Travel inspiration

 

Travelling has always inspired. I’m drawn to warmer climates where palm trees grow, where people live outside even in January, where washing lines are strung from rooftop terraces and across windows and where you can lose yourself in narrow paved and cobbled lanes.

image

Still life

I love the unsung towns and villages away from the brochure land publicity glare, places that welcome and smile without pandering, places that have developed a patina, a glow and a confidence that rubs along with modern life.

Portugal does it for me. The best fish and fruity smooth wines from the Alentejo and the Douro. Little bars where people snack on dressed crab and piles of prawns that price would forbid at home can be had here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Places that reveal still life potential at every corner, tiny details in pastel peeling layers of weather ravaged homes, glimpses of past lives close up with the here and now.

Wide open spaces with water wading birds pecking at sandbanks and sometimes flying in formation dipping, diving, soaring, squawking.

Places that know how to stand still and revel in it. Places where it is fine to just be and do nothing, places that act like a massage for the soul.

I rarely paint in situ preferring to lap up the sense of place by walking, looking, taking photographs, making speed drawings and absorbing atmosphere.

This makes for better memories and thus better source material as each memory can be represented in essence rather than accuracy.

I find this a freeing mode of expression that compliments my intuitive style of working. It’s all about atmosphere, symbols, colour, letting go of knowing how it will all turn out but having a faith in the mind’s ability to remember.

 

‘Lives lived here’ – progression of a painting

Last weekend we wandered the quiet winter streets  of Porto stealing photographs of street art, old doors, old windows, strings of washing, lived in windows with decorative lace curtains and watched as birds circled in the sky above us.

This post shows the progression of my current work in progress, a large canvas depicting an old door and integrating motifs based on memories of the city. I’m calling the painting ‘Lives lived here’ as so much of this city has buildings that are unoccupied but which speak of their history in subtle ways.

image

First layer with outline composition painted onto wet canvas                                                                                                                  ©Mary Price 2016

image

Second layer introduces dark tones and a variety of marks scratched into the surface with sharp bamboo skewers                   ©Mary Price 2016

image

Third layer and more colours added and elements and motifs to bring meaning into the work are added, symbols, arrows, birds and the washing line strings ©Mary Price 2016

image

Memories of the street art by Hazul Luzah are introduced into the bottom right corner in the figurative form and the diamond shapes that appear on many of his works; the words ‘lives lived here’ are etched into white paint reinforcing the history of people who inhabited the crumbling buildings that abound in this wonderful city. A lace curtain with a finely stitched bird is a stolen image from a window on the waterfront. I signed the painting thinking it finished but I think I was a little premature. There is more to do. ©Mary Price 2016

image

The street art image becomes more defined looking like a huddled ghost whilst the swifts are brought into sharper focus against pale backgrounds. Maybe the figure gives a sense of the past lives lived, a symbol guarding memory. Notice the padlock and chain on the door sealing in the memories. I have since added a heart to the padlock – it may remain or it may be taken away! ©Mary Price 2016