Paint your journals and simply relax

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I usually paint my journal covers .... late at night. My muse is really happy to join me in the evening ... over a cup of tea and the occasional biscuit of little bit of chocolate.  In the little movie below you will see my cover no 9 and cover no 10 .... journals painted in the last 3 weeks. I approach journal covers as small canvases ... it is a great practice ground for any artist ... beginner or not. Have a go ... 

 

 

 


Painting Buddha a journey

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Painting Buddha is a state of mind. Painting Buddha is a journey ... Painting Buddha is each time a different experience. I know this ... as I am walking this talk .... probably the first Buddha I've painted was 3 years ago .... it was enough to get me hooked and I am sure it is the same for many artists who try their hand at a particular subject and feel a deep connection to it. It is a never-ending source of inspiration and a never-ending way of painting it .... colour wise, expression wise, energy wise .... 

It is even more interesting when you decide to paint on top of an older painting ... in my case, before I had a painting I called ... the dreamcatcher ... you can see it below .... 

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I did this painting last year when I was experimenting with stencils ... I enjoyed painting it but I know a couple of weeks ago ... that I want to paint something else on top ... this is how it happens sometimes ... one feels that it is time for ... transformation ... and boy of boy this painting loved changing plenty of times. 

Once finished, the title came pretty fast ... it is ... The Dreamcatcher Buddha ... have a look at the video below ... and see the phases it went through ... 

 

 


The night blooming cereus or the queen of the night

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2 years ago we ve been gifted 2 branches of a night blooming cereus ....a beautiful and interesting plant (the mother plant of the one we've been gifted) is coming from Grenada island ....little did we know that the plant will grow into a tree ...with such unusual, silky leaves ..and that ...now ..it have the first flower bud .....soooo exciting for us ...the flower is extraordinarily beautiful and it opens only during the night ....can t wait to witness its development!

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Of course I will be taking photos regularly and post it's journey! I've read quite a few bits of articles ab out this plant and apparently it only flowers during one night  ... so one needs to almost guard :) the plant during the night to catch the moment of flowering or it will be missed alltogether .... or ... one needs to install a camera ... and film the process ... 

 


Creative routines

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A brisk walk in the harbour just before the rain started ... so many gorgeous plants ... a few minutes of creativity unleashed and ... 15 minutes with my “Self explorations” workbook .. and a special journey down the memory lane ....fascinating how many memories came back to me connected to my very few trips to Russia ... memories deeply buried in my mind.....reclaiming bits of my life 🙂 ... I need an extra page as memories keep coming back to me 🙂 ... and now, Pilates!

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The beginning of a new day

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It's been a sequence of days, weeks and months ....in lockdown .... days seems to be the same ... but are they? Of course not ... how about documenting your morning activities for the next 10 days .... 

This is how my morning started today .... with a cup of tea, a bit of reading and a bit of tai chi with my sober. I've devoured the last 20 pages of a book I love .... an autobiography again ... a talented Romanian illustrator and designer who at a similar age with me, was the witness of a monumental change in Romania ... in her case ... the change from a Monarchy with all of the political networks assigned to a democratic society, to a Communist Romania ... and in my case from a Communist Romania ... to a Wild West type of capitalism ..... 

A shame books like this one are not translated into English ... 


Musings from the garden

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Musings from the garden ..... little did I know 4 years ago when I started my first class of wu dang tai chi that I will enjoy it and stick with it. Little did I know that once I graduated to the sabre form that I will enjoy it so much and that each time I come out in the garden the sabre will accompany me, next to my journal, book, pen and coffee ... but it does.

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And also little did I know that my ambition to remember by heart the 5 forms I ve been taught will come so handy these days when I can and do practice on my own, in the garden or in the house. Ambition and determination always pays of ... this is what my father used to say. And it does! And as I am thinking about my parents, my mother used to say that ... I am like a crow ... oh well maybe this is why these lovely black creatures keep coming to me each time they see me

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About Albania ... the beginning of a story

 

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About Albania ......Memories ....are amazing .....they are collected somewhere in our mind and many times only a sound, a word, a smell, a person can bring them back to life .....this was the case yesterday when I was buying my takeaway coffee in the harbour ....Lola, the lovely waiter was Albanian (yes, when I “feel” a foreign accent, I want to find out where is it from). When I told her I went to Albania years ago on business and mentioned a bit of my adventures and love for her country, she had tears in her eyes. I know how it is. I am also a foreigner. What happened after that is even more interesting ....during the day I had an avalanche of flashbacks ...bits I completely forgot about ....vivid memories of my time in Saranda where I went for a “human trafficking prevention conference”, of the people I met and their dramatic experiences, the superb town/ resort was an absolute jewel of authenticity and peace (it reminded me of Balcic in the 1920’s when it was popular with artists, musicians, writers), of the hundreds of years old olive trees (this is where I fall in love with this tree), Tirana with the abundance of colourful terasa and young people being so fluent in many languages, the road from Tirana to Saranda which took hours and revealed a country of incredible beauty ....mountains, sea, hills ...peppered with the thousands of little military buildings, testimony of the paranoia of their communist leader, being stopped at point gun .....seeing military helicopters surveilling areas ....shortly the Kosovo conflict was going to start, delicious dinners with some of the other country managers of various American charities and so much more .....I cannot believe i was so lucky to have these experiences. Definitely it is time to write down properly my Albanian experiences ...it will be in the book I am writing now .....the painting .....the tree ....could very well be.....memories of Albania


Paintings take time

 

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Back in my studio .... painting again and thinking about a line I read earlier today ..... “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” - Muriel Rukeyser of course I agree ... I do ... stories need to be told .... my painting goes through a light phase now ... probably in an hour it will be a dark one and then light again until I hear ... that s it for now ... time to move to another painting....


From a verdant garden in Grenada - My attempt to be as brilliant as an Aloe Vera plant - making a delicious carrot and apple flavoured juice from an Aloe Vera leaf

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Once upon a time (about three years ago) I took part in a tiny craft fair in a location recommended by a friend  .... I decided in advance that for the very first time I would present my own hand made soaps - and one of these would be my own Aloe Vera soap. During the event, on a very hot weekend day, in full sun, in a pretty but airless scented rose garden, I kept asking myself why I had agreed to take part in such an event ... anyway ... I forgot that everything is for a reason - that I was going to have my answer in a couple of hours........... Just before the end of the fair an elderly, well mannered lady in a pretty floral dress approached me ........and proceeded to ask me about my love of making soaps, and about my Aloe Vera soap in particular.... After getting to know each other a bit, out of the blue she asked me if... I would like to have an Aloe Vera plant as a gift from her.

A few days later, in her lovely top-floor flat overlooking the tree lined Eastbourne Golf Club fairways, the conversation took us to our stories......and to stories of her younger days when, together with her husband, she had "arrived" in the West Indies ... sailing a catamaran, from Island to Island (as those of  certain way do)... simply enjoying life to the full. While ashore on the Island of Grenada they discovered that a new friend, a local family, were having a home built in a huge, naturally abundant garden overlooking the blue ocean.....and, naturally an invitation was forthcoming to see it .... as there was another building plot in the same green, verdant garden site available, next to their new friends .... so, why not, they were footloose, free spirited, so of course they bought the plot, slowly built a garden home from local materials and then spent many many years there. I loved her stories about the garden, so full of exotic plants, including the many many Aloe Vera which had earned the reputation among locals for being absolutely amazing in terms of medicinal properties, something she and her family then experienced during their long years surrounded by the best GP they ever had -  Aloe Vera. 

Years later, there she was on the balcony in Eastbourne, a lovely Aloe Vera plant, itself a daughter of her Grenada Island garden mother .......and together with Peter we received her into our own family along with a happy soul full of stories, of beautiful memories of life in Grenada that most of us can only dream of (before understanding that at that time in their young lives all they had was a boat and their own dream). Our lovely Aloe Vera plant had also become a mother - she had three babies growing in the pot alongside her, babies who are now living their own lives in the homes of three of my dear friends. Each time I visit them I "visit" them.....loving to see their progress.

As many of you know, I love experimenting with new food recipes. So, yesterday, I decided to try and make .... Aloe Vera juice from my very own plant. Over the years of course I had bought Aloe Vera juice from a dear friend who had built a Forever Living practice but I wondered if I could find a recipe and make my own....... Youtube is a great teacher !!!... there are so many videos that teach you everything you need to know about this and that. So, Peter learned how to carefully harvest a few leaves so as not to harm the plant and I went on a research phase for recipes. It was a team effort all the way and we both enjoyed it a lot! Before showing you a step by step process, let me tell you that you can also buy individual Aloe Vera leaves from ethnic shops - three years ago I bought my first Aloe Vera leaf from an Iranian shop in Eastbourne. I am sure if you check on line you can outsource one or two locally. From them you can make a batch of basic juice and freeze it safely.

Here are the steps

1. Harvest just a few leaves with a sharp, really really clean knife, not too many leaves in relation to the size of the plant, working from the bottom of the plant, using the opportunity to remove imperfect leaves, if any.  

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2. Put the cut leaves into a big bucket of water, with the cut end facing down into the bucket - for 15 to 20 minutes. Why? Because you need to naturally release and remove any yellow liquid, a laxative like no other so be careful. 

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3. Remove the spiky edges of the leaves by carefully sliding the knife along the edge of the leaf just as if you were de-spiking a fresh fish (but really simple instead), and cut-off the narrow tips of the leaves, to leave a liquid full, fat leaf, ready for skinning - oooooh! 

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4. Now peel the leaves with a kitchen "potato" peeler, catching the top or bottom of the leaf in the peeler and pulling down, all the way to the other end - just like peeling an orange in one go. 

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5. What will remain is a beautiful clear gel, an extraordinary, very slippery gel "fish". Put the gel into a fresh pot of water, making sure before you do that any remaining bits of the outer green leaves are all removed.

6. Put the Aloe Vera in a blender with just a little bit of water and wiz it until the content is really smooth. 

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7. I have seen quite a few different approaches from this step forward .... some people put the blended juice through a sieve (this is what I did as well) - this way you obtain a nice, clear juice. 

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8. This step is again for you to enjoy and to be creative. I added about half a carrot and half an apple and wizz it again. The result is really really delicious. I will mix the Aloe Vera juice with cucumber next time and blueberries, raspberries ... there are endless possibilities. 

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Keep the blended juice in the fridge (it is really lovely when cool) and enjoy in small quantities at a time, a glass the size of an egg cup - Enjoy!