Friday, December 13, 2013

Hurray - the blue skies are back and the world is the right way up again.....

I like to read the previous post before I start so that I don't repeat myself and was thinking how ironic it was that after all my complaints about the rain - cyclone neptune had  still to arrive.. I was very fortunate as apart from even more musical plinks and plonks as water dripped into boxes in the attic and nearly running out of towels to stuff under doors to keep the torrential rain out, my house and me seem to have survived more or less ok. There were floods and landslides in various areas nearby and a big LIDL store sank into the ground at one side.
However after all that the sun came back. Obviously the sky has run out of rain now- well it's a nice thought!
And I have found a great yoga class with the teacher I liked very much when I went before,  a lovely group of people and am now as flexible as a piece of string but failing miserably at standing on one leg. ( The class is held in TILT the centro regionale per la creativita di pisticci - which does all sorts of things from showing films, holding classes on computing, playing a harp and  countless other things.. and I am looking forward to doing other activities there hopefully in the future.)
Today I have been outside most of the day as I have finished my last commission before Christmas and it was warmer outside than in my studio - but am not going to moan about the cold.
I have had a lovely day and time.......
view from dirupo on way to centre

want to paint this sometime


stairway to piazza san rocco

looking over dirupo

all the shops have red carpets at their doors. I love it.

piazza umberto primo

met the artist who made these out of recycled stuff.

my decorated door. (what a lovely reflection)

my other decorated door. (first time)

hurray for sunshine

lots of my plants are flowering

my cute letter box

decorated studio
 to take as many photos as I wanted so here is a photographic report of Pisticci today looking as beautiful as ever..........

Monday, November 18, 2013

Boo Hoo Its been raining for weeks- or it feels like it!

Am sitting here at my desk in my little "study"- I have a good imagination- not everyone would consider it a study but it makes me feel good saying it is.
This is the first day that it has not rained in over a week. It was sunny this morning .Then by lunch time it was overcast , but it has not actually rained yet.
Life is so very different here in winter.
Not so far as I am aware "good" different. It feels like going into survival mode,  hibernating, finding ways to keep warm, being shut in all the time, getting lonely..........
However who wants to read about the miseries of living in a lovely little Italian town, hearing Italian spoken all round, eating pizza and all sorts of other Italian dishes, going out for real coffee every day, lighting the first fire of the season in the hearth in the new house in the country, going to markets , meeting friends for lunch..........and so on.
I think it is the feeling shut in part that is the most difficult . In summer when i am home my door is never closed. The windows are open. If I look out then there are usually people about somewhere- either hanging out washing, shouting to each other, sitting at their doors enjoying the heat or going off to do some shopping. This last ten days (which feels like a month) when it hasn't been heavy rain then it has been foggy or cold and everyone is indoors.
I should have got on a pair of wellies( if I had a pair) and a strong umbrella (did I mention the winds!) and marched off up town in a jolly fashion and commiserated in a cafe with all the other people who were fed up with rain too.
I realise that in other countries this is just normal for this time of year but i think I have forgotten how to er enjoy bad weather.
There are no big shops to wander round in Pisticci, no cinema and I am still waiting to hear about a possible yoga class.
I would not have believed before moving here what an impact the weather can have on my life.
But nearly  the end of the moany bit - it has been excessively wet for a longish period. I seem to remember from other years that usually there might be 2 or 3 days of rain and then some middling days and then a few really nice ones  and then the same again.
I salute all the people who live with unremitting greyness.
On the positive side , the weather will presumably not be like this for months on end - or I will buy wellies and learn to deal with it like most of the rest of the world, and, I have been making my house so colourful and warm inside that it partly makes up for outside.
Maybe I should cook more and try out all the recipes and Italian food that I have always meant to and never got round to. And as i might be in the country every weekend where there are lots of fruit trees and the opportunity to make a small garden I could make "stuff". May need to look up a few books for that.
But mostly I must get out more- I guess it doesnt matter where you live in the world , how pretty or ugly or boring or interesting it is if you get too isolated for whatever reason it's not good.
Sometimes I think about the title of this blog and i know when I thought of it i was not envisaging days stuck inside looking at the rain pouring down.....
So apologies to anyone reading this  and especially to myself - will be back to life as a story I like by the end of the week - whatever the weather.
Have put some sketches I did of my  studio with this and none of the rain.
this is in the country house

got this pretty container as a gift

this is my little flowerpot heater

looks pretty colourful I think

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September- bits n pieces

Ho hum, what to write.......
Could start with a cute little kitten called Korky who is staying for a little holiday...
Korky was abandoned by his mum in the country and in the process of rescuing him in the long grass his owner got bitten by a viper - twice- and had to go to hospital. ( Is quite well now)
I am looking after him for a week or so and have never had a kitten before. I bought him a little tartan bed and a big furry dog and he is asleep at the minute underneath the dog. I sort of stayed in for a couple of days as I felt sorry for the poor little thing incase he was lonely. I painted with him sitting on my knee and when I sat - or sit- at the computer he lies on my legs and intermittently chews my arms. I did buy him a rubber shoe but my arm must taste better,
Today I went out to pay bills and search for my water bill (long story!) and then hurried back incase he was missing me.....oh dear!
He is very funny and seems to like playing in among my books. I expect this is because he is very intelligent but I could be wrong.
I also shared a bottle of wine with him. I tied a bit of string on to the cork and it swings from the back of a chair. I drank the wine.
I can't really have a cat as there is no one to look after it when I am away but it is kind of nice to come in and shout "Hi, I am back" to  to someone other than my teddy bear.
Am surviving the lack of really hot weather so far. Partly because there was some really hot weather - over 30c- and also I have enjoyed wearing clothes that are not merely to keep cool in - and no more problems thinking that my legs are too white. Even today - when the temp. is only 20 plus - I didn't need  a jacket to walk up town so it is pleasantly warm still.
But mainly I have been so busy with painting and kitten care I have not noticed it getting gradually cooler. I was cold in the evenings  about a week ago and tried to put my gas heater on only to discover it's not working, but as I was going to get it checked out that was not so big a deal. However when I went to the shop to ask if they could fix it I was met with a horrified expression and told it was too early and to come back next week or the week after. I haven't felt cold in the evenings since then!! I don't dare..
And then......
My scooter is not working. It might be the battery - but it won't start and it always takes me a few days to stop thinking maybe it will just start the next time, before I finally go do something about getting it fixed. (Getting it fixed is complicated.) So,

so far I am telling myself how good it is that i will now get some exercise one the one hand -and what if there is an emergency and I have no transport on the other. The joys of being a procrastinator...
That is probably enough wittering on for today and I will now find some photos of the kitten and some old buildings which I saw when I was walking home the long way with my shopping - getting exercise/minus scooter.
I forgot about the misty morning. It was so beautiful. Because Pisticci is on top of a hill it felt like being in a magical city surrounded by clouds or an island in the sea.And when I looked out towards the sea the mist was like the sea coming towards me. Weird and gorgeous.
And now if you want to read about and see some of the paintings I have been busy with all last month on #paintseptember  I will be posting them on and

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My lovely day......

I was a little worried that with August over it would be all downhill to winter. But no. I have had so many great little happenings that I have not had time to write.
Yesterday, for instance.
Got up at 6.30am and am still managing to fit in my 5 minutes of yoga before breakfast.( Any more than 5 mins and I would just find excuses not to do it.)
After breakfast I got to work on my latest commission which is a portrait of a couple and is gift for an anniversary. I love being able to make gifts for people.
After an hour or so decided that i needed more exercise so I strolled up town through some of the smaller streets- avoiding one particular set of steps which I hate.Not sure if strolling counts as exercise , but there is so much to see on the way.
As it was Thursday then it was coffee with a friend morning and this morning we were pleased to have another new friend who has been staying in Pisticci for several months. We also had cakes/dolce.
Sitting outside chatting, drinking cappucino, eating cakes and greeting people passing by - nice way to pass an hour.
 Being invited to new friend's house we strolled off down the corsa and greeted a few more people. (Greeting people and being greeted is one of the things I like best about living here.)
There are a lot of pretty houses in Pisticci but the one we went to was so lovely with terracotta tiled floors (original) lots of dark wood, arched brick ceilings, - I could go on and on about the beautiful old furniture and all the little interesting little nooks and crannies and not forgetting the view...........
So there we were , sitting at the table surrounded by all this loveliness, looking out the open balcony door at a view of hills and mountains, drinking a small glass of prosecco.
After that I had to rush in a leisurely fashion home as Nella had shouted down to me as I was leaving that she was making pasta con panna and funghi for lunch.
. (that is pasta with cream and mushrooms). Was delicious!)
By this time I was needing a siesta - all this enjoying myself had been a little tiring- and of course the exercise.
Lying on my bed reading my latest book on Kindle was a nice way to pass an hour.
The afternoon was filled with bits and pieces- Nella dropped by for a chat, I worked on my portrait for a couple of hours.
Then it was 5pm and I started on my #paintseptember project for the day. So far I have completed a painting or drawing every day. I am enjoying seeing what I can do in a day and trying new things. I think I was inspired by the cakes of the morning and had a photo on my phone of a coffee cup, glass of water and a sweet in a dish.  That sounded like a challenge. I decided that my aim - apart from making look like what it was- would be to make it look delicious. I finished just after 8pm - and was very pleased with it.
That only left a few hours of my lovely day to spend some time on twitter, a bit of dvd watching  and then off to bed. Definitely a 4* day.              ( all my paintings for #paintingseptember are going on )

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

summer, sketching in piazza, exhibition on the beach....

It has been an interesting and busy August . I went to the beach several times and my legs are not so white any longer. I sketched in the piazza twice and plan to do more of it and I had a brilliant time at the Lido Natura one evening  taking part in an exhibition.
This year has been the first time we went to a bar and hired sunbeds and an umbrella. Oh what luxury- no staggering down to the sea carrying chairs, umbrella and a whole lot of other "neccessary" things and then tying the umbrella down as it was wont to blow over regularly - oh no, not this time. Just  a short stroll  down a proper path to the bar, pay for the sunbeds, umbrella and- very important - use of toilets and showers , and relax. It was nice to sit in the lounge area and have a coffee and cornetto and look at the sea and then find our umbrella all set up with a nice little table.
Then just lying about people watching with the occasional stroll along the waters edge and another diet coke with a small measure of rum. Am not used to such luxury. It was bliss!
This year for the first time ever I was at the beach on feragosto with everybody else.
And obviously as I now had cream coloured legs - instead of white- I also did some sketching in the piazza.It helped that I bought a lovely old document case which I used to keep my sketch pad and paints in.  The first time I was quite self conscious , but the second time I just got on with it. I would like to draw more people so maybe if I get really brave I will get some people to pose.......
one of the highlights of my summer was being part of an evening of art, poetry and music on the beach at the Lido Natura. I was invited  to read a poem in english and bring along some paintings. What a gorgeous evening. I just kept looking around thinking "I can't believe I am doing this". It was unforgetable. I am only sorry I couldn't spend some days there lazing on the beach - next year I will.
This seems like such a brief description of a busy summer which included the feste, the film festival, various concerts and so much more but sometimes photos are better than words.....
summer scootering fashion

lido natura

evening of poetry, art and music, lido natura

crowds at concert, piazza lombardy

watching a film at film festival

looking out from the lounge at the beach bar

crowds and lights at feste

view from sunbed before it got busy

second time sketching
colours of summer in pisticci- this is one of my favourite photos this summer

Monday, August 5, 2013

Can't Sketch Because My Legs Are Too White.......

I miss my blog. I don't know if anyone else does too ,but I used to look forward to writing it and it really added to my life because I thought I sounded so interesting and funny and so many odd and delightful things happened to me and around me that I could easily believe I was living a story.
But in the last few months I have been so busy and stressed with house selling that it feels like I was degenerating into a sort of tour guide - quick little extracts of life with photos. Was ok , but not what I intended to do when I started writing.
My blog is for me as much as anyone else. It is supposed to be a sort of chatty, diary, CV, photo album, autobiography and entertainment.
So, to get on with it all........
Today-  the 5th of August and its holiday time here. Was woken up at 6am on the first of the month by fireworks  followed by a brass band. I think its a lovely way to start the month. (Somebody told me that the fireworks used to be to remind debtors to pay up but now its about" the party has begun."). I would have been slightly more enthusiastic about the fireworks had I not been out at a jazz night at Casa Elizia the previous night.Jazz in the street- brilliant!
But back to today and I was up early to go meet someone in the piazza to arrange a commission. (I thought) So off I go and arrive at the cafe where I am to meet the client and it was another Italian moment. The story-
view every sunny morning

lights ready to be switched on

so pleased with this painting

my colourful little gallery

special summer painting

sun shining in my studio
I was to complete painting for client for 4th august and meet in cafe.. emailed client with photo of said painting. phone call from cafe - meet 8.30am monday for new commission. got reply to email -cant meet 4th- meet 11th instead.
So when asked where was the painting ...................!!!
All sorted now. Have been paid and as for the new commission- don't know what happened to it.
Having had hardly any sleep last night . Sleeping is not one of my skills. I came back to the studio and decided I would go out again and start the day properly and even take my sketch pad with me. I set off on my scooter to go to the cafe where I have been invited to go and sketch any time I like, parked in town , glanced down at my legs sticking out from my flowery shorts and decided on the spot that I could not possibly sketch in public with these legs. So am back here - and strangely my white legs have reminded me of who I am and what I am doing here.
I have not got a tan because I have been too busy painting commissions to go to the beach. I have had lots of work and various deadlines to meet. It is great- I love painting and I have so many ideas that I would need to live  for a long time and have twice as much energy to do everything I want to do.
And I am still a little shy about painting or drawing in public. It is why I like to work from photos in private.
However I will apply some fake tan, go to the beach and have another go at sketching in  the piazza. And I will write about it in my blog next time just you wait and see................