Thursday, March 25, 2010


For me every departure and every return involves a complete re-adjustment of focus, of purpose, of intention, as if the internal and external machinery which sets me in motion has ground to a halt. Like when you put new batteries in a digital camera and the screen message scolds: Date and time not set  and then you have to re-enter the whole shebang - year, month, day, hour, minutes - because the stupid camera has forgotten everything.

I am that stupid camera. It's me who needs re-setting every time but every time is not quite the same and with every departure and every return over the years, tiny changes take place, a kind of evolution and who knows what the end result will be or if there ever is an end result but I have a feeling it's all to the good. Going away is good, probably essential for an artist. And returning is good, certainly essential, but difficult.

There's a poem by Blaise Cendrars which begins (my translation) like this:

Quand tu aimes il faut partir            When you love you must go
Quitte ta femme quitte ton enfant    Leave your wife leave your child
Quitte ton ami quitte ton amie         Leave your boyfriend leave your girlfriend
Quitte ton amante quitte ton amant  Leave your mistress leave your lover
Quand tu aime il faut partir.             When you love you must go.

(read the whole poem in French here)

The title is: Tu est plus belle que le ciel et la mer and, in my view, it's Cendrars' hymn to love, passionate but not sentimental, leaving love behind only to stretch it out like a fishing net to collect all of life and then offer it back to loved ones, transformed. It reminds me of Van Gogh in his outsider solitude, caressing with brush and pen everything he saw.

What I like about going away is leaving the familiar. Even if, especially if, the familiar is good and is comfortable. Being somewhere else, where the walls are not your walls, the objects not your objects, the faces not the faces you know and the hours not the hours you waste or use at home - all this shakes up your body and your psyche, reminding you that you can always start again, no matter how late it is.

So I'm a bit overwhelmed by the familiar at the moment, dealing with some boring stuff that needs to be dealt with and trying to retain the impetus towards painting that was rekindled in Tavira. Hence my bloggish silence.

Don't go away, if you're here, and come back if you've given up on me. I am most definitely still here and will be visible again very shortly. �

Bli's dog with almond trees. Tavira, January 2010

PS: My website is currently being transferred to a new host and as it includes the main Blaugustine blog, I can't add new posts there until the transfer is complete. This should be within the next day or three.


Dick said...

Still here, Natalie! I look forward to Blaugustine's regeneration (like Doctor Who).

Rain Trueax said...

I like this blog but not because I didn't like Blaugustine but because it wouldn't update to let me know you had written something new. I don't know what the difference is but this one does.

I think we all need breaks from writing the blogs or really doing anything. Perhaps though Tavira had light and the kind of activity that inspired you in a different way than your home. That can have such an impact on art for me.

Beth said...

Glad you're back, Natalie, and I understand the difficulty with transitions. We are here and we love you, so don't leave us for very long!

Jean said...

I love this post, Natalie, found it very moving and well put and true.

I also love Blaise Cendrars - huge thanks to Dick of Patteran Pages for introducing me to him, and to you for adding another wonderful poem here.

And what a fab photo of the very sweet dog - those curves of the tree, the wall, the dog's back, shoulder and legs...

Natalie said...

Dick, Doctor Who, Me? C'est moi. I demand regeneration. In fact I'd like to regenerate my whole website as well as myself. More minimal - heh, how can one be MORE minimal?

Natalie said...

Rain,I publish the main Blaugustine blog from my own website and though I can send people an email each time I update, I never found the way for update notices to happen automatically. But over here on Blogger it's all done for you so that's simpler.
You're right about the necessary breaks... as long as in the process one doesn't break off connections altogether!

Beth, you certainly know about transitions and yours to Canada was a major one. I wonder how long it takes for such a major move to morph into familiarity with the new place? There's something exciting about NOT feeling quite at home somewhere, isn't there?

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................