sharing what we create. Writing Haikus and poetry of any sort and always, always finding ourselves absorbed in the marvellous realm of creativity.
And so the day proceeds and we find that slowly slowly, day by day, our work finds its own direction. It is an adventure, not just in art and creativity but also one into the warm nurturing arms of Mother Nature, up there beneath Monte Vettore, where we feel as protected as the trees, the animals and the springtime alpine flowers which adorn our outings like carpets of glory.
For further details of this unique weekend click here.

The Tango of Creativity part two
Is for folks who have already taken part one, or who have acquired  an affinity with painting, sketching and poetry in their lives.
It is more intense, less studio based and will take us to the mountain passes and to the Gola dell Infernaccio (the throat of hell) and other stunningly enchanting places to work.
For details of this weekend click here

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Imbolc: the changing of the light

Often times it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has ...changed....something that animals see, feel and react to before we do...changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as we can see in the word itself, for Imbolc refers to sheep's milk in old Irish

At this time last year I ran an Imbolc photography workshop in Venice. It rained non stop for the entire weekend, but it was beautiful none the less. This morning, however, further down the peninsular at home in Le Marche, I have been busy planting olive trees in warm sunshine; doing it properly this time having learned the skill from my neighbours, replacing those which died, due probably to my negligence over winter (which so far has not been a proper winter at all). They only cost 7 euros each however, so it's ok.

So I now have 27 olive trees. A marvel.

Has anyone read 'A river runs through it'? by Norman McLean. Just re-discovered it and find it delightful to read again. Was given it by a friend years back in CA and it stirs memories of travelling in North America up though the northern western states.

But there is indeed something different in the air during these days and I noticed this just now as a light air plane flew overhead offering that softened summer sound which in winter you don't hear. But it's not just the sounds, it's also the smells of my budding fruit trees and I suppose my rose bushes too, which have flowered all winter but suddenly, today, seem more alive. And the surprise of seeing huge bumble bees tapping away at the warmed wall of our house looking for nooks and crannies to do what inside, I've no idea, lay their eggs maybe?

Is it just this time of year I wonder? A seasonal shift in my senses, or a shift perhaps in my very life? I have little love now for cities or indeed towns of any size. This is why I have chosen Cittadella for our future workshops; a place up in the sky where we can really leave the modern world behind and give our attention to the rhythms of nature, to the magnificent rivers and mountains of the Sibillini range. Spending un- hurried time together, making and talking about the work we produce, painting, sketching, photography and writing poetry.

Here you will learn to how to re-awaken your innate creativity, not just on this weekend, but how to do so always in your life, to be able to create beyond yourselves.



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