Tuesday, November 23, 2010

van Drake's Search for the Artistic Soul Begins in the Mountains and Valleys of Andalusia

"Do go on doing a lot of walking & keep up your love of nature, for that is the right way to understand art better & better. Painters understand nature & love her & teach us to see." Vincent van Gogh, January 1874, in a letter to brother Theo.

Everytime I walk in the mountains around Canillas de Albaida and Competa and descend into valleys and cross silvery streams strewn with rocks wearing thousands of years of experience and simply observe everything in slow motion, so much becomes clear as life focuses on nature, our very being, the earth, the simplicity yet complexity and beautfy of detail.

When I need inspiration, I turn to walking in nature.

I pause to study shapes of leaves, the spines that flush nutrients through plants, sustaining life; the sinuous and sensuous entanglement of muscular weaving olive branches, mishapen magic, all rooted to the earth. The magic that grows around us. The shadows, colour palettes and lines and perspectives that define us.

It's no surprise that artists I talk to here say Spain is a great place to create. Van Gogh and most artists I know create because they must.

Nature cleanses the mind and feeds a hungry spirit and soul, mountain winds sweep through us, we filter out the clutter that drags us  down or distracts, the collective madness of the 21st Century, and then with nature, we are alone and together with everyone's spirit. We can harvest hope and dream.

"There may be a great fire in your soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself by it, all that passers-by can see is a little smoke coming out of the chimney and they walk on." Vincent van Gogh, July 1880, in a letter to brother Theo.

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