A call to adventure with the air dancers

I closed my eyes.

Birds chirped and chattered around us in the bush, punctuated by the distinctive clicks and cackles from the tuis. Everything smelled crisp after the rain. The grass was still too damp to sit on so I was perched on a random, and cold, slab of concrete in the clearing. A slight wind stirred the air, rustling leaves, and making the skin on my arms and legs goose pimple. I’d hopefully dressed for summer, but this time last year, the weather in Wellington hadn’t gotten the memo. I’d left a sun-drenched Hamilton airport, and bumped through squalling winds and lashing rain into Wellington.

I was at my art school, The Learning Connexion, in Taita near Wellington. It's a stunning campus, full of colourful buildings, creativity, inspiration, and surrounded by native bush.
I was at my art school, The Learning Connexion, in Taita near Wellington. It’s a stunning campus, full of colourful buildings, creativity, inspiration, and surrounded by native bush.

My favourite place? Hmm… good question.

I was at my art school, out in the surrounding bush, our tutor leading our class in a guided daydream. We were to imagine our favourite place. Well, I was cold, so what about finding some warmth? And where better to go, than straight up, above the grey blanket of cloud and find blue sky and sun? Soon, I stood on top of the clouds, the fluffy mass springy under my feet, and turned my face to the warm.

Above the clouds where there's blue sky and plenty of sun.

Who was with me? And what were they doing?

I looked around. Yes, there they were. Lithe, long-limbed figures dived in and out of the clouds as though swimming, flying, and dancing all at the same time. Long strands of white trailed and tangled around them as they played. Maybe I could do that too. I bounced cautiously on my cloud, stretched my hands over my head, and jumped. It was like diving into the softest water. I “swam” to the surface of the cloud and paddled there happily. The bright limbs of an air dancer leapt over me. It surfaced and splashed cloud in my direction.

I took this photo from the airplane on the way home. White, fluffy pools of cloud that look so much fun to play in.
I took this photo from the airplane on the way home. White, fluffy pools of cloud that look so much fun to play in.

Then our tutor’s voice was calling us back. Reluctantly, I left my new friends and floated down through the clouds. I opened my eyes to the bush clearing and overcast cold.

And my adventure with the air dancers begins:

My charcoal experiments with leaping, diving, twisting air dancers.
My charcoal experiments with leaping, diving, twisting air dancers.

To be continued…

On a side note, I’m so excited to be part of “Artists at Work” again this year. I’ll be demonstrating how my digital magic happens as I work on some pieces for our Raglan Art Easter exhibition… Pop on into the Te Awamutu library on the 16th of March from 10am – 3pm and say hi!

Keep on shining bright,

Ailene

2 comments

  1. it’s interesting where “we go” when we want to be some place else (not in real time) I know when faced with cold, wet, miserable I want to be in a tropical place with sun and sea with a manservant at my beck and call…I always want a bright and colourful cocktail with one of those paper umbrellas in it and maybe some tropical fruit…

    the other week when it was stormy here, I wasn’t at home – I found myself lost in my art-making. I was making hand made book pages which were being collaged but with a very limited supply of materials – which meant I had to semi-concentrate. Every time I looked up – through the window it was still windy and blustery but I just returned to my scissors and glue and of course papers/etc…

    I still haven’t sorted out an online art-page about me – although that may change soon – as I’m going on an artist boot camp over a period of months – and one theme is on making an online presence…something I really need some assistance with…

    1. Hi Cathy! Oooo, tropical, bright, and colourful sounds wonderful. ????

      Isn’t it lovely when you get lost in creation? What are you making? It sounds exciting!

      Enjoy your artist boot camp – sounds like so much fun!

(If you'd like to leave me a message too, I'd love to hear from you! I've turned off comments on this post because it's older than a couple of weeks, but you can email me at ailene@oldmountainart.com)