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May 2015

- Dune Flowers -

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Unexpected encounters with “wild” animals amaze us like shooting stars that suddenly cross our field of vision.

On a beautiful day in May in the south of Portugal, I sat with outstretched legs on a sandy mound. Surrounded by low-growing vegetation, lavender with its spicy scent and blossoming dune flowers, I was able to relax fully. The shrouding fog of thoughts had dissipated and the next stroke of the brush was the only thing that mattered. All of a sudden I felt something press on my thigh and froze: a snake – as thick as my forearm and with a grey-green pattern – was rubbing past my trousers. Could its bite be poisonous? The fright that I experienced was immediately felt by the animal too. The snakepaused in its gliding movement and shakily raised itself to the height of my knee. Slowly, it turned its head – and there we were, human and snake, eye to eye. The snake stared at me in complete confusion with its small bright eyes. “It’s best to just ignore it,” I resolved after resisting the desire to flee. I lowered my gaze from the object of its fixation and returned my focus to the colours and the flowers – perfectly calmly, as if nothing had happened. I waited a long time before I once more lookedto my knee. All clear: my “visitor” had disappeared. Just as unnoticed as it had arrived. But for me, our encounter left its trace: the snake – although entirely unseen – enriches this little painting.


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