Yes, as I write this letter, it is only hours away from yet another New Year. About nine or ten hours, but that isn’t important. What is important is that tomorrow will be the start of something special for many of us, or at least we would like to think it will be. For me, 2012 was a year of many changes, some of them okay, some pretty great, and some just…well, different. I sold the lovely and comfortable Amélie; moved back to the incredibly special La Antigua; and met some pretty special people. Like most of us, 2012 was a year of loss as well, but dwelling on loss isn’t a good thing, and seeing as how we only seem to get one chance at this life thing, I am going to get my creative juices flowing and make tomorrow the start of something pretty flippin’ great. Now just to clarify a bit, this does not mean I am already working on next year’s Christmas card (but I am thinking about what it might look like in all fairness).

Coming back to La Antigua was all part of the creative process for me. When David was here, and I had more-or-less indentured him into the ‘getting the house organised’ work team, at one point, he asked me what this big tube was for. He was holding a rather long square tube that I had made several years go out of carton-pluma (foam core). I looked at what he was talking about and then flashed back to when I was considering the potential of the pañuela project (chapters 123, 126, etc). I had been thinking about a potential design and decided that the best way to communicate it the Italian company I was having make the prototype scarves was to make a full size water-colour of the design. So I found (bought) this massively large piece of water-colour paper and made the design. Shipping was going to be a problem as I couldn’t find a commercially available shipping tube of the right dimensions, so I made one myself (as you do). I think David asked where the painting was, but I wasn’t sure…until we looked in the tube. After scanning the design, the Italians had returned it to me and I simply put it away.

The next day, whilst in Palma, David and I took the painting to a framing shop. My vision was to have a frame made that was more-or-less compatible with the other frames I have littering the walls of La Antigua, but David (who apparently had listened a bit too well when I was telling him of the importance of influencing skills), convinced me that something ‘different’ was in order. So here it is hours before the New Year, and the framing company rang to tell me that the painting is all mounted in the frame, and due to the fact it is far too big for either Amelia or Miranda, they are bringing it out to the village in a couple of hours. (It is now several hours later, and the painting is here and hanging on the wall…and whilst the picture looks great (I think), the frame is just perfect for it.)

And because I am writing about artwork, and I had mentioned another picture in the last chapter, I thought I would show you this one too. This is a cuadro doblado that I made. Well, truth-be-told, I wasn’t the photographer of the two photos, but when I first saw them, I knew that they should be ‘together’ in a cuadro doblado, so after getting permission from Sam (who had taken the photos), I had them printed quite large and then proceeded to (carefully) make the folds. Of course, because the finished piece is very large, I then had to commission a local village carpenter to make the frame for it. (mono-colour, 115cm x 131cm). Perhaps the size and complexity of these two most recent additions to La Antigua will result in me producing things a bit smaller again…or drive me on to even bigger pieces.

So here we are, a new year (it is now Tuesday morning here and miraculously, I did manage to see the new year in) and all the rest of our lives are just waiting in front of us. Will we (as in the Royal we), a) continue to plod along, figuring that the life we have is what was dealt to us and we are stuck with it; b) try to get better at whatever we have chosen to do with our lives, but often just giving up; or, c) take advantage of the opportunity with the skills, brains, and hearts that we have and make a difference in both our lives and in those of our friends and family? It is pretty flippin' amazing what we can accomplish in our lives and with our lives...if we only make the choice to do so. And on that almost lecture-like note, I wish you all a wonderful New Year, filled with joy and love and whatever you really want.



La Antigua - quickly becoming one of my favourite pictures


the new framed picture


the Feel Flows tryptich that has been begging to be hung


my other prized new addition, from the right


and from the left


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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013   James B. Rieley