“When I arrived at Joya: AiR in the remote and beautiful Parque Natural Sierra Maria-Los Velez, I was struck by the landscape: white earth, pine-covered mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, the zig-zag patterns of almond plantations. The house is nestled in a dip between mountain ranges in a stunningly beautiful position.
I was warmly greeted by Simon and Donna and made to feel at home at once.
In my practice, I use various materials, including acrylic spray paint, and because of this I was accommodated with an excellent studio by myself, which I very much appreciated.
The opportunity to immerse myself in the landscape, explore the walking trails, study the plants, think, experiment and make work was invaluable. The Sierra is experienced through all the senses. The mountains are fragrant with aromatic plants.
In my work, I describe the forms and colours of native plants in order to convey a message, or an emotion. I’m not that kind of a botanical artist that works to a strict scientific discipline- my aim is to capture the essence of these plants in their natural habitat. My current work concerns itself with the crash in the bee population. Bees are the most important pollinator of crops and native plant species, three-quarters of our wild plants rely on insects for pollination and bees are most important. The paintings feature the wild plants so important for these creatures.
While at Joya: AiR, I have been exploring the plants on the Sierra and have discovered an abundance of wild herbs and flowers that are important for bees. I have made paintings and prints describing these plants. Through the beauty of their form, I wish to convey a message about bee conservation.
I would like to thank Simon and Donna and their children Solomon and Sesame for a wonderful experience and for the unique opportunity for creative endeavour, and for friendship and guidance. Thank you also for opening my eyes to the issues of water conservation. I will go home with more awareness and respect for this valuable resource that we Irish tend to take for granted. Thank you also for the wonderful shared mealtimes- Donna you are such an amazing cook! Thanks to Rachel and Mark who were always helpful and supportive.
Finally, thanks for the friendship and kindness of my fellow artists, Emily, Steve, Debbie, Mike, Orly and Yiwen – an eclectic, interesting wonderful bunch of people”.