Country Woman Paints

a seeker, painter, photographer, writer and fragrant rose lover~

Jardin del Amor-Remedios Varo

Jardin del Amor

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Remedios Varo

There are clearly many reasons for the genius of  Remedios Varo.

She painted her dreams and much more.

To the expansive “surreal” world of her time, Varo brought a little something extra.
A knowledge of engineering construction from her father which reappears again in her work,
a fascination with Jung among others,
a continued study of astronomy and the sciences,
a penchant for philosophical discourse,
and last but not least,  a deep fascination with alchemy and the occult.

taurus

taurus

The result was a personal approach to surrealism;
the unified vision of her fantastical world inhabited by creatures of her imagination, moving freely in and out of consciousness,
proposing new solutions,
offering alternative interpretations of what was real.

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the labrador 1958

Influenced by a wide range of mystic and hermetic traditions,

both Western and non-Western, she turned with equal interest to the ideas of C. G. Jung as to the theories of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Helena Blavatsky, Meister Eckhart, and the Sufis.
She was as fascinated with the legend of the Holy Grail as with sacred geometry, alchemy and the I-Ching, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism.
She saw in each of these an avenue to self-knowledge and the transformation of consciousness.

“This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known…” ~Remedios Varo {Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life}

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Cat and Violin

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Armonicca

A native of Angles, Spain, Remedios Varo grew up in an artistic family that expected academic and artistic aspirations. Her father, an hydraulic engineer, encouraged her interest in science and taught her how to draft images, a skill she used throughout her painting life. At the young age of 15, she enrolled in the renowned fine arts academy of San Fernando in Madrid, also attended by budding surrealist,
Salvador Dalí.

Perhaps she was inspired by Dali’s work? Better still, perhaps Dali by hers.

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The Catcher

André Breton, writer and artist, was said to be the “founder” of the surrealist movement in France.
Surrealism, which sought to express “the actual functioning of thought” and the dreams from which they came, was Varo’s vehicle for understanding and painting the universe, a vehicle that, like the fanciful locomotives in many of her paintings, went far beyond established scientific principles.

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Source of the Orinoco River

Varo’s rigorous academic training formed the backbone of an artistic career marked by innovation and creativity but frequently interrupted by conflict. The Spanish Civil War forced her to flee Barcelona for Paris, where she apprenticed among the surrealists’ inner circle, was accepted by them and thus, exhibited her work widely. She married and lived a bohemian lifestyle, avoiding the simmering conflict by frequent moves, but finally all was abruptly ended with the impending war. She lost a beloved brother who, as a soldier, had died suddenly of typhoid fever.

When World War II broke out, she left Europe for Mexico, which became her adoptive home and, in the last 10 years of her life, she produced the bulk of her work.

Mexico, with its pre-Columbian cultures, primitive art, exuberant color and abundant hospitality provided Varo broad artistic freedom and an exciting context in which to practice surrealist rebellion.

Interestingly Mexican artist Frida Kahlo said of the influx of foreign surrealists:

They make me vomit.  They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore… I’d rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than to have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris…

~Frida Kahlo

 Varo’s first few years in exile were marked by economic hardship and emotional isolation:

“We are finally installed here… suffering from the 2,400 meters altitude…dead with fatigue and having heart ailments.”

Away from her familiar circle, she struggled to secure what Virginia Woolf once identified as…

Basic requirements for an artistic career ~

A steady income and a room of one’s own.

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Blue Wrap

Her strongest ties were to other exiles and expats, notably English artist Leonora Carrington, with whom she developed a close relationship and created a new magical, pictoral language.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I won a helicopter in a crossword puzzle competition? There is not much hope though I am afraid, as they never give such practical prizes.” 
― Leonora CarringtonThe Hearing Trumpet

Carrington, having been institutionalized after suffering a mental breakdown and under abominable care, is

“rescued by her nanny who arrives by submarine.”

leonora carrington

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington


Varo’s remarkable style remains enigmatic and instantly recognizable.

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madness of cats

She often worked in oil on masonite panels she prepared herself. Although her colors have the blended resonance of the oil medium, her brushwork often involved many fine strokes of paint laid closely together ~ a technique more reminiscent of egg tempera.
She was a slow and meticulous artist, a perfectionist, sometimes taking years to finish a painting, much to the dismay of her patrons.

Sadly, she died at the height of her career from a heart attack in Mexico City in 1963.

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Remedios Vara in Flowers

…as if she paints with her gaze rather than her hands, Remedios clears the canvas and over it’s transparent surface she gathers simple truths…~Mexican poet Octavio Paz

Upon her death, her friend and confidante exclaimed~

Surrealism claims totally the work of The Enchantress too soon gone!

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Red Woman

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Fern Cats – My Favorite!

22 thoughts on “Surrealist Remedios Varo ~ A Dream Weaver

  1. Anonymous says:

    Viva Remedios. Thanks for sharing the work of this talented and unique artist.

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Glad you liked! 🙂

      Like

  2. Mary says:

    Wish for your hands to heal – beautiful paintings from this talented artist.

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Thanks so much Mary & I’m glad you enjoyed my offering! How’s your roses doing?

      Like

      1. Mary says:

        Today we finally had rain, only about 5 1/2″ so far this year – such a drought. So we’ve had about 1/4″ and hoping for at least another inch. The roses I’ll bet are all happy with the rain – will check on them later. Amazing to me every bush we pulled are all sprouting, but I can’t let them come up with the Rosetta and all or they’ll infect my good bushes. Hope you are able to take some pictures of your beautiful roses this year – looking forward to seeing them.

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        1. ĽAdelaide says:

          How sad it must be–and frustrating–to lose your roses to rosette. I do hope it doesn’t infect the soil too! Frankly I’ve been depressed so not many photos captured yet. My new camera is too complicated too! Or maybe I’m just too lazy…

          Anyway I’m sure when this pain subsides I’ll feel more creative. Much love to you. Hoping we get a wee bit of rain tonight but it will do little for our drought. There’s no snow pack, CA’s primary water source. With only a few weeks left for our rainy season, it’s bleak.

          xxx

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          1. Mary says:

            I hear ya and hope you begin to feel better soon.

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  3. Oh thank you. I have so enjoyed seeing these haunting, wonderful paintings. What a fabulous artist.

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      I think she was a wonderfully talented artist who went way too soon. There’s so much more to her than this too, should you ever feel like looking her up. Rather a misfit but somehow she made it work. 😉

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  4. Clanmother says:

    A most excellent post!!! I want to find out more about this amazing artist. Thank you for the introduction.

    My thoughts are with you. ❤

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Hi Rebecca! I think you will find her story fascinating! 😉

      And my gratitude for your kind comments. 💙

      Like

  5. susancrow says:

    It appears that seeing Remedios Varo’s paintings again are just what I needed to see this evening. Her vision was extraordinary, reminding me in some ways of William Blake in these soulful images. I like Dali well enough but for me these images are much more spiritually powerful.

    I hope the crippling hand pain you’ve been suffering eases soon. I know for a fact you must be frustrated not to be able to handle your own brushes.

    Nevertheless, it was brilliant of you to show Varo’s work again and I thank you for it.
    xoxoxo

    ps: I think my own favorite is ‘The Catcher’. There are so many amazing and dreamlike swift beings moving around the painting it makes me dizzy to look at for long, but I keep returning.

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Susan, I think we share the same heart at times! I enjoyed so much seeing your recent painting again. She has always been one of my favorites. I’m glad you enjoyed Varo again. I have a rich collection of oldies from my first blog. Makes times like this easier to keep up the “illusory me”!

      Actually I think I miss holding my trowel as much this time of year and I feel I’m racing a losing battle against impending heat before I’m ready with my transplants! Ah well…. Deep sigh. I do that and close my eyes a lot as I rock in my courtyard rocker. I’ve not even taken photos…. Times they are a’changin’ perhaps. Yet the morning may always bring a new reality! xoxox
      💚

      Like

      1. susancrow says:

        If wishes could make you better, mine alone would see you in full health.
        xoxo

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  6. Mel says:

    It’s dizzying, trying to put the pieces of the picture within a picture within a picture. I’ll have to investigate and see more. Most artwork I know of, everyone knows of. Even those I know so little of as human beings. That’s why these snippets are good things. Me getting stretched to learn more is a very good thing. So thank you for that.

    Sounds like a frustrating time for you. Makes me sad to hear of the struggle, yaknow? People want different things for you, I certainly do. Sucks that it is what it is right now for you. I’m going to hope for a quick transformation of the cirrcumstances. And I hope for rain.
    And peace. I always wish for you….peace.

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    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Dearest mel, I always wish the same for you. I’ve hoped those storms missed you that I saw this morning were looming …… Again! It’s just terrible! I have nothing to complain about! 😉 the sun gentle shines here.

      I’m happy you enjoyed my offerings. She intrigues me as does Carrington but doubtful I’ll get to her just now. 😉
      xxxxx❤️💙💚💜

      Like

  7. Sean Jeating says:

    [Once again, dropping by via Susan]
    Thanks for that. Very fascinating. And a pleasure for my eyes. Last not least the Frida-Kahlo-quotation gave me a big smile. Many artists seemingly need other artists they can disgust . . .
    As for your hands: I wish I were a magician.

    Like

    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Hi and welcome Sean!
      I adore dear Susan and am glad you ventured over! I hope you enjoyed my small post. My hands are upset just now so am not being too creative yet cannot stop! Horrors! It’s an addiction!

      Please come back soon! 🙂

      Like

  8. doronart says:

    Linda, Interesting post hope you are well and able to paint very soon as I miss not seeing your pure colours xizizizi 🙂

    Like

    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Ah, dear Doron, how sweet you are. Are you feeling better? I do hope so! Perhaps soon I’ll be back to the paints.

      Much love to you, dear. 💙💙💙

      Like

      1. doronart says:

        Linda love to see more of your painting. I take each day and work on myself.. today I am here.. must be bonus! xxx

        Like

  9. johncoyote says:

    Thank you for the beautiful artwork and the description.

    Like

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