Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Prayer, monotype with mixed media on paper by Sharmon Davidson

There are some places I feel such a deep connection to that on first arriving I become slightly breathless and have to take a few minutes to adjust to the power of the place..... if that makes sense. Some are places I've never been to before but from the first moment I am drawn to it.

Photo taken at Kosi Bay last October

I experienced this during my first trip to Kosi Bay last year. From the time my feet touched the sand and I began to walk along the broad expanse of beach for mile upon mile, I was overwhelmed by a sense of belonging... of connecting.

Bosley Cloud by Dean Entwistle

I felt similar emotions in some parts of Britain.

Yorkshire Dales, mixed media on canvas by Wendy Asprey

There are other places that I have known all my life that feel almost sacred and yet they also feel like home.

Guardians of Sacred Places by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

The Drakensberg is the place where I feel most at home, most happy and most alive. All my senses seem sharpened when I'm there and I am overawed by the beauty of mountains, forests and streams.

Photo taken on our last trip to Champagne Castle, Drakensberg. (KwaZulu Natal)

Sharmon Davidson's work creates in me the feeling of connection to a place.... sensing the history ..... of people gone before .... of stories ....of lives lived.

Waiting for the storm, mixed media/watercolour on paper by Sharmon Davidson

"The images are formed from the vocabulary of symbols that I've developed as I sought to express the theme that lies at the foundation of it all: a deep belief in the unity and connectedness of everything in the universe". - Sharmon Davidson

The Speed of Darkness, mixed media/watercolor on paper by Sharmon Davidson

"Ancient peoples believed that places had souls. The soul of a place could be found in the genius loci, the guardian spirit whose personality summed up the special characteristics of the location. A proper relationship to the genius loci was necessary in order for a person to dwell there responsibly. In return, the genius loci would nurture and protect the people of the place.

Even in the modern world the basic truth of this ancient relationship still holds: Places that are accorded the respect we have traditionally given to souls are better places as a result. And the people who live there have a better life, too, because places that long have been loved and taken care of can take care of those who dwell in them". - Elizabeth Vander Scaaf

Song of Solitude by Monique Janssen-Belitz

"Since I moved to New Mexico in the summer of 2007, I have been captivated by the enormous depth of the land and its vistas, the seemingly never-ending horizon, as well as by traces of ancient history still visible on the surface patina. The land of New Mexico speaks of enormous spiritual power, palpable in the steep rise of the bare mountains, the wide valley of the Rio Grande and the patterns scribbled over the desert by shrubs, grasses and human incursions. Ancient beliefs and rituals mingle in connection with the land and weather, affecting even the most transient of visitors." - Monique Janssen-Belitz

Lost Connections, mixed media on paper on stretched canvas by Monique Jansse-Belitz


  1. very thought provoking, I sat and read this and quietly wandered through my memories of places been and things felt.
    Interesting what came to mind.
    Thank you.

  2. Penny you are so well travelled , I should imagine you have many wonderful memories of special places.

  3. robyn, you take me places that take my breath away! I am so happy I met you! lyle

  4. I sure feel that belonging when I am in the mountains. I have to just be on a mountain top when we get the opportunity to go. It recharges my spirit. I can feel the energy.

  5. well, I love Sharmon's work and recognized it immediately. I so agree that it creates a feeling of connection, to a place and of course one cannot help but remember the stories associated with the place. Brigettes work is awesome too and I am familiar with her work as well but am fascinated by Moniques' work does she have a blog? since I go to NM frequently it would be fun to connect! thanks Robyn!

  6. In writing of the American Tonalists of the late 19th century, Henry James speculated that they experienced "landscape as a personal epiphany." Certainly, these artists have done so. Beautiful entry -- thank you for posting/sharing!

  7. They say a garden or space takes atleast seven years before it begins to get it's spirits and dwellers there - what amounts to spirit of place..

    I often walk into new buildings and fresh gardens feeling empty... We are fostering ours with bird baths and lots of native bushes...

  8. This is a lovely thought provoking tribute to place and also to the artists who help us look deeper...each and every image is an invitation to linger...I've been a fan of Sharmon's way of looking at the world since first glimpse...the others are new and therefore are, for me, like a visit to a new landscape.
    Thank you

  9. Beautiful art, photos and places!! I travel thru you!!!!:>)

  10. Without a doubt I say- Every artist must travel. Every non-artist must travel. Exploring, adventuring, embracing and learning- art and travel-how similar are they?

  11. Robyn, I have lived in so many places and I write about them in A Wild Patience.

    My soul has been moved at "home" in Western Massachusetts and my maples; in Hawaii as a young woman,I fell in love with the island.. deep sensual love. I still get goosebumps when I go back. In winter in Alaska there are places that tug at your gut.
    Certain spots in the German countryside seem to be so old that you have been there before. Another place was Granada- intoxicating.. I wanted to stay and be a a gypsy and dance.

    My most enduring place has to be a piney woods where I grew up -a sheltering and scented place which had a brook nearby and moss,trailing arbutus, violets, and skunk cabbage. No doubt the fairies lived there.. those that immigrated from England and Ireland.Thanks as always for being my best mind travel blogger.

    Joan T

  12. Very beautifully put together Robyn. On top of being an amazing artist yourself, you've got such a knack for bringing out the absolute best of other artists and elevating us to see what makes them so wonderful. You are a master curator - do you know that? It's really a gift.

  13. Yes, there are places that tug at my soul and I feel so peaceful and so whole in their midst. Loci. It makes perfect sense.

  14. It's interesting about where and when we feel these kind of connections. Each of these pictures is fascinating, so thanks for introducing lots of new artists again.

  15. great feelings here, as ever thanks for sharing the lovely images on your blog. Best wishes Blu.

  16. les photos et les créations sont très belles!

  17. Hi Robyn, I'm so glad you wrote this post. I understand this feeling so completely and love to travel to the places where I have felt these connections in my mind. Thanks for the early morning journey.

  18. Robin this is an exquisite post. Each work of art and photograph has been a visual magic carpet, transporting me to sacred realms within my own being...I cannot do much physical traveling these days so these glimpses of other "worlds" has allowed me entrance and a feeling of deep serenity.
    Thank you dear one,
    gentle steps on your own journey,

  19. Lyle, likewise! You are a star!

    Lisa at Greenbow, we are making plans to go to the mountains again soon. Can't wait!

    Cat, I didn't notice a blog link for Monique. If you happen to find one let me know.

    Kelly M. "landscape as a personal epiphany" ... I like that!

    Grrl, the previous owner of our house planted many butterfly bushes and flowers. Its one of the first things we noticed when we wandered around the garden ..... butterflies everywhere.

    Merci33, Thanks Donna. Every time I look at Sharmons work I discover more.

    Oogleboops :-)

    Don, I couldn't agree with you more.

    Joan, I love the sound of the sheltering, scented piney woods where you grew up. A bit like the farm where I spent most of my childhood. Strange how much I miss it even more the older I get.

    Karin, thank you so much! You made my day.

    Beverly, I'm thinking your beach house is such a place.....

  20. Annie, when reading your blog posts about walks along the beach I sense the spirit of place.

    Blu, there must be wonderful natural areas and little towns in France that have that feeling for you.

    Elfi Cella, thank you :-)

    Chris, it occurs to me as I read comments from regular bloggers that many of the places that bloggers describe in their posts cast the same magic over me even though I'm at the other end of the world. Your farm is such a place.

    Laura, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

  21. You have featured some very powerful places and artists...I just recently have been amazed at Sharmon Davidson's work.
    The places you speak of are our 'soul homes' for sure. One of mine is Yosemite, a place I have visited since I was 6years old...we just know our places. Where I live now is a gentle little spot on the waters edge ...I knew it the moment I drove into town, so much so I moved here all my myself with no regrets. Thank you for this post, Robyn.

  22. Fascinating post Robyn. Thanks for the links especially Bridgette Guerzon Mills. I love her Guardians artwork.

    Psychics in this country often say that ancient places like standing stones and burial mounds have spirits of place to guard the monument. You are supposed to ask permission before approaching. I love that idea. I am a great believer in everything in creation being connected. I always feel connected to ancient parish churches probably because they are all built on sites originally sacred to the early Britons.

  23. Your beautiful Drakensberg reminds me of our Grand Canyon.

  24. I have always known my tap root runs deep. I am rooted in the Pacific North West, but feel a special affinity to New Mexico, Alaska and California. Maybe I would feel the same in South Africa, if I were to get to know that land....Thank you Robyn for a thoughtful post.

  25. I love the valleys and forests of Wales Robyn, but it is such a long way from Australia. These places where our soul feels soothed, call to us wherever we are, and welcome our soul home when we make the journey in this life.It is not for us to question, just feel the release and deep peace. Happy travels and thank you for a beautiful post.

  26. am thinking a lot about this post; of places out in world i have encountered and do still encounter--moment by moment like the river and light here now; but also the place that lives between all things; mystery; power; love.


  27. I believe some places are bound by their beauty to each of us in a special way. I believe that there is a reflection of the Creator in all of nature and a real knowing or recognition of His existence whispers in every human heart at one point or another.

  28. A sense of place. Something I think we all look for! Thanks for this selection of wonderful art.

  29. Beautiful thoughts here and paintings too. That sense of affinity to a place is so wonderful. In some ways, perhaps a "curse" I can feel connection to almost anywhere if i can stay there for awhile. Even the "ugly" city streets become beautiful with familiarity.

  30. I believe strongly in this sense of place-- hard to put into words-- but you sense it when you see it-feel it.
    The lovely artworks you have here really express it more than words can.
    However, there is an author and a book that comes very close to this visual expression-- Ellen Meloy and THE ANTHOLOGY OF TURQUOISE. A beautiful post as usual.

  31. Here in India too, we have a lot of rituals to honour and purify a place which needs to be done from time to time. It is done in accordance to ancient Hindu scriptures. And geographies inhabited by Gods of yore still hold vibrations for people sensitive enough to tune in. For me I think of some of my favourite temples - many centuries old. It always calms me down and takes away my petty & daily worries about life. A very close friend recently went to Macchu Picchu and was speaking of some of the hill tops there which were very powerful to be in. She spoke of the many messages that she got when she was there. Thank you for what you do here.

  32. Mary Ann, I like the term 'soul homes' and I'm so glad you have found yours to settle in. (I can tell that its a special place when you write about it in your blog)

    Cathy, Stonehenge was one of the places that I felt it. We weren't expecting it and as we drove over a hill there it was before us. Goose bump moment!

    Marilyn, my pleasure.

    Don M, one day .... the Grand Canyon.

    Leslie, New Mexico, Alaska .... so many places I want to visit.

    Pam, wise and soothing words .... it is not for us to question, just feel the release and deep peace.

    Mansuetude, "your" river calls to me.

    Stevie, "a real knowing or recognition" .... I like that.

    Seth, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Sukipoet, I thought of you while writing this post.

    Donna, thanks for the book recommendation. I will put it on my wish list.

    Vineeta, in the last house we lived in, new neighbours moved nextdoor and I was intrigued and soothed by the purifying rituals and blessings they conducted over a few days. I remember bell ringing and insense wafting on the breeze.

  33. Finally reading blogs again - I love the first piece on this post. And that Kuba cloth - I have a friend in Boston .... hmmmmm. Finally, they're thinking about banning dogs from our Farmer's Market! I think I should show them your post to explain how important dogs are to the whole experience!

  34. Spirit of Place = Spirit of Peace and, Robyn, this post is like being blanketed in peace.

  35. I experienced this for the first time in Glencoe, Scotland. It was a visceral reaction and had a profound effect on me. I spoke with a friend about the feelings I had and she said it was cellular memory. And it's true that some of my ancestors were MacDonalds... the clan famously murdered in the Glen by the Campbells centuries ago.

    So much mystery in the world.

  36. Thank you for making me think and remember, the way sometimes, you are in a place and you can feel the past and the natural history of it just swirl around you. I love the quote about ancient peoples and how they "believed that places had souls..." And I love all the artists you share and the links... have a wonderful week, roxanne