31 August 2012

and no it didn't rain

so here is the "blue moon" as it was at about 10.30 pm.  If I happen to wake at 4am when it is likely to be huge as it heads towards the mountains I'll update... but I think I will be asleep!

Today I am grateful for moonlight. 

(Photos below were at about 11pm). 

cloudy today, but will it rain?

Because the forecast for tonight is wonderfully terrible, I took some moon photos last night.  I don't have a fancy camera, but the glow of the moon is a gift that doesn't need expensive technology.

Today I am grateful for sub 30°C temperatures.  


Tonight's concert was supposed to be in a piazza, but luckily (I think) was transferred into a church.  This church is modern, so modern in fact that it displays a risen Christ, something you don't usually see in a Catholic church.  The crucified Christ is relegated to a side wall.  

Behind the altar is a semi-circular space with amazing acoustics, perfect for a choir of 30 (including my lovely tenor from last year).  And the gold flute was beautiful, but the highlight for me is always the lovely local soprano (one of two brilliant international singers from a radius of about 10kms), Tania Di Giorgio.  I am a groupie.  She reminds me so much of a young Kiri Te Kanawa, and her warmth and informality is allowed to shine through between the wonderful performances (see below, no pun intended on warmth, this hot night, when even the choir used their music to fan themselves).  

The flautist is Alessandro Crosta, the choir the Coro Lirico di Craiova e Brasov, the soprano Tania Di Giorgio (accompanied by a string quartet and then she accompanied herself with a guitar). 

The music was superb, the programme long with many added surprises, and the church was absolutely steamy hot!  It was a wonderful event...

 But I lost the tenor to the soprano again... sigh!

Today I am grateful for music

29 August 2012


Today I am grateful for loyalty. 

26 August 2012

to discard or not?

This very simple composition inspired by the Amalfi coast was coming along quite nicely, until I wiped my hand across it to remove some detritus from the eraser that I had used on some pencil marks, completely forgetting that part of the painting was still wet.  I usually work on at least three paintings at a time, allowing two to dry while I work on the third.  This time I was just working on one, and of course...

I still like it a lot, and I will finish it, but I can't exhibit it or put it out there to be sold knowing that I have "messed up".  I guess I have just painted a picture for my own kitchen!

I'll do a repaint eventually, but today wasn't the day for it.

Today I am grateful for paint and paper. 

24 August 2012

how are you, really?

Worth sharing, for those who need something to read in place of my blogging :-)

numbers six and seven almost done

Some minor adjustments to make, but almost done.  These don't photograph well, the top one is better balanced than it looks here, you can "walk into it", and the bottom one has much more life in it in the real.  It's also a little cropped to get a straight edge, there is a little bit more arch on the right.  

number five of twelve

Today I am grateful for phonecalls from London.

18 August 2012

on blogging

I've just looked back 
the last few entries, 
seriously wonder 
why I am blogging.

A photo of dog hair? What on earth was I thinking?

I think I will take an official break 
from the blog, 
rather than 

for now, 
ciao from me 
for a while. 

I leave you with Enya, Only Time.

too hot to bark

or "where did Zacchi go? 

Zacchi hates to be groomed, but he knows when something is good for him.  He doesn't actually seek the brush, but it's been a while and he stood perfectly, giving only the tiniest growls to say that he was keeping an eye on my scissors.

But not near the tail, mum, you know the rules!  And no, not the legs, never the legs... oops! Too late!

Piccles, however, said "oh no you don't that reminds me of all that stuff I had to endure when I was ill I'm out of here fast..."(she didn't stop to draw breath) and was dragged back by the collar for a token grooming only.

The funniest thing was the rewards, though.  Zacchi loves Frolics, but refused to take them from me during or after grooming. He was sulking, punishing me, something along those lines. Finally he ate two from my hand, but with so much distrust!  (Never trust a mother bearing gifts, she could be about to bath you!)

One Frolic remained on the edge of the coffee table this morning. When they came in out of the heat the terrible duo sniffed their way around the kitchen, looking for it.  Darn it, said Zacchi when he spotted it, it's out of bounds.

Oooh there it is, said Pickle several snoops later, and with a furtive glance at me managed to get it without appearing to move.  I pounced and I barked. She wasn't expecting that. She dropped the Frolic and slunk away. I pulled her back for the lecture. NO TABLE! She knew...  She tried to slink away again, eyes looking as sorry and apologetic as only Piccolina's can.

After a suitable period of remorse I took the Frolics and dogs away from the kitchen and gave them their rewards...

Today we are all grateful for cold floors.

just in case you don't believe me...

It's officially hot, with health warnings for the area, and, as we are on the slopes of Monte Asprano getting the sun all day, our little microclimate is even hotter than the official forecasts predict unless we can find a breeze (and a cold beer to bring some sense into the equation).  We are still "enjoying" (read suffering) Caligola, the sixth scorching anticyclone sent to us by dear neighbouring north Africa, and on Monday we welcome number seven without a break... the hottest days are predicted to be between the 19th and the 23rd.  Roll on the 27th and 28th when we might have some cooler weather! The Centro-sud is frizzled, fried, cooked, cotto... even my herbs under the tree that are watered frequently are turning up their toes.

For a short period the house stayed cool, but now that the stone walls are warmed right through the average temperature in the kitchen is 28, the cantina up to about 25 because I have left doors open to get air right through.

Prima "Caligola", poi "Lucifero": una vera "HOTSTORM"  >> Video
E' arrivato "CALIGOLA", il sesto anticiclone di quest'estate infinita. Caligola infiammerà l'Italia fino a Lunedì, quando lascerà lo scettro del caldo a LUCIFERO, settimo e ultimo e più forte anticiclone dell' Estate e che promette fino a 40°C a Bologna, Ferrara, Firenze, 39 Roma, 38 in Veneto, 36 a Milano, 37 a Bolzano. E' una vera e propria Tempesta di Caldo, una "HOTSTORM", quella che si sta per abbattere sul Mediterraneo in un crescendo rossiniano della colonnina di mercurio.  I giorni più caldi anche al nord da Domenica 19 e fino al 23.   Caldo ad oltranza al centrosud fino al 27-28, mentre al nord in arrivo piogge diffuse dal 25-26-27 seguite da aria fredda dal Mar del Nord.

Today I am grateful for double glazing and an oscillating fan. 

17 August 2012

out and about


We stopped just off the motorway at a most unlikely looking bar. It was an urgent stop, and I was hoping that the facilities would be clean enough for my overseas guests. I decided to make it a coffee break as well as I had been driving a while, and two breakfasts are always better than one.  

Thirty years of making cappucini a showman makes... and the performance was superb!  There are no coffee bars other than Starbucks in Japan, so we enjoyed the speed, the flair, the absolute showmanship of the barista who quite clearly was not used to having appreciative clients.  When I explained who my guests were and that they had never seen anyone work as he did he simply said "Thirty years makes you good at it".  


One of my little lost detours took me through a little village just before the drive to the Amalfi Coast. I couldn't resist making a series of snaps that could well end up in paintings. This one I am sharing is simply a reference shot, not a composition.  


Wouldn't you just love to be at a concert here on the Amalfi Coast? Almost everywhere we went there were lights, temporary stagings, and lots of activity.  (Who would be mad enough to go to the Amalfi Coast the day after the Ferragosto holiday?) But the opportunity to dance centre stage was simply wonderful.  No, that is not one of our group there, but some other tourist exalting in the moment.  It was lovely seeing how uninhibited people were, anonymous and on holiday... quite a series of performances in their own right!

Today I am grateful for potable water. 

16 August 2012

buon ferragosto

It's been a memorable day :-)  both personally and project-wise.

Today my inbox had several different links to the increased circulation of an article about my exhibition . This is important as it was generated by the cultural assessore for the entire province and circulated widely both in print and via internet newspapers (so I'll forgive whoever got my nationality wrong in the newsroom press conference and I'll be Australian for a while).  His kind words have been well received, have appeared in at least four publications and are now spinning around facebook.  My exhibition hosts are absolutely delighted too.

My two articles for YAP have been published in an English edition of Cittadini Globale Global Citizen now (they originally went out in translation in Italian) and one made the front page of the paper.

Another article that I have been researching (helped by my awesome PA) and writing to meet a tight deadline also went online while I was at the airport last night. I will reprint it here some time in the future.

Then it was on with my day... blogs checked, emails read, breakfast eaten...

After a leisurely start it was up to the abbey and this time a trip through the museum too, down to Piazza Green for gelato for lunch, afternoon shopping in a shopping mall to escape the heat, a sound late afternoon sleep, dinner outdoors overlooking the valley with friends, a concert at Pontecorvo with everything that is wonderful about summer festivities in this part of Italy, then back home to candle light and limoncello under the olive and mandarine trees (with Pickle and Zacchi claiming their share of affection and attention too).

But a pair of anxious eyes has just asked me "Mum, are you sure it's ok to drive us tomorrow, you are not too tired?"  Yes, it will be, but I had better get some sleep.

So here, (instead of photos and more description from me), from the excellent About.com Italian Language site, is the story of Ferragosto.

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15, traditionally marked by an exodus of Italians to beaches and mountains attempting to escape the summer heat. The holiday coincides with the Roman Catholic feast day known as the Assunzione di Maria in Cielo (theAssumption of Mary into Heaven).

On a linguistic sidenote, the term Ferragosto is derived from the Latin feriae Augusti, literally "Augustus's holiday." By proclamation of Roman Emperor Augustus, the feriae Augusti were originally a full month of festivals and celebrations.

Today I am grateful for my beautiful guests.  

12 August 2012

magic moments

Tonight I have been "catching" falling stars... they are really a meteor shower, the detritis of a former comet with the very unromantic name "Swift-Tuttle", but they are certainly exciting as they dart, dash and ping across the sky!  They seem to be coming from behind me, but are appearing in different parts of the sky.

The first one I saw I doubted... was it just my shonky retina playing up? But no, there were more, and some were a little slower and longer, so I knew I really was seeing "falling stars".

The sky has little milky patches, as though perhaps there are sprinklings of fairy dust.  It's not the wonderful Milky Way in a rural Waikato sky, but it is fascinating as there is almost a rhythm to it. The stars, however, are completely unpredictable.

There are over 60 shooting stars an hour at the moment, according to the experts.

My tally so far is 3 aeroplanes, two little dogs, one bat, half a bar of dark chocolate (yes, chocolate in summer thanks to my special shopper) and several falling stars, two of them much bigger and slower than some of the others.

A rooster crowed a few minutes ago (it is well after 3am) so dawn can't be too far away... oh wait, it's an Italian rooster, the time means absolutely nothing to them  :-)  I'm heading back out...

Today I am grateful for happiness. 

11 August 2012

why is it...?

Why is it that just when you think you are on track to meet a deadline, and things seem to be going quite smoothly, your brain heads off in another direction and you can't wait to do the next thing? The "next thing", of course, being faaaaaar more exciting!

I'm not quite sure that the current series of "sweet and pretty little pictures, cameos from the neighbourhood," will ever be completed.  A painting that has been in my head for two years has suddenly been joined by another four or five, and they are going to consume me until they are done!

Today I am grateful for a sense of purpose.

9 August 2012

almost there

These are "all but" finished, and will now sit out of sight for a few days so that I can look at them with fresh eyes when I come back to them.  

Oddly enough I think you get a better sense of them in the smaller versions below.  

Today I am grateful for time to paint. 

8 August 2012

not much time today

All the flaws in my compositions are showing, and I am becoming impatient to move on to a much more considered work... but it has been very good working quite quickly on these with no expectations of creating the perfect painting. Hopefully tomorrow I will finish all four. The lower one has had the least time spent on it so far. When they are done I will straighten them by spraying the backs with water then letting them dry under a flat surface.  

Today I am grateful for firemen.  

7 August 2012

a little bit more on three

(Photographed in poor night light) 

Now... number four, or go to sleep? Buonanotte, a domani :-)