Childhood Memories

Monday, 9 March 2015

I’ve started a new project, this time depicting my childhood memories in miniatures.

For the first one, I’ve chosen Askeaton Monastery.

© Anita Salemink 2015. Memories No. 1 Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

© Anita Salemink 2015. Memories No. 1 Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

When I was about ten or eleven, my father went eel fishing on the banks of the river Deel in Askeaton.

The whole family came along, my mother, my little brother, my sister and me. My sister is just one year older, and so was the ideal age for being a friend and my partner in crime. My mother stayed with my father making him sandwiches and handing him hot cups of coffee poured from a thermos flask with an orange tartan cover design. I can’t remember what my brother did on those afternoons, but my sister and me went on discovery expeditions; and mostly that entailed climbing into the ruins of the old monastery built on the banks of the river. We investigated every tiny mouldy corridor and even the cellars, which were very dramatic in the dim light, and where the sweet smell of mushrooms lingered.

There were high arched glassless windows, and a stone staircase disappearing into a black hole beneath us. We dared each other to go first and eventually she would go, with me close behind her holding her hand. But our favourite spot was the main area with the impressive stone tombs covered in moss, on the ground floor. The roof had collapsed years before, letting sun dribble in between the leaves of the trees standing outside the thick granite walls, and I watched it dance about like in an aquarium.

We climbed onto one of the tombs, and peered through the cracks to see what was buried within it. My heart pounded when I realised that I was actually looking at a real skeleton, a skeleton that had once been a living person. I was scared, but excited too. I felt addicted to the sight of the skeletal hand, mesmerized by the bones lying there, the grass entwining them, as if anchoring it to the ground, holding it down. Hamlet entered my thoughts, and I could feel the ghost’s eyes peering back at me. Then the light would waver, dusk descending on us quickly, and I was sure that the large shadows would swallow us whole. My heart galloped and we both bolted out back into the soft evening sunshine outside those immense, enclosing walls.

© Anita Salemink 2015. Memories No. 1 (Detail) Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

© Anita Salemink 2015. Memories No. 1 (Detail) Watercolour 12.5 by 12.5 cm

Please leave a comment or a question in the comment bar below. All reactions to the project will be greatly appreciated.

Miniatures are for sale:

Framed miniature mounted in a wooden frame: 100 euros excluding postage and packing

Boxed miniature: 75 euros excluding postage and packing

© Anita Salemink 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anita Salemink with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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