After many years of teaching myself to paint through "how to videos" and reading books I had a "once in a life time" opportunity offered to me.
A position to live and work abroad in Lanzarote. I have to be honest at the time it seemed quite the opposite but I guess I was rewarded for all that Mr Wheeler had taught me. Truthfully, I was rather hoping it would have been one of the many beautiful location my companies portfolio in Europe.
I love this country and although I'm quite well travelled I had no strong desire to live and work in "Lanzagrotty".
I remember when we approached the island the Captain announced that we were about to land, I looked out of the window and thought "it's an ash tray".
As we all know things usually have the reverse effect our lives and it was the biggest turning point for my art, and my career but even more on a personal learning. Teaching myself to speak Spanish gave me the confidence that would later help me to approach my peers. If a Dyslexic can learn to speak in another language how scary can those art critics be?
The Island of Lanzarote is so stunningly beautiful and the colours are mind blowing.
It feels primitive and prehistoric but actually has an incredible uplifting energy about it. It took time to adjust from the rolling green hills and trees to the different rich colours of the ash (pecon) and structural crust of planet earth, but it won me over.
Enter Cesar Manrique a born and breed artist and one that has and still has a huge influence on the island. He helped protect the island from tourism with restricted areas for building; building height and even the colours of the windows and doors. But thats not the reason he is so great, it was his innate understanding of the geology and environment and how to exploit it and manipulate it for his creative needs. He built his house in the bubbles formed from lava flows and used the islands naturally windy location to make huge moving sculptures out of the ship wrecks the island snared. His paintings are a reflection of the twisted rocks and ash mountains, with the corrosive metallic atmosphere that surrounds you. He built amphitheatres underground, a Cactus garden, a mirror (view point) all with his distinctive style of sculpture, wonderment and child like approach to life. If all of us could have had that kind of passion and understanding of how special the planet is, then we would all have had the richest of lives, one of being creative.
Not to be under estimated.