Oliver, the ocean and the love.

I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is
always grief more than enough,
a heart load for each of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
equally in all blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.

– Ocean by Mary Oliver

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Tarka the Otter, what makes sense and what doesn’t.

This book took me back to a particular moment when I was little, in front of the TV, watching a documentary about orcas. After that one I decided that I didn’t like documentaries. There you are watching the beauty of an orca for half an hour, soft slow music in the background, beautiful footage of the killer whale floating effortlessly in the vivid blue, beauty and grace; getting all emotional when she gives birth and melting over her offspring… and then just like that the overall mood of the documentary changes and suddenly the orca turns into a ruthless killer, devouring a sweet little innocent seal who was doing nothing but minding his own business. Pleading eyes. Blood everywhere. No, I didn’t like documentaries at all. This went on throughout my childhood years; if someone at home was watching a documentary, I left the room. Time went by and so did that innocence. Slowly I started seeing sense in the fatidic circle of life.

Tarka the Otter is about the sense in all that but also about that which doesn’t make sense. For most of the book we get to see what life is about for an otter. In this case, the life of Tarka (meaning Little Water Wanderer or Wandering as Water). His life as an offspring, depending on his mother, and soon enough his adventures and challenges as an adult. You understand why his mother eventually leaves him and why he has to tear a rabbit or a bird into pieces. You understand why sometimes Tarka is the one who is hunted down. You understand all that. But then man comes along, and all of a sudden Tarka’s life is threatened by the senseless and for the life of me, I will never understand that…

Williamson left me speechless, I couldn’t believe all the attention to detail. A great observer for sure, his writing – a means of transportation.  The rawness reminded me of McCormac’s The Road. If not a feast for the senses, it is one of awareness for sure. He managed to write a whole book about the life of an otter, day after day,  without making it sound like a monotonous recurrent episode. My senses became sharper. I swam and played and hunted with Tarka and I became to love him. An emotional read but well worth it, hence that painting!

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Neruda, The Wide Ocean and The Poem.

12910556_10154052059089659_1197099060_nOcean, if you were to give, a measure, a ferment, a fruit
of your gifts and destructions, into my hand,
I would choose your far-off repose, your contour of steel,
your vigilant spaces of air and darkness,
and the power of your white tongue,
that shatters and overthrows columns,
breaking them down to your proper purity.

Not the final breaker, heavy with brine,
that thunders onshore, and creates
the silence of sand, that encircles the world,
but the inner spaces of force,
the naked power of the waters,
the immoveable solitude, brimming with lives.
It is Time perhaps, or the vessel filled
with all motion, pure Oneness,
that death cannot touch, the visceral green
of consuming totality.

Only a salt kiss remains of the drowned arm,
that lifts a spray: a humid scent,
of the damp flower, is left,
from the bodies of men. Your energies
form, in a trickle that is not spent,
form, in retreat into silence.

The falling wave,
arch of identity, shattering feathers,
is only spume when it clears,
and returns to its source, unconsumed.

Your whole force heads for its origin.
The husks that your load threshes,
are only the crushed, plundered, deliveries,
that your act of abundance expelled,
all those that take life from your branches.

Your form extends beyond breakers,
vibrant, and rhythmic, like the chest, cloaking
a single being, and its breathings,
that lift into the content of light,
plains raised above waves,
forming the naked surface of earth.
You fill your true self with your substance.
You overflow curve with silence.

The vessel trembles with your salt and sweetness,
the universal cavern of waters,
and nothing is lost from you, as it is
from the desolate crater, or the bay of a hill,
those empty heights, signs, scars,
guarding the wounded air.

Your petals throbbing against the Earth,
trembling your submarine harvests,
your menace thickening the smooth swell,
with pulsations and swarming of schools,
and only the thread of the net raises
the dead lightning of fish-scale,
one wounded millimetre, in the space
of your crystal completeness.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the meaningful and the inspirational.

On the 20th July of 1714, what was considered to be the strongest bridge in all of Peru, collapsed. Five people died that day including a girl and a boy. A monk, Brother Juniper, the only witness of this tragedy, embarks on a journey of discovery. He tries to find out if this was simply an accident or perhaps an intention. For six years he works on this; he interviews those close to all of the five people who died, trying to see if there was a connection of some sort. To see if this was meant to happen because of who they were and what they did in their lives. If there was a spiritual meaning to why tragedies such as this happen. Through him we get to see who the five people were and what they meant to others. He even goes as far as trying mathematical formulas to see how useful to this earth good/bad people are but he still couldn’t find a solid explanation. Still he compiles this and all the information and insights in a book, which is later pronounced as a heresy, and so both the book and its author are burned in the town’s square… beautiful writing, beautiful message and one of the most beautiful last paragraph you can find written in a book. No wonder this won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for fiction , many mentions, included in top 100 lists of best novels of all time, inspiration behind the book Hiroshima (1946), Cloud Atlas and other tv episodes, movies and three film adaptions, and was even quoted from at world known memorials… 5 Shining Stars. For its message, I highly recommend this. To everyone.

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Art, me and the connection.

Art is one of the few things I cannot feel complete without. A huge part of me. It helps me express myself when words fail me. I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember.

Here are very few pictures of some art I’ve made in the past. Unfortunately I don’t have   pictures of most of the art I have made in my life because unlike today a camera wasn’t always that available. As you can see the from the resolution, the camera used then wasn’t that good either.

 

Some pencil sketches done during teenage years.

Contemporary

 

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Commissioned – Portrait of an adorable two-week old baby. This painting was more than 1.5 mtrs wide.
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Boat in watercolours
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Commissioned – Oil

RECENT

Two of 13 Lighthouse paintings I’ve painted in 2013 for a solo exhibition.

 

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Last oil painting of 2015 – I wanted this one to look like an old picture.

The ocean: my comfort and inspiration.

My very first oil painting of the ocean. I was fifteen when I painted this one and it was done after spending an hour looking at the real thing. Words can’t describe what it means to me. Its never fails to both comfort and amaze me.

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The ocean – oil on canvas

 

 

Fishing boats, diamonds and all kinds of reflections.

Diamonds
Oil – 100x50cms

This is the only painting I have done for myself where I used the colour yellow. For commissioned paintings I paint whatever I’m asked for, but for some strange reason, whenever I paint to express myself, I don’t even think about this colour. In this case I had no choice because I wanted to paint the typical Maltese fishing boat. I wanted to capture some of my most vivid childhood memories in this one. As a child I used to love staring at their magnetic vibrant colours and used to find myself hypnotized by their lulled movement upon entering the harbour. During another reverie of mine, I was thinking that their reflections looked like shapes of fluid coloured diamonds, and then I thought, aren’t these boats as precious as diamonds? For the fishermen and their families, their only means of income. For the people who love fish especially those who can only eat that.

I had to included some seagulls because I love them and they were cause of many other reveries during childhood. The understated birds. The ones that dance when a storm is coming. The survivors.

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