Under the Tuscan Sun: The first time I watched this film in 2003 I was literally at a crossroad in choosing whether I should accept this job offer and move from South Carolina to California or not. Yes no brainer but yes the trickster conscious mind of course had me twirling around like a bee in making my choice. I had to choose between ‘fear and living my dreams’ the fear was all about what I cannot have, do, and be all the physical things right, will it be stable, will i still have a job after a year, will I do good, what if they don’t apply for my green card I will have to go back to India(which was my greatest fear of going back, I didn’t want to go back) and it goes on and on…but it never once showed me the truth of the situation which was I hated my job, I was miserable, I didn’t like living in South Carolina and so now my choice was should i listen to fear and choose to be miserable? Or accept it and live my dreams. Which was the whole point for the trickster conscious mind to set me up for failure, and away from my heart…Phew! Stirred me up crazy coz it didn’t feel right inside me to choose fear.
At that time I had no idea about my inner being, soul. But she was right there of course inside me watching what I was doing and while I was busy in my head arguing with the trickster(which now I know not to give that voice my focus, attn or energy) coz my heart wanted to take a leap of faith but the trickster was stopping me. We kept the choice aside for a moment. And chose to take a break and watch this film. And as soon as this conversation showed up that was it. In a split second I made my choice. No battle, no fear only that I want this and this is it. I had chosen to live my dreams and kick my fear and conscious mind in their ass.
This is how our souls work through us. If we just stay calm we will be able to hear our inner voice. This conversation was like me having a heart to heart talk with my inner being. She had to get me to a movie to get me out of my head and connect to my heart. Our souls work in mysterious ways. Follow the silence. It’s that simple but yet we make it complex for ourselves.
Canadian artist Nick Sider has been fascinated by big cats since he was a child and his meticulous attention to detail in depicting the cat family on canvas is certainly something else. The self-taught artist, now based in New York, has become known for his hyperrealistic paintings that “extend beyond what a photograph could ever […]
Walking the path of earth is living in harmony with nature in everything we do. The word nature literally means “that which is born.” When the poet e.e. cummings spoke of the difference between “a world of made” and “a world of born” in one of his most famous poems, he gave voice to trust in nature— recognize that the natural world is our home, our source, and the teacher of the wisdom we most need to learn- Philip Carr- Gomm
The Celtic symbol of the dragon is magical, one of transformation and eternal wisdom. The druids respected dragons as forces of nature, the guardians of mother earth and all things sacred, the protectors of nature and all living things. The dragon holds the powerful Celtic symbol of protection and power. These magical beings represented all that the universe has to offer.
Dragon energy was worshiped and used for the greater good. At special celebrations of the turning seasons of the year, to harvest the right crops, as a true guardian for all they held sacred.
The earth dragon has a symbolism of nature and all things connected to our Mother Earth. The earth dragon asks us to connect with nature in all of its beauty. The true wealth is not money but from the beauty of our land.
Call on the energy of the earth dragon if your energy needs grounding, or if you have lost your way a little, she will reconnect you to true source and bring back your power.
Morag Myerscough is hugely passionate about what she does. Full of energy and full pelt into conversation as soon as I arrive at her London studio – though she admits a couple of coffees were involved – this is mostly her decompressing from presenting to a client that morning. She is passionate about what she does – but what is that? The labels graphic designer, designer and artist have variously been applied, but Myerscough doesn’t care to be labelled. Her website has no bio, and she has no business cards – much to the shock, she says, of a cohort of students she met recently. If you look at her work for clues, one of her best-known projects is a much-photographed wall in London’s new Design Museum, but others include the Temple of Agape on London’s Southbank, a ‘Belonging Bandstand’ that moved around Sussex, bedrooms for the Sheffield children’s hospital, and the 2015 Stirling Prize-winning project of Burntwood School that she collaborated on with architects AHMM.
A project she has just presented was Mayfield in Manchester for developer U+I. Mayfield is a formerly derelict site in the process of being regenerated into a mixed-use development and public park. Myerscough’s large installation there displays the common traits in her work: it is a temporary, community-minded intervention in a public space, to be completed in a short deadline. Sceptics might see the combination of developer and artist as an exercise in ‘artwashing’, but there is a history of collaboration between her and Martyn Evans of U+I since a London community project, the Movement Cafe, completed in 2012. Myerscough is confident that what U+I is doing is positive, as ‘they do have a conscience’, and she is careful about who she works with, especially as she becomes better known and people approach her more and more. With developers, she says: ‘There’s always a level of moneymaking … but if you’re not displacing anyone or anything then I think it’s really important that places like Manchester get money put in them by different developers … because, obviously, if the European money gets taken away…’
Just as she has to trust the client, they have to trust her. If they do, she ‘will go beyond – far and beyond’. With this trust – and with age too, says Myerscough – comes a sense of freedom and confidence. She no longer feels like a designer fulfilling a brief for a brand, as she explains: ‘Now I’m doing Mayfield, I’m not really responding to it being the brand or whatever; I’m responding to the social environment and all the people.’ It’s a more personal response, ‘a different space where it comes more from me’.
Despite having plenty of experience, Myerscough always looks critically at what she does. She believes it is very important for more established designers to relate to younger generations. With personal growth it can too easily be forgotten that the world is changing too: she talks about the ‘old-school’ and ‘male’ situations still being created by certain, older architecture and design figures, while outside of the industry she laments former prime minister Theresa May being ‘so old-fashioned [as a woman], so wrong in every way’.
Although she frequently collaborates with artist Luke Morgan, Myerscough is a one-woman studio, which she set up in 1993. How she defines herself and her work is important, and she remembers the confidence and ease with which her male peers would start out on their own (Thomas Heatherwick launched his eponymous studio around the same time). Their ease, and her discomfort, was due to rather entrenched attitudes in the industry about gender. She regrets the name slightly – choosing Studio Myerscough rather than Morag Myerscough in order to appear bigger and more established – because she still meets people who are either unable or unwilling to make the connection between her achievements and the studio’s. However, Myerscough prefers remaining on her own even as the projects grow: being the whole of Studio Myerscough gives her freedom with her ideas, time and ambitions, and fewer financial considerations as she hasn’t employees to pay.
Looking back at Myerscough’s career, you see where the various labels came from. Prior to the studio she studied graphic design, although she has never felt this reflected her work. Professionally, she has been employed as a designer – for Lamb & Shirley post-graduation and then as head of the graphics team for Memphis Group member Michele de Lucci in Milan – before coming back to begin Studio Myerscough. Its first project was a competition for a giant hoarding, which she entered and won with AHMM, and although she never wanted to be an architect the two have worked together on other jobs to much acclaim beside Burntwood School, such as the 2008 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Westminster Academy at the Naim Dangoor Centre, and a new installation in London’s Broadgate development. She was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry, but if she were to describe herself it would be as an artist.
What do you see in Myerscough’s work? For the unfamiliar it is eye-catching: colourful, often large in scale and in the public realm. You can sense her artistic background: her mother was a textile artist, her father a musician, and her family has roots in the circus. She says her penchant for temporary installations is due to the memory of the childhood thrill she felt when the circus came to town – bright colours and gaudy excitement where there was nothing before.
People can be scared of her neons and loud hues, but she uses her experience with colour to challenge those fears. For Sheffield’s children’s hospital the staff initially balked at her multicoloured designs, preferring ‘calming blue and green’. But once ‘they realised we weren’t trying to kill the children’ the mocked-up bedroom designs went down very well with the patients, parents and staff – and, as it turns out, teenagers particularly love orange.
Sometimes you need to be shown things to understand: Myerscough talks about only realising some of her references for the Temple of Agape project upon walking through the erected structure (such as a temple she visited in India, where light entered beautifully through small openings in the walls).
Myerscough is interested in the difference between looking and seeing – one being passive, the other being active. This affects her approach to working with communities on public projects – considerable impact is made by how volunteers engage with the painting of the piece, able to see it after and say ‘I think I painted that bit’. On that same theme, a festival in Aberdeen called Look Again encouraged locals to reconsider a location in the city called Mercat Cross, which at that time was only frequented by drunks. The project had personal significance for Myerscough because Aberdeen was where her parents met and fell ‘in Love at First Sight’ – the name of the piece she produced for the festival. In among the brilliant team of women running the event, she felt her heritage more keenly than ever, seeing herself as she knew her mum – as a strong Scottish woman.
Myerscough may not like labels, but words are an important part of her work, often appearing large and readable from a distance. These words do not define but hope to provoke conversation. She often likes working with poets, and on Love at First Sight Jo Gilbert contributed with poetry in the local Doric dialect. Myerscough understands that people want to be recognised and appreciated for their unique knowledge and experience, but this can be a challenge for her original vision of a project. In Aberdeen the poem’s 300 words that needed painting were daunting, but Myerscough believes the point of collaboration isn’t to compromise.
Nor is it easy to work with large groups of volunteers rather than a dedicated, trained team, but the rewards are far more valuable, as volunteers treasure the experience. With every project Myerscough learns too – she tells me about how moved she was after a workshop with a blind school, as she never dreamed her work could reach beyond the visual in the way that it did, with the children making ‘incredible’ patterns with stickers and a grid.
At times during the interview I wish she would acknowledge the recognition that different groups want to give her – she inspires architects, designers, artists, nurses, patients, students and more, as their positive feedback testifies. Official accolades are rolling in too: a professorship at UCA Epsom, an honorary fellow at CSM, and a doctorate at Gloucester University, following one she received from Bournemouth, and on top of all this the appointment as a Royal Designer for Industry.
Open and enthusiastic, Myerscough’s heart is on her sleeve, but it is also on the painted surfaces of her work. She could be defined by her many labels and her many awards, but she is most confident in being defined by her work and the responses to it: colourful structures that light up spaces and the faces of those who visit them.
Tadashi Kawamata is a man with a material, wood. With this he builds cabins, observatories, nests and monumental frescos that are at home both in galleries and in the heart of towns and cities. While you might think that the artist, educated at the Tokyo University of the Arts, would use only high quality woods, the reality is rather different. Kawamata instead uses recycled wood from furniture from junk shops, old crates and other left over materials. These recycled materials have been elevated by art, both make for beautiful creative objects, and have a low environmental impact.
The artist works between Paris and Tokyo and began attracting global attention in the 1970s with his in situ works entitled By Land. He installed wood cabins in the most inaccessible parts of New York and Tokyo, such as Madison Square. A few years later he created Les chaises de traverse, a huge pile of wooden chairs suspended between the floor and the ceiling in the Delme synagogue. A few miles the artist also filled the Saint-Livier Hotel in Metz with a wall of chairs. In a short film by Gilles Coudert, the artist explains how each of the chairs represents a different person with a different history, and the wall is as if each of these people were linked together. In 2010 the artist scaled up, setting up a cabin in front of the Centre Pompidou before his chef d’oeuvre at the Renaissance Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.
In 2011 the work of Kawamata took on a new dimension following the tsunami that hit Japan. In Tokyo during the earthquake, he soon left for Paris, while people at home were on the front line helping one another, the artist wondered how he could maintain a link with them. He soon made one of his most emblematic works Under the Water a huge wooden wave recreating the tsunami that ravaged the Japanese coastlines. The work was exhibited at the Centre Pompidou Metz and at the gallery Kamel Mennour where the artist often shows.
Some would like to categorise it as an activist project, but Kawamata firmly rejects the appellation, I’m not an activist, he says, preferring instead to think about the political and social aspects of an issue in a different way. His work would be better described as Land Art, a name given to him when he was appointed the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2014. The contemporary art movement however also uses natural materials but is more oriented towards work that uses nature as its canvas, whereas Kawamata is more at home in the urban or public spaces.
The work of Tadashi Kawamata is marked by its ephemeral nature. His monumental wooden creations both infiltrate and accompany buildings, but are easily dismounted and given a new artistic life.
Nothing is recurring, nothing is permanent states the artist. No material can survive for eternity, everything is temporary. It is just a question of time, even a building that lasts 1000 years is temporary. Nothing is resistant to the wear of time, not men, not walls.
Savage Beauty, an online art experience created by Finnish light artist Kari Kola, has transformed Ireland’s Connemara mountains in a spectacular display of colour and light.
Kari Kola’s installation of 1,000 lights transforms a 5 kilometre-stretch of the mountain range in County Galway in a wash of vibrant pulsating colours, in what has been heralded by exhibition organisers, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, as “the largest site-specific light artwork ever created”.
The display was initially planned as a live exhibition for people to experience the light and colour show in the Connemara setting itself to coincide with St Patrick’s Day celebrations between 14-17 Match, however the live events were cancelled following government guidance on public gatherings due to Covid-19 virus.
Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has now made the Savage Beauty artwork available as a special digital edition via their website.
Connemara National Park situated in the scenic west coast of Ireland spans for nearly 3,000 hectares. The park offers some majestic views which includes picturesque mountains, expanses of bog lands, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of these mountains form part of the famous Twelve Bens group of small mountains that are the dominant feature of the Connemara countryside.
The light show, entitled Savage Beauty, takes its name from the Irish playwright and poet, Oscar Wilde, who described Connemara as a “savage beauty”.
Artist Kari Kola, who has directed over 2,000 projects in dramatic settings including Stonehenge in 2018, said: “Since I can’t paint, I paint with light. I’m also interested in light beyond its artistic value. Everything on the planet is based on light. I’m working with scientific projects and new, futuristic techniques. With abstract light, there are as many stories as there are viewers. If I can choose, I always work with nature because that’s the best art that we have.
“I am very disappointed that the public exhibition of this work had to be cancelled, but I hope that this digital edition will show how we played with scale in Connemara and created something that people would not expect.”
Artist and designer Sarina Mantle is helping women to reconnect to Mother Earth through a different medium – a self-care colouring book, Women + Patterns + Plants.
With a strong resonance for indigenous cultures, plant life, shamanic healing and the divine feminine, Sarina Mantle has created a beautiful book that takes the colourist on a mindful and engaging journey that is empowering.
Women + Patterns + Plants is made up of several of Sarina Mantle’s illustrations – black-and-white line drawings featuring women, patterns and plants.
The colouring book is as much a visual expression of Sarina Mantle’s journey of self-discovery. Prior to penning the book, Sarina Mantle travelled to Peru where she spent time with the indigenous women of Shipibo heritage, who are master embroiderers and painters. There she was surrounded by all the things that encompass her book – plants, textiles and women.
In an interview with Yellowzine, she said: “I felt deeply inspired by Mother Earth. I decided after my own self-discovery that I wanted to create visually through illustration; I wanted to make drawings of women reconnecting to Mother Earth. It has been my way of contributing to the collective consciousness that are returning to sustainability, nurturing plants, growing food and spending time in nature.”
Women + Patterns + Plants is a beautiful book which is a powerful way in which to nurture the connection with one’s self and one’s source, Mother Nature and her children.
Women + Patterns + Plants by Sarina Mantle is available from Amazon and independent bookstores
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com
“Painting takes me to another world where I am as free as a bird,” says Judhaiya Baiga. She says this is her way of putting her village on the global map and keeping her traditions alive.
Judhaiya Bai Baiga’s painting recently travelled all the way to a Milan exhibition in Italy and was sold instantly. This was not the first time Baiga’s painting was displayed in an exhibition along with paintings of other talented artists.
A resident of Lorha village in Madhya Pradesh, 80-year-old Baiga who belongs to a tribal community, has the distinction of seeing her art travelling to several art galleries in India and abroad.
“Age or fame has nothing to do with the errors. Perfecting any art is a myth as there is always scope for improvement,” Baiga repeats the sentence from the other end of the phone in case the message was not heard.
Despite being a Diwali week, Baiga is kind enough to oblige for an interview. The excitement to share tales of her village and paintings is clearly evident in her voice.
When asked how she feels about getting international recognition, she says, “It has not changed my life as such. But yes, a change can be seen as more and more women, including my daughter-in-law are taking an interest in painting. Some of these women always wanted to paint but did not have avenues back then.”
How Age Worked In Baiga’s Favour
Baiga belongs to a tribal community heavily dependent on forest resources for their livelihood and some engage in menial jobs. Education, roads and employment are still to reach the interiors of the region.
She lost her husband when she turned 40 and now lives with her two sons. Her only daughter is now married.
Baiga decided to start her second innings with a colourful attitude, literally.
Happy in their world, her community loves to dress in the brightest and most colourful clothes and lead life with the belief that there is no substitute to hard work.
This is probably the reason why Baiga took up painting at 70, an age when most people retire and indulge in rest. But Baiga, who worked in the fields for most of her life, finds relaxation in painting.
“Painting takes me to another world where I am as free as a bird. When I learnt about a teacher who is willing to teach for free in our village, I decided to give painting a try, something I was never interested in. Yet, on the very first day, I found my passion,” says Baiga.
She joined Ashish Swami, a well-known art teacher and an alumnus of Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He runs his studio ‘Jangan Tasweerkhana’ in several tribal belts of Madhya Pradesh to prevent local cultures and traditions from becoming extinct.
“We have such rich cultures across India that are on the verge of dying. Painting is an effective means to save them. By articulating the local practices or customs in paintings, we can also tell other people about local traditions,” Swami tells TBI.
Almost a decade ago, Swami opened a studio in a small room of Baiga’s village. He teaches painting for free and also helps them get fair monetary value through art dealings. Close to 15 local women have been a part of Swami’s classes for the past ten years.
Swami, particularly enjoys teaching people from Lorha village because of their peculiar imagination that colours the canvas.
“Even if they draw something as basic as a tree, their outlook is so different from the rest. They manage to capture innocence in wild animals and serenity in clouds. Their definition of a perfect nature lies in the harmony or co-existence between trees, birds, animals, water bodies and humans,” he explains.
Initially, Baiga and Swami would be happy with whatever amount the painting would be sold at. But soon, they realised the value of the paintings and stood firm on their quotations.
“Paintings are sold on craft and not on how creative they are. We are trying to change that and promote creativity by taking the painters to exhibitions that take place across India. Currently, paintings by Baiga are valued anything between Rs 300 to Rs 8,000,” he says.
While Baiga is content with the money her paintings are making, it is not the motivating factor behind her passion. For Baiga, its her way of putting her village on the global map and keeping traditions alive.
People like Baiga prove that there is no age to learning, and even nature can educate, one only has to be receptive.
Narisha “Nish” Cash, an Aboriginal self-taught female graffiti artist from Adelaide, is challenging the misconception that the world of graffiti and street art is a “man’s world”.
The Jingili and Mudburra artist has been a regular on the street art scene in the South Australian city since the 1990s when at the age of 15 she first started paving street walls with her work. With her tag ‘ISHK’ (the sound of a spray can), her art has evolved over the years to include themes of femininity, colour and form, nature and her aboriginal culture.
In an interview with SBS, she said: “I usually paint strong powerful women with elements of strength and tough qualities through guns, bandanas, and piercings. What appeals to me of the female form is that it’s the giver of life, its Mother Nature, its beauty.
“I’ve always been surrounded by strong women and it’s important for my characters speak that. There’s a lot of strength around being a woman, especially an Aboriginal woman.”
After becoming a mother, Narisha Cash saw the opportunity to channel her creative practices into a career. She also used her art as a form of healing to overcome obstacles she encountered as a teen and young woman growing up in Adelaide.
She said: “When I started out doing graff there wasn’t a lot of females out there. I’d never thought I’d make a living out of it.”
Inspired by hip hop and breakdancing culture also, it was the artist’s foray into grafitti that opened her up to delving into breakdancing, DJing and MCing.
A well respected and maternal figure in communities across Australia, Narisha Cash also works as Community Arts and Youth Engagement Officer at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. She shares her knowledge as an artist with youth groups and engages them through art workshops, developing and creating public art murals and opportunities for emerging artists and young people at risk.
Taking graffiti art in the context of the coded language of the streets, the Aboriginal artist, with her unique and feminine style of aerosol art, relates her practice to her ancestors creating art work – storytelling, culture and symbolism – to communicate through their natural surroundings.
Narisha Cash believes that grafitti has the ability to connect young people, especially indigenous youth who feel disconnected to culture, in a way that inspires, empowers and educates.
She told SBS: “It gives them something to do that’s positive, rather than turning to grog (alcohol) or drugs, enabling kids to turn to music, dance, painting.
“In our culture, we have the dance, music and arts so it’s important for young people to get themselves out there and be that next generation to get out there and carry that positive torch on and be positive with their outlet.
“I think it’s important for young people to have a variety of ways to express themselves, be it creating public art or transporting spaces into something beautiful.
“I want kids to get an inspiration to get a career in the artistic field and follow my footsteps…I think it’s important for youth to see Aboriginal people doing good things.”
Dutch artist Aliki van der Kruijs has found a way to map the weather by capturing raindrops in ink on to textiles, which can then be worn.
In order to do this, the artist developed her own technique called pluviagraphy – drawing with rain. Using a film coating that is sensitive to water, it becomes possible to create a visual recording of rainfall on a filmed piece of textile. Whether it’s a soft drizzle or a tropical downpour, the type of rain creates a unique print.
Aliki van der Kruijs’ collection of rain textile prints, Made by Rain, are 100% silk, handmade and customised with time, location, mm of rainfall, and weather circumstances under which the pluviagraphy was done. This way, the textiles form a collection of weather data – visual recordings of a specific day in history.
The Hague-based artist’s fascination with the weather started when she inherited twelve calendars from her grandfather. On each calendar, he had meticulously described the weather on every single day of that calendar year, creating a detailed collection of weather data that covered twelve years.
While researching the weather, Aliki van der Kruijs discovered that rainfall in the Netherlands since the 1950s has increased by around 4% due to climate change. But the only way to display this change is by weather charts, satellite images and graphs.
Aliki van der Kruijs says: “The rainfall itself is an immaterial event that cannot be archived, only remembered.”
Wedding: A brides dream. A bond between two hearts. A promise to cherish, respect, understand eachother in the ebb and flow of life. A new beginning filled with love, laughter and happiness. I love the colors and the excitement it brings as it should to a celebration.
For custom paintings for any and all occasion call Nisha Desai at 702.622.8321 or email for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org