27 April 2019

Powerful work by Robyn Hughes


Some years ago I was privileged to meet Robyn Hughes, and to later visit her in her home to view her then "works in progress" based on the research she was doing into the battles for Cassino.

The inaugural exhibition of these works in 2014, described by the gallery as "unmissable", was held in Whakatane, New Zealand. The works are on a very large scale, which no small screen can do justice to, but Robyn has kindly allowed me to publish the work here on the Legato blog. Please turn your sound on to hear the words of the soldiers as they went into Cassino.

Link: Into Cassino by Robyn Hughes

Updating and looking forward to 2019

Preparations are underway for Legato 2019.

It seems a long time since I posted here. A new hard drive in my computer and forgotten passwords, missing photographs that didn't arrive despite being sent three times, and a lot of travel to visit my veteran father in New Zealand. No one excuse big enough, but that was the reality of my life, so this blog, along with my children's book blog, was left to wither in cyberspace.

But we are back! It's the 75th anniversary of the battles for Cassino, and Legato (which has been visiting smaller towns like Colfelice and Roccasecca since the 70th anniversary - see the Facebook page for the Roccasecca event) will return to Cassino this year to a new venue a short walk from the railway station. More posts will follow on the Legato blog

25 April 2015

eight years


Today marks the beginning of my ninth year in Italy. Eight years ago, on the 24th of April, I arrived here to make a complete change in my life.  Today on the Italian calendar it is now 25th April.

When I arrived here eight years ago, on a one year visa, I had no idea how long I would stay. Three months, perhaps, and then I would have an annual painting holiday here? Instead, my 'bolt hole' apartment became my home.

A year after my arrival I wrote this post. I am less sure of where home is now, or perhaps I am more sure that I have at least two homes.

The commemorations for 100 years of ANZAC hard on the heels of the 70th anniversary commemorations here last year have left me in a more fragile state. This week my heart and head have both been in New Zealand, and it has been harder keeping my daily life here moving smoothly.

Three days ago my permission to live here expired. My application to stay another two years is in. I play the waiting game. Will this remain my home, or will I become that visitor on a painting holiday every year? Rules are being tightened all through the systems here. I can't take anything for granted any more.

If home is where the heart is, then I am lucky to have many homes.

Today, the festival for the liberation of Italy (WWII) I take stock, paint some ANZAC Day poppies (see note below), and reflect on my fragmented life. I am grateful for all that I have learned over the past eight years. It hasn't been easy, but it has been a good life.

Happy anniversary to me.

Today I am grateful for options and choices.

Poppies: I am exhibiting here in June, and chose to focus on the poppy in all its meanings. I began with the joy and brightness of it, lifting myself away from the commemorative meanings. That series is the strong ones in the previous post. I have worked my way back to the poppy for commemoration. The timing is perfect, but it doesn't make the work any easier. I will be focusing on the art making, more than the significance, as I paint today. ANZAC Day has been emotional enough for me already. (Painting above is a detail from a poppy I painted last year).






20 April 2015

poppy time again

but this time I am painting them with joy.


 I have tried two different types of texture medium (my credit card went on a spree in Melbourne recently) and will certainly be using the one below again. The one above really should have been applied with a palette knife, not a chopped up credit card...


Each is a series of five paintings, plus there are two more horizontal ones in the strong vibrant style. As these are for an exhibition in June I am not putting the full works out at the moment, just a glimpse to keep you up to date with what is happening in the studio.

Now to work on the watercolour versions. 

Today I am grateful for time to create. 

5 April 2015

this year it was too sad

I have avoided all things Easter up until today. There is so much sorrow in the world, with man-made tragedies, that I found it too difficult to watch another that I find too real, too sad, as presented in the villages and towns here. Instead I will link you to a performance I watched a few years ago.

It is times like this that I am really a misfit culturally. I have a much more optimistic view of life and would prefer make more of the empty cross and the resurrection rather than the suffering of Christ. I guess it is my protestant upbringing.

It was very good to see that the Pope has continued his "tradition" of going into a Rome jail and washing the feet of prisoners. Now that is something that gives me hope. (Link chosen randomly - I don't see why one prisoner was singled out for description in this article).

Here is the Passion of Christ as I saw it in 2011. It left me without words.

Today I am dining (Easter Sunday) with new friends. I am looking forward to it. Tomorrow I will take some baking to old friends. It is time I caught up with them again.

Today I am grateful for friendship.

29 March 2015

group exhibition ends today

I have three poppy paintings in this show, photo later. They are shiny and hard to photograph. I was aiming for a more contemporary look, but as you can see I am surrounded by tradition :)


Today I am grateful for inclusion.