2 July 2011

it's 2.40am and i am just home

Tonight was the second in a series of events where I do, quite literally, paint for my supper. It is a "live art" and cuisine event, which I think goes into a TV magazine-type programme called Extragusto. The event is held at La Locanda del Castello, where I have exhibited and dined on several occasions... nice it is, with a terrace overlooking the town.

The first one, a month ago, was enjoyable enough but I was rather stunned to be interviewed and filmed. This time an email came advising us to look our best and study for interviews (was that aimed at me, I wonder?) as the film crew was returning. Now I wanted to stay home and sleep. It's one thing to have to speak off the cuff, but another thing altogether to know that you are going to be interviewed in a language you barely speak somewhere around midnight! The evening that could have been fun suddenly became a chore.

Nevertheless, I had agreed to paint for my supper, and my name was already in the list in the newspaper. It was sure to be pleasant as long as I didn't think about it too much! The event was also a wine tasting, (so much for the wagon!) and the very first wine could have been a NZ savignon blanc. When I dared to say this to the wine presenter (he asked me my opinion of the first two wines) he agreed with me! He knew all about NZ wines, particularly the white ones. That was a nice surprise, hearing NZ wines praised wholeheartedly by a Russian wine expert speaking Italian. The wines were all very good, but that one, which transported me to the other side of the world, remained my pick of the night. I can thoroughly recommend wines by Kellerei Kaltern, way up north near the Italian border.

And the painting? Here is the story so far:
All things considered, working outdoors in difficult light, lots of onlookers coming up to talk, and the threat of the film interview over me until late in the night, I am reasonably happy with the result. The producer wanted it finished in the evening but he had to be satisfied with this as the paper was far too wet to complete any details.

There are parts of it that I am very happy with. I hope they haven't changed too much by morning. The paper is a very heavy Fabriano which is quite soft and some of the staining colours have a tendency to walk when my back is turned, leaving little spidery lines just under the surface of the paper as they go!

And as for the filming, it was a much shorter interview this time. Maybe they noticed that I'm only semi-coherent once I stray from my usual topics of conversation. I have no idea where to look for it so I may never have to cringe when I hear myself trying to describe my choice of subject in Italian.

The subject is a family leaving this area when evacuated during the war. I have to paint a scene for a book cover and this is a trial piece leading up to that work.

Today I am grateful for friendly faces in difficult places.

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