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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

a sunny morning in Pisticci- perfect scootering weather.....

It's nearly the end of July and such a lot has happened worldwide and personally since I last wrote. It's like the outside world has intruded on my little  fairytale life................
However  there are still many lovely things happening here and one of the nicest things to do in this gorgeous weather is to get on my scooter about 8.30am and dawdle off  to the nearest cafe. It's a different experience scootering in the summer when I can zoom around with tee shirt , shorts and sandals .
Work and leisure are very mixed here. I often get commissions from meeting people in cafes and yesterday I took a photo when I was dawdling about, reluctant to go home and its now drawn on a large canvas and ready to paint.
So am just going to look for some summery, relaxed photos which only give a glimpse of the experience that is living in Pisticci.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My life, mostly, as a story continues........

It's been ages since I wrote on this blog because I always think it has to be perfect and fascinating, brilliant and witty, entertaining and knowledgeable etc etc.......
It's a wonder I do anything with an attitude like that.....being a perfectionist is dumb ( though it does keep me trying ...)
On the other hand it could just be that I am lazy and boring and illiterate........
So now that I have got that out of the way,  how is my "fairytale" life going?
Well , more than once recently I have pondered on the fact that I appear on the surface to have become  someone I would have liked to have been and am mostly living a life that I could not have dreamed of because it's way beyond anything I thought I could ever do.
Before I go any further , to add a reality check, am still only eating softtish food as I can't afford to go back to the dentist, will probably still have a roof leaking in new places and an alarming bulge in the ceiling under upstairs plumbing this winter as I need to eat before fixing the roof, I won't be turning the hot water on now till I go back to once a week in October (It'll be lukewarm all summer- who needs hot water when its 30c outside.) and I will likely be back to wearing 3 jumpers and a hat inside from about november till march.
But mostly it's worth it.
I get to live as an artist. I paint portraits which people buy to give as gifts. ( that seems such a big thing to me- , to make something that is for a gift.) My studio despite its failings is so pretty - and in summer it's perfect. The weather is miles better than that in the uk. The local people are spectacularly kind and friendly. I get to practice speaking another language- and am mostly proud of my efforts. I get to drink great coffee and I can afford to buy good wine and eat (well, sort of......)delicious food. I can wear anything I like and never be overdressed. I walk up town and greet people and they greet me back . I go to concerts and plays and hear musicians in both small venues and out of doors and enjoy theatre completely different from anything I was ever used to. Recently I have worked alongside other artists which is a great treat.
But mostly I get to live in another culture where despite my lack of language I have felt at home.
Today , as I was passing the nearest restaurant I was given a copy of a new guidebook made by some of the people of Pisticci  showing some of the local attractions and traditions and I am in it too. That makes me mostly very, very happy indeed.
 I am including some photos which I will probably turn into paintings at some point ,including my new little arbour and winetable.
Today am off to meet a friend for coffee and prosecco because it's Thursday, finish a portrait, write another blog post, pay a bill in the commune and then sit on my doorstep with a glass of wine- at least that is the plan. I got up at 6.30am so that I could have time off for coffee, but as I am sitting at the table with the door open and the sun streaming in, it's not exactly been a hardship . I am looking over at my new summer fireplace which always makes me smile.
Hurray for summer and Pisticci.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Back to Pisticci..................

After my cheap trip to Malta, then Scotland and home via Florence - fueled by peanut butter sandwiches ( and wine and chocolate) and free meals from my loving family , I arrived back in Pisticci by ten hour train journey ( surprisingly pleasant).
I was worried that my house would look very scruffy and damp after the lovely places I had stayed, but apart from being a bit cold it looked pretty friendly and full of character and ..... home. Poor house , it has had a hard winter being insulted and battered but  after a few touch ups with white paint it looked ok and fingers crossed that there will be no more heavy rain so the boxes spread along the gutter where the new leaks are won't be needed until I have saved up enough money to have it put back to how it was before the builders. When summer is on the way it's easier to be optimistic.
I got straight to work on several commissions and have been trying to paint two paintings at a time to make up the time when I couldn't work. It has been an interesting process and I may carry on as it is quite a helpful way to work.
Going away helped me relax after the stress of the previous few months and I am beginning to feel more like myself again - and not a scared, angry, stressed , helpless idiot. (thank goodness)
So has been lovely to be back and enjoying going for coffee, going for walks, taking part in the digital invasion in Tursi,  yoga in Marconia, chatting to people, taking photos, painting, and having my home back. And getting my "happy" back.
happy artists in tursi

having a wonderful time in tursi

double flower painting

more flowers
my scooter getting ready for summer with new red seat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What a gorgeous place to sit.I seem to like boats. Especially wooden ones. Old ones. Colourful ones.
There is a beautiful turquoise one with  yellow red and green mouldings in front of me. Must be traditional.  I can now see another one similar.
It's  kind of wondrous.
The water is blue , green and yellow. There are some lovely old buildings squeezed in between big modern hotels.
Now that I look again there are a lot of these colourful boats and one is heading out  of the bay. I wonder where it's going...
As a tourist I am a bit of a disappointment . I am living on peanut butter and banana sandwiches  so restaurants don't make any money from me. I can't  afford any organised trips  or the entry price to old buildings and even in coffee shops buying only an espresso elicits a slightly weary look from behind the bar .all the cakes and pastries stay where they are.
However as a person I am having  a wonderful time. So many beautiful things to look at .the weather is lovely. My accommodation exceeds anything I expected by miles.  I have walked miles and enjoyed going on local buses when I got tired.
It's possible I could come back when I have caught up with my lost earnings as my flight from bari was less than 20 euros.
Tomorrow I think I may just get on a local bus and supplied with peanut butter and banana sandwiches  will see where it takes me. I will have my writing book but probably not my sketch book - too chicken!
But I wonder if thus will be one of the most memorable moments of my trip, just sitting here enjoying being alive........and the shadows on the water are kind of entrancing too.......

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mini Malta blog

Have not tried blogging using my phone before. Could really do with a screen twice this size.
Anyways, I am in Malta doing a detour on way to Scotland as it was a very cheap flight.
I am staying in a gorgeous house in a lovely Street and my airbnb host could not be nicer.
Today I went to Valletta on the local bus and wandered around for while. I made sure to keep the  main street in view as didn't want to get lost. It was very pretty.I would go back.
After coming back to the house and falling asleep I thought going for a walk before dark would be good so I strode off purposefully  and got lost. I retraced my steps and was still lost so managed to find a bus with a name I recognised on it and found my way back.I still  don't understand  how I got so confused.
So sitting having a glass of wine writing this and feeling very lucky.
Can't quite work out how to add photos from my phone.......

Sunday, March 6, 2016

discovering the calanche......

Although I have lived here for more than ten years and I knew the calanche were important I had never really seen them up close. Now I think I may have to explore them further and maybe  that is where i will start painting from life......................................so many things to learn................
think these shapes were made by the sea, the wind and the sun

weird landscape

this is spectacular when you are actually there.

mixed landscape

only 20 mins from my studio

one of many beautiful wild flowers

close up of the earth with orange and blue shadows