There and Here

There exists within me some kind of urgency in both the need to make art, to travel to certain places and to walk.  To commune with the earth, by walking on it, making pathways, making tracks and connections.  I think of the songlines of the aboriginal people.  When I walk, I also imagine new paintings and sometimes the ideas are grown, like new neural pathways.  As we make new pathways in the land, we make neural pathways in the brain.  We grow ideas, paintings, poems.  Sometimes it’s like a march, and it can be quite repetitive, and I am fortunate in that where I live, I can walk out of the door, up the lane and onto the cliff path above the sea.  That horizon is like food for the soul and as I gaze out to sea, I enjoy the change in colour, and in England, it is often changeable.  It always surprises me how much traffic is passing through the English channel:  huge cargo boats, small fishing boats and on a still day, sailing boats for the pure pleasure.

Then there is this need to travel to southern Spain.  Which is also a kind of need to be alone, interspersed with connections with others.  It used to be other places:  Greece, France,  California, Arizona, Nevada, the desert, then France again.  Now it’s Spain, and has been for some time, and when I ‘found’ the Alpujarra, I felt it was perhaps the best place, or at the very least, the place that would continue to fascinate me for many years.  The sublime mystery and magic of and in those mountains is something that feels ancient, bewitching, fascinating, numinous, elemental..   I want to know about the history, the threshing floors, ancient trade routes, mysterious pathways, abandoned places, the ancient ways of life that can still be seen :  donkeys carrying firewood, people riding horses, (completely unlike the way they ride them in England which is something bourgeois, or a lifestyle thing.)  In Spain it’s for transport, humble and simple, yet proud.  I want to know what’s around the next mountain or over it.  I want to connect with the mountain, walk barefoot, meditate with it, become part of it..    I recently had a revelation, when walking alone on a pathway.  I sat on a warm rock, the sun was low in the sky, it had been a hot day.  I sat there for some time and felt a unity that I had not felt since I was a young woman, actually in Crete, again walking alone barefoot on a vast warm rock, overlooking the Mediterranean.  I felt completely and utterly present and in the moment, not thinking ahead or backwards, but here, now.  These moments are healing, and I rarely feel them in England.  Life feels too frenetic.  I can feel the energy and drive, or stress from others.  Spain is like medicine, or a lover, and a world away from the frenzied energy of the UK.

Light and space.  I love driving in Spain too.  The vast roads, taking me through the landscape.  I have a nomadic blood group.  I used to think that my favourite thing to do, was walking out of places.  Setting off..  I think it still is.  Apparently there is this thing called a nesting gene, and I often wonder if I lack this, which is quite a challenge, being a ‘wife’ and mother.  Well, I have never liked the word wife, for so many reasons.  I couldn’t be a more loving mother though, but I think my children (one is an adult,) understand their gypsy mother.  My husband is someone who definitely has the nesting gene.  What does a nesting gene even look like?  How did they find out about it?  Is it shaped like a house?  Does it even exist?

When I return from my sojourns, it takes me about three days to land.  For three days, my being is in a twilight zone between there and here.  I am here, but I am also there.  Suspended.  Sometimes at night, I’ll wake up and ‘see’ mountains all around me.  Still enchanted by mountain magic.  Everything will be coloured by a golden haze..  Landing, becoming ‘back here’ inevitably involves walking the land again.  Then I can re-find my still-point, paint, and see friends, and go out and hear live music and feel the creative buzz that England offers me, yet always planning my next trip.

 

Upcoming Retreat, 'The Seed' April 7th-14th 2017

'The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that it has the potential to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed.
 ~ and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the journey starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft.
There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the challenges. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.'  Osho

My focus is very much about the transformative power that creativity and making art produces. I often work alongside other artists to create my art retreats in Spain. The healing effects of working from the imagination, group work, with people creating alongside one another and interacting in the studio cannot be underestimated. We combine arts such as movement, storytelling, and music with painting and drawing.   In short, art heals and transforms.

I will be working with artist, dancer and healer Terre Cerridwyn Busse from California and Steffi Goddard, artist, Reiki healer,  yogini and also co-owner of the cortijo.
 

Retreat dates:  April 7th-14th 2017   This retreat will again be in beautiful Cortijo Las Salinas, Jaen, Spain.  To register an interest or to be on my mailing list, please fill out the contact form above or email me at alicemason64@gmail.com.  Please see below for photos of my last retreat and the links above for my previous retreats.  

Cost is £950 per person for a week-long retreat.   Inclusive of luxury accommodation, delicious and nutritious food, (we will be dining together,)  art materials, tuition, guidance, hiking in Las Alpujarras mountains with best-selling author Chris Stewart, writer of Driving Over Lemons, reiki, yoga, dance and movement (optional,) creativity, creative writing, visiting historic sites, including Granada and Cordoba, and all the other treats and delights the cortijo has to offer.   We will be painting every day in a huge and beautiful art studio, mostly using intuitive art processes and meditative art, with guided meditations.  Check out The Seed Retreat links above for full details and itinerary.

Does not include flights or car hire.  Travel insurance is recommended.  The cortijo is easy to find, either we can give you simple directions, or you can locate it with your sat nav or smart phone.  If you would prefer to be collected from the airport, we can arrange that too, via a car service we regularly use, at an extra cost of approximately 50 Euros.

To secure your place, please contact me to discuss,  (alicemason64@gmail.com) then a refundable deposit of £200 per person will be payable to me via bank transfer or Paypal.  The balance is payable 6 weeks prior to the course.

The apartments can be single or double, all with ensuite bathrooms and all apartments have stunning views onto the landscape, with outdoor seating areas,

There will be ample free time for pampering and relaxation as the cortijo offers yoga and reiki, (included in the cost) and there is a huge swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a cabana with phenomenal views, lots of relaxing and gorgeous places to be alone, or sketch in nature, to take self-led walks, or wander down to the river, (Rio San Juan,) or lovely local historic sites to see, Alcala La Real with its Moorish castle is very close, with a colourful weekly market, and Granada and Cordoba are approximately an hour's drive away.  It is in glorious olive country, undiscovered and unspoiled Spain.  There is an honesty bar, a courtyard with fountain, a mountain behind the cortijo with amazing panoramic views, a Moroccan chill-out area, and beautiful sitting room with antiques, a large and well stocked kitchen, and so much more.  

Check out the Cortijo Las Salinas website to see how simply beautiful it is.  The owners are dear friends of mine and we have worked closely together for several years now. 

www.cortijolassalinas.com

 

Click on the Seed Retreat links above for all details. 

Check out all links above for all details about me, my work and previous retreats.

 

 

Recent publications

Some recent publications: 

I am currently working on a series of illustrations for a children's book.  To be released next year.

Book cover for poetry book 'Don't You Dare Teach my Daughter to Fear the Forest' by TY Chambers.  A collection of poetry of empowerment for women.

https://publishizer.com/dont-you-dare-teach-my-daughter-to-fear-the-forest-2/

Exhibition with Viriditas at Women of the World Festival, South Bank Centre, London, February 2017

A wonderful book called 'Jump into the Blue' has been released with my art work on the cover.  You can check it out on www.jumpintotheblue.com

I have also just been published in a new French diary published by Reve des Femmes,  called Rev' Elles, Agenda Lunaire 2017. 

  http://www.revedefemmes.net/pages/catalogue.php?famille=Agendas

Another publication with my art work is the deck of Soulful Woman guidance cards. 

http://www.blueangelonline.com/soulful_woman_cards.html

 

One of my paintings "Queen Schererazade 1001 Nights" is to be used for the publicity of a symposium " Culture and Resilience" that will take place on 2nd February 2017 by GGzE in Eindhoven (Netherlands). This symposium is about psychiatric and mental care to refugees and to people who have grown up in a different culture.