Saturday, 14 May 2011

The art of entanglement

City Lupins by Lynne Ciacco

In this intriguing picture by artist Lynne Ciacco, a tangle of lupin flowers and branches obscures the house behind. Nature is taking over, perhaps even barring the way. The muted colours give a melancholy atmosphere, and the green in the foreground ceases to denote leaves, and hints at creeping damp on the outside walls.

Shadows beneath the tracery are not immediately apparent, but they are there, and once noticed, they seem to grow. Even the blue sky is overrun, as the house bleeds into it, blocking out the light. It makes for a rather eerie and intense disorder – or is that just how I choose to read it?

It reminds me very much of the scene that greeted us when we first arrived at our property here. It was July and a relentless sun had supercharged weeds and wildflowers in the courtyard. The grass on the terraces was thigh-high. In the five months since we had first seen it in winter (below), the place seemed to have changed and slumped further into decay, its bare bones reclaimed by a surging wildness.


Inside, the smell of mouse was overpowering. Drifts of dry leaves had found the corners of every room. Dead insects crunched under our feet. Scorpions scuttled up walls. We camped on stone floors, took note of the many large structural cracks in the buildings, and hoped for the best.

That first daunting summer, in between restoring order outside, sweeping and scrubbing, and meeting builders, I re-read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and wondered…what if I had come here knowing less about the countryside I was in and the man I was with? Who had lived here before us, and did anything of them remain? That’s when I started writing…

Lynne Ciacco lives and works in Atlantic Canada. She has a fine art degree (BFA) from the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver and works in diverse media, from acrylics to pastel and watercolours, as well as textiles. City Lupins is an example of her digital art using textured layers and blending modes. You can find her website here and her art blog here.


32 comments:

Kenza said...

Bonjour Déborah,
Une petite surprise t'attend sur mon blog...
Bisous et très beau week-end

Lisa Erin said...

Lovely post. Moving into and restoring an old structure has always been something I've wanted to do. Giving a dormant building life. Sounds like a wonderful adventure.

...louciao... said...

I love the connection you made between your own experience with the crumbling house in the Luberon and my overgrown lupins picture. Your words are rich and evocative and leave me wanting more! Thanks so much for this beautiful connection.
Lynne xo

Danièle said...

Je trouve le lien ave rebecca très intéressant, car cette demeure a un lien totalement organique avec la nature qui l'entoure et finit par la reconquérir, symbole de l'équilibre culture/nature?

Bunched Undies said...

Surging wildness...great phrase

Spangle said...

I often go past people's building's and wonder who lives/lived in them. Also the painting is beautiful. You right though, it does have a melancholy feel to it.

This is a really interesting post, which invites us reader's into your experiences of living in a different country.

rhi said...

Gorgeous picture. Very cool house. :)

Olga said...

It's always interesting to find out how people get settled in places that nobody has lived in for a while. The phrase "smelled like mice" paints a complete picture :)

Kelly Garriott Waite said...

This is such a gorgeous place and a beautifully-written piece.

stacey said...

Beautifully written. Entanglement. Beautiful.

Janel said...

What an adventure. Writing a book and restoring the house. Personally, the scorpions would have sent me screaming!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

I love wild gardens and it's always a challenge to decide what stays and what goes.

Lynne's artwork looks very much at home in France.

Thanks for your perceptive comments on my blog!

le blÖg d'Ötli said...

La lecture d'une oeuvre nous est finalement personnelle. Au-delà du désordre, je vois dans le magnifique travail de Lynne une tentative de nous guider sur le chemin de l'harmonie dans le chaos. En tous les cas, merci pour cette belle découverte.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love lupins and that painting is totally about nature reclaiming it's own. I like how you can see the house number above the door.

Your house is amazing! A place like that would be worth all efforts at restoration. Mice can be put in their place! Thanks for coming over to my blog. It's such a pleasure to read yours and to learn more about Provence, and I look forward to reading The Lantern.

MuMuGB said...

Very nice pictures and site. How do you find all this lovely art Deborah?

James Kiester said...

It's interesting to look at old houses, and buildings, and wonder what stories its ghosts could tell. I can see how it inspired you to write.

Adiante said...

The state of the house was nothing with regard to the love at first sight for this house...

At the beginning of a beautiful story...

I answered your comment on my blog and asked you a question...

Jodie said...

You live an enchanted life, Deborah. Thanks for the comment you left on my blog. I love the rustic beauty of Provence - the natural muted tones of lichen, rock, worn paint and woodgrain. Since my first trip there I have been a firm believer that all ugly buildings would benefit from the addition of painted wooden shutters and boxes of geraniums.

I'm now subscribed so I can stay tuned.

CJ_Apple said...

That is a stunning picture and it does evoke the image of your house. What a great connection. And what a good story about your beginnings in that house!

renilde said...

Oh yes I see what you mean, the resemblance is there, one can feel lots of hidden stories as well in the 'City lupins' as in the photo of your very beautiful house. I like how you draw our attention to other artists, linking them to your own feelings and experiences. I enjoyed looking at Lynne Ciacoo's other work. xx

Leovi said...

Beautiful colors and shapes. I like it, is like a nice abstraction. I visit the blog of Ciacco Lynne.

Dash said...

Hi Deborah, that is a beautiful painting and a beautiful post and you have a beautiful blog. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, you were correct the photographs were all of Sanary.
XXX

Richard said...

On dit toujours que la nature reprend ses droits et qu'elle fait bien les choses. Mais, on ne peut pas toujours laisser faire la nature. L'homme existe aussi pour la mettre en valeur. Ton jardin en est la preuve, Deborah.

versus said...

Magnifique tableau, presque de l' abstraction lyrique en somme !
Peut-être que votre belle évocation stimule un désir de travailler la maison et la nature environnante comme une toile d' artiste. Et on est certain que vous l' avez fait de cette manière !

✿ ♥ France ✿ ✿ said...

COUCOU UN grand et petit
bonsoir chez toi
bisou

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Your words painted a picture as powerful as the photos. Wonderful!

brenda said...

Beautiful and inspiring

Tiny Library said...

Your house is so gorgeous. I wanted to write a deep comment about the artwork, but as soon as I saw the house my brain went all "gorgeous house" and that's all I can get out of it now :p

Dizzy C said...

Lovely post. Going into the unknown.

The photo is lovely too.

carol

Miel et Lait said...

I always feel like I get to sneak away to a private little cottage and relax whenever I read your posts. Thanks for the respite!

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you all so much for your reactions - it really adds another dimension. I really enjoy writing posts like this, and Lynne and I have another little collaboration in the pipeline. She is so gifted at bringing atmosphere to digital art in a way I hadn't seen before.

Muriel asked where I find the art I use here. Some painters, I know their work already; others are simply there to be discovered - like Lynne - through the wonders of linked blogs. he

Entanglement is a lovely word, isn't it - I like the undertones of romantic and emotional ties that can't be slipped.

Danièle – tout à fait: ce lien avec “Rebecca” est aussi le lien entre le monde des livres et l’imagination, donc la maison (dans mon roman) est symbolique.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

What a beautiful blog! I especially love the art on this post :)

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