28 February 2011

updated blog

The Legato (NZ) photographs are here on the Legato blog.

And for the ex-pat Morrinsville folk, here is a letter to the editor that was published last week:
Returning to Morrinsville with the Legato exhibition after five years away has affirmed for me all the good things about living in a smaller town. The Friday evening gala opening at the Wallace Gallery was a wonderful example of what can be achieved when a community pulls together.

For me, watching its progress from Italy, the Wallace Gallery was always my first choice for bringing Legato to NZ. Director Charlotte Giblin received my proposal with enthusiasm last July, and I began looking for funding for the exhibition. Being a non-resident Kiwi now, I hit blocks at every turn. I realised that I had to "go local". I hadn't anticipated the other positives that would emerge, and I was soon delighted for every other reason that Morrinsville was going to be the first New Zealand host of the international exhibition.

Without a big budget to fall back on, I called Jim Lucy at Arrow Printing and requested the seemingly impossible, the alteration of an Italian brochure from a different publishing system at short notice and without guaranteed funding. When I arrived in his office he had achieved creative (and financial) miracles so what seemed impossible was quietly achieved. Judith at Colourplus also answered my midnight Italian-time calls, and delivered framed works in a demanding time frame. Tauranga based artist musicians Garry Osborn and Alison Ham, Alison a former Piako resident, answered my plea for live music for the evening. Service clubs and other volunteers too mumerous to thank personally all did Morrinsville proud.

I returned to a town that is most attractive, and remember how it looked when I first came here in 1972. The streetscape has made a huge difference, and the cultural assets being developed will soon change the way visitors see you. I proudly invited artists from all over the North Island to stay in the town and dine in the excellent eateries. They went away talking (with some surprise) about the lovely town and the beautiful gallery. The weekend had far exceeded their expectations. The Wallace Gallery is a wonderful asset, it will bring more visitors here, and I also look forward to bringing other exhbitions in the future.

I thank you most sincerely for your support of Legato, your attendance at the opening and subsequent visits to the gallery, and your gifts of donations and time that have all helped to bring Legato here for the first opening in New Zealand.

Kay de Lautour Scott, Curator, Legato Exhibitions.

last night

At a (simple) dinner last night friends were teasing me about my "simple" life. I looked at my calendar this morning, and began the list of urgent and overdue tasks. Perhaps they have a point.

My aim (as always) is to be more efficient, streamlined, and make the most of every aspect of every day. Big sigh of relief to be able to locate everything I need for the next few days. I think I am on target... eliminate, eliminate, eliminate!

I could start by avoiding the computer a bit more... but as I write this, some wonderful music playiing in the background, the camera downloading photos from Legato at the Wallace Gallery, breakfast number two beside me (and it is not even 8am yet) I think how good life is and that all I really need to do to keep on top of chores is employ a housekeeper. OOOH what a tempting thought!

Today I am grateful for rain bringing slightly warmer temperatures.

26 February 2011

a quote i particularly like

"Artists have a special role to play in the global struggle for peace. At their best, artists speak not only to people; they speak for them. Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred and an agent of public awareness… Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among people and nations."
Kofi Annan

Another one from this inspiring man is: “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

With a little encouragement from my friends I lift my head up from the sorrows around me and take another step towards my goal.

Art is a language of communication. Combine that with something worth saying and we WILL make a difference, brush-stroke by brush-stroke, image by image, speech by speech.

Today I am grateful for encouraging words from friends.

25 February 2011

sitting in a sunbeam

It's good to be back in my own home, but strange too.

There were so many things left undone in NZ, but it was a time to focus on the most important things. Family first, always. That includes extended family, and I am grateful for quality time with one long-time family friend in particular. Thanks George for the lunches and morning teas and allowing me to take over your space without warning to unpack a pile of art works! The philosophy and country music was a bonus :-)

Then Legato, which is the other "big thing" in my life and which depends on me to keep it growing for now. The blog is waiting patiently for the NZ Legato photos, some of which can be found on the Wallace Gallery website. (Scroll down to below the text, or go to the image gallery page). In time Legato will be big enough for me to step back a little, but for now it is my all-consuming mission.

To my friends reading this blog I am sorry that as things turned out there was not even a phone call from me. It is actually easier to stay in touch from Italy where my time is my own.

It was hard leaving at a time of crisis in NZ, and at the moment I am a Kiwi through and through. I am usually happy to be back in Italy and feel "local" after being away. This time I would rather be in NZ even though there is little I can do to help friends and family in Christchurch.

It was almost a relief, on the plane from Dubai, to hear a little Italian and understand what was being said. Four weeks of only English and no study was not in the plan; I usually study well when in NZ but events this trip made my language study of no importance at all.

Legato (Cassino 2011) plans must take over my thoughts again, but it is hard to tear myself away from the Christchurch updates.

It is chilly here, but the birds are singing and the sun is streaming in. Spring has arrived, albeit clothed in frost and big dumpings of snow on the ranges across the valley.

Today I am grateful for my two countries.

22 February 2011


It's been an unexpectedly draining four weeks in NZ. I hope the friends I haven't contacted will forgive me. I intended spending this evening contacting people, tidying up loose ends, but instead, with the rest of the country I have been watching in horror as the news came out of Christchurch.

This trip certainly did not turn out as I expected or hoped. It had highs and lows. The balance was more on the low side, but Christchurch puts it all in perspective.

Now it's time to think back to the highs, learn from the other experiences, and focus on the next steps. But for now we all wait, with the rest of the world, for more news.

Today I am grateful for news that family members are safe.

19 February 2011

happily launched

Legato opened last night, a very successful launch.

Today I am grateful for a supportive community.

15 February 2011

time out

I woke this morning to the sound of the sea pounding, the curtains flapping in the wind, and a row of surfboards looking across at me. How different this is from my life in Italy! No iron bars on the windows, no problems with security, a simple life far from the pollution of Europe and the struggle with living life in another language.

As I put the endless towels on the clothesline I counted more surfboards and wetsuits... at least another 6 neatly laid in a row, and that's without going into the resident surfer's room. After school the front lawn is littered with the bikes and cars linked to the surf boards, and suddenly I am immersed in yet another language I understand only partially.

I went to Auckland a couple of weeks ago, and while my time there was pressured rather than relaxing, with work to do and people to meet, I managed to walk along a beach there too. It was not the same. Give me rural New Zealand ahead of the cities any day.

Time to think.

My Italian friends say that when Kay is thinking it is dangerous for them. Friends here think that I am living "The Dream" in Italy and all want to have a little part of that dream. Perhaps it is their dream that I am living, not mine. My dream is to be near family, to paint and to write, and to make a positive difference in the world. To achieve that I need to be in at least four countries at the same time.

I keep hearing that "Life is a Journey". That might well be, but for now I have chosen to opt out, leave the path and stay at the beach for a bit, kick off the shoes and "glad rags", focus on family and Legato, (write long sentences with many co-ordinate and subordinate clauses, pondering whether to hyphenate or not) and just be me.

Today I am grateful for nephews who surf.

14 February 2011

so it was san valentino today...

As I write this my friends in Italy will be waking to a day of romance... yes, you know who you are, down in the valley. Happy Valentine's Day to you both!

This link is just for you... have a great day, and a lovely dinner tonight! I might have an aversion to the commercial side of the day, but I have no problem at all wishing you a very pleasant and, yes, a very romantic evening. Go on, it will do you the world of good I am sure! (Now how do I write that in Dutch?)

Today I am grateful for internet communication.

another day glued to the screen

My eyes are screaming enough, but there is one more job to do. Time to take a break, and come back feeling more alert, ready to finish the last details before heading to the printer tomorrow. Postcards to promote Legato and hopefully raise some funds to keep the project closer to solvency.

Woohoo, I have downloaded successfully from Vimeo, thanks to my support team at Feijoa Films. Now to see what the sound is like in a bigger space. I am torn between being proud of the work I am doing and embarrassed by my inadequacy in front of a camera. For now I will hide behind that fact that I was exhausted, and could hardly string a sentence together when the filming took place. I feel a little raw and exposed, but it's all for a good cause. At the end of the day that is what matters. Egos are simply a problem, getting in the way of the real issues.

Thinking of egos, it is time I read something for pleasure again. I will always associate ego, or at least the stripping away of ego, with the wonderful book by Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth. I have just googled that and been surprised to see the moving promo... it always saddens me to see commercial hype getting in the way of an honest message.

Now, my minder in Melbourne, I hear you asking why I am blogging when I have already been at the computer far too long. I think it is my way of relaxing, down loading, chilling out. A bit like blogging to tell myself that I am home safely late at night, when there is noone to check up on me. Few know how much there is to do organising an exhibition from the other side of the world, and at the moment I have three on the go. Roll on the days when they are established enough for others to help out in their respective countries.

It's been an OK kind of day and the list of jobs to do is getting smaller all the time. Now to put in some quality time with my sisters and nephews and I will be on my way home again. Usually I am happy to go, but this time I would rather stay at Waihi Beach; a large part of my heart is going to remain there when I go.

Today I am grateful for warm temperatures and wonderful family.

13 February 2011

ticking things off the list

It's that time again, when you choose between what gets done and what was never important in the first place. I am spending far too many hours at the computer, instead of enjoying a glorious NZ summer. My eyes are aching and I am on my second amount of credit on the T stick.

List time!

Urgent: details to slot into the brochure, mainly the list of artists for NZ and the captions for the art works.

I've still got designing the postcards to go. I am waiting for some images from artists, and trying to get my head around what should be on the reverse side. Time is running out for that.

I had hoped to design a business card for Legato but I simply don't have the inspiration at the moment, and have managed fine with my old card up until now. If I do it it has to be right. Not all good ideas are essential. Maybe that should be the goal for the Cassino exhibition in May.

I am way behind where I wanted to be on the Legato blog, but I will have more time for that after opening night.

Counting down, but not panicking. That's pretty good really!


Out the door does not necessarily mean exercise for me... tonight I spent a lovely evening watching my super-dad running, timing his sprints for him as he sets new goals for more records. If I can look as good at 90, and have as much dedication to following my dreams as he has, life will be good.

But then... feeling all inspired by the Kiwi summer, watching the seagulls circling over the Domain, glimpsing the sea and the Mount driving in to the athletic track, I indulged in fish and chips for dinner. Aaaaah but they were good! (Sorry daughters, I guess I'm not really very vegetarian at all!)

Today I am grateful for being able to go barefoot.

7 February 2011

on target

Tonight I checked with the musicians for the Legato opening and all sounds great. Artists are sending in their lists of works and some images. I have spoken on the phone to some. It's all beginning to feel real!

Exciting times, waiting to see the new works as they arrive.

Now to attend to a tiny detail I had almost overlooked, Legato's own business card. It's time.

Today I am grateful for good packaging around a box of special paintings.

2 February 2011

higher profiles

OK, so here's the dilemma.

I think I make a good "Number two". In fact, all my life I have been number two. Second in the family, second at school... proxime accessit, not dux, deputy head girl, not head girl; teacher's college second in my intake, not first; even with a post graduate qualification yes, that's me, second again... I've even quite fancied the idea of being the indispensable PA behind some busy, important person.

But lately I have been pushed into the limelight a little more. Last year I resisted becoming "the face of Legato" and even retreated behind poppies for my FB photo. I signed my paintings with a poppy, believing that discussion about peace was more important than my name. But eventually with newspaper reporting and for the good of Legato I have had to become more of a public figure. Requests for interviews have come from newspapers and local television. I have agreed to them all.

On the opening night of Legato I am giving a presentation, fundraising to cover some of the costs of the exhibition. Tickets to this are selling well. I am slightly incredulous. And hugely relieved. And for now, not even nervous. Time enough for sweaty palms and an adrenalin rush when I get to the microphone.


In the last week I have seen hugely irresponsible reporting in New Zealand newspapers. As facts emerge I want to call those reporters and demand that they make as much of the truth as they have of their head-line seeking speculation. As I drive I hear letters to the editor composing themselves in my head.


I grew up believing that one should quietly work away for the common good. I have done that, I think, all my life.

Now it is time to stand up, make a noise, speak out. Time to become a force to be reckoned with and fight for justice in the world. Sometimes it is easier to do this outside your own country. I was comfortable being a little ripple in a big pond. I am coming to accept that to make a difference I might occasionally have to be a bigger splash in a smaller pond.


I have also been contemplating my allegiances and place of residence. I have two countries, it is as simple as that. I just happen to prefer living in the one in Europe. When family are well spread it is difficult. Was it time to spend more time in New Zealand? Three months in the southern hemisphere would surely be manageable? I could work on causes I am passionate about here too. But then one of the reasons for considering this option moved out of New Zealand, just as I did almost four years ago. Indecision, once again, on where to spend the European winter.

Life. Interesting, always. Challenging, often. Boring? Never!

Today I am grateful for having enough courage to step outside my comfort zone.