The Great White Horse

Drawings, Making, Relationships

When I was in primary school, year two (although it wasn’t called that back then) we did some kind of medieval project and made wish bags. We had to write what we wished for and then seal them in these fabric bags. I wrote ‘horse’. I am not sure why, it is one of a few memories I have from being an infant, yet I didn’t go horse riding or really show any interest in horses I don’t think. Maybe, it was the era of ‘my little pony’- I don’t know. Not long before I had my own children boys I booked myself a lesson and even that memory seems very hazy but I was obviously allergic. When the boys were small I took them on a horse trek and walking beside them wasn’t the best idea, my eyes were itchy, I couldn’t stop sneezing. However, there is something about the horse that still appeals to me.

Meanwhile, over in Egypt my husband was growing up surrounded by animals and horses, mainly because of his grandfather. So riding was a past time of his. In many of the villages around his childhood home wedding celebrations would include a dancing horse. Not sure if the horses danced because of the rhythm of the music or they were trained to, either way, it was the sculptor’s favourite thing to watch.

The first lockdown this year resulted in the sculptor producing a collection of drawings, mainly of animals and amphibians. In this second lockdown the sculptor has been drawing horses. This is the story which inspired the collection.

Whilst at University the sculptor was living with other students, one was an interior designer. He asked one day if my husband would like to go horse riding with him. The sculptor promptly said yes and was instructed that they would be riding near to the pyramids at about four in the morning. The sculptor found this a strange time due to the darkness so asked why. His friend told him that there were some magnificent horses, not allowed out in public for the tourists to ride but kept in the stables.

The sculptor went with the interior designer to a very unusual place near the pyramids in the early hours before the dawn. They were the only people awake. The friend knocked on a seemingly random door. An old man opened, greeted the friend with familiarity saying, “the same horses”? The friend replied, “yes”.

After a short walk, a stable door was opened and there was the giant white horse, clearly not of an Arab bloodline. My husband had never seen something that large in his life. He fell in love immediately with grand horses. Not interested in speed but the idea of a creature so powerful with solid muscles cutting through the air with beauty and holding a dynamic gracefulness- perhaps this is the point of view of the sculptor. Always looking at shape and form.

The sculptor insisted on riding this grand horse despite it being the one for his friend. He observed his friend’s disappointment. The stable man stated that he wouldn’t be able to handle him and that the friend was used to riding him. As soon as my husband mounted the horse’s back, he reared up and tipped him off. It then took him a second or two from the shock and everyone laughing around him, for him to realise what had happened. He got up and got straight back on. Gently touching the mane he slowly built up speed upon the horse. Maybe the horse had wanted to send him a message that the horse was the one in control.

In the darkness of the night some how the desert was lit up by the stars, or the sparks from the friends horse running so fast ahead on the the stony ground. The great white horse got faster until it was as though the sculptor was no longer riding a horse. The horse was a soft gentle rocking chair. The sculptor was so confident as the cold breeze hit his face from the speed and yet he felt on top of a feather. At this point his hands let go, stretching out to his sides. For a brief moment he believed he was no longer on earth. Perhaps, floating between land and sky. He felt free.

Maybe the horse experienced it too. The horse and sculptor were one. It was an experience he will never forget.

Fall.

collections, Colour, Public Art

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This is the first piece in the ‘Only Human‘ collection, ‘Falling into the past’, which looks a little like a yoga pose and one which is very good for opening up your heart space. Below the images shows the red section in that heart space area of the body. Sometimes we need to let go of whatever it is we are holding onto so tightly in order to feel lighter once again.

Fall, feels like such an Americanism but in recent years we have really started to use it here in the UK. I think it is the artists season, the colours, the light, the contrast and the imagery. I recently saw the quote that Autumn is, “natures way of showing is that we need to let go.” We do need to develop an art of letting go, materially and emotionally. It can be a real struggle, we hold on to things unnecessarily. The Buddha said, ‘the root of all suffering is attachment. We can attach ourselves to time, place, people, objects.

In my rough notes for writing this post I have ‘time travelling and Harry potter’ scribbled down which I am not quite sure where I was going with that. Probably something to do with finishing ‘The Cursed Child’ with my eldest which really used the idea of time travel and perhaps I had thought ‘Falling into the past’ had some connection but any deep meaning has escaped me.

This sculpture for me represents the feet firmly placed in the past, the head in the future. The heart space is in the here and now and there we can rest and let go.

Fall

Oh leaves

so gently falling,

drifting to the ground

whilst we stand firm

and dig in our heels,

so proud.

Let us look,

to nature

to learn what we are shown

that change is essential

to become fully grown

so let go 

let’s flow

as we become lighter

brighter 

new ideas are sown.

Oh leaves

so gently drifting

let us learn to be

like the autumn fall

new colours for all to see.

 

 

Why the long face, soul so beautiful?

Connections, Philosophy, Relationships

Soul so beautiful

Oh soul, so light, so beautiful

This world is just too much for you

Your feet are treading softly

On broken glass

The pain seeps from your skin

Your eyes flicker of the sadness within

As you clamber to hold

on to the day

The mind is a wild garden

over grown, lost, forgotten

bird songs echo of

the silent tears you weep

‘Long Face’, Sam Shendi at Graham’s Gallery Johannesburg

Words and one picture

Exhibitions

I didn’t think it through, how I was going to write 1600 plus words a day #nanowrimo as well as everything else that needs to be done. I am writing everyday though and that is itself a huge milestone. I am averaging about 1400 words each day. So I have just gone over the half way point writing 25 thousand words in 18 days. Sometimes it’s important to focus on what has been done, achieved than what hasn’t been done. It’s a good lesson to learn.

I have neglected this blog a little though, which I had thought might happen. It is a little unfortunate timing when we are about to have the first major solo show in Munich starting next week.

So the sculptor is also whizzing around, trying to tie up loose ends here with the business and then packing everything he needs for next week. Approximately 57 pieces will be packed into the van on before it goes over land and sea. The work gets loaded on Friday and the sculptor flies on Saturday. I am just praying the rain and wind will cease, a little at least.  Again at each milestone we achieve with promoting the sculpture it’s important to remember just how far we have come.

Will aim to keep a little track of what will be happening in Germany next week (just to add to my to do list!)

poster solo

Challenges: Nanowrimo, Solo exhibition & Surrey sculpture Society talk all in one month!

Egyptian, Philosophy, Relationships

At the beginning of the year I started a 30 day yoga challenge which I did successfully and have repeated it throughout this year. At the beginning of September I gave myself the challenge of compiling a book of my own poems and pictures of my husband’s sculptures as a gift for my Father who had been suggesting it for a while.

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I was really pleased with the finish of it though it felt quite thin and made me understand the word ‘volume’ a little bit more. I have come to realise that challenge for me needs to have some external pressure.

At University I spent most of my time rowing and would rise to the early morning alarm to train which happened 7 days a week. When I think of the 2k and 5k races we would compete in off the blocks we had adrenaline and excitement to fule the first few strokes and then we would hit a wall, pain in the legs, pain in the chest and we would row through it. Aided and assisted by words like ‘Dig deep’ ‘Pull harder’ which our cox would yell at us, we would dig deep and we would keep going beyond the lactic acid build up. We would pull past other boats competing against them and drive ourselves forward. Perhaps this competition took all competitiveness out of me but since then I haven’t quite given myself the same kind of challenges. My little daily yoga or writing challenges have been small by comparrison.

However on Sunday I started a new challenge which though not physical like rowing seems a huge challenge at the moment amogst everything else which is going on, which I will get to. I have started the Nanowrimo challenge (National novel writing month) where you aim to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I just happened to see an advert in a magazine for it and started to wonder if I was ready. I need this motivation but totally unplanned and unprepared I sat down on Sunday and wrote, thrilled I thought this was going to be easy but this was the adreneline and excitment out of the box. Second day I stalled. Conincidently, after being out of touch for a while my rowing cox, I discovered she is also doing this challenge and through the modern connectivity of technology is coxing me by email words of encouragement. So from a distance we are tapping away at the keyboards, scribbling out the words and so I prepare you for perhaps a more visual blog this month whilst my words get counted elsewhere.

poster solo

The sculptor meanwhile on his own set of challenges, set by himself, in a very different way from my own, is preparing for his first solo exhibition this month in Munich. So we are busy getting lot of sculptures, paintings and words ready for this. So, if that wasn’t enough on our plate, to add something else to the pile of things to do in November and more immediately he is going down to Surrey tomorrow to deliver a talk. It has come around quicker than we expected having been in the diary for months. He is ready but yesterday I joked that I felt he was in denial about it. I always like using the word denial to the Egyptian, as I remember a friend making the pun about de’ Nile. Anyway, enough laughing we we’d better get ready, I am blatantly distracting myself from the novel and any preparation needed for tomorrow.

TALK poster

IMBUE

Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art

I had to look this up: IMBUE I didn’t even think it was a word. It’s a great word. Imbue takes meaning from the word imbibe, which means “to absorb or to be filled with”.I was imbued with energy yesterday after spontaneously going on a beautiful walk alongside a fantastic river in the woods. The sun was radiant through the trees, shading us from its heat. I felt energised. Today I have reverted to my more usual mood of tiredness. Imbued by a little inspiration to write as this show is on from tomorrow and my husband is spending a few days in the ‘plusher’ part of London. I think his works in this setting will imbue those able to attend. I am going to merely imagine….