Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nice thoughts from my doorstep

Have been sitting on the doorstep having breakfast.
It's one of my favourite places to be. I am screened from the street by flowers and a large picture frame carefully positioned and draped with net curtain , fake ivy and pink plastic flowers. Despite the description it blends in really well with all the real flowers.
(I think there is something funny and interesting about mixing a few fake flowers in with the genuine plants. )
It's may, so most of my flowers are blooming.
When I look towards the valley I am looking through a mixture of Rosebush and climbing shrub  mixed in with most vivid red geraniums and some basil
I look over the top of the lavender bushes which are strangely soothing. Just beyond it I can see the top of a little Christmas tree which someone gave me at my first art exhibition in my little artists house and later I planted it. It seems to like living here.
I can just see the bluey hills in the distance through the branches of the big tree at the end of the street.
It is a beautiful tall tree which stands up tu the most violent winds by bending this way any that. Presently it has new reddish orange leaves.
It is behind the little white house which is actually only a wall with about 3 rows of higgeldy piggeldy tiles left on top.if it wasn't there I would be seeing the sea in the distance.
I am very proud and amused by the little statue which stands beside me holding my coffee cup. It makes me feel I am being waited upon.
This morning it's peaceful.....just cars and bells and strimmers and people talking and birds singing....

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fallas in valencia

Been in valencia for the festival to welcome spring before returning to pisticci.
It was quite spectacular. The costumes of the ladies in the large procession were overwhelmingly extravagantly gorgeous. So colourful and intricate and so many..... then also the ladies and girls all walked so upright ( might have been the clothes ) that it made them seem stately and strong. If you ever saw pictures of strong looking, beautiful  Spanish women in books from the past then this was like that but multiplied.
There were fireworks going off almost 24 hours a day and I would like  to come back and see the displays closer up. From where I was staying I could see the higher explosions all round the city .
Then I was lucky  enough to be able to see the burning of the effigy. ( enormous  figures in amazing contortions and - well you just had to see them.) At the end of my street.  I think I read that there were 750 of them all over the city  and they were all burned to end the festa. There were even more fireworks, loud music  and plumes of black smoke in every direction.
Today am hoping  to go visit the giant figure of the Madonna covered in flowers carried by the beautiful ladies in the procession.
I really think I may have to come back next year. This is a very brief description of something special that you really need to experience not read about.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This morning in pisticci

It is a beautiful morning and combined going for a coffee with taking photos and chatting to people and getting some exercise........and just enjoying the moment.
Here ( hopefully) are some of the photos I took ......in the spirit of wish you were here. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

snowy january in pisticci


couldnt get any further than my doorstep due to footwear problem............

so much for plans.....snow in Pisticci

this has been the coldest winter in Pisticci since I came to live here. The temperature has been as low as - 9C.
There was lots of snow and no water. i was stuck  inside for 3 days due to lack of suitable footwear. the streets were dangerously icy for days......
Trainers with plastic bags inside are ok but not great.
Been waking up to -9C in the mornings and for several days I couldnt get  heated up more than 12C.
My internet has been off and on and so am now trying to post this for the 3d time.
Have managed to finish 2 commissions and 2 oil paintings and have more work planned for next week.
weather should get better by next monday.........

starting again.........and enjoying what I have learned

For lots of people 2016 was not a good year and for me it was the worst year I have spent in Italy.
Starting with  new year when I had discovered that I had cataracts forming in both eyes and because of my status was not sure whether I would need to sell my house to pay to get them fixed. Am not sure which health service I can use and Brexit has only made this more confusing.
On the plus side , I have been trying out eyedrops and lutein and bilberry and it may be that in 5 or more years when it might be neccessary to have some treatment that my situation health service wise might be resolved. who knows.....at least I have a house to sell if all else fails.
As an artist this was a big deal...............but, it could have been worse.
Then at the same time there was the renovation project going on upstairs. That was horrendous. It was an experience that was always going to be difficult for me as I work at home and could not get away from it. Even after 9 months I can still feel the remains of the anxiety and stress it caused- not counting that I have had to make up 3 months income as I was unable to do more than a minimum amount of work.
I had believed that the owners of the apartment being renovated were friends so other than saying could you please keep me informed of what is going to be happening , then I didn't check out what rights I may or may not have had.
The problem thereafter was made much worse due to the psychological effects of being metaphorically  battered on a regular basis, It became more and more difficult to act with any conviction and I went from being a reasonably sensible person to someone who couldn't sleep, was massively angry, had to take extra blood pressure pills, whose hands shook and I lived in a state of fear.
I regularly rushed through to the other part of my house because I thought my ceiling had fallen down. Small bits of plaster fell around me when the builders were working on the gutter and therefore on my roof....I climbed up a ladder in the middle of the night to plaster a yogurt tub to the wall to stop water running in a new leak in my roof and directly on to my electric meter. I  veered from I can deal with this..it won't last forever to I can't cope I have to leave now.
I was however rather pleased with my ability to persevere more than I thought I could and am irrationally smug about my yogurt tub water deflector.
So , on the basis that the best way to get over something is to learn something from it
I should , in the future check out what rights I have in the worst case scenario- just incase.
I am not a failure if I can't deal with everything on my own- in fact I am an idiot for thinking that I can.  Sometimes  it would be the sensible thing to call for help.
Another plus is that I have learned to stick up for my self- even when I  feel I shouldn't have had to.
I haven't enjoyed learning all this because I have spent most of my life believing  that if you treat other people well then they will have no reason to treat you badly. So I was pretty much in the huff  for a while cause my theory wasn't working. But now that i have adjusted it to most of the time you get back what you give out but sometimes you need to  use plan b, I am not so much in the huff!
In all of this Pisticci and the local people have been an enormous blessing and comfort.
I would have preferred to ignore all this and just write about the happy bits of which there are plenty but  it does seem like my little world got all shook up and my story doesnt make sense without it. And it feels like I can only look back at this year through a fog of disillusionment.
( I have greatly censored and rewritten this several times)
Its a lovely sunny day here and the cold north wind which has been making it feel very cold has gone for the time being.
I have been out for coffee and am looking forward to  getting back to normal life.
I have very much enjoyed December. I thought I would do as many things as possible and be a bit more sociable.
So have had  people round for a meal, been out for meals,  did two christmas markets nearby my house ( great fun), been at 2 concerts locally,  took part in a cultural evening/exhibition with artists and poets I didn't know, had a swedish new year, made lots of shortbread and lasagne, painted a lot and sold quite a lot, enjoyed having a guest in my little artists house and bought  christmas lights for my studio and lots more.
And in January I have some plans for new work , maybe a few days away and lots more coffees.
So hoping to enjoy my life as a story again with the new improved me..........( and my plan b)
Happy New year and Best wishes to anyone reading this......

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A little blip of real joy........

I was sitting in the Cafe Malena having my second coffee of the day when it happened....... just a happy , bursting out feeling  that made me want to laugh out loud or sing or hug someone for no reason......but I just grinned like an idiot at nothing , finished my coffee and left.
It has been all go since yesterday morning- the first of August- the start of the holiday month.
As usual was woken up by fireworks and the sound of a brass band in the distance. It was a lovely morning and 6am is a good time to get up in summer in Pisticci.
Then the day charged on.
I was expecting a delivery of new canvases so I was out early scootering round to the supermarket to pick up something for lunch so that there was no chance I would miss the delivery.
Back home I had the final part of a large scene of Pisticci to finish , which was looking good.
So I was busy working away at that when the phone rang- and it wasn't the delivery man but someone  who I had done work for  invited me to an evening of tasting lots of local (Basilicata) produce  somewhere near Potenza- and I could get a lift. So I happily accepted it as a little adventure. My italian is worse on the phone and times and dates are about my limit.
Back to painting -and when I had just given up on the delivery and was wondering how I could stop my precious canvases being delivered back to England  there was a  knock at the door. The delivery man is also an artist so we had a bit of a look round my little gallery after he had brought me a very large box. (16 box canvases).
Getting on with the large painting I decided to eat lunch at my easel as I would be stopping early to go out.
I managed to get it finished and put on facebook before, donning my best artist's boho outfit I set out to meet my lift. ( This lady and her son produce olive oil- I am a bit short on details but I am hoping to sell some in my little artists house soon.)
So we "zoomed" (safely) to our destination. It was a real treat for me as I have not been past Potenza except on a train so I saw some new and pretty countryside.  The event was held in a restored convent and the surroundings were as beautiful as it sounds. I met some lovely people, drank some great wine and ate some good food. I was pretty pleased with myself  as I am reasonably comfortable arriving at things where I know only the organisers and the people I arrived with. They obviously had to do a bit of networking but looked out for me when they could but I am now so blase' that I can actually go up to strangers and speak to them in my less than perfect Italian. So I had a lot of fun. It appears to me that it is true that communication is more to do with body language ( you can go for it in Italy!) than merely words. I can  wave my hands about and be expressive  with glee - especially after some of the very nice wine.  (It turned out that I was in Barile which is famous for wine making.)
After another speedy journey  where I mostly dozed and the two in front had an animated conversation for most of the time ,I was dropped off in the Piazza where there was a jazz trio performing. Bliss!!
They were wonderful, it was out of doors, the setting was gorgeous and I stayed until the end. It felt like a beautiful beginning  to the holiday season.
And returning to 120 likes on facebook for my latest painting  finished the evening off nicely.
But that was yesterday and this morning was another lovely day. I had some work planned but decided to go out for a coffee on my scooter to get me started- and because I love going out on my scooter in the summer. But  my front tyre was as flat as a pancake.  So , in my new, "it's not a ******* disaster Anne, you can cope" mode, I got my foot pump , pumped it up , stuck the pump in my rucksack and set off for the "gommista". I had to stop at the bus station and pump it up again but I made it,  and he was there. That felt like a minor acheivement. Only took half an hour and I was on my way to Fata Morgana's for a coffee .
I had to head into town after this as I have ordered some larger canvases from the nice lady in the art shop. They were not there, but it was nice to chat and they may arrive next week. (Or i have a problem.)
I decided to go get a timetable for the festa in the library which has moved from some tiny rooms to a large space ,where I got my timetable and a guided tour. ( plan to take up reading Italian books in autumn.)
I was just getting on my scooter when I noticed that the cafe which is usaully shut on Wednesdays was open. "That's great " I thought" I will have another coffee." It was then I realised it was Tuesday
So I had my little moment of "joy" in there .
And I still haven't stopped.
Decided to be brave and contact several people re things I might be doing but wasn't sure of the details and in the middle of this was contacted by someone  giving me details about something I had forgotten about.  Luckily I didn't think it was one of the people I had contacted or that would have been "interesting and possibly farcical." (It wouldn't be the first time)
That led to me spending time time bringing one of my older paintings up to date.
Then put finishing touches to  the big scene of Pisticci  , unpacked my new canvases ( yummy) and  to conclude this dissertation on little things which make me happy, my latest portrait client arrived to pick up her portrait  and very kindly gave me a bonus.
After that I had to go have a little rest..................................
Nothing amazing happened: but living here I feel so much more awake and aware of what is happening around me, that my life sometimes feels full and overflowing and , well, amazing!
(And there was much more, but I am exhausted and need a glass of wine.)
latest portrait

latest scene of pisticci
apologies for quality of photo. older painting reworked a little