Me, Anja and Dillywn at the entrance to the Centre
On my second and final day in Daugavpils, I had my breakfast with Lars in the 10th floor restaurant of our hotel. It was a sunny but breezy and chilly day. Clouds raced across the city as we exchanged advice on 'how to proceed' with applications, exhibitions, and general snippets of information that you can only get from other artists! We both missed the company of the other artists who were on our September residency, and coming up into the restaurant each morning to see the familiar smiling faces. Our 'music' had also gone, to be replaced with something more rock and roll.
We set off to the Centre separately, and once again I wondered if it would rain. I had a sense of 'this will be a relaxing day, nothing to do but enjoy the Centre,' and I was right. I spent about 12 hours there and was with my friends all day.
With my friends in the Centre (I am second from the right)
We spent some time in the Rothko rooms, looking at the quality reproductions, which were projected onto canvases leaning up against the walls, and sat for a while in the high-security Rothko room, where the six original paintings are on show. I loved these - 2 paintings represented three periods from his artistic oeuvre. I could not photograph these, but below are the reproductions.
At lunchtime we decided to sample a local cafe that two of the artists were recommending. It was about a 25 minute walk but well worth it! All kinds of local soups and traditional dishes were available (though no one wanted any more fish or chicken wrapped in cheese!) The thing about Latvian cuisine is that it is not only tasty but they pay such great attention to how the meal is served up. Even my Cappuccino was decorated with sugars shaped into flowers.
Top two photos - the local restaurant.
On our way back to the Centre, we passed by the railway track, which was high up on a bank, and the longest train I have ever seen slowly trundled by! It must have had about 50 carriages of freight! We were by then late for Peter Griffin's lecture about his work, and had to call ahead to ask him to wait. Peter is my ex Tutor, and it was very interesting to see his work and how it has evolved over the 29 years since I last met him! After the lecture, we were treated to cakes, biscuits and drinks.
Dillwyn and Lars about to enter the tunnel into the Fortress area
Later in the afternoon, there were some performances. The first was a re-enactment of the Russian revolution of 1917, complete with canon fire, and shooting, and I stood up on one of the banks to watch it. From that point, as I turned to look south, I could see the swollen river Daugava just a short way beyond, and how it was almost ready to engulf the flat land. The sun was starting to go down, and cast wonderful shades of gold and copper across the wintry landscape.
Then we watched a performance of dance and music, which I found quite emotional and rousing. It was beautifully done, and the dancers did a similar routine to the one they did on the evening our residency was formally opened last September.
After this, we went up to the artists' flats, where Kristina and Dillwyn were staying, and had some beer in the kitchen. The section for artists to stay is really impressive and I would love to do a self-funded residency and stay there. There are also spacious studios.
The moon was a luminous golden globe hovering just above the horizon, and its largeness made it feel almost touchable. We set off in taxis to Gubernators, a wonderful restaurant that I visited during my residency. It was where we had been taken on the night we'd all been welcomed to the residency, and we had all sat there with the Directors and there had been abundant food, drink, and many speeches. I remembered the name, and recommended it for our farewell meal. We passed the Daugava, shimmering with the pinks and peaches of the evening sky, and in places there was a shiny overflow onto the grassy banks. We all felt sad that it was our last night, and the meal we had at Gubernators was excellent.
My final photograph for this post is of a painting I finished last week, which I feel has echoes from my trip through the Latvian landscape. It's called 'On the Cusp of Memory,' and combines and overlaps traces from different memories of places and experiences, but some of the ochres and purples were colours I noted from the bus.
'On the Cusp of Memory,' acrylic on canvas, 80 x 45cm
Yesterday I received three copies of THE JACKDAW, (July/August issue) with my article about the Mark Rothko Centre on page 25. It was lovely to see it in print!