I am spending my winter in Ayvalık, a small beach town in the west Aegean coast line, in a very remote part, enjoying the silence. During my daily walks along the shore I almost breath in the silence of the blue sky above, the blue sea surrounding the land and the blue mountains across. It is as if taking a dive into a blue world of serenity. Different hours of the day present different shades of blue, all are healing and soothing to the soul. Sometimes it is perfectly calm like a blue mirror, and at other times t is windy and wavy, yet there is always silence, and serenity.
Here, on the west coast, spring comes early, around late February the maquis bushes by the beach start to re-green and then even start blooming. The wild Lavandula stoechas with their purple flowers were the first ones to bloom, then came the red anemones, and the cistus with white flowers. The ones with crinkled hot pink flowers just started blooming. Surprisingly they all live happily intertwined, Often times the lavandula blooms stick out from a cistus bush and there is even a cistus bush growing out of a mastic bush! Seeing plant support among wild maquis definitely provides a lesson to learn: Even in the midst of wilderness of life there is always support -of Mother Nature! Nothing is as it seems. Wait till life blooms and the invisible beauty becomes visible.
For my most recent work tilted "Awakening" I preferred to use lots of blue. I used natural indigo blue pigment for the mountains in the distant, over the waves and as well as the plants. The shade I used is actually called Maya teal blue, created by Mayans as the name depicts, the blue pigment obtained from indigo plant is fixed on a clay.
There are small islands scattered across the sea, my favorites ones are the three nearby islands whom I call the three sisters. They seem to float over the blue sea and yet have an anchoring, stabilizing effect on me. One of them in particular has a majestic look and has a very impressive presence. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon sun's rays lit the islands and they kind of glow with light. Such a delight to see.
Oh! and the egret! how can I not mention it? The bright white lone ranger is always down by the shore below the maquis, feeding on shallow waters. I love seeing it take off with such elegance; reminds me of traditional Chinese and Japanese paintings. Recently I've been exploring Hokusai's - Japan's most beloved artist- degradations with color.
This year I had the opportunity to watch Nature awaken. I've been observing the bushes closely, though full of buds they wait patiently for the right time to bloom, and each has its own turn. There is an elegant sequence of awakening in nature and plenty of support among plants. Now I truly know why spring is called the month of awakening. Every bit of earth here is covered with some kind of bloom and herb.
Here are some photos of the plants I painted and also of the view of the islands across. For me, so far, this spring's theme has been BLUE, AWAKENINGS, SILENCE, PATIENCE, ELEGANCE, AND SUPPORT. What is the spring bringing into your life?