I'm standing in a paisley tent in Hay-on-Wye at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival and seeing art unfold. A camera, manned by some very cool men, is positioned to capture Stella Vine's 12 hour painting marathon on a huge canvas. She is disarmingly open. The kind of dedicated true artist who looks at you directly and makes you feel you are in the presence of a spirit.
Five hours in and I think the face staring back at me from Matisse bold blues and pinks is Princess Diana. Can it be? I ask. It is. I'm reassured. Not just because I'm right but because Stella as an artist knows what we all know. And it is simple.
At HowTheLightGetsIn the mood is one of true direct sharing, the kind we might have experienced when we were young and asked the real questions. All the guests here have open faces. The kind of people I know exist but who I never meet. This festival should be compulsory. Everyone here has an inquisitive mind and is worth a conversation.
Stella gamely answers the questions as people come into the tipi. She is incorporating the lyrics of The Smith's 'Every day is like a Sunday' to the work-in-progress. At 10pm tonight, the completed work will form the backdrop of a performance from a minority star band called The Chapman Family from Stockton.
My brain is sparkling from the first talk of the day 'The Nature of Evil' with Mike Figgis, Sean Holmes and philosopher, Robert Eaglestone. We are all joined in a willingness to listen. No phones, tweets or otherness. This is a joy, a momentous interval of complicity where the questions from the floor are as exacting and genuine as the speakers.
Tonight the band - The Chapman Family - with their 3000 followers will come together. I will dance. It is a space of vitality and significance .
The world will discover HowTheLighGetsIn and I was here. Next year will be huge. The genie is out of the bottle...
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