Monday, February 28, 2011

California or Basilicata?

California or Basilicata?
this is the first time I have attempted to put someone else s article on my blog but if it works its
well worth reading. Its a little sad but not hopeless . I feel a kind of loyalty to basilicata because apart from all the other people who already lived here, WE DISCOVERED IT.
It was like one of the programmes on tv where a couple just pack up and leave home to move to somewhere they have never been before, dont speak the language and dont have jobs and you watch as they struggle to make their new life work, and cause they are on tv then it generally does. ( it would be too embarrassing not to I imagine)
That was just like us and we would never have made it this far, (without the help of a tv prog,) if the people who live here were not so overwhelmingly kind and helpful.
Its more than 6 years now and I still love being here.
I would not have been painting if i had lived in scotland as I would not have been able to afford to without having another job and I dont know if I would have been so determined to carry on if I was not actually really needing to paint to earn.
There are few jobs here so I have not had many options. Teaching english privately doesnt seem to happen and I am frankly too scared to stand in front of a class of italian children. (I have tried)
So I paint and keep on painting and gradually I am getting better and I get to call myself an artist, and be in art exhibitions, and have a studio, sell paintings at markets and paint peoples portraits. sometimes I think , what an odd way to earn a living , by twiddling away with a paint brush( and its not much of a living) but its an adventure I would like to keep going.
I will need to diversify and get better at marketing and perhaps take some risks but somehow here it all seems possible .
when the sun shines and people greet us in the street, when I scooter up in the morning and wave to people I ve never met but see in passing, when the next unexpected thing happens , when wine costs less than 5 euros for 5 litres.
so maybe writing this blog and having people read it is my way of making sure I succeed here. who knows?
I would like this area to succeed too. (We discovered it after all!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

too tired to write , and its february....

thought i would just post some photos this week. been too much trouble getting my car all documented and am now in the huff with it and only using my scooter. ( have been painting to avoid writing this, usually its the other way round. so here are some of my most recent paintings.

Monday, February 14, 2011


i am trying to remember that this is supposed to be a blog about my life as a story and so here i am again trying to think of the perfect example of life here and it is completely blocking my imagination.

so this is just an ordinary story of an ordinary week in the south of italy.

so may just write this as a diary, starting on friday when it rained all day( heavily ) and i left my scooter outside my door because my studio was looking so nice with some new on loan furniture that i didnt want to have a scooter parked in it. ( poor scooter got a little flooded and didnt want to start on monday. i felt very guilty cause it was very wet. at home in the country i cover it up in the shed with a fur coat. so its used to better treatment.)

anyways the rain prevented the car being loaded for the market so we had to get up at 5am the next morning . ( well, i didnt actually load it, but i did put the toast on.)

so off we went to the market in matera. it was very windy which meant that my paintings were swinging about threatening to fall down all the time and to add insult to injury we sold nothing. but i did go back to the tiffany cafe to check out their toilet with the naked woman on the floor, again. (amazing) and i was directed to a gorgeous vintage shop with lots of lovely clothes, such a pity i had absolutely no excuse to buy anything!

so we went home but, got lost twice before we were out of matera.

then next morning, sunday, we were up again at 5.30am and off to another market in martina franca. this time it was more successful. i went off to take lots of phots of the centro storico so that i could do some paintings of the city before i start doing a craft market there in april. it was a lovely morning, and a beautiful place. i am still amazed that i get to live here. i went into my favourite cafe, the music cafe where it looks good, they play what sounds like french jazzy music and their toilet has a lock on the door.

monday , i had another entirely italian experience which i cant write about here but was one where someone takes you completely by surprise by doing something that makes you laugh and love italians. i would be honoured to be an honorary italian. there is something very liberating about life here.

and today i rode my scooter( it has forgiven me) to marconia and picked up my new scooter licence, drove the wrong way up a one way street( i think) and bought a hot water bottle, before coming back to pisticci, buying two handbags at the street market, they were three euros each and i had a weak monent, had lunch with j at my studio, courtesy of nella, my neighbour who cooks lunch for me nearly every day and lowers it down from her balcony on a string in a carrier bag. (then coffee later.) and finshed off by fixing seven paintings that i had looked at and thought i could have done better.

like i said at the beginning just ordinary life in pisticci.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the cure for depressing february blues- a walk in pisticci

Today, according to sky news, is cant get out of bed , take a sicky day. This is apparently because its february, the weather is rubbish and its the most depressing time of year.

I woke up this morning and thought I would love a day off . So being offered a coffee in Pisticci before I started work seemed like a great idea.

So we walked from my studio ( did i mention that the sun was shining, the sky was as blue as can be and it was peaceful.)

Round the first corner we met an old friend , lots of shaking of hands and greetings and then another and more greetings, and that wasnt counting saying buon giorno to the lady sitting outside her house enjoying the sun. By the time we reached the piazza I had been stopped and asked for my phone number by someone possibly wanting a painting and on meeting my partner he was about to be bought a coffee by two gentlemen who seemed to know us , so we all went into the bar in the piazza and had a coffee and then left still not quite knowing exactly who they were but it was very pleasant anyways.

Walking down the corsa we were hailed by someone who has a house near us and wants to know if we know anyone who would like to buy it. So we arrange to go take photos on sunday. Then an other gentleman who speaks english stops us and talks for a few minutes about how much he likes going in the country now that he is older and isnt it beautiful.

Back down the hill we stop in the new little fruit shop. The young couple who run it used to sell outside under an umbrella. I had painted a small picture of the piazza with the umbrella in the corner and they bought it. I was really touched to see that they have my painting on the wall in their new shop.

So leaving there ( feeling really special) we headed off up the hill to terravechia, that is the oldest part of Pisticci. The views are gorgeous. Beneath us is dirupo, with all the little white houses , then the valley and then the snow capped mountains.

As we headed past the semi derelict but picturesque palace we met our neighbour from the country and he invited us into his house for coffee. His house looks out on this view and he really appreciates it. We chatted , he speaks english, and laughed and congratulated each other on how lucky we were to live here.

Then we walked down the really steep brick road round the back of dirupo, talking about the house for sale we saw on the way past and arrived back at my studio.

What a lovely way to start my day!

I have always thought that living in pisticci was a potential cure for the blues and not wishing to keep this to myself, if anyone would like to try it I would be more than happy to help them find accommodation or give them more information.

have a good day.