By Ana Pereira de Vlieg

Oil on wood seascape rendered in ‘plein air’ from the artist coastal home in South Africa.

Beneath the paint of my latest cloud and seascape is a word, ‘touched’.

I love to write and do so throughout my day. It seemed appropriate to incorporate these line drawing words, beneath my paintings and I pursued this for a while.
To be honest, this block had been prepared and put to the side my last year.
Running out of blocks to use this week this one came into focus. The timing was perfect.

What evolved not only carried a strong message for me. But also added to the mysterious ways in which we, as soul and spirit, are prepared for far more than we feel we can cope with.

Covid19 has reduced physical ‘touching’. Social distancing prevents hugs and discourages the exploration of the different textures found in our world. Being a tactile person, I have had to curb my very natural rhythm of being. My eye sees a fabric for instance and my hand immediately reaches out to touch it, to understand what it is made of. The flower pot in the grocery store holds a pattern, a pretty colour and I instinctively want to run my fingers over the bump of the ceramic, as if my flesh can read further into the history of the artwork. I especially honour those who are blind.

Touch is one of the five senses we use to gather information around us. Our senses send messages through receptor cells to our brain, using our nervous system to deliver that message. I did not understand why I had felt to write this word in the past tense last year.

When I create I do so instinctively, choosing the path set before me by being very present in my moment. Looking at cloudscape’s this formation caught my eye. It looked like outspread wings filling the canvas of the sky. The majestic presence inspired me. Upon the word ‘touched’ I began to paint what I saw. Oblivious then of the power of the message bridging the supernatural and natural world.

The encounter and interaction between the wooden block, the paint, brush and length of time my eye took to see the forms in the sky and sea reminded me of a circle. A fun merry-go-round. Lost in the shape of the hour, I began to sense the peace, the grounded nature of creativity as my brain let go of distractions, worries and such things.

The focus was intentional and did the trick to alleviate hurry of all kinds.

Creativity does not fail. Built in us, it evokes and embraces spaces in our imagination we ought to spend more time on. Some dare to experience it, even to step into it and share it.

To ‘touch’ is a very present and action filled verb. Although we cannot fully experience the extent of this freedom today, perhaps there is another way in which to express it.
I received a message on my phone that ‘touched’ me because it carried through a sense of love, empathy and care. Perhaps the touch we seek could be present in the smile of our eye’s, in the way we use our kind words and in messaging to check in on others. It could be apart of a natural rhythm that fills our world with authenticity.

Having chosen this block to paint on, perhaps it was the spread of wings in the clouds that symbolise hope and freedom for me. Perhaps it was that I have had to hold myself back from hugging dear ones. Perhaps all the above merged to inspire this painting.

Looking at the merging of sea green hues, spreading out the magic of teensy little lights, feels fascinating to me. This has touched and moved me.

As always I hope to share my revelation and inspiration. You too hold similar keys which can open doors into your imagination, that even for a moment give your mind a break from the tedious tension of living inside the bubble of a pandemic.

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