Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Oil paint for the ears, spring flowers for the sorrows


THERE ARE WHITE FLOWERS growing beautifully about this rusty old wheel at the front of our truck, but I haven't had a chance to go and look at them these last weeks because I have been painting. Painting at night, painting in the days, painting in the bits in between.
I am emerging gradually from underneath an elephant of exhaustion which is the result of two manic weeks of exhibition preparation. Up in that tree I knew not of the long hours of desperately focused painting that lay ahead. I have always been a last minute artist and I think really that I work well under pressure, even though I don't like it one bit. I like best to be able to set my drifty painting pace to meander around my days as they go, but when an outside deadline looms, I fear failure above all and morph into a new creature with an iron will to finish it, no matter how leaden my eyelids or how loud my inner screams.


I had two paintings to complete before the opening and both are, I think and hope, the best things I've done. And while I have painted like a thing possessed, Tui has made me the most lovely picture frames from found wood.
Along from where our house rests its wheels is a pile of moss and timber that was once a barn. The roof has caved in completely and all around nettles and brambles grow. There by the barn-that-was lie stacks of old pallets. Weathered by time and the sky, grey and holey. Perfect for a poverty stricken artist who cannot afford expensive framers. I bought cheap clip frames to provide the glass and the backing and had mounts cut. The rest was done by Tui with glue and staples and sandpaper. Here are the magnificent rustic results in progress and in all their gallery glory!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile springtime was passing me by; I sat bent over the table like my painted characters, moving my three-haired paintbrush over the neverending surface of wood.
These two latest works have music coming from them. If you lean close and listen, you'll hear strains of strange East-European melodies, for those are the musics that move me.
If you have not yet heard the exquisite harmony singing from Bulgaria, sung sometimes with the accompaniment of the goat-bagpipe, the gaida, I urge you to - there is nothing like it. I've recommended it before but A Harvest, A Shepherd, A Bride - Village Music of Bulgaria is a wonderful collection of songs which I think is how this painting would sound if you could for a moment swap your ears with your eyes and listen to it. Anyhow, the point is that the painting I worked on up in that tree studio became this below. I am very pleased with it, and I rarely say this. A new tiny paintbrush has led me to paint fine lines describing the shapes of faces and hands and feet with finely diluted oil paint. And these different-sized people fit happily into the odd shaped piece of wood, singing their Bulgarian harmonies, while the little fellow plays heartily on his gaida. I only managed to take one photo of this painting amid the recent chaos, but here it is... (that first word of the title means 'sing' or 'we sing' - unless any Bulgarian readers can tell me otherwise?)



пея : A Song To All Our Sorrows

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And next came the final piece. With just one week to go, and the most enormous piece of wood I have ever painted on in front of me, I began work on a clock to out-tick all previous clocks... With pencil in hand I spent late nights drawing a scene of Pied-Piperishness, an old bearded one-man-band with rats nestling in his beard, and children following. It took time, and the painting gradually took shape. I had read that the story of the Pied Piper was perhaps a remnant of a history of an exodus from Hamelin to collonize parts of Eastern Europe. And this combined with ideas about Jewish music (something that has always resonated old and true in me), and the ostracization of Jews through history formed an image. The pied piper in this case has become a one man band, partly because I like the idea of a character carrying all his instruments and chattels at once, and partly because I needed the roundess of drum for the clock face. The title I took from the well known W.B Yeats poem The Stolen Child that has been sung by various folk singers, and so tied in thoughts of childhood, and the taking-away that is done by music and imagination, and that is so very important, not just in childhood. Of course there is sadness there too, as there always is I think in my work.
I took photos of this one as I went which I share with you here.



So there it is, I am pleased with my work, though I became far too exhausted to be able to 'see' it properly by the end. The night before the opening of the exhibition I was still painting... and went to bed, finally putting the battery in the back of the clock, and setting it to twenty to eleven. On waking.. it still said twenty to eleven and there followed a morning of panic, re-drilling and just a little throwing of pliers. With just half an hour to spare we arrived and hung the clock in its place on the gallery wall. There it'll be for all to see, and perhaps to buy until the 10th of May. These rather nice photos of it below were taken for the Imagine Gallery website.



Come Away O Human Child From A World More Full Of Weeping
Than You Can Understand


Now I'm off to not paint for a few days and enjoy the wonderful springing springtime...

63 comments:

Annie said...

Stunning pieces. A wonderful post. I kept scrolling down thinking there would be just a bit more, but WOW - so much to enjoy.

Hope you get into the fields and the woods soon - Spring seems particularly vivid this year.

tut-tut said...

How thrilling to see the photos of the process.

hen said...

absolutley breathtaking Rima. I've an atmosphere in my belly that reminds me of reading fairytales by torchlight under my blankets as a child.

The almost dischordant harmonies of Bulgarian music are among my favourite things. :)

hen
x

clo said...

hello...your blog is simply wonderful and beautiful...like a fairy tail...read english is difficult for me but i try to discover your magic world....congratulation...have a good time...clo

ruthie said...

this is so stunning rima, so worth all those lost hours. mmm, i recognise that working under pressure, heavy lidded, numbness feeling - my best work is done just so. hope you can enjoy the stillnesss & the peace of your beautiful surroundings now for a wee while. so wish i was near sudbury to visit that exhibition for your work & jackie morris's are two most favourites!! good luck in your selling x

littlerobot said...

Stunning Rima! And great to see the process...i'm also very taken with the monochrome/red background stage as well! :)

acornmoon said...

Hi Rima, your new work is stunning and I am sure it will bring you the success that you deserve.

Sarah said...

These are magically beautiful. I love the line of strange little children. You are very talented. Lovely to see the process of your work too. You deserve a rest!

nadia said...

Rima, you and your work are just fab! I love these new pieces soooo much and wish i could buy them all to adorn the walls of our house!
Have lots of fun resting now! And all the best with the exhibition.
all the best,
nadia

(shadowsandclouds.blogspot.com)

Lunaea said...

Rima, your work continues to move me in ways too mysterious to describe.

Syren said...

Hi Rima, beautiful work and I love the rustic frames - what more can I say.
Thankyou for introducing me to Bulgarian music. As a singer with eclectic tastes, I am really enjoying it. I will be putting the CD on my birthday wishlist.:)
Enjoy your well earned rest.
Pity I live on the other side of the world - I'd love to see the exhibition. Will just have to drool over the photos instead.

Ciara said...

Oh Rima. You have outdone yourself. Yet again. How is that possible?
These are stunning! Oh to see them in the flesh...
May they fly from the walls!
C x

ElvaUndine said...

Ooh, I loved seeing the process of the clock-painting.

Julianna said...

Haunting, beautiful paintings! I love your points of inspiration.

Miss/Monster said...

i love seeing progression pictures :) an amazing piece of art!

i stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago and was facinated by your house on wheels. i love nature and if i werent so damn scared of the outside world i'd love to have my own house on wheels.

<3

fairiemoon said...

Rima,
I love this clock and its story. I think many artists work best with a looming deadline to drive us. I wish I could have this clock to hang upon my wall!

Time to relax! Enjoy your break and I wish you all the best for your exhibition!
Erin

http://www.fairiemoon.typepad.com/fairiemoon/

Night Owl said...

What a beautiful clock, I do love your art work :-)

Shelley Noble said...

Exquisite works, Rima. I love the way you describe your process. The way of an artist. Much love, enjoy your days...

moreidlethoughts said...

I love all of your work, Rima, but a special connection with The Pied Piper makes this one a stand-out.
Good luck with "red spots."

pRiyA said...

Your work as always is exquisite and Tui's frames are beautiful. Now I just have to go back and read and look at this post all over again...lovely!

Stepping off the edge said...

Stunning is the word. I agree whole heartedly- some of your best work ever. the clock is amazing! And Tui's frames are perfection. What a wonder you are Rima! and what a pair you and Tui make.
Blessings to you both. Enjoy the Spring!
:o)

Lori W said...

The picture frames (and the art) are utterly gorgeous! I wish I could construct such beautifully weathered frames!

Karita said...

Wow. Unbelievably beautiful.

Tangle said...

Hello... I was one of the faeries who wandered past on a sunny afternoon in Canterbury. I've fallen completely for your lovely work... and am in awe of your cosy wheeled nest! Well done :)

Vickie said...

Just beautiful! Your work always amazes me.

Jessie Lilac said...

You must have been inspired by magic to have use that piece of wood with this image. It's as though the image came before the wood! I love the outer shape of it and of course the exquisitely stunning painting of yours. How on earth are you going to put a price on something like this!! By the way, your table looks like an old still life with the bowl of pears and candle.x

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

so wonderful~i just love those frames, they go so well with your work~nothing else would make such a positive impact :)

al hayball said...

I love this work of yours Rima, keep it up. Tremendous!
Well here it is!... The interior, of my 'Moomite' van. After visiting the new forest 3 or 4 times a week for quite a few weeks its finished! and looks pretty good if I might say so myself!....Not quite a converted horse box lorry but my own little home from home!

see the full story on my BLOG and more piccies! Let me know what you think..

http://ahayball.blogspot.com/


cheers! al

Julie Bouésso said...

I enjoy your latest pieces, which are fabulous. But also enjoyed the little blurb about the self-made frames. Great recycle project! :) Cheers, Julie

beadbabe49 said...

My dear, I bow to you....you are an artist of consummate skill and inspiration.
Thank you for sharing your process so generously.

Tess said...

Utterly amazing and magical. I hope you are a little rested by now.

Nao said...

Wow, wow, wow.

Rima, you have created absolute magic, stories from other worlds. I can hear the Bulgarian music and feel the weight of the clock on the old mans back.

You must now Celebrate all you have done. Feel nothing but good about the wonder you offer the world. Time for you to watch flowers grow for a while until the next swell of inspiration hits!

And then, THANK YOU, on behalf of all of us who benefit so greatly from your work.

erin gergen halls said...

you have grown!
new paintbrush, new dimension to your art. the faces have become something - more, if thats possible.
perhaps life on the road suits you and your creative juices perfectly.
i am drawn in, turned this way and that, and left with a feeling of not wanting to leave.
not until i more closely examine each of those mesmerizing faces that seem to be staring just as intently back.
congratulations, dear dear girl.
you have grown indeed!

Melanie said...

Well done Rima for getting the clock done in time. What a scare!

anthromama said...

Rima, the Pied Piper clock is so beautiful! I like that rusty red especially, and the wonderful curly sidelocks and beard.

Did I ever mention that my son really loves the video you did for Polly Paulusma? He thinks it's a bit scary, but he loves to watch it all the same!

ArtSnark said...

Enjoy your spring! Beautiful work - the clock is truly stunning

joanasoares said...

The frames of the paintings could not be more perfect.
The shape of that clock... It is something! And I dont have words to say how much I love the painting in it...the whole piece. (Oh... Im hearing the music, and it is magical!)
Happy springtime!

The Clever Pup said...

Rima, I hope you don't mind but I wrote a paragraph about your beguiling work and website on my blog this morning. The post is called Winter Wren and Other Fairies.

tlc illustration said...

Congratulations Rima - and what a beautiful job of it. The art, the rustic framing, and the amazing clock! Wow! (Loreena McKennitt sings my favorite version of "Stolen Child"). I hope the show does incredibly well.

And please do let me know when you post your version of Baba Yaga. I'd love to see your take on her.

rossichka said...

Dear Rima, I love reading your blog and admire the way you are travelling through life and art. I find your works inspiring and unique! I'm a Bulgarian, that's why was astonished at seeing the word "пея" in your latest post:-) In fact it means "I sing". If you want to say "they sing" you should write: "те пеят" or just "пеят". I was pleased but not surprised that Bulgarian folk-songs have impressed you so much and inspired to create such a strong piece of work! They are really beautiful - sad, deep, like nothing else on Earth... Bulgarian voices are a phenomenon that can't be explained. They say that Bulgarians are very gifted singers due perhaps to their facial structute- their oral cavity is perfect for the complete development of sound. We have a worldwide known choir that is called "The Mystery of Bulgarian voices". You can hear some of its songs here...
http://vbox7.com/play:6425b029
http://vbox7.com/play:d3707535
http://vbox7.com/play:4f8935a8

In the clip of Dessi Dobreva (a young Bulgarian pop-singer) you can see paintings of the famous Bulgarian artist Vladimir Dimitrov-Maystora - http://vbox7.com/play:c934d179. I hope you'll like them!
The song "Izlel e Delyo Haidutin" flies in space, having been included in the Voyager Golden Record - http://vbox7.com/play:3a1c6827.
I hope you'll enjoy listening to all these songs amnong the silence of nature!;-)))

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Congrats on a lovely show (and getting everything there on time, including time). The frames set off your work perfectly.

JTM said...

it is very amazing to see your works! i like your use of the umber and amber colors. i was stunned! i spent a couple of minutes staring and observing your work, its very great! and tank you very much for following my blog, your always my inspiration in my work, along with arthur rackam, giuselev and other masters!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful creations Rima! Best wishes for a successful exhibition. Love, Angie x
PS Biff is failing slowly as his kidneys are beginning to give-up. We are loving him lots x

From This Moment to That said...

Stunning to see the painting in progress Rima, the finished clock is just superb!! I REALLY wish I was near enough to visit the gallery! I wish you all the luck in the world.

Hugs :)
Jane

Rusted Wings said...

after reading your wonderful post, i breathed a deep sigh of relief and awe at the amazing accomplishment of these incredible works. the purest oil comes through a bitter squeeze!! and so it has!!!
blessings be,
abigail

layne (herman) said...

The clock looks great! I like how the accordian goes through the man's beard. And the piece of wood itself seems to have alot of character.


http://papaherman.wordpress.com/

Lola Enchanted said...

hello~stoppin' in to say hello! And wow that clock is incredible! I LOVE your work!

Heather said...

Tui's rustic frames set off your work beautifully. What a talented pair you are. As for the two paintings on wood - I can hardly find words to describe my thoughts. They are amazing and so evocative. I hope your exhibition was/is well received and that loads of people part with even greater loads of money for you.

Trine said...

Amazing art....amazing blog. So glad I found you! Hope you have a wonderful week.
~Trine

krisztina maros said...

it's fantastic!!!

Lynne Chapman said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to show all the stages. Really interesting. A beautiful piece.

alkemilla said...

Your blog is surprisingly beautiful!
You must be a very sensitive person...
I'm happy to have found out your art.
kisses
Laura

Julianna said...

What I wouldn't give to own one of these....you're so inspiring!

Forest Rogers said...

Most magical, most wonderful, Rima!
I love your Old World world...
Yours,
Forest

BT said...

That clock is to die for, Rima. So so wonderful and the frames made by the lovely Tui. I do hope you are enjoying your break now, it's well deserved. Then you can do my clock!! ha ha.

museiq said...

speechless...

just respect:)

Dina said...

Utterly fascinating!

Leanne Ellis said...

Your art is AMAZING!!! Oh, I so know that awful feeling of having to finish work last minute - the intermittent waves of Panic ('I haven't got enough time to finish it! Waaaaah!!! '), the complete loss of any ability to regulate your own body temperature, and the constant aching from hunching over for 23 hours every day for a week!! Ha, it's always worth it in the end though! Your paintings are so beautiful!! :)

kathy hare said...

such a beautiful clock Rima..

Gordon Fraser said...

Hi Rima! (Just read the bit about you on Gretels bloggy!)

Just gotta say that I ADORE that painting of the crow.....even by your amazing standards that one is flippin' superb!!!

Pattern and Perspective said...

Wow. That's magnificent.

Sueli Colbert said...

Hi Rima
I loved all your works and your beautiful blog.
I love clock and Wonderful your clock.
Snif...snif...I am brazilian and I am so far away from you, because I would like to see your oil paintings...so, Congratulations for all.
Hugs
Sueli Colbert
From Brazil

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