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.