Friday, 24 May 2019

Chicken love and other life lessons.

Ambient sounds she said.  Add ambient sounds to your animations.

So I sat outside my gate this evening and watched the sun set, enjoying  the exquisite ambient sounds all around, especially the happy blackbird in the old walnut tree right above me. I had my first lesson in animation this evening.

Will you email me your little demo I asked my extremely talented teacher?  She paused. I know you she said,  you'll want to put it on Facebook.  Humm!  I'll need to edit it she decided. We laughed.

 Actually I was thinking of sharing it here, but I haven't succeeded.

Pinterest pic.

I've been given homework. Approximately 62 drawings and some recordings of  ambient sounds for next week. That's fine. That's the nature of animation, masses of drawings with small changes. The little film will last 20 seconds ! I've wanted to make animated films all my life.

In the next blog you'll see the outcome.  In the meantime, here's the reason I've been quiet for the last however many weeks - drum roll - introducing my brand new website.

Back to the present moment.  Adventures in Andalucia.. Living with chickens (and foxes).

Yesterday at 11am, tiny 87 year old neighbor Louisa was on the other side of the fence, mostly hidden by the jasmin bush. She witness the whole happening. She doesn't miss a thing. Her memory is better than mine. She loves my chickens. She's chicken savvy. She pokes little bits of cut up lettuce though the fence for them every morning.

Louisa's stoical about the dog bite that happened on Saturday.  Her 60 year old daughter cried when she told me  the story. The bandage on her left leg is pristine white. She's wonderfully cared for.

Yesterday's chicken story, for sure, will now be the latest news around the village.   

Village news, Louisa’s version:  

Madre mia ! Margarita’s hen flew over the fence and perched on her shoulder. Dios mio she didn’t want to get down!  No puedo creerlo ! They gazed into each others eyes. Margarita started talking to her.  It looked like the hen  was listening and  telling her something too ! Madre mia de mi vida, nunca, jamas he visto algo asi ! 

 My version : The characterful speckled hen flew 4 feet onto the wire fence.  She wobbled there (as if on a tightrope), then cautiously walked onto my outstretched arm. She’s  done this once before. From there she hopped onto my shoulder and gazed into my eyes. Some strange but friendly noises continued for some time. We communicated mutual awe !  

She didn’t want to fly down. I had to shake her off. 

This is the same hen who nearly got eaten by the fox and the two dogs a few weeks ago, but survived. He name is Dotti Malaika.

I have never, ever seen anything like this in my whole life said elderly Louisa  -  we both laughed a lot. I had never heard her laugh before. 

More about this incredible little hen soon !

Friday, 1 March 2019

Beyond words

I've spent a week writing  my new Artists Statement., here it is.

It's been hard because I've  always felt art is beyond words.

I  have themes and colors which change over the years.  The  driving energy, the  feelings which come into each drawing arrive of their own accord.

My hope is you find something of your own story  in my drawings. Something uplifting.

I started drawing  aged  three.
In these first autobiographical wax crayon drawings I’m a healthy, smiling small nurse  in  a Scottish hospital  ward surrounded by sick ladies glued to their beds .  Adopted by two pioneering women doctors, I was told to be proud of my ‘half’ Jewish heritage. The other half of me is Irish Dutch.

My recent  art has unfolded  in ‘chapters.’

*Nomadic years - paintings from Alaska, New Mexico, Bolivia , Peru, Spain. 1998- 2014

*Expressive arts images - healing cancer 2015 -2017.

*Belalcázar  Monastery – drawings inspired by research into  Spain’s Golden Age -1492, -Sephardic  Jewish ancestors. 2016- 2018.

*Jewish ancestors - drawing and digital images inspired by discovering long lost Lithuanian grandparents. 2018 – .


*Sketches and life drawings 1998 – 2019.

My art is serious and I guess I am too, but humour and playfulness always have a way of  slipping into my life.  The new digital drawings are all about playing with line and colour. Using these techniques I’ve come to understand and use and share healing aspects of art.
In drawing, I usually start by mark making  then quickly,  inevitably create chaos.   Gradually and mindfully I find ways to access that  energy which doesn’t care about the outcome of the image. Sacred  world  music helps this happen.   In 1996 I deleted the words good bad and should from my vocabulary.

Often the drawing/painting chaos can last days or weeks or months.  Then suddenly, something extraordinary happens.  Characters appear -  timeless stories emerge.
People say they see aspects of themselves in my drawings -  parts they don’t usually notice or talk to.
Rafael, The Fauves , Egon Schiele ,Toulouse Lautrec and Scottish  friend John Bellamy’s drawings were early inspirations.  I spent 6 years passionately studying art at St Martin’s Art School in London and at Edinburgh  College Art College.
20 years ago equally passionately, I began the process of unlearning.

“There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.”   Jeanette Winterson 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Adventures with Colour.

New Creative retreats starting in May.

Exploring, and using  colour in new ways. A  adventure into colour making.  - destination unknown. For passionate hobby artists and  professionals.

Like the idea?

Whatever kind of art you make at the moment, the  pledge is that you will go away  inspired to be braver, more curios, bolder, risk taking , and with your inner critic quietened.

The retreats will be fun, exciting, unblocking, inspiring you to start using  new techniques ,ideas, and attitudes to your art making whether you’re a passionate hobby artist or a professional.

 The idea is to provide a safe non-judgmental  place where you can meet and greet  your most creative self.   Self-sabotage will be used as your inner compass.

Your inner critic will lose total
control .  I know that’s quite a claim but believe me , it’s possible.

I will teach some basic drawing  and colour mixing skills, the rest will be playing with a wonderful variety  of materials and techniques, some in the studio others  in nature.

 You can call it expressive art if you need a title.

Dates and prices to follow.  Please see the ‘old’ website for back info.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

New retreats in Spain 2019

Meet and greet your most creative self! 

New Creative retreats starting in March 2019. 
7 days in Andalucia, small groups, individual tuition and masses of encouragement.

For people seeking a new  relationship with their inner artist, for people feeling stuck with their ideas and techniques. 
For experienced  artists  wanting to go beyond what they create at the moment.

Are  you willing to take risks,  surprise yourself, tame your inner critic, have fun, not judge every brush mark? 

A week of experimenting with expressive  arts to  completely loosen you up.  

Nuture  your inner artist with sunshine, blue skies, lovely food, in nature in southern Spain.

'Play is the highest form of research.'

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Litvak family.

Lithuanian Jews or 'Litvaks 'are  Jews born in Lithuanian, Belarus, Latvia, two north eastern regions of Poland, and some border areas of Russia and Ukraine .  Today very few remain.  Those who escaped in 1941 mostly fled to Russia.  My great grandfather Harry Rubin immigrated to Canada around 1910.

Thanks to the DNA test I'm  here to discover my Litvak ancestry, in the landscape , in the collective memory, and in my soul. My mountaineer friend Ken immediately called my journey to Lithuania a  Pilgrimage. And that's what it's  been, all six weeks, and not a single blister.

The pilgrimage started in Gdansk in July, drifted over the Polish border to a monastery near Kaunas , and meandered down to the south west of Lithuania to my great grandfathers village, Seirijai.

This village was the original goal of my 'pilgrimage.'

I believed my fathers family had escaped from Seirijai on foot to Poland (then immigrated to the US), but it turned out in 1906, having had some money, they took a  train to Hamburg .
From there they boarded a boat for the 3 week journey to Montreal, not NY. Some of the family made their way to Scotland. My pilgrimage was full of surprises.

Lithuania is a flat densely forested country. It is a land of apple trees, blueberries , mushrooms, no mountains .
They've only had their independence from Soviet domination since 1990.

After many adventures and much research in Vilnius, previously known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania , I arrived here in Druskininkai.

That 130km journey is a book in itself! More later about meeting the new Jewish community in a
forest, with a feast, singing, dancing, and being invited to tell my story.

Then  yesterday, August 13th, with a Lithuania guide, I visited  Kapciamiestis where my great
great-grandparents Wolf and Gritl Rubin lived in 1870.

It was beautiful, so charming , so almost fairytale otherworldly, I immediately, finally knew where I've come from. My roots come from this soil.
More about this in a while

Thanks to a DNA test two years ago, I finally discovered where my  never met, never known birth father came from -
Info from 2nd and3rd cousins  (thanks to the  DAA test ), gave me the names of my great grandparents, the name of two villages, and a calling to find out more.

It feels that my pilgrimage to this beautiful country is complete.

I've found what I didn't know I was searching for . I've found in my innermost heart a sense of familiarity that is unquestionable. The village of Kapciamiestis was almost destroyed during World War 11, but essence cannot be destroyed...and the dreams and hopes of my beloved ancestors who lived here are in my genes, and mysteriously , I feel I've just crosssed a threshold.

I'm certain John O'Donohue and David Whyte have poems which express this feeling exquisitely.

Until I can understand and say more about this homecoming, here are some pics.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Lithuania Calling.

Dear loyal multinational followers,

Thank you for keeping on visiting while I've been silent for so many weeks.

How does anybody manage a daily blog??

I couldn't. At the moment I've got kittens and chickens and a blind cockerel  to feed, as well as drawings to draw, adventures to live, and so much more.

Since starting the blog,  thousands of you  in the US have visited (so love these statistics), and more than five thousand Russians and Ukrainians have looked at my paintings here.

Why so many visitors from Russia?  I'm thinking you must be 'resonating' with something in my art , but I doubt many of you are  reading the posts. Of course I could be wrong.

I've just discovered my Jewish father's ancestors came from your countries -  Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and also Poland. What a surprise. Oh bliss and double joy to know this at last!
All my life I'd  had a suspicion about Poland.  Maybe it was just  poetic wishful thinking and a need to pin my dad somewhere on the world map?  I'd always imagined he'd escaped from a Polish concentration camp. Maybe Auschwitz?
Because I was adopted as a baby - and have always had an overactive imagination.

Every day I wake now with a wild quiet curiosity.  At last I know where I've 'come from.'  But it's not quite that simple.

These super brave ancestors fled to the US between 1850 and 1919.

Exuberant Drum roll...

on the 14th of July I'm leaving Spain for a 6 week solo 'pilgrimage' to walk on the land of my Jewish ancestors.

 My journey starts in Gdansk, Poland, then moves to Vilnius in Lithuania, then down to the south east corner of Lithuania to the village of Seirijai.   Then where ? I don't know.  Poland,  Belarus ,  Lativa , Siberia?

So far,  I have just one Lithuanian village,  just one man - a possible great grandfather or great uncle - and just one route to explore  - my ancestors  escape route to freedom..

This minimal info has inspired these drawings.

But...what if I only last one week in Gdansk and have to come straight  back to Malaga?

 No, I will not get sick or have an accident, or ... anything like that.  I'm determined to heal the new medical problem before I go. Si señor !

Not being able to speak the language is a real 'what if' that needs taming.

Yes, I have heard about the new translator app, but...

Chill Meg.  When intuition becomes the  inner compass, as it has already,  anything can happen.

 Think positive Margarita and  don't depend in electronic gadgets, depend on faith. Si senor.

I promise  I'll  share the highlights of this adventure.

Another drum roll... I just discovered : in about 1840 in Seirijai there lived a certain  Rabbi Rabinson and a man called David Robinzon.  Gasp.  Relations?

Lithuania has the fastest Internet connection in the world, and the highest suicide rate in Europe among young men. Two facts which may or may not be useful.  Weird what comes up when you start researching anything.

Meanwhile, I'm loving drawing my way into this mysterious story.

Lithuania.  Big sigh. I feel compelled to walk on the land of my ancestors, and I hope to find, if at all possible, the real name of  my never known, never met, Jewish farther.

All I have are his initials, L.R.

How  do I know this?  Well... that's a long story I'm not quite ready to share yet, except to say...

 my father changed his name on arriving in Ireland in 1944.  L.R became Leslie  Robinson.

 Apparently, most Jewish refugees changed their names but kept their initials when they arrived  in  a new land.

Because of his mysterious identity, and because my Irish mother wasn't ' allowed' to keep me, I was an orphan before I was born.

My life didn't start off brilliantly, but there have been many, many brilliant episodes ever since, and they're ongoing.

I don't know if my birth mother's life was so blessed. When I found her 30 years ago, she didn't have anything kind to say about my dad.
Hers was a terrible but  common story  of an  Irish girl not allowed to keep her baby.

If  I can find a name for my dad, I'll be ecstatic.
It's the missing piece of this  beautiful  multicolored  jigsaw.

And if I can't, life will still be beautiful.

Thank you for bringing Lithuania, Russia and  Poland - and  3 brand new cousins-  quietly into my life.

How amazing.   All I had to do was spit into a tiny test tube two years ago -
to get this Jewish, DNA information.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Holy moments.

"For though we may not live a holy life, we live in a world alive with holy moments. We need only take the time to bring these moments into the light."

— Kent Nerburn - Small Graces.

I've  seriously neglected my blog for  over 3 months.  I honestly don' t know why.  

Shelling walnuts this morning in the sunshine.

We do not need to be religious to have holy moments.

Take a little time to look around?  Like close up around. Not long distance.

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance, and none can say while some fields will blossom and others lay brown beneath the August sun.

Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily made. And give. Give in any way you can, of whatever you possess.

To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than how is shared, and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.”

― Kent Nerburn

 “Something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and the gift of another day.”

― Kent Nerburn

Small-Graces-Quiet-Gifts-Everyday by Kent Nerburn .