Back in Scotland…..and painting again…..take 2!

I actually wrote this blog yesterday evening but after 3 hours my computer crashed and I somehow lost the whole document! So here we go again.

Well then, that’s us back in sunny Scotland and back to business as usual at the studio. We arrived back from Brazil after a very long journey, at about 01.00 last Thursday morning. Wow, quite a trip, especially as only about two weeks before I been bumbling along getting work ready for the Harbour Arts Centre show in November and planning the big studio tidy-up before the Courtyard Studios Open Weekend on 4th / 5th October.

On the initial tour of the Matarazzo Hospital exhibition

On the initial tour of the Matarazzo Hospital exhibition

Then, right out of the blue I get an email from a company in Brazil asking if I can get down to Sao Paulo for a few days before October 12th. To be honest, I didn’t really know quite what to make of it as sadly there are a lot of internet scams aimed at artists these days. I decided to send it to John who not only does all the admin for this website but also acts as my agent and advisor. He very kindly checked it out and got back to me the next day saying that all was OK and that if I was prepared to rush down to Sao Paulo at short notice, he’d try and fix everything with the people in Brazil.

Sketching the old buildings

Sketching the old buildings

Well, it was a hectic few days with emails winging there way back and forth between John, (who is based in Bogota), Lucila (the lady organising the trip in Sao Paulo) and I. Finally on Tuesday 7th we got the email from Brazil saying all was “go” and that they’d be booking the flights and hotel and getting back to us. Things in the Salmon / Groves house were somewhat crazy at this stage as we suddenly had to get everything arranged to go away the following evening ….Nita had to arrange time off from work, we had to get the cat to the cattery, (he wasn’t amused) and we also had to get everything packed. In the end the flight left Edinburgh at 06.00 Thursday morning and so it wasn’t quite as mad a rush as we’d thought ….but pretty mad all the same!

In the Matarazzo Hospital

In the Matarazzo Hospital

I had been invited to travel to Sao Paulo to take part in a large arts project in the city. The project involves creating a new art, culture and tourism centre on the site of the old un-used Matarazzo hospital. Before the work starts though it had been decided that they would hold a large contemporary art exhibition in the grounds and buildings of this fine old hospital. The exhibition ended on Sunday 12th October and one of the sponsors thought it would be a great idea to invite a professional artist who was visually impaired to visit the exhibition and to then create a small series of paintings capturing the spirit of the place and work. I was the lucky person to be invited.

A quick hop took us to Amsterdam and then we had the eleven and a half hour haul down to Sao Paulo. Phew, was I glad to get off that plane or what?! Thankfully we were met by a very nice chap called Gilsom who drove us the 45 minutes into the city and our hotel.

Friday proved a very busy one as we met up with a representative of the company sponsoring my trip (Absolut Elyx) and were then given a guided tour around the exhibition…..being followed the whole way by a small film crew who were there to record the meeting for the company. The afternoon found me being interviewed for one of the Sao Paulo daily newspapers. After that I was able to get down to some work and expertly guided as usual by Nita, I spent the rest of Friday and a good chunk of Saturday and Monday wandering around the exhibition, just looking, photographing, sketching and just taking everything in ….in short, doing exactly what I do when we’re in the hills. After 4 hours in very hot conditions on Monday (it was 38° C) I decided that I’d probably got enough to work with and we retreated to the cool of our very posh air conditioned hotel ….and finished with a cold beer!

One of the many exhibits

One of the many exhibits

We flew back the following day, but with a nine hour wait in Paris for the connecting flight to Edinburgh ….hence the 01.00 arrival home in Irvine on Thursday morning. Suffice to say that we were a little whacked by the time we finally put our heads down and only surfaced mid morning for an hour or so in order to go claim our cat back from the cattery…….he wasn’t amused!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been all the way to Brazil and back ….perhaps it was just a dream? But no! We have the packet of Brazil nuts from the hotel mini-bar to prove it! Now the interesting bit begins…..I have five paintings to complete by late February.

I have my attention back on the Harbour Arts Centre exhibition and the big drawing project there in November / December, but reckon I’ll probably do the smaller Brazil paintings in the evenings after I’ve finished the days work on the big graphite drawing. I’ll then be able to do the final larger painting once the HAC show is over at the end of the first week in January. The finished Brazil paintings are to be shipped back to Sao Paulo and then put in a gallery and auctioned to raise funds for the on-going project. I’ll keep you updated on all this work … doubt that I’ll be spending much time at home over the next few months. Watch this space.

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