Since the dawn of time, people have had the compulsion to organize and be artistic. I’ve stood in front of pieces and wept unexpectedly. I’ve stood in front of others and had a purely joyful reaction or abstract sense of wellness, or coziness from others. And yes, sometimes I stand and feel nothing.
(above link to image at the Smithsonian American Art Museum website)
I read a good article in the October 2012 issue of "The Artist's Magazine" written by Jerry N. Weiss, titled, "I cannot Do Better Than That".
The title quote is in reference to the oil painting, High Cliff, Coast of Maine,by Winslow Homer. Apparently, he had showed this painting a lot for 9 years before it found a buyer. It contributed to his frequent questioning of himself in his mid-life sales slump. In his frustration he asked his gallery in Chicago, "Why do you not sell that "High Cliff" picture? I cannot do better than that. Why should I paint?"
The painting is very forceful and naturalistic, but beautiful. Perhaps it wasn't a relaxing living room piece.
At any rate, I found the article interesting and can relate to Homer's struggle to equate sales of pieces that he felt were among his best with his sense of self worth.
This past month, I was feeling really cheerful and thankful for the time I had to enjoy household tasks.
One morning, I was standing on a dining room chair with one foot on the table cleaning the little chandelier that hangs there. Granted, the sun was shining bright on the snow and in
that does wonders for the heart at this time of the year.
Like a lot of other people, I really bond with my house and want to have the time to enjoy taking care of it. Not that it always works out that way.
It’s those times when I’m in the moment that give me an emotional boost.
I consider myself a sensitive person (or a highly sensitive person!). I’m often overwhelmed with the size and number of the world’s problems. I try to live in such a way that I effect positive change and it’s these little tasks, the joy of family, and the beauty of art and nature that keep me from stumbling over the sorrows outside of my sphere of influence.
And did I mention? Bring on the spring!!
1st painting of the trip, the view from the window
I am really late in blog posting....I am going to start where I left off and add a few more as I get to it. This summer was a whirlwind of travel, house buying, Chicken Pox, and dachshund woes. There was a lot of change in a small space of time- a lot of "living".
My family and I went to Montefiascone in May for me to learn and enjoy a residency with Artegiro Contemporary Fine Art. Our hosts and friends, Damien and Renata Summo-O'Connell and their dear children, were gracious to help with settling us in and supporting the project.
Montefiascone is on a hill, a mountain. The weather changes often and quickly. Sometimes the clouds were far above you, and sometimes below you. The people of Montefiascone are justifiably proud of their town. We stayed right next to the Cathedral-the Cattedrale di Santa Margherita ( which has the 3rd largest dome in Italy) and just below the breathtaking view from the Rock of The Popes. This tiny town had Slow Food member eateries and a wonderful enoteca called "Volo di Vino".
Returning to Italy after a few years absence was exciting. I'm always surprised that my Italian (such as it is) hasn't shriveled completely in the meantime. I'm also surprised at how much pleasure I get from working on the language. I feel actually exhilarated when I am able to communicate successfully and build relationships- to understand and be understood! I was happy to trade the initial shock of being in a different country for the slower, comfortable feeling of returning "home" in a way. After living in Italy- part of me changed forever and not a day goes by that I don't think about it. I think everyone who has spent a decent amount of time in another country has that same feeling.
This little painting is just under 8x10in. and is painted near the center of town.
Outside Regula's stone studio
One of the definite highlights of the trip were all the wonderful people I met. The studio was out of a dream-complete with artists in and out and a talented sculptor owner-Adrianna. She gave me roses from her garden which I painted one rainy day.
Angelo, a photographer,
, took me on more than 1 memorable excursion, patiently hearing me out in Italian. Simone and Gabriele are the owners of Volo di Vino and a talented duo of taste and writing. Quinto gave us a book he's written about figures in a fresco in one of the ancient churches and enriched our experience. Not to mention sculptor, Regula Zwicky, who inspired me, Rosanna, who invited me to her home and took me landscape painting in a nut tree grove, and Renata, my dear host, who is always an inspiration and herself an aesthete and cultural artist.
Painting Yindi in the studio
The night view from my window