Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Light in the dark belly of winter

 

IN THE MIST OF MY STUDIO WINDOW ivy has been tracing silhouettes of cathedrals; evergreen hymns to the light in the darkness of winter, in which we are now fully planted. I have sat there at my work table, or at the drawing board, or knelt on the floor, painting ferociously for many many weeks in preparation for A Fourfold Fable - a joint exhibition of Devon-based mythic painting in Exeter, which took place at the beginning of December. Not only have I been busy with the particular creativity and organisation that goes into making an exhibition, but Tom and I have expended a super-human amount of energy birthing Hedgespoken - our long-awaited and long-dreamed plan to create a home and travelling vagabond theatre on our vintage Bedford RL truck. For those who have been following the past momentous two months, you'll be rejoicing with us at our frankly mind-bloggling success and the utterly wonderful throngs of support we have gathered along the way. Steering a successful crowdfunding campaign has been more work than we could ever have imagined, and we are thrilled at the dream that has become tangible thanks to all of our supporters, and equally utterly exhausted; the reality of what has been achieved is only slowly dawning on us through the veils of tiredness. This project will continue to grow over the winter and into spring, and if you'd like to follow the progress, you can do so over at the Hedgespoken blog. So far, our wonder-wagon looks like this:


Not one to allow myself much breathing space, the exhibition opened at the beginning of December just as the crowdfunder was ending!


Together the four of us (Michael Broad, Anna Georghiou, Phil Birdmyself) transformed the little upstairs gallery of the Glorious Art House into a veritable Aladdin's cave of storied paintings...


And in the middle of the room was a tablefull of prints, cards, calendars, books, CDs and other artful goodies.

photo by Anna Georghiou

For the grand opening, which we had on a Sunday morning instead of the standard evening do, we served coffee and croissants to our many enthralled guests...

photo by Michael Broad
photo by Anna Georghiou
photo by Michael Broad
photo by Anna Georghiou
photo by Anna Georghiou
photo by Phil Bird
photo by Anna Georghiou

 The walls rang with magic, as I'm sure you'll agree...


Stories and motifs meandered around the walls in and out of the works of four artists, whom many visitors assumed were just one painter! We mixed our works in the space, creating a myth-rich storybook of colour and tone, and were thoroughly pleased with the result. One visitor suggested we should call ourselves The Fabulists!


We took turns in sitting with the paintings every day for two weeks and in that time met many lovely folks and had lots of fascinating conversations about art and magic and the threads that link them. Thanks to all who came to support us and dwell in our otherworlds for a while.

photo by Rose Tydeman of the Glorious Art House
Many good things have been brewing in the cauldron this winter. What with one thing and another, I've not managed to list all my new works in the shop in time for Christmas, I'm sorry. But be sure to look out in the new year for many new cards and prints and paintings, both here and in the etsy shop, a few of which I'll share with you here below now.
Some of my wintry work is featured (front page, back page and middle page spread, no less!) in this month's most excellently put together Doncopolitan Magazine, which champions Doncaster's growing creative arts and grassroots scenes, and can be got for free in print or online.




The woodburner in my studio has been burning away as I work, as the nights have got longer, and my paintbrushes stragglier.


Those of you who have bought my 2015 calendar this year will have seen this little birch painting on the month of December.


It's a Once Upon O'Clock, painted for Assia Alexandrova in Hollywood, who asked for a Lappish-styled winter goddess... and so I painted this - a reindeer-riding Winter Queen, Mother of the North, holding her baby in a traditional Saami cradle, flying over a sickle moon through a blue icicled and snowflaked winter sky.

Queen of Winter by Rima Staines

As part of my pre-exhibition panting frenzy, I also decided to experiment with a more painterly technique in oils on paper.




This was somewhat out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed playing with the paint, having made no underdrawing or sketch whatsoever.


The painting grew and changed with each layer of paint.


Under the earth, the land-mother sleeps, her belly swollen with growing seed, with golden light. Over her, a winter landscape lies blanketing the promise below. A band of masked mummers dance through a snow-capped village, bringing their music to wake the sleeping one under the ground.

The Munmmers by Rima Staines
And third and last in this collection of folk-madonnas, this little painting used a piece of wood I found in a skip, already treated with green colour, which I rather liked and so decided not to paint over.




For this one I returned to my more typical thinly-applied oils, and enjoyed the simplicity of the portrait. I had a gilded frame ready for this too, which I had found in a second-hand shop, and which you'll have seen in the exhibition photos above.


As day turned to night, and coffee to tea, I painted on...


The mother and her child emerged, smiling...


Between them something grew. An umbilical understanding, a love profounder than the roots and the stars, an Unfathomable Language.


The Unfathomable Language by Rima Staines
 
And by now, I am sure you'll have guessed the most important of all my projects brewing over these past months, the inspiration behind these paintings and my fervent creative frenzy, and the reason for my extra layers of tiredness. 
Yes, a wonder beyond words in my belly, precious and unfathomable indeed.
I haven't felt to share very much of this private thread of my life here, and don't know how much I'll want to do so as the little person steps into this roaring beautiful world either, but I wanted to let you know the reason for my quiet here, which I'm afraid will only get louder come February when our lives will be changed forever...
Two thousand and fifteen promises much adventure for us, as both new parenthood and a story-rich and hedge-spoken life on wheels beckon. I look forward to sharing the wonders and the tales with you as we go. Meanwhile, I send warmest greetings to all of you who are mothering golden seeds in the dark earths of your winters, and wish you joyous green sprouting as the light returns.

64 comments:

sarah said...

Oh, such joy! Many blessings to you and your growing family. <3

The room of myth and magic and beautiful marvels .. the truck burgeoning into wondrousness ... the life within you ... all seem to echo the season and each other.

Jess said...

I guessed it! :) I'm so very happy for you both! Wonderful news!
I'm so happy to have been one of the lucky ones who visited the Fourfold exhibition too. I felt so at home there amongst those wonderful creations. Happy christmas Rima! Jess xx

Karolina said...

I have expected this news for a while dear Rima!I sensed that you are with child as i myself have given birth in June this summer.It is a wonderfull gift from Mother Nature,full of hardships,but most of all,full of joy,unexplainable and unconditional love...Now i cannot imagine my life without my son,i am bound to him for all time.I wish you health for both of you,and strenght for you Rima,for your beautifull unborn child,You can do this...

Monika Schmid said...

I had a feeling for a long time that there might be a new life growing inside you. Many Blessings to you and Tom and the wee one whose life will be like a fairytale in the wonderful Hedgespoken truck. Merry Christmas to you all and all the very best for the New Year. Monika xoxo

Velma Bolyard said...

congratulations! this is exquisite.

Lunaea Weatherstone said...

I knew it! I'm so happy for you and Tom, and yes, keep that happiness close to your heart. Just know that those of us who know you from afar are sending bright blessings to you and the little one.

Teresa Kasner said...

Oh my goodness.. I also have been sensing that you would be welcoming a wee one into your family. Especially with all the mothers in your art lately!

*C*O*N*G*R*A*T*U*L*A*T*I*O*N*S*!*

I hope you have a lovely holiday time.

I invite you to my blog to see my house in Oregon all decorated for the season. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Ms. said...

Oh me-oh my, Yippee-Yay-hooray!
Blessings be upon you every day,
and loving make smooth your way.

A mermaid in the attic said...

How wonderful, wonderful Rima! What an amazing life your little one will lead, with such parents. Congratulations on everything; the exhibition, marvelous new paintings, the success of Hedgespoken, but most of all, new life!

Seattle Rain said...

Oh what happy news! I follow your work and adventures closely (and wish we lived on the same side of the Atlantic so I could send my son to be a storyteller apprentice with Tom). So very happy for you - in all your recent Hedgespoken, gallery opening and baby making success! Blessings to you and your growing family!!

Nao said...

Such happiness for you Rima and Tom~
Blessings and Love and Blessings Again.

tiff said...

Rima I am overcome with joy at this news!!!

Penny said...

I too have been expecting this lovely news, enjoy it all and keep weaving your tales and painting your glorious works. One day perhaps I can afford one.

Charlotte said...

Wonderful news, congratulatons to you both. A new story thread for you to take up, it will give you some ofbthe best stories ever to tell. Have a peaceful, restful holiday season. Xxx

Linda-B said...

That last photograph -- glorious! And your news -- wonderful! I am so happy for you!

Bedford Gypsy said...

The truck is looking great, it's really coming along. I so wished I could have gone to the exhibition, it really looked amazing. Your new oil painting is wonderful, as ever. Congratulations to both you and Tom xxx

Heather said...

The crowds attending your wonderful exhibition must have made all that hard work worthwhile. They wont have been disappointed either, with so many magical things to see.
Congratulations on your happy news. Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Lynn said...

Oh, such wonderful and exciting news, Rima! Hearty congratulations to you and Tom. All the best for the upcoming year full of wonders, magic, and new life.

Morvah said...

Sweet Rima that last picture is wonderful and made me cry a little bit..of course we read the signs but what a glorious Christmas announcement...The very best of wishes for you all from the Far West xxx

Anonymous said...

What is this! A !baby - belly"?! Huuuuuuu - how wonderful, how sweet!
<3 Merry, merry Christmas to you and your family (and all your beatuiful panintigs!)from Germany!

Melanie

Maura said...

Blessings to you all, lovely post with beautiful pictures. Wishing you peace at Christmas and every happiness in 2015.

Maura Xx

Maura said...

Blessings to you all, lovely post with beautiful pictures. Wishing you peace at Christmas and every happiness in 2015.

Maura Xx

amy said...

A million congratulations! Beautiful joy.

Anne said...

So many congratulations to you both! It's one of the best parts of life.

trish said...

Wishing you much JOY.... I am so very happy for you.

Abby Nolan said...

Rima & Tom - Your lives read like a wonder tale, with of course some hardships/dragons/hard winters to overcome but mostly magic, new worlds, trials & boons, and of course some fairy tale donors who help dreams come true. Congratulations on the birth of Hedgespoken and the life you are about to bring into the light. Best Wishes for the New Year and a bright winter!

Catherine Lupton said...

What wonderful news Rima: many blessings for the coming year and the arrival of the new one :-) Sending love to you all on your marvellous journey, Cat xxx

btw, I was delighted with my Hedgespokey perk. Madder than birds, mind ;-)

Therese said...

I had an inkling such magic was brewing for you. Congratulations Rima (and Tom).

Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth said...

Oh, how wonderful! Winter blessings to you and yours and all of yours, and going on into the spring and new life.

Anne-Marie MacDonald said...

Such wonderful news - congratulations! What an amazing, magical childhood your little one will have...

nofixedstars said...

ohhhhhhh! i couldn't be happier for you! wishing you all things bright and beautiful in your journey into motherhood. your world is so filled with wonders, and now another kind of wonder comes...

Shelley said...

Blessings to you and Tom and this little light growing in you! I'm sending wishes for a wonderful smooth birth and babyhood for this child who seems destined for adventure and artful living. xx

Amy said...

At the very beginning of your post I thought, "I bet she's . . . " Wonderful news and congratulations to you both on your new adventures!

Nancy said...

Congratulations! It will be a child born towards light as February brings Imbolc and the Sun's return. How wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Secretly following you for two years(hush, hush, hush!) and wondering when you would germinate!
Now you have, almost, and it is wonderful and complicated!
As a father of two, and distantly of two grandsons, I salute you and your tribe. May they always flourish,even in dark times.
Jim of Olym

Valerianna said...

What joy!! Sending magical forest blessings to the soul stirring within you! Loving the paintings, the land-mother seems related to Frida Kahlo's Earth Mothers - beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news, Rima! Blessings to you and Tom from a tiny Bulgarian village, huddled in the snow, wishes for the best of luck of Hedgespoken project! So inspiring...
Christina

Tree Hedgewytch said...

How wonderful such lovely news :) congratulations! xxxx

Nanita said...

Many, many blessings dear Rima, this is absolutely wonderful! xxxx

Ciara said...

Oh Rima, I am beyond thrilled for you!! I'm afraid all other wonder~fullness about this whole post that had already brought a smile to my face just paled into the background when I got to the end. Congratulations to you both, may every bright blessing be bestowed upon your little family. Sending love and hugs to you both. xxx

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Hearty congratulations Rima, how wonderful is your news!!

A very Happy happy New Year to you all.

Hugs
Jane

Els said...

Ahhhh how I envie all those people who could visit your exhibition, and see and buy your wonderful work, Rima !!!!

And all the best for this wonderful promising new year with such a special event that's about to (indeed) change your lives ;-)
(and you're right : not everything has to be out in the open, here in blogland !)

morenna said...

congratulations and best wishes to you and Tom on your growing family and Hedgespoken adventures!!

Nekhbet Z said...

Really beautiful art. You guys are awesome!

Debra said...

Congratulations to you and Tom, with blessings and peace and warmth sent your way!

Teleri said...

Wow. I didn't get in until the last picture.. Congratulations! I hope you and the small one are ok and I wish you the very best for the exciting times to come.

Anonymous said...

I wish you a wise midwife to accompany you through the magic and beauty of childbirth .Enjoy Rima e Tom with plenty of love and joy your first baby hug and time toghether! xxA birthkeeper.

Della said...

How wonderful for you Rima (just alerted to this via Hedgespoken). I thought I noticed a lot of maternal images from you go flying by...:) Congratulations and the very warmest wishes.

Angela said...

Oh Rima! I knew it! When I saw you in the Hedgespoken crowd funding video, I thought…there's a baby in that belly! I am overjoyed to hear of your blessing. I have followed your work and your words for many years now and I so look forward to hearing of this new journey. I gave birth to my baby February 12, 2013 and he stretched my heart more than words can say. Winter babies are wonderful…cuddle together and soak up those precious beginning days. xoxo Sending you much warmth and love.

Lily Al-Tai said...

Congratulations Rima! what a fabulous way to begin the year .. The ultimate creation! and what wonderfully lucky bundle of joy to be blessed by such an amazing mother & father!... story telling in abundance and magical childhood awaits! lots of love xxx

Mandy van Goeije said...

Oh Rima, how wonderful! You look so beautiful on the photo and your work of late is such a beautiful reflection of your growth into motherhood. The beautiful thing is that when I saw your work - before I saw that last telling photo of yours - I recognized so much in them of my own process of becoming a mother. The oil painting...the cocoon the mother's in...the world outside all lively...I experienced exactly that. And it was wonderful. Thank you for brining that feeling back to me. And so private it is indeed. Rima, I wish you and your beautiful man a wonderful adventure...and i send you blessings for that little, precious soul! Lots of love from across the channel...

Janina Anna Vigurs said...

ABSOLUTELY BLOOMING BRILLIANT!!!
I'm so chuffed for all three of you. It's a journey like no other.
Love, love, love. Janina, Leaf and little Alice Ember

Bimbimbie said...

Rima, best wishes and congratulations to you and Tom as you enter into two new chapters of tale telling and growing.

Janine said...

OH how much I love your art, it is such a joy to see this wonderfull paintings. Where is your shop?
You and your child be blessed

Christena said...

Ive not ventured back into the magical Hermitage world in well over a year, imagine my joy at reading such wonderful news upon my return!! Im ever so happy for you and for Tom. I will be sure to come back often. Ive missed the beautiful words you write and pictures of your magical painted treasures. They always inspire me, but i have yet to be creative with such inspirations. Maybe one day!! Many blessings for you in this new happy year!!
Much <3,
Christena

Anonymous said...

Motherhood and Fatherhood are such a beautiful gifts ! i've followed your blog for years and i Love your work. thank you for sharing your news! we all share in your joy ! jademichele

ramona said...

Congratulations!!!! How exciting! All the best to you and Tom and your little one 😊

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Very many congratulations to you both Rima! Take care.

Hugs Jane

DaisyFee said...

You have the most beautiful story waiting to be told ... bless xx

A Magical Whimsy said...

By now, you have brought your little one into the world! May you have joy unspeakable and full of fun!
I wandered with my mind through the gallery show. It took me back to the days of the Hippie and Flower Child era worldwide. I could live in that era forever!
Thank you for sharing the work of four fabulous artists. Wish I could have transported myself with an aparating spell like Harry Potter and I would have been to the U.K. in a flash!

Anne said...

Congratulations to you both all way from Australia xxx
I've been following your blog for a few years now. I hope the birth went well for both of you. Looking forward to your future posts with your art and your little one :)

DaisyFee said...

Blessings, smiles and happy thoughts to your lovely new family . Hope all is cosy and light for father, mother and little one xx

Julia Elfvenmyr said...

Congrats on the baby!
Some of the Nganese believe that Mother Moon throws down a ribbon to every newborn baby that lands in it´s heart. As the child grows it gains many other invisible ribbons that connects it to others and the world around it. So, may your child gain many ribbons!
:)

Tricia Saroya said...

Blessing to you Rima on your now 7 MONTH old precious soul! I am missing your posts and completely understanding your quiet. I am sending you bright blessings and merry wishes. Life is a miracle, truly!