art inspiration, motorcycling, travel

the joy of the road

Experiencing a constant stream of landscapes and ever changing views which frame the road, snatched images and details, impossibly trying to memorise, unable to stop to photograph the stunning views around every bend….. sometimes travelling by bike (or any means of transport) seems that we are too quickly soaking up amazing scenery, grasping a mental snapshot, and then it’s gone, it’s behind us and we are taking in the next view…. but we are loving the experience of fast travel, enjoying the roads, lanes and tracks; and then we make choices of where and when to slow right down…. to stop to engage more fully and slowly explore the surroundings

It is the dilemma of travel (and life too); the need to cover distance balanced with the wish to stay awhile in each place to sense and take time to enjoy…

I felt inspired by artist and cyclist Nick Bodimeade’s work  “B roads” and “Tracks Trails and Tarmac”. He explores these experiences and his paintings capture those moments, celebrating the joy of travel, movement and of passing by whilst taking in the surrounding scenes. His work spoke to me and reflected my own thoughts about travel and memory

Do take a look at his vibrant work and watch the short video about his painting process

Nick Bodimeade

Here are my own Scottish road images just waiting to be captured in paint ….

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adventure, motorcycling, travel

Inspired by Lois

I love to hear about the adventures of other, much more daring travellers than me. Today, I looked up a saved link to Lois Pryce (solo motorbike adventurer) and watched her brilliant TED talk “In praise of vulnerable travel” on YouTube. Wow, she speaks to me about my travel fears, and ups and downs.

Firstly: the excess baggage! All that stuff I carried around on my bike this year. To cover every eventuality! In fact in Scotland, I posted clothes home to lighten my load. I love to pack for motor biking, every item has to be there for a reason, we can carry so little. But even so, I always take too much. I always take a small art kit and sketchbook as essential items, but I gather bits and pieces along the way, an avid collector of little “treasures”, some postcards, a travel brochure cutting here, a little piece of local pottery: it all adds up, all extra to carry. I even relished in filling extra tiny spaces in my luggage. But it all adds weight, and risk of dropping the bike. I must learn to lighten up!

The rain came down torrentially in Spain. My husband Mik and I were caught in a horrendous storm, when all of our belongings were back in the tent across the border in France. My bike didn’t cope with going through deep water, and broke down! Calling for roadside assistance late on a Friday afternoon, and not speaking a word of Spanish I was taken south into Spain, and my bike locked up for the weekend in storage. Mik followed the truck on his bike, and we found ourselves in a town we had never heard of, in the clothes we stood up in, full motorbike gear in 40 degree heat, for the weekend

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Vic, near Barcelona. I really didn’t mind being stranded here

I learned something that weekend: it didn’t matter that we had no change of clothes, no luggage, none of the things I thought I should need in an emergency. We had our papers and cards, so it was easy to find somewhere to stay, buy a toothbrush, some deodorant (I can’t do without!) and a scarf to make into a skirt! Not roughing it I know, but it was a lesson in realising what we really need, which isn’t as much as we think.

I also learned that the more uncertain and unplanned things became, the happier and more free I felt. I loved that I didn’t know what we were doing next, and what was around the next corner, and the weekend led to a much more unexpected few weeks following, and changed how we planned and even better when we didn’t plan where to travel after that….

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adventure, freedom, identity, motorcycling, passion, travel

Travel on two wheels

I’ve been riding motorbikes since my early 20s. It all started as a means to get to work, and my first bike a Suzuki A100, bought for just a tenner. I hadn’t a clue; I just got on it and went to work, but little did I know then that riding this bike would start a life long passion. It sparked a feeling of adventure and freedom, of living a life a little differently and shared with others with the same enthusiasm. I had been bitten by a bug that has stayed with me always, and become part of who I am.

Earlier this year I longed for an old model Triumph Street Triple, having loved riding them previously. My bike at the time was a Ducati Monster. I counted myself very lucky to have not one, but two gorgeous bikes.

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How lucky I was to take this bike to  the north of Scotland and Outer Hebrides.

This little grey Triumph number made me smile from ear to ear, and I looked forward to a long summer of adventure. We travelled three thousand miles together first to Wales and then to Scotland, Skye and the Hebridean islands

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a view of Skye from Plockton

Unfortunately, a tour of North Yorkshire with biker girl friends ended very early for me, when I came off the Triple coming down from the Buttertubs Pass to Wensleydale. It had been a wet foggy morning, and we had been riding carefully due to poor visibility, but as the fog cleared and I could see a view of beautiful Hawes, I relaxed, but then a small error of judgement led to braking too sharply, the rear tyre locking up and I took the bike into the verge, and I was thrown off. There is a further story regarding the bike being dropped from the recovery lorry (which was a further shock), and my poor bike was condemned as a write off. I was shaken at the time, but the worst thing for me was a damage to my confidence, which was very hard to deal with.

We were booked on a ferry for the following Friday with a group of friends travelling to the French Pyrenees, so I picked myself up, dusted myself down and prepared to travel on the Ducati Monster

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A great looking and sounding bike in the iconic Ducati red

My confidence was in tatters. I felt fearful, but as the travel  was booked, I just got on with it, not an option not to go. We spent the first week with a group of friends camping in the Pyrenees, organised by world adventurer Nick Sanders

My husband Mik and I then spent a further three weeks travelling in France and Spain.We had a great, yet challenging time seeking out of the way places, quirky accommodations and we met interesting and lovely people. The Ducati was unreliable (conking out in heavy rain), I struggled with fear of another accident, but I also unexpectedly realised that the more uncertain situations became the more I relished them! We also learned a lot about independent travel, the joys and many challenges of travelling as a couple, what we each loved and did not love quite so much! We arrived home exhausted, but keen to plan our next adventure. By then I had decided to exchange the Monster for another Triumph; not what might be expected as a practical adventure or touring bike, but definitely the most exciting bike for me

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Unfortunately, due to injury I’ve not yet been able to have a ride out yet, but having to learn the hard lessons (for me anyway) of getting up after falling down, finding courage, being calm and patient and allowing time for healing before I can venture further…..

 

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art, collage, creative practice, France, mixed media, modern art, Pyrenees, Sketchbooks, travel

From the South of France to Cambridge

Following my motorbike breakdown in a heavy rainstorm in Spain, we found ourselves unexpectedly spending the next weekend in Ceret in the Eastern Pyrenees. What a delight it turned out to be…

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a leafy street in Ceret

Ceret is the home of the Musee d’Art Moderne, where we saw work by Picasso, Masson, Maillol, Frere, Herbin, Soutine, Dufy and more

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Auguste Herbin

I picked up a tiny book about Herbin’s process of collaging elements to create a scene, and these ideas travelled with me back home and then on to a workshop in Cambridge UK, facilitated by fine art collage artist Karen Stamper

Using my travel sketchbook to prompt a collage abstracted from my memories, quick sketches, and postcards from Ceret:

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my travel book with postcard of art work by Andre Masson

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my collage created at Karen Stamper’s Cambridge workshop

A most enjoyable sketchbook and collage play day with happy travel memories!

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art inspiration, ceramics, creative practice, Loch Eriboll, Scotland, sculpture, travel

Amazing Sculpture Croft

If you can, do visit the sculpture croft created by artist Lotte Glob on Loch Eriboll on the north coast of Scotland. If not, take a look at her beautiful website

Experimental with materials sourced from the landscape, her ceramic pieces find their place in her garden and wild places in the surrounding mountains and lochs.  I have been hand building ceramic globes for outdoors, so was delighted by my accidental discovery as we travelled by bike through Scotland’s incredible scenery. Her studio is truly worth the journey. Inspirational!

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Lotte’s stunning award winning home

 

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Some quirky creatures live here too!

Below are my previous works; you will see why I was so pleased to find Lotte Glob’s ceramics in the Far North

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my own ceramic globes

 

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freedom, inspiration, Scotland, travel

Inspiration in the Far North

Travels on my bike to Scotland always inspire me. Astoundingly beautiful, remote and other worldly, I couldn’t believe it when I first travelled there with my husband on our motorbikes a few years ago and that I had not been before.  We have been back to the north west coast and Outer Hebrides again this summer, and as we leave I can’t wait until we come again…..

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I couldn’t wait to get my toes in!

 

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