I'm now in the middle of week three of my month long residency at Foundation OBRAS in Portugal. Here's what I've been working on:
I designed a giant "azulejos" pattern and turned it into a stencil which I used to paint on the wall of the former Evora Monte train station (now closed to passenger trains since 1988 and cargo trains since 2011).
The two plants I chose for the pattern are endemic to the area... the Esteva (no English translation, but a kind of rock rose), which grows like a weed here. The flowers are white with yellow centers and dark purple-red blotches on each petal, and the leaves are very sticky. The other flower is a beautiful kind of plume thistle.
The walls of the room I chose in the station (out of two accessible ones) were literally crumbling as I painted them. See the pieces of wall in the corner?
Nearby Estremoz is known for its marble, and many buildings were built from gorgeous chunks of it. We went to some marble quarries and took the scraps that were apparently deemed unworthy for the market. I've been drawn to long, loaf-like pieces.
For the piece above, I was inspired by a hike some of us took to an overlook where there are old holes that were long ago carved into the rock. No one knows quite what their purpose was, but it's fun to guess. It's thought by some they were used for shamanistic purposes.
I'm making these marble sculptures that have very specific (and strange) functions to leave around the landscape. Maybe someday, someone will find it and wonder what that ancient carver (me) made it for.
The one above is made to hold nespera (loquat) seeds. The one below is still in progress and is meant to be a snail forum.
I checked back this morning to see if the test snail I put there stayed. Unfortunately, it ran away...but I still like the idea of special holes for snails.
I'm also working on a video of ants fighting, but I had trouble loading it, so you'll have to see it later. Até logo.