Well, the search is finally over. This month, after a year and a half of waiting, I moved into the studio collective here in Valencia, Spain known as Sporting Club Russafa (I previously wrote about this studio a few months ago). I am sharing a space with artist Jose Antonio Picazo who is also a painter. Jose is a French Spaniard who speaks a little English as well. So our communication drifts between the three languages especially when we can only call up a word in one. Jose jokes that our section of the studio is the most international especially with Josie, our UK representative, right on the other side of the wall.
I had always hoped that when I came to Spain to paint I would find a studio collective to join. I wanted to be a part of a creative community, to meet other artists, and experience living and working in an entirely new culture. Sporting Club is exactly what I was hoping to find and I love coming to work every day.
Me and my girls in my studio at Sporting Club with a new Distortion (center) painting in progress.
I have revisited and revised the Mascleta idea by taking the work off paper and placing it on panels. I think I have figured out where the series is taking me and I’m excited for the new depth. Sometimes when working on a new piece, an “a-ha” moment occurs and I think to myself what a good idea it was and how simple it was and HOW did I not think of it before. Often when you see work simplistically minimal and beautiful you think, well that looks so easy. In fact, the work has probably been distilled down from a much more complicated idea and fussy composition.
Mascleta Blue Light, 2012
acrylic & colored pencil on panel, 11 3/4″ x 11 3/4″
So I realized that this Mascleta work for me is much more than I even expected. I have started layering the imagery to create the push and pull of depth. Also, the lines have subconsciously emerged as a representation of tensed muscles as the incredibly loud sounds and vibrations penetrate and travel the length of the body. The first time I experienced the Mascleta (daytime fireworks designed not for light but for sound), I prepared myself by gritting my teeth and plugging my ears. But the people around me told me to relax my jaw, open my mouth, and unplug my ears. At first I was terrified when the fireworks began. But I was completely surprised that it not only did not hurt my ears but that the sensation of sound was nothing like I had ever experienced before and leaves the body’s preconceived notions of loud noises behind.