Ho Ho Ho and a fun fuelled painting frenzy I've been in over the last few weeks.
After being offered space in a little local gallery: Lefkara Courtyard Art, which is a teeny magical 'hole in the wall' art space, owned and run by the shimmery, loveable Lisa and John Thompson (who so warmly embraced me and my work when we met 2 weeks ago).
Working on teensy pieces to harmoniously fit into this mini-space I have had theeee most FUN. Seriously! I found vintage tins and a little timber cigarette case, small frames and the tiniest canvases and maybe a few rocks to paint. Oops. AND Pete at Layia Village (where I am doing my residency) has popped a magnifying light under my ocular receptors (yep eyes) and wowsa I am in HAPPY town!
Seriously grinning my way through this body of work. And here it is. Well, some of it...
Last weekend was Assumption Day. (Not the 'I assumed you'd save me some of that delicious vegan roast banana ice-cream I love' kinda assumption) Rather this is 'The assumption of the Virgin Mary'- honouring Mary's eloquent and rather mystical ascension to heaven at the end of her life...Maybe she rose from the dead, and maybe she didn't die at all, but was assumed directly into Heaven. Mmmm got you thinking hasn't it!
Anyways, across the world on the 15th August every year, this is celebrated and in Cyprus it's an important religious festival, a biggy.
(PS: The word 'assumption' derives from the Latin word assūmptiō meaning "taking up").
I love this passage below, found whilst researching Mary's Festival - clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet....Mmmmm
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child ...
Anyways, most of you know that I have had a love affair with Mary for many years, painting her in whimsical, joy filled ways. Totally in love with her presence in my world (which is spiritual rather than religious) she oozes a soft, playful, loving feminine energy to me. And I love it.
So the collision in the past week of this body of small icon paintings I've been working on and the festival of Mary's mystical passing has felt like a serendipitous equation in my world, with lots of Ooohs and Aaahs.
How cool is this painted image of Mary, Queen of heaven ...I love the look on her face and she is so open and generous in her stance. I bet someone could come up with a cracker caption for it...anyone???
Photo's above including a romantic evening meal under the bold gaze of the full Aquarius moon, in Kalavasos. Feddy and Ginger (Kittys that Pete and Lynn, at Layia Village Crafts, have adopted and of course they have ended up in my work) Artemis and the seed bouquet and the figs and grapes found in the village. A couple of snaps from a wee photo shoot of the mural at Layia Village Crafts, with the lovely Olga, Costas, Daniel and Ollie. Some colourful iconography in our domed church in Skarinou, a night time visit to Nikosia which included some magical live music and the last ones of the assumption Festival in Pano Lefkara, the evening of traditional music and wandering the sun warmed streets in the dusky sundown.
Some of my favouritist things:
Figs… We are in figgy season, and I am in heaven. The delicious smell of the ripening teardrop shaped fruit, their succulent toasted coconutty-ness calling my name. The sensation of a fully ripe fig, warmed from the sun, surrendering between your fingers all jammy goodness then torn in half to bare its sweet seeded belly...M mmmm Gobble gobble gobble
Speaking of fabulous foraging one of my favouritist things this week was that whilst up painting (and singing away) in Layia Village, Artemis (the icon painter I met in 2019) moseyed in. A small pen-knife strung permanently around his neck and bearing a brown bouquet of dried seed heads (from which plant I couldn't decipher...maybe wild gooseberries?) that he assured me would restore and maintain eyesight if made into a tea. He has taught himself (from books) how to forage for his food and sees it all as medicine really, impartng to me in broken English and Greek all kinds of magical plant wisdom. We wandered outside for a few minutes and he found massive bunches of grapes, prickly pear and figs to snack on. He is a bit of a legend in the village and no wonder. His icon paintings glow as well as his skin and he is so kind and generous of spirit I would say that the creator/god has bestowed him with a kind of heavenly grace beyond this world...he's a bit magic. Theres a photo of him above with his bouquet of "Wild gooseberry"seedheads.
I showed him my whimsical icon paintings and he giggled.