There are times when nothing changes; then suddenly everything changes


Life 'humdrums' along a lot of the time. Actually I quite appreciate un-eventful periods.

You are in a routine, the day is mostly cut and dried. In theory at least. For me, it's my beloved studio time, where I get up early, do some quiet reading and journalling, followed by a cursory check of the emails and then head downstairs to paint at around 9am, staying at it all day. There are also some regular slots marked in the calendar - like my regular Thursday yoga class. 

This is what my life used to look like.

It's unnerving how quickly and unexpectedly it can all change. Since returning from Australia at the end of May, everything feels in a state of flux.

A bit of back story. For some time now Laurent and I have been commuting between our home in France and Barcelona, partly for family reasons (ageing parents, you know the story) and also, of course, because it's a fabulously vital city. For years we have been discussing the idea of moving to Barcelona or spending more time there. We keep intending to do a three month trial run, but it never happens. Calendars get choked up and it is pushed back into Neverland.

So, back to the present, and here are the latest events:

1. I get back from Australia and, out of the blue, am offered a survey exhibition at a beautiful contemporary art centre/museum near Barcelona - the Muxart Espai d'Art in Martorell. I visit the space, meet the curator and the local Culture Minister. Someone has pulled out of a slot and could I do it in early October, they suddenly ask? I take a deep breath, and say yes (feet paddling wildly underwater). 

2. Seeing that there is a show in place and a definite reason for me to be in Barcelona, the mythical 'trial run' in the city suddenly makes immediate sense and moves from 'Neverland' into a possible reality. 

3. So if I am going to be in Barcelona for the three month duration of the exhibition, it seems logical to look for somewhere to work while here, and to invite collectors, curators, and gallery directors. 

The initial idea is to look for a space in a shared studio complex, but the appealing ones are way over the other side of town - meaning an hour's travel each way. And there are no spaces right now.

Next idea - I start looking around my area where there are 'for lease' signs on vacant shops or commercial spaces. No joy - the rents are overpriced.

By chance I mention my problem to a local accountant. He says it makes more sense to buy instead of renting now because the prices and interest rates are very low, meaning it actually works out cheaper. This is getting interesting. 

I start to wander the streets with new eyes, looking at all of the rather unremarkable shop fronts I had previously passed without a second thought. Some are more rather more unremarkable than others. 


To cut a long story short, ten days later I find my hand nervously gripping a blue plastic pen, signing my name below a purchase offer. This feels like watching the scary part of a crime film on TV, where I need to cover my eyes, or escape to the bathroom. 

Now it's a matter of waiting, while all the paperwork checks are done, to see if it will actually happen. It's not yet a certainty, but if not there will be plenty of other opportunities.

Life is in a state upheaval. It seems that little by little Barcelona is making some decisions for me.

PS If you would like to be the first to hear about exhibitions, new work, and see studio progress, you are invited to send me your email address to receive occasional updates. (They will only arrive a when there is something new or important happening, as I respect your inbox.)