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. 

not cricket

It's not cricket I know, but I'm just linking you to my other blog today.

Work calls... (and so did the cricket but it's just too distracting!)

But Spring is finally coming, and if only my computer would accept my camera card I would post you some photos. Need to find the connecting cords...

Here is my recent post, on my Little Goat Books blog.

Today I am grateful for blue skies.

22 March 2015

there's always an up side

Paintings (gesso base) drying by the fire. If you can't have sunshine, then dry firewood is the next best option.

 I love the smell of an open fire. It takes me back to my childhood, where I learnt to light fires in our huge open fire. This one is not nearly as wonderful a fireplace, and the chimney is impossible to clean, but a good roaring blaze knocks down a bit of soot.

All that is missing is the pot of soup, fresh local bread, and some music. I can remedy at least two of those. 

Today I am grateful for two little dogs (who seem to have forgiven me for being away for so long).