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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Springtime workshops in the mountains of La Sibilla

Art Workshops in the Magical Mountains of La Sibilla

                  Painting, Photography. Poetry.

I would like to invite you to one of our workshops this Spring in Italy.
We are centred at Cittadella, a wonderful Agriturism high up in the Sibillini mountain range in the Province of Le Marche Italy, just below the ancient volcano of Monte Vettore. 

It is a very special place where mother nature still rules supreme, a place indeed where succesful re-wilding programmes are in action to restore the original population of wolves, bear and many other species of both fauna and flora.
Our workshops invite our guests to re-wild themselves (sounds funny doesn't it?) And through painting, poetry, photography, to deepen their commitment to live more creative and fulfilling lives.

The beautiful centre at Cittadella in its panoramic landscape, will help people reconnect with their natural selves, taking a break from their normal life and environment and allowing their innate creativity to flow.
And when it's time to leave, you leave with your creations, happy, relaxed, in tune with nature and your rediscovered natural self.

Here are the dates and titles. Simply click on the links in blue below to learn more about these fascinating weekends in the Magical mountains of La Sibilla. Good company, authentic Italian food, spectacular scenery.

Wild Photography in the Sibillini Mountains in Italy:
May 31 to June 4, 2018
With Michael Eldridge and Natasha Lythgoe

The Tango of Creativity
Cost E175 plus accom
With Michael Eldridge

Re-wilding the Self – via painting, sketching, poetry,17th to 21st May 2018 Cost E175 plus accom
With Michael Eldridge

Re-wilding the Self. June 8 to 12
With Michael Eldridge and Peter Moolan-Feroze

Read what the Guardian says about Cittadella

Very best wishes for 2018, may it be a creative one for you!


Friday, January 12, 2018

La magica della Sibilla; Cittadella, Maggio 2018

Quindi cosa succede su tra le nuvole di Cittadella?
Lo spazio intorno a noi si estende e ci troviamo assimilati da uno spazio più grande dove l’incantevole regno della creatività ci sussurra (e a volte ci urla) attraverso la musica, la poesia e la pittura. E’ là che ci aspetta e vuol essere ascoltata per dare alla nostra mente e alle nostre mani la libertà di esprimersi e di mostrarsi. In breve, per superare ciò di cui credevamo di essere capaci di fare.
Disegnare, pitturare, poesia, fotografia naturalistica, Ci Kung Tai Chi.
Tutto nella meravigliosa terra di Cittadella.
Autentica cucina italiana, una bellissima piscina, cavalli da cavalcare e sentieri di montagna dove avventurarsi.
Una terra immersa in mitologie e leggende, una terra in cui furono combattute esoteriche battaglie tra cristianesimo e paganesimo che tutt’oggi continuano ad echeggiare.
E’ qui, sotto al Monte Vettore, dove l’imperatore Ponzio Pilato fu decapitato e gettato nel lago che oggi porta il suo nome.
Una terra di magia e stregoneria.
Della vecchia religione della natura in cui Madre natura regna tutt’ora.

Nel cuore della natura dove possiamo ritrovare il nostro cuore e la nostra creatività innata

In Inglese/Italiano

Volete sapere di più?

Clicca qui  per il programma 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Workshops in the Sky

Cittadella is our home in Springtime.
1000 metres up in the sky beneath the ancient volcano of Monte Vettore in the very heart of wild nature, a land of mountain eagles,wolves and bear. And it is here that we enter another space in our lives, escaping from the prison of conformity in which modern life is cocooning us, and allowing mother nature herself to open us to our birth right, to the wonder of creativity; that powerful instinct which is simply waiting to be re-awakened withn us.

So what happens up in the sky at Cittadella?
The space around us expands and we become absorbed into that greater space where the realm of creativity whispers (and sometimes shouts) with music, poetry and painting, just waiting for us to listen to, and give our hands and minds to the freedom to express and make manifest. In short, to create beyond ourselves.
Sketching, Painting, Poetry, Wild Photography, Ci Kung Tai Chi.
In the wonderland of Cittadella
Authentic Italian cuisine, beautiful pool, horses to ride, mountain paths to get lost in.

Citta della Sibilla, the land of La Sibilla, the seer of Rome
A land steeped in Myth and Legend, a land where esoteric battles were fought between Christianity and Paganism and where echoes of these struggles exist even today.
Where beneath Monte Vettore, Pontius Pilate was beheaded and his body thrown into the Lake which now bears his name.
A land of Magic and Witchcraft.
Of the Old Nature religion, where Mother Nature still reigns supreme.
In the veritable heart of nature, where we re-discover our own hearts and our own innate creative nature

Want to know more?

Click for dates and contact

And read what the Guardian says about Cittadella

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Solstice and a parallel universe

This day finds me doing the oddest things.
Like sticking bamboo cane in the garden and painting lines with indelible markers on corners of the house. I've always done it in places I've lived in; often I've constructed mini stonehenges to greet the first glimpse of sun on a solstice morning, and doing a sort of Celtic ritual in my mind.
Fact is, this day is more exciting to me than any other for me, one which has me marvelling at the fact that we (i.e. our planet) are hurtling through space at one and a half million miles a day around our star and spinning around like a top at a thousand miles an hour. 
I mean, doesn't this just rock your socks?
Then when the summer solstice arrives, I make sure the sun's shadow aligns with my markers. So far it always has and this makes me feel secure, safe in the knowledge that we are not wobbling away towards a black hole or even worse being consumed by an encroaching parallel universe.
 It could happen.
Also I am excited by the growing light, as I know are my trees and shrubs and animals and I've made plans to visit Monte Vettore next week to pay homage to this ancient land of fairies and necromancers. Legend has it that at the summer solstice, young men climb up to the sister mountain top of Mount Sibilla to be seduced by beautiful young girls. Only to find later that these fair maidens have goat's legs. And that they (probably within a week) give birth to yet another host of goat legged maidens. Might have got that a bit wrong, but it's true that to be up there on a mid summer's night is an eerie experience, compounded by the fact that you might just be annihilated by a meteorite, yes a meteorite, as these Sibillini mountain tops are littered with little ones if you search keenly enough.
(I've just nipped out to photograph one of my solstice line ups (see pic) Note line of shadow along pencil mark (10 am) and fake meteorite)

Monte Vettore is where we hold our workshops during Spring and Autumn at an agriturism centre by the name of Cittadella. (not on the subject of necromancy I hasten to add). But rather where we absorb ourselves into the realm of creativity; painting, poetry, photography and even ceramics.

Here,it is quite easy to enter the beauty of this parallel universe of our imaginations, up in the mountains of La Sibilla, where the so called normal world just slides away, as does all the stress and worry it throws at us.

Spring workshops at Cittadella include painting, photography, poetry and ceramics.
Click here for programme dates

Happy Solstice,

Friday, December 1, 2017

Wild Photography

Cittadella is the centre where Natasha Lythgoe  and I are holding our Wild Photography workshop next May to explore this land up in the clouds.

It is a rather magical place and attracts folk who wish to absorb themselves in a world whose nature, history and culture remind them of things seemingly lost in our hurried existence.

Up in the Sibillini mountains there is an incredible feeling of freedom. Within the national park, rangers are carrying out a programme of re-wilding, re-introducing species such as the wolf, bear etc and attempting to rebalance what humans have disturbed over the centuries

Photography is our medium this weekend but the workshop could equally be labelled re-wilding the self, because we too are out of balance as a species and need to respect Nature; to re-wild ourselves

When I taught photography at the (now) Arts University Bournemouth, it was a time when analogue was dying on its feet and when digital photography was not yet proven. It was at this cusp in time that it became obvious to me that the only useful subject to address, was creativity itself; to be curious and aware of life in all its many facets and that a camera was just a machine, a commodity which was just a vehicle through which the creative imagination might find a home.

In the years between then and now, the evolution of the camera, the ease by which images can be shared with anyone on the planet at any time of day, seeing young infants taking photographs, (and even cancelling out images they don't like for goodness sake), All this makes me realise that I was right at that time; that the essence of a fulfilled life is indeed to re-awaken creativity in our lives, whatever the medium with which we choose to express ourselves. 

Our weekend at the end of May next year is about these very matters. 

Our home is a beautiful centre in an astoundingly magnificent part of Italy. (Read Guardian article about Cittadella)

It's an opportunity to work and share with others our passion for image making. (you may bring any kind of photographic image making machine)

And to join a community of like minded people who stay in contact and share images on an on going basis.

To eat, laugh, play, work together in this little paradise in the mountains of La Sibilla.

For programme of 2018 Spring workshops at Cittadella, click here


Friday, November 3, 2017

About Bluer

Bluer is my friend. He is a painter like myself and once or twice a year we work together for 4 or 5 days or so and, I dunno, just feed off each other I guess I would say. Currently he is working with plexiglass and this is an exhibition of his sculpture in the medium on a show in Trieste at the Lux Gallery, where he devoted a room to our collaborative work

Do you know what happens when you create together with another?
I would say this..
It's the difference between being alone in a dinghy in a river full of crocodiles or with a mate to whack them on the nose when they get too near.
I jest of course, but what I am endeavouring to say is that it is a profoundly different experience than working solo.
Also that you learn a lot, risk more than you would normally and find yourself in Sync with the other, or others if you are working in a group.
Here are a couple of our paintings in the show

And one in realita

At Art College we were never encouraged to work together (as if it were an affront to our sacred individuality) To that I now say Huh!
I wish I'd known way back then of the power and depths we can reach if we have the courage and
humility to share our creativity. And how that in doing so we in fact strengthen ourselves.
A paradox don't you think?
By the way we entitle our work 'Four hands, 'Two brains, One soul'
Neat don't you think?

Here is a link to the exhibition which is up until October 20, should you be visiting the wonderful City of Trieste

Starstone Creativity retreats in Italy

Monday, October 9, 2017

I've just been talking to an Archangel

This may sounds little odd, but oft times I paint blind, or maybe I mean dumb, or maybe I don't mean either. This painting, which I finished last week before going to Cornwall, bowled me sideways when I looked at it this afternoon, back home in my studio. Like most of my stuff, it had just arrived on some creative wind from who knows where. But I'd painted it before I had even arrived there.
The story. 
I was at St Michael's Mount, visiting a friend who runs the place, although truer to say it runs him, and was buffeted about by the wind, dazzled by the intense glare of sunlight on water and utterly at the mercy of the elements.
And those elements. Friend tells me those who are obliged to live and work on the island, last usually for no more than two years, then crack. Those who make it to three, simply suddenly adjust and are sort of absorbed into the elements and stay. You see, life there is completely subject to the tide and wind, and what we normlings call daily life, is just not possible there.
I sort of like that, because in a magical way, creativity itself is like this. It comes from somewhere which is bigger than us, greater than us, and we catch it on the wind, sometimes in a crashing roar.

It is humbling and it makes nonsense of both rationality and time itself. As I imagine would an Archangel.