Friday, 4 December 2009

Sunrise, Moonset, Lanternlit, Rainwet



FIRST FROST after weeks of wet. And the crystal grass is pinking with the sun-up. It is beautiful and it is cold and I jump back in to light the morning fire. Our truck has moved again, though only a few feet this time. Now we are tucked behind the early cock-a-doodling chicken enclosure, protected from winter winds and our back door faces east to greet this:



Our windows see new things now, different branches from before and the sunrise shoots right through the windscreen. The round bedroom window faces west now and shows us the setting sun, though sunset is far earlier than bedtime!



Nights are noticeably long - endless dark hours seem darker when your evenings are lit by lamplight. If you wander out in the field after dark, the crisp moon nights are clear and cold and lit just enough to see where to put your feet. The grass is wet and there are sounds of roosting birds rearranging themselves in the hedgerow, a knotted layer of blackness in the black. When the moon is up behind the bare night tree bones all you can see of our house are a few orange lantern spots in the distance.


In these last few weeks I have been to see my family again. In London we saw some wonderful works of art. The Sacred Made Real exhibition at the National Gallery is a rare and unique opportunity to see seventeenth century Spanish devotional painted woodcarvings of exquisite quality. Many of them are lifesize and imposing in their realism, and yet somehow more than real. There is blood and bruising, ivory teeth, glass eyes and horn fingernails. This figure of the dead Christ is by Gregorio Fernández:



These figures are still in use today in religious processions in Spain, they are kissed and revered.
The photos can in no way portray the powerful presence of this beautiful work.
We also went to an art and antiques fair, and saw (amongst all the nasty chintz and china and polished veneer) a stall of Russian icons. Hanging all together like this they were beautiful. A patchwork of wonderful painting. And, I noticed, all in my favourite ochre-red-olive Rima-palette.


All together these artworks were a triumph of painting on wood. But the Spanish carvings and the Russian icons also had in common that element of devotion to the object itself in some way. I think that artists over the centuries who have made with their hands and their souls objects that are beautiful, are intercessors, portrayers of the inexplicable wonder of life or the divine or whatever you choose to call it. And in seeing these beautiful objects, these sights that delight the eye, some transformation takes place within you, because of what the artist was feeling whilst creating. Often I am asked to explain my paintings, which seems to me a slightly ridiculous request. As a visual expression, a work of art should need no explanation in another medium (words) I think. Of course it is interesting to learn of the stories behind paintings, but for a work of art to be utterly dead to you until you read an essay explaining the underlying idea, is failure.
Philosopher Roger Scruton delved into this further the other day, in his excellent programme Why Beauty Matters. It is about time someone pointed out that the Emperor that is conceptual art has no clothes on.




I returned to Devon on train tracks flanked on either side by lakes that were once farms. All over England the rain has fallen and fallen and rivers have burst their banks. Luckily we are parked on top of a hill, but the river Teign which we must cross to walk to town is certainly full and ferocious. The clouds have been passing over and over, rain storms then a brief sunny respite, then rain again. Everywhere is wet and constant rivulets run down all the lanes' gutters.
The sunlit interludes make the roads and the hedges sparkle, and birds busy themselves before winter. But there is always a leaden cloud in inky sky bringing up the rear.


While I was away, Tui had been making beautiful cupboards again. This delightful thing is a shelf for all those bits of paper that you write things on and put down somewhere! And it's for books that are left on corners and road maps and leaflets and thesauruses (thesauri?). It is made from an old piece of wood that was something else, and the broken paint surface makes it look like an antique piece of folk art I think. Here it is by day:


And perhaps you can spot it here below by night, amid the glow of an amber evening. An evening for heating bath water on the fire, for crocheting next to a candle, and for reading books with a horlicks.


I have been painting snowy paintings for winter, which I shall show you soon. Meantime, I am selling pictures at the Chagford ChristMART tomorrow, Saturday 5th December in the Jubilee Hall from 9am - 1pm. I shall be in excellent artistic company, and there'll be mulled wine too.
May your evenings be warm and lanternlit, and all England's puddles freeze in the December sun.


60 comments:

Tina said...

Beautiful as always, Rima. I love your blog!

acornmoon said...

Almost a year has gone by since you set out on your adventure, how the time has flown, or maybe not in your case as you have done so much.

I would have liked to have seen the exhibition, I read some reviews. What extraordinary work!

NanU said...

It's astounding that two people can live in such a small space. A beautiful and cozy space, but how do you work without elbows smacking into things? And how do you stay warm? A fascinating peek at another life.

Hooray for the overfull rivers. It's time to renew the soil and move things around and go on with changing the earth into its next version. No matter how much that annoys some of the humans, who would like their streets and fences and boundaries to stay put and their bridges to bridge. These periods are good for us.

Astral Cat said...

Another beautiful post Rima, I appreciated your words on art expressing devotion. Have a blessed and cozy winter.

Gabriela said...

I have no english words.
Dieses Blog fasziniert mich seit Monaten, zieht mich hinein in eine andere realität und entlässt mich immer verändert.
Kunst.
Danke.
Gabriela

Eva said...

Wonderful pictures. And a great quote on modern art.
Will art experts in 100 or 500 years accept the art of our time as art? Or will they say: "We cannot accept art with no purpose and no way to understand it without explanation"?

Lynn said...

Beautiful! This is truly a great way to start the morning.
Your photos, along with your thoughtful words, evoke a feeling of peace and a deep appreciation for your surroundings.
For me personally, it's a reminder that I need to slow down and appreciate my surroundings more.
Have a lovely day!

Jessie said...

Your van looks cosy and inviting! Good luck tomorrow in Chagford. I'm in Devon tomorrow but sadly not until the afternoon. One day I'll get to see your beautiful work for real. :)xx

Billie Jane said...

All hand made things carry something of the person who made them... and many old things, whether hand made or not, acquire something of the person (people) who have owned them, used them, loved them. This is the thing that cannot be explained by science and as long as your objects, be purely art or functional, are infused with this 'substance' then they 'speak' to us. How lovely that your home brims full of this kind of thing.

laoi gaul~williams said...

i always love it when i see you have posted something new to share with us!
what a wonderful view to wake up to :)

Maggie said...

What a beautiful post.Here in California we are suffering year 4 of a drought. It hardly ever rains, and I miss the water falling from the sky. Thanks, Rima, your lovely blog made the day start right!

Suz said...

Your blog is different from any other that I follow. I was attracted to it for that reason. I enjoy your words very much and your pictures are awesome. Your gypsy lifestyle is appealing except for times like you describe - cold and dark. I guess that's all part of it, huh.
Thank you for your beautiful post today.

pRiyA said...

simply loved what you said about conceptual art :-) :-) :-)

thank you for the link on 'why beauty matters'. we don't get to see it out of england, but google search has some other alternatives.

Angeliska said...

Hi Rima!
Thank you for your magical words and pictures... That sunrise and sunset are just glorious, and your lanternlit little world makes me want to do away with electricity all together. And oh! How I would love to see that exhibit! Horn fingernails! Painted bruises! Devotional work is such a different animal- there's so much soul there, sometimes it's startling. Hope you're staying warm and cozy dear!
love,
Angeliska

jeff said...

Hi Rima !
It's vey cold... Brrrrr ! ! !
... but the lights are very beautiful !...

See you...;-)

Ulla said...

Lovely to see how candlelight glows where the sun rarely rises... And yes I agree, the Emperor needs to know that his clothing has always been an illusion! Lovely post Rima! and wonderful Inspiration...
Hugs
Ulla

Maahiska said...

Oh I've always dreamed about living in a van or train cabin or in a boat on a river... Lovely blog!

CRY said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

Heather said...

So glad you are high and reasonably dry - your home looks so cosy by candle and lantern light. Those sunrise pictures are beautiful - a very special consolation for being woken perhaps too early by the cockerel? The moon through the branches is an image which continues to evade me and I long to capture one. How lovely to hear 'the roosting birds rearranging themselves' - such gentle sounds. The sculpture of the dead Christ is amazing and very powerful and the Icons are beautiful beyond words. Thankyou for sharing these marvellous things with us.

Jasmine said...

You have a very beautiful blog over here. I love your sunset and moon pictures. Enchanting.

Martin H. said...

You are really living your lives and I am so pleased for you.

Regina Rozenbaum said...

Hi Rima
Thank you for sharing your trip with us! Beautiful as always. I love your words on expression devotion; wonderful pictures...
Have a lovely, warm and cozy days!
Hugs from Brazil
Regina
www.toforatodentro.blogspot.com

mermaiden said...

i love the narration through your eyes. what a spark.

Ciara said...

I do love the Russian Icons. We have a tiny collection ourselves. But why do those statues make me feel like a worried child? Must be something to do with my convent schooling. *shudder* :-)

Yes, we've had severe flooding here too, although on our side of this island the sea has stayed in it's bed, and it seems to have been the rivers this time.

Glad to here you are high and dry!

C x

Peggy said...

How could it be that I have just now found this blog and its incredible author? I have known you were out there somewhere...have known it for all of my life. You are the person I have wanted to be, living the lifestyle I have always wanted to live. You truly soothe my soul and make my spirit soar. Thank you for being here...I KNEW I would find you, my friend!!

Elena said...

Beautiful! Thanks

mama p said...

I am so very grateful to visit your warm (if watery) candle-bright home :) thanks as always

Erynn said...

I always so look forward to your photos and essays. What beauty you bring to the world.

Ellen said...

Your blog is so lovely. This one with your photos of your rolling home gave me a fresh view of frosty fields, the light in the dawn from your window and door views...simply beautiful.....thank you for your post!

Tom. said...

Your blog here has given me so much inspiration and joy through some rather hideous times of hardship recently. I look forward to everyone of your posts with near-demented levels of anticipation. I know we readers have no real right to claim any proper participation on this stunningly unique journey of yours but its always a wonder being allowed to peek through the metaphorical windows as it were and see whats really available from the wild.

I haven't the resources to build my own moving vehicle...but you've inspired me to dedicate the next few months to building my own trunk. Very much in the style of 1880's Victoriana, and it is this in which I shall pack my belongings and spend my next few years traveling and living from. Thankyou for all your words. They mean so much. You really do show that one doesn't need huge trappings to exist happily. I hope this style of life rewards you continuously as its clear you bring forth so much effort and passion into your own little realm.

P.s Your art stuns me.

Meg said...

Alas, my only options for picture buying in New England are either going to one of the overpriced "Artisan" (read: not my scene), craft fairs, driving to Worcester or more likely Boston since Worcester has other things to worry about besides opening galleries that no one who live there can afford, or making it for themselves. I think I will try the third, so much more fun. I would love to drive around like you, but I am in school, and also, I have animals, although one might argue that I could ride Trigger from place to place. He doesn't like to work though, so I don't think that that would go over well with him.

Jericho said...

i like the statue of christ, rima. it reminds me of the deep devotion of the spanish to christ, especially during the renaissance times.
And nice post! thnak you for this!

:)

AARON said...

Hey Rima, such expression in your words, love every post you do, cant wait for your fledgling book to be born ,i'm sure it will be filled with wonder and ore...

Lindsey said...

Hey Rima! The exhibition looks magical...& I could not agree more on the BBC 'Why beauty matters' programme. Glad to see you're both well and presumably warm enough xxx

A mermaid in the attic said...

Wonderful, wonderful and most wonderful wonderful! Another inspiring post Rima, for both the beautiful photos (those sunrises are stunning) and the deep thoughts. I agree...sometimes it seems to me that each and every little painting or drawing I do is like a little spell, weaving its magic, BECOMING in a way that something created in a factory can never be. It has something of me in it being crafted by my hands, and something of the intentions and thoughts I had while I made it. I think this is the power also of old things, the many hands that an object has passed through each leave a little glimmer of their owners, each hold a snippet of their story long after they've gone. I have a much used wooden crochet hook carved by my beloved (departed nearly 20 years) grandmother when she was about my age. It feels so good to use it myself, connecting me with her still.

kanmuri said...

As always your post soothes the soul. I love the new shelf. It's beautiful.

Marcelo Rodrigues said...

Hi Rima!
I love the freedon way that U ride your words, pictures and draws. Thnx to let me in.

becky at abbeystyle said...

I've always loved Russian icons and now I'll associate them with your words...the devotion of the artists is palpable.

Willy said...

Thank you for words, and the pictures of what you saw in London. most inspiring!

AllyColl said...

what lovely words and pictures...do we get to see what you are crocheting as well as the paintings?

Doina said...

Hello Rima, I love to stop by here almost every day - your thoughts and artwork are so beautiful and serene, such real beauty in spirit is so rare. I completely agree with your statement about art - I never felt comfortable with conceptual art, feeling a bit of guilt about that, too :)Because I used to paint icons on wood myself, I would like to ask you if you could please post larger images with the russian icons. Thank you for keeping this blog and for letting us know that life is simple and rich in meaning if it's full of love.

VaNeSsA said...

This world you have created is heartachingly beautiful.

Graceful Moments said...

It is hard to believe that I have been following your journey for almost a year now. Your art - in all its forms - never disappoints and your adventures always delight!

Kat_RN said...

Wonderful as usuall, thanks for sharing.
Kat

magicalmusings said...

I love these photos and they make me feel appreciative of what we all have and that is art, each other and the very simple things.

joana soares said...

It would be so nice if we all could move our homes to have a different views from time to time. Thank you for sharing your visit to the Nacional Gallery.
Tui`s cupboard is lovely!

faerie finder said...

i love the lanterns!
winter will have its dark way
but im glad you are making it through
thanks for sharing! hope you never stop
letting us in! ♥
xoxo

Melanie said...

Yes it has been so so wet. Glad you are safe on high ground.

The icon paintings are very special.

Lovely bookshelf- brill idea to have the rope across to stop them falling when on the move.

Bev - a humble fan said...

Each time I sit down to write my blog I go first to The Hermitage to see what's new. Rima, you are a blessing to this Earth. My days are brighter when I get the chance to see things through your eyes for a few happy minutes. Don't ever stop doing what you do so graciously, being who you are so beautifully, and living your life so inspirationally.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Your blog is breathtaking. Please collect you award on my blog. It pales compared to what is on your website but it is truly from the bottom of my heart.

miakodo said...

Thank you for the chance to glimpse inside your days and look at the world you see and make. Reading your blog is like the sunset or sunrise for me; a brief, stolen moment that you know is a transitory but extraordinarily beautiful gift.

Anonymous said...

Rima your blog is a facet in the jewel of life and I thank you for it................be warm and snug this winter and enjoy the darkness......Mark

Anonymous said...

by the way, I don't remember your www address so I Google it, you've got over 1,000.000 peeps searching for you..........WOW........that must be a mad sensation......Mark

Katie said...

rima how I enjoy your posts!and feel less alone in my thinking, I had read why beauty matters too last week and pondered modern art - all 'head' and no heart.I railed at school against concepetual art because it was so reasoned and premeditated full of shallow socio-political ideas there was always an absence of instinct,feeling and beauty in it.I couldnt agree more that art speaks for itself,it's a metaphoric language like a dream if its needs a diatribe beside it you might as well just write the essay and not bother with the art.

Marie Antionette said...

Hello Rima,
You have been on a long and fruitful journey.The places and things you must have seen. Thank you so much for sharing your journies with us.
I was in awe of this Jesus. It was very....Well there is no words.Its the feeling one gets that goes to your soul.
Its going to be Christmas here soon, and although the day we celebrate his birth is not the real date.We can stillsing our praises to him,
So Merry Christmas Rima from a very small town in Mississippi,USA.
I wish you safe passage and good heath.May God bless you.
XXOO Marie Antionette

Lydia said...

There cannot be anyone more authentic than you, Rima. The comfort and peace I have while at your blog are joyous respite, and I leave here hesitantly, always.

Eva said...

Hello Rima!
I like your blog very much. Thanks for the joy that you can give me.
Happy New Year!
Éva from Hungary

Eva said...

Dear Rima,
Happy New Year from Hungary
May God bless you!

The Guardian said...

Hi Rima, The Guardian here looking for answers that you may have. I have not been working in my blog and Trully wanted you to be the first to see it, but that is not the reason I am here.

You know I am a Storyteller and as so I can tell you many of the secrets of nature. Ask me why the sky is blue and why the sea is salt. Ask me how to talk to a tree and how to do to listen to it. Ask me why the sky is dark at night time and why we can see stars and I will answer you. Many things I know being so young, but at the same time I am so ignorant. Tell me dear Snow Rider tell me how love works? Tell me where it did come from and why it does exist. Is love something that can be weighed and measured? Is it something that can be explained? Tell me why we love people who does not care about us. Is love a kind of curse which wears a mask to trick us? Answer my questions please for you are the only one who may have this answers. Answer my question and The Guardian of Dreams, The Prince in Black will reward you...

Amanda Hawkins said...

Finding your work, Rima, and your words, is like a first hike on a gorgeous trail. I almost mourn not finding it sooner! Thank you for what you said about art and explanation. It is a comfort to know there are others of our generation that have not totally come under the influence of conceptual art! Will follow your posts definitely!