It was wonderful to visit my brothers and their families in the UK and the States as well as to spend time with a dear friend in England. My main reason for travelling had been to be out of the country on the anniversary of Andre’s death and, other than the trip to the Isle of Man for the bike racing, I hadn’t really planned much. So – it was good just to spend time with loved ones. I walked miles through the English countryside wearing an assortment of borrowed rain weather gear, then walked miles around the lakes in Waterford, Michigan – much to the fascination of the locals. Seems people don’t really walk much in America – after my third day strolling past a certain house in my brother’s neighbourhood the owner rushed out and asked me “What ARE you doing?”. When I told him I was walking he asked “But WHY?”. He was genuinely mystified and he wasn’t alone – I was asked a few times by other complete strangers why I was out walking. I also had the opportunity to kayak on the lakes in my brother’s area – something I enjoyed immensely- so I’m on the lookout here for my own kayak now.
I was fortunate to be able to visit a number of galleries, big and small, as well as an English artist, Gill Horn, whose work I love. The Chicago Institute of Art was brilliant, I could have spent quite a few more days there, and the Detroit Institute of Art has the best collection of Native American Indian Art that I’ve seen anywhere in the world. They have no barriers between the viewer and the work on display so to be able to stand nose to nose with Van Gogh’s self portraits and look at every brush stroke was quite a moving experience – to be in the presence of greatness.
I was taken to visit many interesting places and delightful restaurants and pubs but highlights for me were the trip to the Isle of Man for the TT – Oh, those bikes were awesome, the sound effects gave me goose bumps from head to toe and the great thing was that I could go anywhere around the track to view the racing. Sitting on a stone wall in the warm sunshine with hundreds of bikers, smell of bacon sarnies and coffee wafting over from the pub mixed in with the smell of racing fuel and burning rubber, listening to the bikes howling past – it was heaven. The locals on the island are a scream – when I arrived there I was told there was a bus strike on but nonetheless managed to find a bus driven by a young man with no sense of direction who proceeded to give me and two other visitors a (totally unasked and unpaid for) guided tour of the furthest reaches of the island until we were stopped in a police road block and managed to escape.
The camping trip to Canada was also good – very beautiful but freezing at night. I loved the critters who shared the campsite with us – at night raccoons trashed the joint (the sound effects were wonderful), in the morning chipmunks would sit at our table and eat breakfast from our hands and bowls (picture above) and one day we found evidence of a mother bear and two cubs on one of the beaches next to the lake. The size of the lakes is unbelievable to me, I kept calling them ‘the sea’ because they are so vast that’s what they look like.
Chicago was great – architecturally it’s quite beautiful with a mix of old and new, but the best for me was the Blues Festival. This was a three day affair held along the lake in a series of parks and was open to the public at no charge. What a treat – I love music and to see so many outstanding groups playing was brilliant, there was a very relaxed atmosphere too- although the crowd was extremely diverse there was a general feeling of bonhomie.
When I returned home my senses were on high alert – the beauty all around flooded my soul. Air so clear that the mountains are eye achingly beautiful – they stand etched against the blue sky with every detail visible. The river mouth has closed whilst I was away so the river is high and the beach is a wide golden strip against the sea. Two days after returning I saw my first whale of the season – lazily blowing and breaching just off the river mouth whilst a pod of dolphins fed nearby – what a privilege and joy to be able to see them all.
I realized that I’d been living like a hermit since Andre died so I’m in the process of making the Pinkhaus a little more comfortable to live in as well as preparing for the next exhibition in September. It’s so good to be working towards something positive again and I feel like I’ve got my mojo back. YAY – maybe I can actually complete some of my creations.
For those of you who are entering work into the Inhibitions Exhibition in September please remember that the deadline for entry forms to be in is August 9th. I can’t wait to see the work coming in and have already received some from Pretoria.
It seems that winter has finally arrived here – temperatures have dropped so it’s time to light a fire and put some soup on.
Till next time.