So feeling summer I post this picture I made of one of the beaches near where I used to live in East Cork. The summer is the time for beaches although i suspect it was raining on this particular day - after all it was in Ireland.
Although it looks like a painting i would suggest that it is part painting and part collage made of paint, sand, feathers and torn paper. i like working this way sometimes - it is spontaneous and free and you never quite know what the result will be. it is good to do it outside in the garden on a good day because it can get quite messy and you can work in your bare feet, which always makes me feel closer to the nature that I am working from.
This 'painting' was done as a response to a community project I was involved in - it was called 'The Beach Project' and I remember it being great fun for all concerned.
I went down to Ring Strand, which is between Ballymacoda and Knockadoon, where i met with many neighbours and friends from the village. Together we collected up all the rubbish and waste from the beach and then made a piece of art with it. Later the rubbish was collected by the county council, so it had an ecological as well as a creative theme.
Now I cast my mind back I must have one or two photos of the day - of the sculptures we made. So i will try to find them and post them for you too in the next day or two - if I can find them!
The children like those sort of things, they are great to use their imaginations and are very happy to destroy any of the non-permanent work that they have made on the day. So it fulfills lots of satisfying urges.
It can be very liberating destroying your work - although personally I am not a destructive person. On the contrary I would prefer to make and keep everything that I have made if possible - everything has some virtue in it. But to allow your work to go, or be destroyed, frees you from the noose of possessions.
One of my favourite home-spun philosophies was born when i used to take my son to the beach when he was a little golden-haired boy. I would spend many a happy hour building sandcastles for him, fetching water to glue the sand and seaweed and shells and stones to decorate the turrets of the castles. i made drawbridges and moats, crenellations and windows and then when i stood back to admire my work he would invariably jump on it and turn it all back to beach! But I thought that is was a worthwhile exercise all the same. It was a temporary edifice so what was wrong with allowing the boy to speed up its inevitable demise. It became a good lesson for life when i realised that everything will turn back to dust again so there is really no point getting too attached to possessions and not to be too proud about your achievements either because there will always be someone who will come along to trample on your pride.
Lots of lessons - and I was just happy to be making sandcastles and then to be able to make them again.
By the way - he is not overly destructive today - that golden-haired boy. In fact he is a very peace-loving and placid person. He does not have a bad bone in his body. He is so laid back he is almost horizontal and cares not a jot if he loses any of his possessions or if they are broken or even stolen. He realises that they are all replaceable and are only things - they do not make the man that he is. So perhaps the exercise had some positive effect on him too - I would like to think so.