Monday, May 30, 2011

To Market , to Market to sell a fine painting.....

Stagger out of bed at 5am and after grabbing some toast we set off for two markets. This will be my first time in martina franca at the arty market , by myself.

Even at 5.30am its light now, which makes it not seem quite so early. I am getting dropped off while j. goes on to another market further on. Should all work like clockwork!

So we arrive in the centro storico (Historical centre) and here I am with the umbrella set up at the side of the piazza. (The handle broke off while winding it up but will worry about getting it back down later.)There is always a lovely friendly feel setting up. No one is really in a hurry and when the woman selling jewelry next to me needed to move her stand along a bit everyone helped.

I decided to be minimalist today and so have unfortunately forgotten that some of my paintings have no frames so will be difficult to display. But in my slightly chilled (literally and physically) state I figure I will think of something . Round about this time the wind gets up and blows over half my paintings. Luckily not any with glass in them , as I had them lying flat.

Anyways ,eventually ,with the aid of 2 easels, a table and lots of bits of string to tie everything down, up and around ,I am set up.

Then I have time to look around. Next to me is a man with only 5 pieces of art. They are interesting and become more so as the day goes on. There are maybe a dozen vendors with paintings and three times as many with crafts, jewelry, pottery ,all sorts of things.

Its a great chance for me to practice speaking italian and luckily the man with the interesting art is really chatty. It 's his first time at a market. As the day goes on it gets warmer and eventually everyone is set up. Not that there is an opening time anyways, or not that I am aware of.

It is so great to be part of a market in a lovely old piazza. I would have liked to have taken more photos but in the spirit of minimalism had left my good camera at home.

(There is a point to the minimalism .)

So all day I sit and watch people go by, picking out the tourists easily by the way they are dressed , stand about and chat to giacomo next door, (now I know all about his art work and how it's made and what it means.) I go for a few little "giro 's" , including coffee and then I actually sell a painting. It's the one I did the afternoon before because it had a trulli in it (Little house with conical roof) and also i had always liked the photo I used as reference ,because of the criss crossing branches . That is a great feeling .

When it gets to lunch time Giacomo says his wife is bringing lunch and would I like her to bring some for me. As I am really hungry I say thank you. His wife is lovely and the food is great. And then we have a coffee.

The afternoon drags a bit but by 5pm people are coming out for a passiegata ( walk along the street, chatting to people and wearing nice clothes.)

Some of the stall holders get together in the middle of the piazza and do half an hours traditional music and singing. During this time Giacomo buys me an ice cream because he says music is better with ice cream.

Then I go see an exhibition by a local naive painter which really moves me and I finally work out why I paint the way I do.

And I am completely overwhelmed by the whole day, and did I mention early evening light is spectacular on the surrounding buildings.

It gets colder later on and when I go to get a hot cup of tea in a cafe I get an iced tea, with ice cubes in a glass. And it was too late to say it was wrong. (Shudder!)

There are several women who sell crafts , and some day , I will speak well enough to maybe be part of their group. They are sitting, chatting and laughing and I miss belonging.

Then it is impossible to leave until well after 9 pm as the narrow streets are packed with people and the car cant get near. ( The reason for minimalism being I thought I might have to carry everything some distance !)

However the car gets there and then somehow is manouvered out between vendors packing up, people walking by and then scrapes through incredibly narrow streets and we are on our way home.

What a brilliant day. wish you'd been there.

(Have not used Giacomo's real name.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

glass of wine, scooter lights and order

Am sitting at my desk, lunch is cooking and I have treated myself to a glass of wine. It has been another day of mixed emotions, varied happenings and not getting stuff done. And its only lunch time!

I may sound a little ungrateful for sun and art and the good life, but oh, for a little order or even boredom: no boredom is going a bit too far, just some routine.

Take today for instance. I had plans. I started ok. scootered up to studio , made fakey cappucino and checked emails. ok so far.

Then I got the chance to go out for coffee and ,well I did need to go to the post office. So off I went, telling myself that I never get started painting before 11am anyways , oh and if I dont go out what will I write about and more in that vein.

So after coffee, (I even tried to draw in the cafe) I made another visit to the post office where I waited for my number to come up and then got a bill and no book from America. (been waiting 6 weeks now and the other book arrived 3 weeks ago.)

And now due to somewhat heated interchange in cafe I have to go back to country house and pick up some documents. But it is only 10.30am Maybe I can get started at 11am yet.

So scooter back to country house, admire kitten in porch and then forgetting to leave bill set off for studio. On way note that scooter engine is making a strange clanking noise. console myself with the spurious reasoning that as I am a little anxious I am probably imagining it. So I clank up to Pisticci, forgetting to admire the lovely scenery as I am focused on getting some work done or I will never be able to afford to stay here. No pressure huh! ( and hoping that the clanking doesnt stop along with the motor!)

So back in the studio I turn on the computer and find an episode of Claire in the community and set to work. After half an hour of repainting stuff I did yesterday I realise I have a splitting headache so look for paracetamols. Cant find any so reluctantly leave painting and decide I had better go get some before the shops all close at 1pm for the siesta. On the way out I see that the mechanic who has often helped me out before is in his workshop so decide to ask him if he could fix the lights.( not the clanking, cause after all I could be imagining that, and if he doesnt say anything when he hears the engine then it is obviously all in my head, yes?)

So I ask him , if , when he has time , maybe he could possibly look at my lights? No wonder I cant speak Italian when I try to say things like that! So after making myself understood he kindly tells me to go bring it round now, so forgetting about the paracetamols I go get the scooter.

I stand around after explaining that the lights work but they seem to be crossed. They make a weird pattern on the road and I cant hardly see anything. That was even more difficult to explain and had to resort to hand gestures. Luckily there was a screw missing so that wasn't all in my head! Perhaps I could have put that better!

And then I waited and looked around and his workshop was so ordered and colourful and full of stuff. Like all this potential to make things better .( repair things). Maybe it was the way everything was ordered and contrasted with the curved ceiling and old walls. Maybe the fact that there were old things beside new things, beside machines for making metal wotsits.

And so very much more. It just had real personality.

I said how much I admired it, all the little drawers, and shelves and curious containers, and rows of tools in ascending order. He may well have been a little puzzled by my enthusiasm for his workshop, especially when I said could I go get my camera and take some photos but clutching a bag of tools which he had given me out of a particularly interesting cabinet with shallow sliding drawers, which I think he said had belonged to a chemist, I went off and returned with my camera and one of my newly made prints of Pisticci as a thank you for the tools.

So now my lights are fixed and I can adjust them myself if need be with one of my new screwdrivers. I also know how to lock my scooter wheel. ( I thought the wheel had jammed!)

Slightly embarrassing.

And now I have finished the wine, my lunch has dried out and I want some order in my life, maybe..................

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the little car that wouldn't go.......

The little car sat in the garden in the south of Italy and waited.

The grass grew up round its wheels and cats slept on its bonnet. It was shaded by an old olive tree which fanned it in the breeze and scratched and hit it in storms.

It was old and tired and it just did not want to go anywhere, do anything, it was fed up!

Before it got to the garden It had sat in a yard with some other vehicles. It was in the town and there was lots going on so it wasn't bored. It got a bit scruffy and neglected but it wasnt a bad life.

Then one day some people came along and poked and prodded and pushed it around. they looked in the engine and tutted and shook fingers and then disappeared. The little car thought that was that and settled back to retire again but no sooner had it got comfortable than it was pushed and pulled and hauled and balanced and lifted and slightly broken and loaded on to a lorry. Luckily it was well tied on because the lorry sped off up hills round bends under trees and finally arrived in the garden where it was pulled off and parked under the olive tree.

And then a horrid time began in the cars life when it was taken to bits and put back together again, driven down the road and then taken to bits again. Then there was a spell when it was taken to another town and parked in a street and poked and prodded and argued over again. Someone called Angelo who seemed to be quite fond of it kept twiddling with this and that and then finally it stopped. The little car sat there for weeks.

Then one day Angelo got in and drove off in it, but unfortunately there was hardly any petrol so he didn't get very far. Next came a very small truck and several people shoved and pushed and shouted a lot and made the little car get in even though it broke one of its mirrors. That was a bad day for the car but Angelo was pleased . He had made it pass a test which had required more prodding and poking.

Later that day the little car had been taken back to the garden and then it sat there for months. It was rained on and the seats got wet. It got cold and would not start and it was quite miserable. But eventually the sun came out again and the car cheered up a little. There were things going on in the garden. A strange man was often around climbing trees and cutting bits off. Some times he fell down. That was funny. Sometimes he drove a tractor but he never spoke to the little car except to say, "useless piece of plastic" as he marched past. Sometimes he ran past chasing a cat.

The little car just watched.

Then one day a woman called Anna got in and tried to start up the engine. The little car held its breath and refused to start.

Later that day Angelo returned. He came back every day for what seemed like weeks and put in extra bits, then took them out again. He sighed , scratched his head and had a smoke a lot ,but eventually all seemed in order.

Now Anna was the owner of the little car and she was a little scared of driving but she was determined to be brave and take the little car out lots of places and take care of it. She thought it could become a very special little car. In fact she was going to write a book about it, where they went on lots of little journeys and visited interesting places and painted them.

So one morning , after Anna had not slept at all well because she was so anxious about taking the little car out for its first trip, she got up and before she got into the car she sat down and drew it in the garden. underneath she wrote MY AMICA IN THE GARDEN. Then she gritted her teeth got in and reversed round the corner. And then it stopped. And that was that. It would not go. The engine went on going but the little car would not move and nothing would make it go!!

Anna got out, pushed it back under the olive tree, got on her scooter (trying not to feel relieved) and left.

The little car let out its breath, relaxed, yawned and prepared for another day in the garden.

Not knowing that Angelo was speeding up the road with his tool kit and determined expression on his face......................................................................................................