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Aannsha’s Blog #23 – On the search for art materials

Baz cooking on our new electric stove

This week has been a little like a rinse and repeat of last week, in that we have been shopping, shopping and shopping, and spending, spending and spending! So much so in fact, that even my delight in this particular pastime has waned to the point of feeling like I’ve binged on too many chocolates in one sitting. I’m getting a little sick of it! However, the upshot of our forays into the bowels of several shopping malls both near and far, has been a few extra boaty things, a very handy 2-hob electric stove top, a fantastic media room in what Baz lovingly likes to call my Princess Suite and the expectant beginnings of my art gear.

Giving away my art stuff was like losing part of my identity!

First of all though, let me touch upon my so far fairly failed attempt at stocking up on art materials.

Due to weight restrictions on our baggage when flying to Spain from Australia, and also what I could fit into the box that my friend Deniece was sending to me once I had a fixed address over here (thank you girlfriend xx), I had to pretty much pare down on all of my art and craft stuff. And I tell you, it was like cutting off little colourful chunks of my soul as I sold, donated and gifted my paints, brushes, wool rovings, beads and jewellery findings.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it at all, and am delighted that these loved possessions have gone to good homes. It’s just that art has always been an anchor in my life (no pun intended). When I’ve been happy, I’ve painted. When I’ve been stressed, I’ve felted. When I’ve been commissioned, I’ve been honoured to create something – whether it’s been a wet-felted scarf or a large mural, or piece of silver wire wrapped jewellery. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t created out of some material or other.

So arriving on the other side of the world from the country I’d lived in for the past 27 years (I’m only 9 years old at time of writing this btw – not! LOL), was not only a separation from friends, colleagues and of course my darling son (sorry Luke is that too sloppy?), but after relieving myself of my arty and crafty stuff, it felt like a separation from a big part of who I am - an artist. All I carried with me when I touched down on Spanish soil was a school pencil case jammed with my watercolour pencils, a couple of small, good, round brushes and a pencil sharpener. I hadn’t had a watercolour pad small enough to carry with me, and with a “she’ll be right” attitude – meaning, I figured I’d be able to source one readily in Europe - I didn’t buy one to bring. So for the first few months I’ve here, I’ve had nothing to craft with.

I did pick up an A5 painting pad from a shop in Javier, but one look at water (despite the picture of a watercolour painting on the front of the pad) and the page tore. I considered drawing on the walls of the apartment we were staying in, but I didn’t think Phil, Barry’s brother who owns the place would appreciate that! So I abstained from all things arty.

Besides, we had enough to get on with while we were there in terms of getting into a blogging and vlogging routine, so I didn’t really feel quite ready to paint or craft.

Beach Glass from Javea

I did collect sea glass from the local Javier beach though. One beautiful aqua piece in particular, which is about the size of a coke can top squashed into an oval, that I found just sitting there on the beach pebbles waiting to be picked up! I’ve got a great idea for a sterling silver wire wrapped pendant for that one, that incorporates a single earring of twisted gold with silver, that I think will look awesome, once I’ve worked out a design for it.

In order to work out a design however, I needed some inexpensive wire that if I were in Australia, I could source at a huge art and craft chain store called Spotlight. This shop sells fabric, sewing machines, home wares, party things, cake decorating items and a huge craft section for knitters, jewellery makers, dyers and artists. I was pretty sure there’d be an equivalent in Spain. It’s Europe. It’s sophisticated. Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya and El Greco all came from Spain. Right?

Aren’t there any artists in San Javier?

Well, unless I’ve been whispering the wrong search words into Auntie Google’s ear, all I’ve managed to turn up are stationers and school supply shops. Search words being: artist materials / art and craft supplies / artist supplies / … near San Javier.

Now, according to AG’s results, if I want my artistic bent to take a turn with a fluorescent marker on white board, I’m all set. But screaming yellow on shiny white really doesn’t float my boat – if you’ll pardon pun number two!

If you remember from one of my earliest blogs where Baz helped me to pare down my multi-crafting options to just two: wire-wrapped jewellery and painting – you will have realised that my hugely creative soul was consenting to being squeezed into a two-pronged outlet. And I wasn’t going to give those two channels up.

My puzzled brain kept wondering, aren’t there any artists living in San Javier? Or were they all further north in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona?

As I’ve mentioned, towards the end of our stay in Javea, I began feeling a little stir crazy. My creative bone had an itch that needed to be scratched. But I waited. I waited until we were on the boat. Buying anything in Javea (and I did spy an art store the day before we left there), would just mean more to carry. But it would be fine, I said to myself, there’d be plenty of places to pick up art things near the boat.

Wasn’t I wrong!

In the end, I did purchase a pack of four fluorescent marker pens. But for the office, not for my ‘studio’. I didn’t have a studio, I had an empty forward port locker in my Princess Suite with a scant box of shells sea glass and sterling silver wire, just waiting to be filled with colourful arty and crafty goodies.

On the search for arty and crafty goodies

Over the last few days, Baz and I – while we’ve got the hire car – have been scouring the land near San Pedro del Pinatar where our yacht is moored, for supplies to satisfy my creative urges. And I have to say, it is not simply a creative urge. It is more than that. I have a YouTube channel where I share crafting and art techniques. I have nearly 2,500 fine subscribers at the time of writing, and they’ve been waiting a long time since my last video. I’m feeling the pressure to give them something of value.

So Baz and I have been to several ‘art and craft’ suppliers in San Javier thanks to Auntie Google and each time I’ve walked out dismayed. With every failed attempt to find a decent art supplier, my heart has sunk a little lower. So low, I’m sure that pretty soon, it’ll be in my large intestines.

A surprise find

Sinking heart notwithstanding, I was surprised to find some cheap and cheerful coloured jewellery wire and silver coloured findings, necklace ‘leather’ and thick twine for another project (hanging the fruit basket) at a Chinese Bazaar (equivalent to Australia’s Two Dollar Shops) – which are pretty much on every second street corner. I’d been into them with Baz for plumber’s tape and a wood chisel; I’d just never thought to look in there for my arty kinds of things. So happily, I returned home to our boat yesterday with a few starters to my crafty stock, and a couple of useful arty things too: a palette and palette knives, plus some undefined quality acrylic and watercolour paints. I picked up those last two items just in case my search for a decent art supplier doesn’t eventuate.

EBay and other avenues

If all else fails, I’ll resort to the other web giant along with AG, and that is Ebay. I guess I haven’t wanted to start ordering from the internet because I do like to see and touch what I’m buying. I mean, crafting is a very tactile pursuit. However, I do have one foot in the 21st century, so I’m not averse to a bit of internet shopping. I just want to try Murcia first. Auntie Google has shown me one shop in Murcia that is apparently an art studio, art gallery and does sell art supplies. I’m not holding my breath, but Baz and I are going to scout it out tomorrow. And I’ll definitely let you know how that goes, in my next blog.

Media Room, here I come!

Baz cooking up a storm on our new hob

As I began this blog, Baz very kindly used his culinary skills to cook up a storm on our new electric stove top, which is ideal while we’re in a marina that includes electricity in the rent as it saves our limited gas supply. With a belly full of pasta and spicy Italian meatballs, green beans and mushrooms in a tomato sauce, as I come to the end of this blog, I’m winding down and looking forward to watching a couple of episodes of the Walking Dead to scare me to sleep.

Talking of sleep, despite the WD, I’m sleeping really well since we moved on board. Baz’s time clock is all upside down with daylight savings, but not mine. For the first time in – if I’m honest – years – I’m sleeping like a baby. But before that, it’s time to turn my Princess Suite into the Media Room… Baz will hook up the Samsung 24 inch HD LED flat screen monitor, and I’ll sort out the 101 cushions and pillows we need to prop ourselves up on the queen sized bed in the forward double cabin. Rustle up some roasted, salted giant corn nibbles (a personal favourite of mine) and a glass of red wine …

And see you next week!

Until then, to paraphrase the words of Kate B.

"May the sun in the sky, illuminate your heart, revealing all that you are". (I’m an artist, who are you?)

Princess Suite becomes Media Room!

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