Wednesday, December 28, 2011

view from my scooter

Am sitting on my scooter writing this. It's parked outside my studio.It's a lovely day , gorgeous bright blue sky and is much warmer outside, than inside. And  the seat has been warmed by the sun so I am very comfortable .
I may well look rather silly, oops and just as I wrote that someone walked past, but I would feel even more silly sitting inside with a gas heater practically glued to my leg.
Out here the sun is warming me and the light is cheering me.
I can see my pansies smiling up at me.(they do look like they have little faces on them). Every morning when I arrive at the studio they are just a splash of colour against the white walls.
I feel much more part of the world out here. There is stuff going on. I can hear cars and machinery and animals. People walk by the end of the street on their way somewhere.
I have already been out this morning , into town for a coffee and cornetto and a some mild socialising. The nice thing about walking into town is that it's quite acceptable to say "Buon Giorno" to almost everyone and they all return the greeting.
This is such a lovely day, again! We have had great weather , other than christmas day- thunder and rain- since about October. I am hoping it continues because from the middle of next month I am planning to spend  4 weeks living in my studio.
However today  the sky is an incredible deep blue looking towards the town and  only a little cloudy towards the mountains. My street is a sun trap.
I feel like everything is getting back to normal here because Nella has recovered from her recent illness and has delivered lunch by way of string and bag. (fennel and butterbeans, walnuts, mozzarela and an apple.)I have missed her.
I suppose it's past the longest - or is it the shortest day - so there is a reason to be cheerful. Also I like the concept of new year, and starting all over again and er getting it right this year? I always make vague and sometimes specific plans and then I normally forget them only to sometimes years later find them written in an old notebook and realise that actually I did acheive some of them. Not very proactive admittedly.
Just waved to one of my neighbours. tThey are all very friendly and I am hoping to get to know them a bit better and speak more to them next month.
It is surprisingly comfortable sitting on my scooter with pen and notebook. No way was I balancing my laptop on my knee. Am warm. Must do this more often.
Very loud bells ringing . Now they are ringing a tune. There is a lot of bell ringing in Pisticci. I don't know why.
Looking down I can see the wire holding on my scooter box. It needs welded but will have to wait till I can afford it. It has been overworked recently.
Am feeling as if this must be very healthy, sitting out in the sunshine absorbing whatever vitamin you get from the sun. In fact , now I am inspired to drive out to the country and sit on the scooter and write my next post. (Or maybe not.)
Unless I am inspired , warm and energetic then this will be my last post of 2011. (I can hear fireworks and its midday!!)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

back in sunny Italy, odds and ends

Was a liitle odd this time in Scotland as I felt like a tourist when I was out. You know , wandering around looking at buildings and thinking "wow that's impressive" and looking at people and thinking, "They look like foreigners."
But I was lovely and cosy at my daughter's house.
And now back in "sunny Italy" I have my 5 layers and a hat on (inside).
But enough moaning!
The weather has been very good. Every morning so far I have woken up to blue skies. It's 14 degrees today. I know because it said so on a sign above the farmacia.
I was out earlier taking a painting to  Vladimiro's cafe  and exchanging it with the one I left a few weeks ago. Have now perfected my method of transporting paintings in my rucksack on my scooter. It involves a fair amount of string.
However I excelled myself at the weekend (in my opinion) by transporting my stand for the market  including 4 easels and a stool on a shopping trolley. I took the bag off ,and tied the folding table, easels, two large paintings and stool on to the frame- with string. and pulled it up the street.  Then after leaving them in the piazza I came back and brought paintings and prints etc on my scooter.
This time the weather was good and it was fun to be outside in the sun. It was good to meet the other stall holders again and to practice  speaking Italian

Financially it was a dead loss but I love meeting people and met Maria Grazia's Sunday school class, who all said hello and then counted to ten in english, and the kind man came by and gave me a sweetie.  Enzo at the next stall sang a lot and gave me a little christmas tree decoration. I met several people in the same family who's portraits I had painted , some of whom I had only seen in a photo. Lots of the older gentlemen came by and laughed at the painting of a row of them sitting on a bench.. They all wonder if they are in it. The fruit seller came by and pointed out his stall in one of the paintings. A regular visitor who knows a lot about the history of the area pointed out that my decoration on the church was a bit off and reminded me about one of the local ravines, which is called the "elephants's trunk." I shook countless peoples' hands and met lots of previous customers and their friends. Lots of people stopped because they recognised Pisticci in my paintings. I have lost count of whose grannies and aunties and cousins  all live in houses I have painted. I remember though meeting the granddaughter of one little lady whose house I have painted lots of times. I call it "Casa Cloot" because it almost always has a row of dusters hanging on a line across the door. Then I met Amedeo , the local photographer . I had a card for him with a print of the painting he organised for me and he insisted I wrote both our names on it.These  were only a few of the people who stopped and spoke.
It ended, at least for me, when it got very damp on sunday evening , and reluctantly I was forced to pack up and go home as I had no gazebo. I thought going downhill to the studio with my trolley contraption would be easy but  in trying avoid the crowds in the corsa I got lost, got laughed at by teenagers, had to go down an extra flight of steps (backwards, one at a time) , the table kept sliding off when I went round corners and  by the time I got home I was more than a little frustrated and tired.
To prepare for the market I painted 6 paintings in  the three days between returning from Scotland and the start of the market.
So Monday was a lovely day off. Went out for a coffee and appley pastry in a cafe that I save for special occasions and admired their large presepe (nativity scene) which was at least a metre square , was depicting  piazza san rocco, and made to look like it was made out of chocolate icing. Interesting !
Then went to the post office to see if my 200 euros worth of free petrol card had arrived. Basilicata has a lot of oil and this is a gesture to the people who live here , from the government , who, I think have sold it. I don't actually know all the ins and outs of it. I also posted all my christmas cards, which will probably arrive in March. (sorry!)
Then on home to decorate the christmas tree , which is sadly lacking it's middle part , so consists of the top and the stand. However I think I have made it look ok.
It's nice to be back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am too cold to write!! or Autumn in Pisticci

autumn in calcarole

autumn in pisticci

the sky was beautiful

round the corner  .

my street looking pretty as usual.

I just love these tiled roofs.

 This time I am posting lots of nice photos mostly taken today. It has been lovely weather outside but I am frozen inside. Am off to Scotland on Monday to get warmed up ha ha!

Friday, November 4, 2011

olives and changes

This week has been full of people and happenings and now at the end I am left wondering if life may be changing - again!!
More of that another time, meantime need to get this written before I go make scones. I always make scones when I need a little reassurance.
So  to Olives and Olive pickers and what a lovely way to spend a holiday.  Friends of ours who have a house here came to pick their olives and invited relatives and friends to join them so that there were about 12 people all together.
It looked great fun . They picked olives, had lunch and evening meals together, went to the beach in between and ended up with 115 litres of their very own virgin olive oil.
I could write about the process of picking olives but briefly you shake them off the tree using long poles with combs on the end (mechanical in this case). the olives fall onto nets laid round the bottom of the tree. Next you gather up the net with the olives in  and someone ( or someones) take out most of the leaves and twigs
and then pour the olives into a sack. You book a time at the olive mill , take your olives  there and then watch as your olives are crushed and the oil is produced. (until 2 am in the morning if neccessary.)

But its easier to just show  you the photos.

Monday, October 17, 2011

monday, martini and monkeys

I have just had a small Martini to chill out because I am so excited.
It all started about a year ago when my daughter said , why didn't I write a blog. (And give up on trying to be a teacher of small children when I was obviously scared of them.)
So being a wise mother , who listens to her children ,who have grown up to be much more sensible  and great than one would have expected having me as one of their parents;
I did. 
I enjoyed writing it or I wouldn't have carried on, but after only three or four blogs I was contacted by a canadian publisher and the result was I have photos of two of my paintings in a book. PICNIC IN PISTICCI, BY TINA POWELL.
And today I met her.
I was on my way to the dentist through the piazza, when someone shouted "Signora!". I turned round and someone who looked vaguely familiar beckoned to me. He then introduced me to signora Tina Powell. We had never met so I smiled broadly and said "It's Anne" and to my horror my enormous cold sore,on my  lip, the size of a dinner plate, cracked and began to bleed.(Anyone who gets cold sores will know exactly what I am talking about and if you don't you are so lucky!)
So there was Tina looking lovely  and I am standing there unable to find a hanky dabbing at my lip in the most discreet fashion I can manage (not very discreet, hand getting very bloody.)  and being introduced  to the other people with her. And then being presented with 2 copies of the book which I am in. It was not quite how I had imagined it. I was also wearing my best womble outfit as I had been on my scooter and "one does not dress for the dentist".
However my tolerance for embarrassment has increased enormously since living in Italy so after thanking her as well as I could between dabs, I shot off to the dentist.
Where; I managed to show at least one person the book. Not the dentist as my mouth was too full of tubes and stuff. I now have a lovely white filling which will enhance my smile no end.
So to cheer myself up, and as there was a possibility of them coming to see my studio , I decided to buy a new pair of jeans. Tight ones. Non womble wear!
So after trying on one pair only which fitted I was too tired to try any more. So off I went to the sweetie shop, otherwise known as the supermarket that sells sweets similar to mars bars. I figure there is no point in me giving up sweets to save my teeth as it's too late. Presumably the same reason  smokers and drinkers tell themselves.
While at the supermarket I saw a man climb like a monkey. He was a market trader and had a cute little van like a vw camper but miniature. He was loading a large umbrella on to the roof and suddenly leapt off the ground, his feet were half way up the side of the van and then he pulled himself on to the roof. I did see it. I dont know how he did it !
So I scootered off with my new jeans and sweeties thinking about the man with the van and as I turned the corner into my street there were Tina and the others heading for my studio.
So much for my new tight jeans ! They stayed in the scooter box. Looking on the bright side at least my lip had stopped bleeding.
What a treat it was for me to show Tina and the others round my studio. I am really happy with it and I love showing it off.  It was a bit hard to believe that through the internet a real live person was actually there. I don't think I believed it would happen and it was only when I saw my paintings in the book and Tina in my studio that it became real.

So now I have read the book from beginning to end and I am even more pleased to be in it. It's about picnics and is autobiographical as well as encouraging people to have picnics; wherever; to take time out; enjoy life; enjoy food and a little bit of perfection.

Monday, October 10, 2011

bored, bored , bored

Am writing this because I am so bored! Sitting in a street market , in the piazza and there are no people around.
Oops, there's  one. No, he's gone!
It's cold, which is why instead of teeming with people out for the sunday passiegiatta the piazza is deserted.
I am huddled at the back of my partners stand, which he kindly lent me.(Mine's looked like something I had made in order to keep the rain out and the legs were steadily caving in due to serious gusts of wind.) 
I am wearing two tee shirts, polo neck jumper, thick cardigan, wool jacket, scarf, woolly hat , jeans, 2 pairs of socks and to top it all off a large lined waterproof jacket I use for on my scooter. (one of the other stall holders told me she is wearing 3 pairs of trousers.) The temperature last sunday reached 30 degrees. tonight its about 11.
You have to be hardy and optimistic to do markets. Most of the people doing this markets slept in their cars last night. One family have 100 kilometres to drive home tonight. Others have at least as far if not further. And before that they need to take down their stands , pack up all their stock and load it into their car or van.
Despite this the man next to me selling frames and prints remains unfailingly cheerful. He  sold me two frames yesterday and cut my paintings to fit , put them in the frames and put hangers on  , all for the price of the frames.
He sings a lot.
The man selling leather goods, which I think he makes ,is always entertaining. He is  wearing a rainbow striped woolly hat with earflaps and has a pipe thing which makes bird noises which every now and then when presumably he's bored ,he plays.
Have just looked up from writing this and can see one of my paintings hanging on the wall in the cafe across the piazza. Nice feeling!
Although this is an antiques market there are more non antiques than antiques.

It has an eclectic mix from antiques," old things", books, cds and dvds,new watches all for 3 euros, lots of jewellery, frames with prints, woolly hats, secondhand trilbies, leather belts and wallets, tie sets and paintings.
There is something for everyone and at all prices.
Looking up again and there are a few people strolling around. It's just after 8pm. Presumably people are sensibly staying indoors.
I think the camomile tea I just drank is having a mellowing effect. It was preceded by a prosecco to cheer me up and before that a coffee to keep me going. I forgot to buy any food  today so have discovered that cheese slices, found in studio fridge,  put between crisps make interesting small sandwiches. Have a feeling that my stomach may eventually protest at this interesting diet but will deal with that later.
Just had someone looking at my stock.
I have a design/plan for my stand. I put a large painting of Pisticci in a prominent place , then some smaller new paintings with local people in them. That is usually enough to stop people and they come over and look. There has been a lot of discussion about who the old men are sitting on the bench and also who the boy on the bike is. People actually go and fetch others to check it out.
Next to these I have a book of photos of portraits open at a page with a well known local person , then some past examples of my work ,(mostly of Pisticci) and finally my prints, which at 5 euros are affordable.
Obviously only a few people buy but the process works.
Still not many people about.
Oh no , it's only 8.20pm. I thought I had been writing for ages.
Another person stopped to look at the Pisticci painting.
I am watching to see if anyone else is packing up and then I will start.
But no one is so far.
I am lucky because I have a plastic sheet at both sides of the stand which is keeping the wind mostly off. Its weighed down down by 2 very heavy weights and a 5litre container full of water. The container is moving back and forward with the wind. Compared to the summer with warmth and lots of customers this is horrible. It's as well that I am investigating other avenues for selling. In fact one vendor spent 15 minutes explaining why I should sell paintings on ebay and then I wouldn't need to stand outside in the cold  getting bored but could be nice and cosy at home in front of the computer. Taking his own advice he packed up and left at lunch time.
The leather man is making bird noises again.
A nice man says "Buona sera," and asks the price of  a painting. I practice saying 70 euros without  sounding apologetic. Think I sounded convincing. He didn't buy it but it was good to speak to someone.
Still no one packing.
Only 8.30pm.
The gusts of wind are getting stronger and have just blown my chair over when I stood up to look out.
The windchimes on another stand sound alarmingly like breaking glass.
I have had on occasion all my paintings blow over like a pack of cards. A lot of tape , string and judicious placing is needed to avoid this. And sometimes that still isn't enough.
Everyone looks cold.
Wish I had some chocolate. I have some prosecco left in the bottle but too much makes me bad tempered, ( Or at least more frank and forthright than is wise.)
Someone has reversed their van up beside their stall. Fingers crossed that they will be packing.
Three men stoppped by and were very complimentary about my Pisticci painting. That was warming.
The leather man is making bird noises again.
Is that the sound of folding tables I hear?
Yup! The organiser is packing. Hurray!
In the summer markets finish at midnight.
Another  2 gentlemen looking at my P. painting.
Have sold , over the 2 days of the market, one small painting and seven prints. Unfortunately after buying the woolly hat and socks,  a tin to put money for bills in, drinks  and paying for my stand I have about 5 euros left.
Lets pack.
Sitting in the car waiting to drive away I am a little sad. The umbrellas are being folded up , people are packing and saying goodbye, the piazza will soon be empty and  it feels like not just the end of the market but the end of summer.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

evening light and figs from the magic house

After making myself paint most of the day ( enthusiasm and inspiration and energy a bit lacking) I got my camera and decided to go for a walk. it was the time of day when the light is just lovely. The white houses are tinted slightly yellow in the shadow and dazzling white in the remains of the sun.

After spending all day inside painting little details it was bliss to be outside. I strolled downhill and decided to see what my house looked like from near the little house which has been in so many of my paintings. I have not been along that road before and looked back.

As I was standing in the road trying to get a photo of my house the man from the little house came out and invited me in to try a fig.

I have been looking at this house with its bending roof, piles of stones, grapevine

and garden falling down the hill in front of it, dotted with little shacks (hens in one) and vegetables, fruit trees and olive trees since I bought the studio. The very first article I ever wrote here was written sitting looking at it. It has been in at least a dozen paintings and countless photos.

So now I have been on the veranda , have seen the grapevine close up, realised that distance makes things more interesting especially when a liitle imagination is added. I don't think I want to see more of it incase it shatters my illusions. (It was never really going to be the gingerbread house I suppose.?)

So I came away with some illusions left and a bag of figs.

Walking round Dirupo I still find streets I have not been in before and this time I found a little street of old houses where the brick work was exposed. They were beautiful and looked like they were being restored so there were patches of different types of bricks. It looked like a sort of brick patchwork.

Old doors are lovely, but the fading sunlight highlighted everything and made even ordinary things stand out.

I walked for about 30 minutes and on the way back passed several people sitting outside their doors either singly or in groups. It was that time of day.

There are lots of steps in between streets and it's fun exploring. I have never yet not been distracted into taking another route by wondering just where that set of stairs went. It is a bit like a maze only with houses , not hedges.

I finally ended up back at my studio and went for another look at the little magic house. It looked gorgeous , cute , quaint and mysterious in the setting sun. The roof , with its red tiles and quirky shape nestled into the trees beside it and the grapevine shadowed the green wooden door. The old man sat on the bench looking out at Pisticci. I waved and smiled.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sitting by the roadside and tea with the queen.

It was very relaxing just sittting on the verge while my scooter was getting fixed. There were some grey clouds in the sky but it wasn't raining, and it wasn't too hot even though it was midday.
So there was nothing to do but enjoy the relative peace and quiet. There is an italian expression "stai tranquile" which I think means , don't worry, but I prefer to think of it as "be tranquil". Therefore I sat there tranquilly looking up at the trees and wondering how I could paint them against the blue sky and then against the grey clouds. And what was the word for blue in italian? And isn't it amazing how quickly the trees which are virtually chopped to half their height are now covered in leaves.
There wasn't much noise (none at all from my scooter) except for some one selling vegetables in the distance and calling out what he had. Then there were a few cars. All the cars passing slowed down to have a look at what was happening. I love that it's okay to be curious here.
It was only about 20 minutes and my scooter started again. (thanks Gabriel)
So now I'm in my studio and this is the most relaxed I have been in ages and I can't help wondering why I don't take the time to just sit and look more often.
Of course I could just be feeling very chilled because I dreamt I went for tea with the queen and one of her in laws last night. It was very vivid and I was not at all intimidated. I remember thinking she had thinner legs than I would have imagined. She was very polite , as was I.

I have been busy working on commissions so I am including photos of some of them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A stress free life

I thought I was a fairly relaxed person, till yesterday at the market in Taranto. I was fairly relaxed about not selling any paintings and we were packing up in no particular hurry . Then a guy near us came over  and stood in the shade nearby. "I am not packing up for another hour," he said " In an hour the shadow will have reached the other side of the street and then I will pack up. It's not good for your heart to work in the hot sun." He pointed to his heart to make sure we understood and then went off to sit in a chair in the shade to wait for the shadow to reach his side of the street.
By the time we left , the shadow was half way accross the street and he was just dozing in the shade and waiting.
I think that is so impressive and I am envious. I never ever sit and wait without feeling that I have to be doing something to justify my existence. Taking an hour to myself just to take care of my heart and not work in the sun is completely foreign to me. (This was not someone who was just lazy. As far as I know he has a shop he works in during the week and still does markets on sundays as well.)
I decided to go for a cappucino this morning, as it's monday and it's nice thing to do and I work better after having been out. (Not that I am justifying myself!) So went off on scooter to town and my favourite cafe was closed , on holiday, then my second favourite was also closed for holidays , the third one had too many men in it, (they all stare and I get a bit embarassed), the next one , where you cant sit down, but I really wanted a coffee by this time was shut too. So frustrated, I set off to the next one on my scooter and riding by, saw too many men again, so I decided enough was enough I was going in the next one  and that was that.  I drew up to a small one I hadn't been in before and hurray, although there were no seats , it was not full of men either.  The guy serving was friendly  and I saw a painting on the wall by someone I did an exhibition with and we talked about it . It was nice to talk and the cappucino was good. I will go back. Its a great combination cappucino and chat.
On my search for a coffee I passed the art shop in the corsa and there was one of my portraits, framed. I had to go past it again for another look. Even after all this time I think deep down that actually people just take my paintings home and put them in a cupboard out of sight. This is not logical ,as why would people pay for them  and then put them away, but I am always ridiculously pleased when I see one of mine on someones wall.
I am almost always happy when I am out on my scooter. There is just something about whizzing along  in the open air , not so fast that you can't see everything, that feels good. It helps obviously when the weather is fine and the surroundings are lovely. I think it suits my personality as I am more of an observer than a participator. And you can see  and experience so much from a scooter. And now that I sometimes  hang my handbag on the handlebar I feel so casual  and Italian.
Can't help noticing that I have managed to justify my taking an hour out to go out on my scooter and have a coffee by writing this blog, but what the heck!  If I spend the next twenty years gradually  becoming more like the guy waiting for the sun  that would be ok. (It may take 20 years!)

As I had no suitable photos I was obliged to go out and take some. All  were taken while on my scooter (Parked!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

warm figs, the market that wasn't and the wedding we weren't at

I nearly saw johnny Depp, sofia Coppola, francis ford Coppola , george Lucas and others on Saturday evening but unfortunately when we arrived in Bernalda they had all gone into the grand palazzo belonging to Francis ford Coppola and they didnt come out again , while we were there!

Apparently about ten minutes before we got there some of them had come out and waved but as usual because we never know what is happening ,and when, not that things happen when they are supposed to anyways, we missed all the excitement.

However we sat down to eat opposite the palazzo and according to the owner of the trattoria some of the guests from the wedding had eaten lunch there.

It was the wedding of sofia coppola and Tom Mars.

I have never seen so many people on the streets before. This was their feste week and it would have been busy anyways ,but it was difficult to make our way along the pavement where all the cafes had put tables and chairs out. Presumably there were a lot more people there to see what was going on with the wedding: like us.

We did see some papparazi (I think that's who they were) who were sharing photos by photographing each others screens. They also let other people have a few photos too which was very sporting of them. Not at all what I was led to believe they would be like.

But other than thinking I was eating in the same restaurant where someone famous had eaten , very recently, that was the closest I have ever been to anyone famous.

It was quite strange to think that "Hollywood" had come to Bernalda.

Eventually realising that we couldn't make our meal drag out any longer and having done all the jokes about our invitations being lost in the post,we went off for a passiegiata and a gelato. ( stroll along the street being looked at and looking at everyone else and an ice cream). (And I would not be at all surprised to hear that ten minutes after we left , the palazzo doors opened and every one came out and joined in the passiegiata)

Part of the reason we could not stay any longer was we needed to get up at 5am the next day to do a market.

So next morning we set off for the market, noticing not long after leaving that the car was not quite right. But being intrepid/stupid we carried on regardless to Martina Franca where to our surprise there was no market. So we could have gone home, the car was still struggling, but there was another market in Ostuni and having come this far, "the man was not for turning" and we set up an hour later in the park in Ostuni.

It's a beautiful setting. And yesterday when I was looking around I wondered if perhaps my paintings which I think are often more exagerated than real life are actually reflecting the different light here in Italy where things are more solid and in your face than, perhaps in Scotland. That is a bit clumsily explained, but what I mean is I often feel that I am in a film set and always thought that I felt like that because I was a little bit crazy , but maybe its just the light?

We were late getting home in the evening as we had to take a different road to avoid steep hills, so we got lost, but we made it home eventually.

And then I found the last figs. I thought the figs were all past but we have a tree that grows dark purple figs. And there were only three or four high up but with a little bit of tree climbing and some mild contortion, me and the tree , I got them. Warm ripe figs at the end of a long stressful day are just the most delightful treat. Walking round the garden in the sunshine eating figs picked straight from the tree, listening to the crickets, cats rubbing against your ankles and the prospect of not getting up at 5am the next morning, bliss!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August, sun,wedding, feste, market and coffee.

I will start with the coffee, because after all my adventures this month I was tired and it both surprised me, delighted me and reminded me why I love being here.

I was at a market in martina franca and wishing I had stayed home. So I decided to go get a coffee to wake me up. After wandering around for a while and discounting all the cafe/bars with too many men in them I went in the GOLD CAFE, in the piazza umberto 1. I asked for a cappucino and decided to have an appley pastry as well.(sunday treat).

I was so impressed by the cappucino that I asked if I could take a photo before I drank it. It seemed a shame to spoil a work of art. What a lovely gesture to decorate my coffee for no particular reason , just a little gift which is still making me smile now. The pastry was great too.

I wont forget it.

There was a good reason for being tired this month as I had a fantastic time in scotland at my son's wedding but it involved 2 journeys of 15 hours and a 3am start. It has been great fun showing photos of it to friends as I think weddings where guys wear kilts are normal but obviously not in Italy.

I was back for two days and then had a 2 day market in Pisticci where I didnt finish before midnight both days, but it was great fun and I sold 12 paintings and lots of prints , as well as getting enough commissions to keep me going for the next two months. It was so nice to be meeting people and just being in my adopted home town. Great social event!

Following that was the feste. (I missed the film festival again due to doing the market.)

This year I stayed in the studio and felt much more part of things. There seemed to be a brass band permanently marching round the streets, every morning fireworks went off at 6am, there were hundreds of people about and a general holiday feeling. And in the evenings there were processions, with saints and horses and carriages and decorations, and amazing street lights, and concerts, and street markets and then more concerts starting about midnight and then every night the most wonderful fireworks.

I realise you might be reading this and thinking I may be exagerating slightly but, you should really come and experience it for yourself. (15th ,16th and 17th of august every year.)

So that was why I was tired and I needed a coffee and I got so much more.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

two markets, a thunder storm and a portrait in rice

Going brunette by accident is not recommended. It wasn't even that I had misunderstood the directions on the box( in italian), but after happpily being reddish for the last two or three years it is a shock . And I am in the process of changing back, I hope , as I write this.

So , it was a dark haired person who staggered out of bed ,oops, jumped out of bed, at 5am yesterday morning. And after putting on twice the normal amount of make up to somehow counteract the dark effect , it was off to market .

The first market was in Ostuni. It is lovely and on the way you drive past hundreds of trullis. They are so odd. What with all the stone dykes and little pointy houses it is easy to believe you are in some strange fairy tale land.

The market is in the park today. It's a pretty setting but a little bit distant from the centre of town. My little ray of darkness who drives to markets assures me it will be a "blank "waste of time. However I like the social aspect ; meeting people and chatting to the other stallholders.

So far no one has looked at me with a "what has she done to her hair look". I may have inadvertently forgotten to mention that the brunette is not completely er evenly coloured.

Passing swiftly on.

So all is going fine , sun shining , people strolling past, someone buys one of my prints, some of my market friends are here and the time passes. I even manage to fit in a walk to the historic centre and an ice cream.

Then clouds start to appear. This is not Scotland, this is the south of Italy in July! I never even considered bad weather. Eventually when It looks like it really will rain I pack up and get ready to leave for the art market in Martina Franca. By the time we are half way there it is raining, there is a torrent of water running down the road and it turns into a full blown storm with thunder and lightening. So arriving in Martina we just go for lunch and listen to the rain outside.

I have been looking forward to doing this market all month. It is the only one I do which is arts and crafts. But it stops raining about the same time we finish lunch.

5 stall holders have turned up. Oh dear! But being sturdy, determined and desperate the market sets up in the "centro storico". There is a man selling furniture made out of antique wood, a girl next to me selling jewelry which she makes, another guy has pottery with flowers and another some sort of ceramics. Gradually more people arrive and set but but there are probably only 15 stands at most.

(Must take a break here to check hair. mmm! well I am now a very dark auburn . It is my son's wedding on Saturday so it does matter a bit. At my daughter's wedding I had blonde hair and I was trying to straighten it and make it loook all glossy and nice and a chunk of hair frizzled up, stuck straight in the air and I had to cut it off. I have a photo to prove it. Possibly I should go to a hairdresser but I always think I 'll just go for the natural look! whatever that is!)

Back to the market. What a let down after the last art market! But I was there and I had gone to a lot of effort to have as many paintings of the area as possible and as many prints, so I was looking good.

The nice smiley man who had been next to me at the last market turned up having a stand round the corner this time but came over to say hello. Then an older man came by and got talking , disappeared and then returned with a small picture of a trulli made using rice and a photo of his daughter (beautiful girl) hugging someone famous. He wanted me to make a portrait from this photo using rice. I was obliged to tell him that would be too difficult for me but he should try it. I look forward to seeing it next time.

Then there was a procession with hundreds of people, two bands and lots of people in uniforms and a statue of Jesus on the cross lit from below, which made it look uncomfortably real.

Lots of people stopped by and looked , took cards and walked on.

A woman stopped to talk and told me she had been a model for an artist from Naples. It was a long time ago she said, when she was young and beautiful.

I got talking to one of the stall holders who used to fix pianos and then was a florist. Market people are interesting, I know one who is a poet, several are artists and musicians. I get a chance to practise using italian so everything I am told is subject to me actually understanding correctly.

By this time I had drunk 4 coffees to keep me going and was missing my chair which I had left under a tree in the park in Ostuni.

Gradually it got darker and not having any lights with me I packed up a lot of my stuff and waited to get picked up. I am often scared in the car as we drive round impossibly narrow streets full of people who are very casual about getting out of the way, so we got lost and ended up driving the wrong way through a street market further on.

Arriving home at about 1am , having earned a whole 4 euros over about 15 hours it wasn't too good. (But not as bad as my hair!)

Then I got woken up this morning by fireworks about 6 am and when I drove up to my studio the sun was shining and there was a brass band playing. And I did sell 4 paintings from my studio last week. And now my hair is respectable, (more or less) and I am off to Scotland on wednesday to see all my family and go to the wedding and then the Feste is on when I get back.

AndI did do two markets!