Sometimes we look back on our lives with regret, wishing we had done things differently or taken another path. However I must admit I always look back with gratitude and thanks on how far I have travelled. There have been quite a few traumas in my past, probably more than the average person, so it has been a case of picking myself up and soldiering on and Fate, in return, has taken me to several countries where I have learnt different skills.
Cyprus was the first foreign country that I travelled to and had a huge impact on my life. The main thing I noticed was the quality of light, unlike anything that I had seen before. It was as if filters had been lifted from my eyes. Everything was bright, colourful and clear cut. The blue of the sky and sea had such an intensity, shadows so dark, building so old they looked biblical. I felt like an actor on a film set. Quite a contrast from the quiet country village life that I had been living in England, and yet there was a strange deep familiarity with it all.
It was during this first time in Cyprus that I was studying Interior Design by correspondence course with Rhodec International. I needed to get some technical drawing ability first hand, so I was lucky enough to go to work with Michel Jobert, a French Architect, who had worked with my husband.
I was only with him for a matter of weeks but learnt so much in that time. I came to terms with using the Staedtler drawing pen, the huge rolls of Trace, and drawing everything to scale. That time was invaluable to me. It seemed hard at first to go completely against the natural artistic ability that was within me to the strict controlled drawing of plans. They were happy days, my children were in the local Anglo American School and our lives were full of barbecues, picnics on the beach, swimming and all the things that go with a Mediterranean lifestyle. Meantime life moved on. I got the Diploma and we needed to move back to the UK for the children’s secondary education and the next chapter of my life, which would involve us moving on again for my Husband’s career to Spain and my subsequent separation from him, but the big plus of these years were painting lessons from a Master, the late John Wright. (See Blog -Jimena Days-Writing and Cooking)
Years later all that technical drawing experience came to light again when in 1990 I found myself again living in Cyprus with my children, but a different partner. We formed a Landscape Company Christavera Nurseries, and I was the Landscape Designer in the team. So at last my technical drawing ability became very useful in producing all the garden design plans. Some of the contracts were for Michel Jobert. I did this for five years, but then Fate intervened and I returned to the UK because of my partners health and embarked on the next chapter of my life.
Race forward another twenty four years and now in retirement I rely on those drawing skills in creating detailed pen and ink studies that sell as prints on this website. So I have learnt much in Cyprus. The connection still goes on as My Daughter and three grandchildren still live there and I visit as much as I can, so life does seem to move in circles.