Monday, August 17, 2009

Making Art In Brasil

I made some art when I was in Brasil.

I tried to make 2 pictures but only completed one and a half.

Being there was a good time for me.

I didn't do the touristy thing, I just spent time hanging out with Claire, Neto, Neto's family and my family (who all made it out there). I joined in with whatever they were doing. It was perfect because I got a first-hand picture of what Claire's life is like ... where she lives, shops and works ... who some of her family and friends are. It made it all feel less distant.

As we went about the place I began to think about making a picture for her and Neto as a wedding present. One day, while she was seeing someone about wedding arrangements, I wandered around with my camera and took a few photos.

I told Claire I wanted to make a picture (I didn't say it was for her) so she gave me some acrylic paints, PVA glue and a sturdy cardboard box that I cut 2 pieces out of to work on.

Over the next few days I primed the cardboard (with the dregs of a tin of white emulsion that we found) and began the process of adding texture and colour to the surface of both pictures.

A couple of days later we were at a shopping mall so I took my camera memory card to a photo shop and asked for 3 prints. They looked at me a bit strangely as the prints I wanted were of a patch of earth (the earth there is a rich red colour), a wooden post and a bunch of grapes. Hardly holiday snaps.

The next day I stayed at Claire's house for the morning while everyone went out. That's when I got cracking. I scrabbled around outside gathering sticks, leaves, small stones and handfuls of earth - elements of the land where she now lives. I stuck them on Claire's picture and the other one. Fortunately things dry quickly in the Brasilian sun!

I added another layer of paint and texture. Finally, I cut words out of a magazine I was reading and stuck those on.

(I couldn't finish the other picture because I couldn't find an image I wanted to photograph or words I wanted to stick on.)

This is when the curious and unexpected thing happened. I was sitting with Claire the morning before her wedding. She had an email from the pastor of the church where she was getting married suggesting I should "say a few words" at the close of the wedding to sum things up. He thought it would be a nice touch and Claire thought so too. I agreed.

As I thought about what to say, I realised that the picture I had made would be a great visual aid. I made it to have meaning especially for Claire and Neto. Now I would have a chance to explain it to them in the context of their wedding rather than just leaving it in the pile of wedding presents and hoping they would "get it".

On the day (or the evening, actually - they got married at 7.30pm) I arranged for the picture to be taken in, wrapped in a piece of cloth. (I was walking Claire down the aisle and giving her away so I couldn't do it!) At the closing stages of the wedding ceremony, when I was invited to speak, I showed them the picture and spoke about the meaning of it.

It was great to be given the opportunity to speak so personally to them both, and to do it in front of their friends, family and church congregation.

Public speaking is my most favourite thing ever, so I was totally chuffed to be invited to take part. It rounded things off nicely for me.

I came home a proud and happy man.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Check out the website of this great textile artist, Carole Waller:

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm still here.

I just don't know where 'here' is.

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