30 April 2010

little windows...

Today five paintings arrived from NZ for Legato. It gave me such a lift that I was able to steal some time in my afternoon and start a small work myself! Tomorrow is festa, so there will be no deliveries, no paperwork to do, not a lot beyond computer work to weigh me down. When things are out of your control there is no point in worrying, that doesn't help and only adds to the wrinkles.

I have started a work for Legato. I would love to say that I am going to take my time and it will be great, but I know that I am not in that space at the moment. I do, though, see little windows of opportunity ahead in the next week where I can paint. So maybe not the ideal working conditions, but it will be a work. More than that, it will be a work with a strong message, and that is important to me.

Today I am grateful for the wonderful scent of orange blossoms.

28 April 2010

paint relationships

Here is another great post from Mike Bailey. Read the comments too. I will (hopefully) write more on this later, lots of things popping into my mind (especially about painting relationships!) but for now it is back to Legato details. It's time I put some new artwork on the blog; it has been a bit neglected since the Legato Fan Page took off on Facebook. It will probably be more neglected as I stand in queues trying to retrieve art works as they arrive in Italy!

You can see Legato works here on the photo pages.

Today I am grateful for a helping hand.

26 April 2010


Saturday I composed myself, ready to go to battle with only soft voice, a smile and a "Mi dispiace ma...(I'm sorry but...)" to help me, and set about curating a local exhibition in my town.

This is a place where artists guard their status and their relative positions jealously. My task was to present us as a new association, a unified group, in the best way possible. Knowing that I was going "where angels fear to tread" I happily admit to asking for divine intervention to get me through the weekend.

Twenty artists and crafts people brought their works and jostled for position. Tempers flared. For six hours I argued politely, explained, insisted, and quietly worked away at producing something worth seeing. I requested potted trees, and added drapes. I altered positions, and split up displays. After six hours I was exhausted and asked for a bottle of water. The president and the deputy mayor then realised that I had been there for the whole time without a break, while eveyone else came and went for food and coffee. One of the artists said "Haven't you eaten?" Another said "She hasn't even stopped to pee!"

Sunday brought more drama, as egos were bruised. I had made everyone equal. Cultural differences were showing! One wanted to remove her whole display. Another tried to pull rank and pointed out to me that his work was the most important in the show. In the end it was I who "pulled rank" and pointed out that it was my name on the posters, it was my work and my responsibility, and that being in a curated exhibition meant giving away some control of the works.

Luckily for me the layout was a hit with the visitors, the special guest was generous with his praises, the photographer said "I've never seen an exhibition like this before in this town, this is a first" and the artists one by one came round and either apologised for their outbursts or thanked me for the work.

I think I'll keep my body-guards nearby when I go shopping, just the same!

Today I am thankful for inner strength.

22 April 2010


I've been procrastinating. The one thing that really needs to be done now is the souvenir brochure for Legato. I have started on it. But I keep doing other (equally important but maybe less urgent) things instead.

I think that deep down I know something hasn't formed properly in my mind yet, and I am waiting for that inspiration.

I hope it comes soon!

Speaking of Legato, the blog has had well over 2,000 hits. Not bad for a few short weeks! The facebook fan page has also grown. It has many photos, and newspaper articles.

This morning I found something written on another blog, mentioning the starfish story in the context of the Legato peace project. I have always loved that story: it's a great metaphor for life. I think also of the ripple effect, and the butterfly effect.

We can make a difference, each one of us. The road might be long, and many have said to me "Kay, so many have tried to bring world peace and failed. What makes you think you can do it? Why are you doing this?" I am doing it because I am driven. I cannot bring about world peace, but I can contribute a tiny bit in my little corner of the world. I've noticed lately, though, that thanks to the internet there are no longer corners, so things do go around.

All we can change is ourselves. But as we change, those around us change. And so it goes...

Today I am grateful for people who believe that we can make a positive difference.

21 April 2010

thought for the day

Use what talent you possess:
the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang
except those that sang best.

Henry Van Dyke

Today I am grateful for inspirational and supportive people.

a sunday picnic

A Sunday picnic - or living in a war zone? This isn't Italy as the tourist brochures show it.

Day two of Quattro Passi Sulla Gustav 2010:

The programme: DOMENICA 18 APRILE 2010
· 8,30 appuntamento al parcheggio multipiano ingresso Via Montecassino,
· 9,00 partenza per Villa Santa Lucia con piccoli autobus riservati, sosta in località “la
· 9.30 partenza a piedi per Monte Castellone, visita a quota 702, Colle S. Angelo, Cresta del
Fantasma, quota 575 (I luoghi dell’attacco del II Corpo Polacco e la tana del 4°
· 13.00 pranzo al sacco presso la Fattoria Albaneta,
· 14,30 partenza per quota 593 “Il Calvario” attraverso il sentiero dalla “Cavendish Road”,
· 17,30 fine manifestazione al Cimitero Polacco, in autobus riservato fino al parcheggio

We were a group of about 40 people, with several children of school age amongst us. The day turned out to be a much greater adventure than anyone could have predicted.
It is not uncommon to find bombs in these hills. Mostly, they are not live. Often, however, they are. And, after 66 years out in all weather, they are unstable. That's when it is good to have sharp eyes and follow the beaten path.

Quite often someone has carefully lifted the mortar onto a flat rock in the open so that there is no risk of it being trodden on accidentally. One hopes that they are then disposed of by an expert, but...

This (below) was the first or second we saw.This day we had plenty to worry about. Apparently these (below) might contain phosporous. We took turns at being "on guard" until all were safely out of harm's way. (Above) Roberto Molle, President of the Association and main organiser of the weekend, made sure that parents and children were aware of the unexpected dangers.
Some were, apparently, more volatile than others. This one (below) had the group organizer firmly planted until all had gone by; there would be no mistakes with this highly unstable American beauty. Soon I was losing count, and certainly keeping my eyes to the ground.

Not even our regular metal detector weekend trampers were prepared for this one! It is the biggest anyone in the group had ever seen lying unexploded on the slopes around Cassino. I make no apology for the poor photograph; I wasn't going any closer, nor was I risking losing my balance trying to use two hands to hold the camera and zoom in, possibly sending rocks crashing down onto more nasty surprises. I sent the photo to the friend who was leading us down this steep rocky slope and he replied: Dovrebbe trattarsi di un proiettile di artiglieria 205 mm americano (205 mm shell).

The descent was steep, with rocks crashing if people chose the wrong footing. My chosen path, grasping the trees and sticking to the rock face where fewer loose rocks were dislodged, was not the exact path taken by the leaders. It was raining, and slippery, and the first tracks were now too dangerous. As I forged a new and less slippery track I was extremely cautious as I poked my walking stick tip in between the leaves and rocks.

It was strange, though, to realise that I felt no fear, only caution. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing!

Members of the group who live near this dangerous slope have contacted authorities, but it is highly likely that these hillsides will continue to be unsafe for a long long time.

Today I am grateful for cautious people.

19 April 2010

i think it's rather funny

I think it's rather funny that when I am super busy and hardly get a chance to check my Facebook mail the one that I choose not to read because of lack of time is the group called ARTISTS TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING CREATING ART. It's not that I don't care, I care a lot. But heck... a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! (Tonight that involved good company, pizza and wine disguised as a planning meeting for the trip to Rome to see the Carravaggio exhibition).

Today I am also grateful for the wonderfully interesting life that I lead.

how quickly time flies!

back later... much to do at the moment!

Today I am grateful for a good night's sleep!

14 April 2010

not sure

I am not sure if this will make it to the exhibition or not, but at least I have made a start! This may simply be the pre-painting, although there are parts of it that I am quite pleased with and know I couldn't reproduce a second time.

The work is very tiny, to draw the viewer in to the intimacy of the family as the parents anxiously listen to the radio for news of the war.

This work reminds me of my grandparents, who had three of their four sons away at war.

Today I am grateful for soldiers turned peace makers.

13 April 2010

changing times

Today I learnt that at one year children are vaccinated for chicken pox. I was surprised. The reasoning, however, is sound. The young ones do not have immunity, although their parents probably have immunity. But these days, with so many cancer patients surviving (that's great news) toddlers are being vaccinated to reduce the chances of cancer survivors catching chicken pox as apparently it can be fatal to them. Interesting!

Today, against all odds, I completed a tiny work which will probably be in the Legato exhibition. It was very strange working on such a tiny scale (8 inches by 6 inches wide) but I think it is quite OK.

Maybe I will post a picture and describe my reasoning behind the scale later.

Today I am grateful for time to paint.

9 April 2010

pressed for time

My blogging is likely to be more erratic as things get busier promoting Legato, the exhibition for peace and remembrance in Cassino, Italy, 15 -29 May.

Check out the blog for Legato, or if you are on Facebook become a fan and see the works as images are uploaded.

Today I am grateful for the internet.

7 April 2010


Happy first birthday, Parker. Now to hide this until the big day :-)

The work is a little brighter than it appears on this computer screen. Hopefully you are seeing it in its true colours.

And, in case you hadn't noticed, there is one sun, one hat, two sports balls, two readers, two books, three kiwis, three ants, four pink birds, four cats, five lady bugs, six sheep, seven beach balls, eight painting spiders, 9 numbers... etc.

Today I am grateful for time to paint.

of course, when you buy the frame...

The birthday gift painting was almost finished, so it was time to purchase the frame. I had ever-so-carefully checked on line and painted to the American standard paper size. Being a "belts and braces" type person I hadn't cut the paper but had painted over the measured edges so that there was room to crop a nice clean edge.

I hadn't counted on the frames available not matching the official standard paper sizes - oops!

Daughter and I looked hard. Then we both spotted the perfect frame. Common sense said take the smaller one, it was closer to the painting size. But the next size up... well... who could resist?

So, the long and short of it is that today has been spent extending the composition and painting out the splotches on what is now a white border around the image.

A few more brush strokes to tidy up part of the design, and the painting is ready. One little boy is already intrigued by the tiny images and bright colours, and crawls over to inspect it regularly.

Today I am grateful for little fingers clasping mine.

5 April 2010

not shirking really

This is almost finished... hopefully tomorrow it will be ready to frame. These look simple but take a huge amount of time. This one, once I met the intended recipient, changed considerably from my original design. I still have to do the washes that strengthen and highlight areas of the background, particularly on the left hand side. Oh... and yes, it did make his mummy a little homesick, when she saw the "P" and the little landscape inside it...

Today I am grateful for health and sunshine.

3 April 2010


For the last two days I have been working on a new painting, one I have been planning to paint for a year. Photos when finished.

Today I am grateful for warm weather.

1 April 2010


Sometimes when it seems that you have far too much to do the best thing is to do nothing.

Today I am grateful for the ability to "switch off" the busy noise.