Christmas wishes

December 24, 2011

We are almost there, aren’t we ? Christmas Eve will be celebrated later tonight . Most cards have been sent,  the Christmas tree is all lit up as I write and the menu for dinner  is ready… in my head. Our village postman has been busy delivering mail and packages. Yesterday I was on his list, he brought me a large parcel sent from the United States.

My friend Fina, from South Texas, had carefully wrapped up this lovely Christmas decoration : a Mexican musician and his sweet señorita. They looked so colourful and different from our usual decorations that I could not help but sharing them with you. I  delicately  put the pretty decoration on a branch of a pine tree in the garden. The two of them did not seem to mind the change of temperatures…

Snow had fallen a few days ago and children  spent hours in the field  near our house building a snowman. A joyful party that was still there at dusk, surrounded by parents and friends, screaming and jumping around their artwork. Today snow has melt, the only remaining sign of the snowman is his red scarf and a carrot that is looked at with greedy eyes by Nino the beagle.

Most of these handmade cards are gone, sent to family and friends here and there. My box of African fabrics scraps is almost empty. It is a good feeling to imagine that  maybe these cards will give as much pleasure as I felt sewing them. Bringing  some  thoughts, light and strong colours where and when they are needed.

This mosaic is also meant to bring you, my Friends, my best wishes for A Merry Christmas. A celebration of peace and togetherness, sharing time and affection, joy around the Christmas Tree.

Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas,  Glaedelig Jul, Hyvaa Joulua, Sretan Bosic and more good wishes wherever you are.

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The pace of nature

December 15, 2011

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” (Ralph Waldo Emmerson).

Patience was  really needed to fulfill Scott Thomas’ last photography assignment for this year  http://viewsinfinitum.com/2010/12/08/assignment-seasons-2011/ The aim was to picture the same view during our Four Seasons and see the changes nature brought to a particular place in our surroundings. I chose a view close to me and that I love all year round: the landscape I see from   my kitchen window.

I started taking pictures in December  2010 on a day when snow fell like in a fairy tale. Snow flakes kept falling silently day and night leaving a strange quietness over the landscape. The bare rowan-tree outside the window became heavy with snow and some of its fragile branches broke. Gusts of wind brought snowflakes onto the window and they stayed there, frozen around the wooden frame.

“Winter teaches us what it means to close one phase of life so that we can begin something else, totally different, totally new. It gives us the joy of beginning over and over again throughout the whole of life.”

April changed the view from my window. Green fields dotted with dandelions and buttercups, the first soft green leaves opening slowly in the rowan-tree and a pot of daisies decorating the windowsill. Not much warmth yet but more light and the beginning of a long awaited Spring.

“Spring teaches us patience. Things – and we, a well – grow slowly. Do not overvalue the speed that races to produce what the heart is not yet wise enough to use well.”

Summer in a blazing heat around midday. Everything is growing wildly in the garden, the wheat fields  are looking almost white under the sun and bunches of red berries are now hanging in the rowan-tree for the great pleasure of lots of birds. This is the end of Season for daisies, geraniums will replace them later.  I often sat  in the shade of the ever present rowan-tree in this inviting folding chair.

“Summer teaches us that to have the fullness of life – great tastes, good fun, warm sun and wild abandon – we must have less of it than we expect. Too much of anything sears the soul.”

Fall and its warm colours;  leaves are turning yellow and rusty on the rowan-tree, purple heather has replaced  geraniums on the windowsill and a small mapple-tree is showing its autumnal dress. The fields are still green but with a touch of gold,  at sunset a light haze emerges from the  forest in the far. Almost all ripe red berries have been eaten by the birds preparing for a long migration to the South. Happy and excited reunions in the branches and a carpet of little red fruits on the ground.

“Fall teaches us the value of resting our minds as well as our bodies, the value of readiness, the value of transition. In all the in-between phases and places of life, we are given the time to allow our souls to catch up with our restless energies, to take stock of the present, to get sight of all our possible futures and choose between them.”

Thanks so much Scott for choosing this  theme for your last challenge this year. I took many pictures (with different cameras)  at each Season before choosing these four ones. I love the way Nature looks like through this opening. I  surely missed  a special light or a moody sky but generally this is how my Four Seasons would appear to you from my kitchen window. Although sometimes you may have some surprises…

Like this silent cat, sitting on a woodpile and  observing me patiently behind the window as I was preparing breakfast one morning. When I finally saw him, I could not help but opening the window and giving  him some of Nino’s kibbles. Behind me there were loud howls of protest ! Just an example of an early morning in my kitchen.

All quotes are taken from  Joan Chittister’s monthly Newsletter (The Monastic Way) and I thank her for letting me share them with you.

seeing differently

December 3, 2011

I wonder what comes to your mind first as you are looking at this picture ? A bunch of petals ? Allium sativum’s skin ? A   broken heart ? Or something else ?

How would you feel if suddenly your world would look in yellow or red or blue or whatever colour you cannot imagine right now ? Would it change anything for you ?

This is not a recent picture. Since the time I took this portrait of a lady deeply concentrated on her work, I could not figure out what exactly she was doing. I am always shy to take pictures of people in the street. The scene was so special, the mood in her workshop too, I just had “to click” from the street. From the various phials, pens and tools I had a quick glimpse at, I imagine she was doing some sort of calligraphy. What would you say she was making ? What do you see ?

Last Summer I visited a gallery in my hometown. There were two artists who presented their artworks. A lady (Mathilda Raboud) who had created some funny, cheeky and unusual ceramic angels and an Italian artist from Florence, Rosario Memoli. He had  worked with all sorts of textiles that he either sewed or stuck on a white canvas. It was  abstract art, a kind of reflection on the way space is organised between immobility and movement.

I know it is abstract art… but I could not help seeing it differently. Or rather finding a meaning to his particular creations.  Laugh if you want but it is what I seem to see in the  above picture : a proud rooster is chasing away a black and white sheep while his favourite polka dot hen is quietly nibbling at a flower 🙂

Same sort of tragedy with this other artwork by Memoli… I see a sort of hen (yes, again) and a strange mythological creature with a dangerous looking dented tail. They seem to be arguing. Could the reason be the many colourful seeds in the upper right corner that both are coveting ?  See the way my imagination takes over sometimes ?;)

For a long time artists have  shown us how to see and think differently. They taught us that there are as many ways as there are people since we all see everything differently. A liberating gift, isnt’ it ?

Rosario Memoli’s artworks bore no title. Maybe the artist intended to free our imagination ?  The writer Eugène Ionesco wrote in his book “Découvertes” :

An artwork is a series of interrogations. Since there is a construction, one can consider a work as an architecture of interrogations. Every artwork must be brought into question”.