Friday, 29 July 2016

SOMMARVISA

























































Some summery inspiration
photographed by Carl Bengtsson


Happy weekend! 











x











Monday, 25 July 2016

EYES WIDE OPEN













































We had a girls' day out on Saturday.
We visited a lovely garden
had some lunch,
then poked our heads
in small boutiques
before finishing off with cake
washed down with coffee for me
strawberry juice for her. 


I cherish times like this with my two.
I love to take them to beautiful places,
where time stands still
for a moment,
as you stare at the way
the light falls through the window,
& the soft, dark corners.
Senses wide open.



On the way back,
a message from a dear friend
lights up in the dimness,
as we pass fields, woods and quiet bays.
It's strange how in the half light
you often see the clearest.
We talk about how we both
want to create more beauty in this world,
and how that feeling has intensified lately
with all that's going on.
A mission to dwell on what's good.
So we make some plans.
Now those plans
tingle a little in the stomach. 



































Thursday, 21 July 2016

FADING TO WHITE


















"White is the presence of all colours."





After all I've seen, 
the mind seems to return to the simplest forms.
To a place where I hear my thoughts.
Like a lump of clay for hopes,
or a canvas for dreams.















Room to paint in any colour,
mold in any shape.
The tickling feeling of,
rather than something concrete,
a vagueness
that also feels like possibilities.

















The world around seems to have gone rather mad lately.
Among many other things,
it's made me think about integrity.
I remember someone saying
it's not something you are born with,
but a decision you make each moment
of each day.


A decision to be open and vulnerable.


Courage to be a blank canvas,
even with the risk of it becoming speckled
with dust and dirt.
















It has more beauty & character that way anyway,
I think.
















x



































Monday, 18 July 2016

ATELIER CÉZANNE















on the outskirts of leafy and elegant Aix-en-Provence.

A studio of silence and light.

Despite dodging the crowds with my camera
during a hot day,
this is the place where once only he would enter 
to reflect work in peace.























His atelier is filled with light
and objects
(although some recreated I'm told)
he would use as motifs in his works -
 overcoats, hats,
three skulls,
porcelain, fruit, fabric, bottles.















"People think how a sugar basin has no physiognomy, 
no soul. 
But it changes every day,"
he once said.


















Crumbling layers of paint,
the walls the most soothing tone of grey,
kissed by the passing years.


















He had initially painted everything white,
the guide says,
but the reds reflected from outside
had clashed,
and so he painstakingly mixed pigments
that would form the perfect backdrop.

















Despite the crowds,
you sense his presence
& feel inspired by his passion,
 enduring hard work
and humility.















"I could paint for a hundred years, 
a thousand years without stopping 
and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."



















x

Sunday, 10 July 2016

MAS D'ARVIEUX












Dear reader,
you may want to get yourself 
a café au lait, glass of rosé,
or whatever it may be that tickles the fancy
- you're in for a loooong post. 
(Although more pictures than words.)



We'd enter through these gates,
then carry on along the long pathway,
passing olive groves on either side
along the way. 












And then we arrive in paradise,
our home away from home.














We stay in a simple gîte at the rear end of the estate,
where life quickly takes on a relaxed vibe,
the kind we'd hoped.
Tucked in the middle of countryside,
hearing the neighbour's sheep by day,
concerts by crickets by night.


We'd pick up veggies
that oozed in vibrant colours & flavours
from the local store,
 bread warm from the oven
from the boulangerie,
a short drive away. 



A beautiful base for scratching the surface
of all that Provence has to offer.
The feeling that for those few precious weeks
that beckoned ahead,
you actually "lived" there,
rather than followed tourist trails.


























We fell in love with the three dogs,
Gustave, Léopold & Lucette,
elderly gentleman Gustave 
especially stealing our hearts.
(There was a mutual thing going on there,
he had a habit of sneaking into our cottage
although he wasn't supposed to...)

Then there were the two white horses
my daughter would try to glimpse each day.. 
And human bonds, too,
for our daughter so strong
that parting with her new friend 
caused tears to stream down her face.

Dips in the pool 
during the hottest hour of the afternoon
& after long days exploring
nearby villages and towns. 














































































We've sworn we'll be back one day.
















x













Sunday, 3 July 2016

VAN GOGH'S SAINT PAUL DE MAUSOLE








We arrive at Saint Paul de Mausole just outside Saint Rémy
during the hottest hours of the day. 
This former monastery is the asylum 
where Vincent Van Gogh
committed himself voluntarily
for a year, a week & a day.
It's where he received treatment & rested,
at times not being able to work at all,
but when he could,
churning out piece after piece,
including masterpieces like Starry Night and Irises.




We first enter a simple chapel,
















then into the the main building
and a reconstructed kitchen. 

















The asylum is centered around Romanesque cloisters,
which envelop an inner garden.
The buildings still house a psychiatric hospital today,
and there's a very special, tranquil, 
somewhat fragile feeling,
as you quietly walk and take it all in.






















Upstairs, Van Gogh's small, modest room -
a simple green metal bed, his easel,
barred windows that overlook fields at the back.












Old windows
distort the view down towards the inner garden
like a daguerreotype. 
















And behind,
wheat fields, poppies, lavender.
















x














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