"Vatura", oil on canvas, 105X110 cm

"Sensuality", oil on canvas, 105X100 cm

I have a series of paintings around the theme of “women and water”. There is something elemental, graceful and beautiful about women in water, be it at sea, in a pool, in a stream, in a bathtub, or in the rain. Water is our medium. It gives a freedom, a looseness, the world in slow motion. Women move within water like dancers, at ease with everything.

I remember my teenage daughter floating on her back one late afternoon at the beach in Sesimbra. It was getting late, the sea glistening in the twilight. So I called her, she did not hear me, and I called again. She turned slowly, like something on the floor of the ocean. I have to yet paint that painting.

I want to try to catch the rapture of entering that liquid world and forgetting feelings of self-consciousness, of being too fat, too old, or too ungainly. For once inside the water all women are mermaids, all women become flowers floating in their slow, rhythmic swinging in the translucent blue.

I have photographed women bathing in India, in Sri Lanka, in Mexico, in Brazil. They all have that same quality, that mixture of prudishness and a secret lack of inhibition.
I remember one woman in particular. She came out of the trees and walked towards the water edge. This was in Mozambique, on the deserted beach of Xai-Xai, north of Lourenço Marques. No one was around. She was wrapped in a colorful “capulana”, those bright African cloths. As she was going to remove it she looked around one more time, to make sure she was alone. And she spotted me and my camera. So she did not enter the water naked as she had intended. But once immersed in the Indian Ocean she forgot about me, she forgot about her human form. She turned into a magnificent sea creature.

Note: “Vatura” means water in Sinhala.


  1. Oh Celeste. I have been transported. In your paintings, in the words you used in this post you captured the sensation of floating ... of warmth .... of freedom. Like no other.....

  2. Hi Celeste, thanks for your visit and warming comment on my blog! Wow I will follow Your blog and come back later to read more!


  3. Celeste, my compliments on your blog. It is very nice. Donna (Gingerellen)

  4. Querida Celeste, I am a mermaid with you, as flowers floating in the translucent blue sea, at one with the sea and the sky and the fish and the birds and the algae. This blog of yours is such a joy!!!