inspiration

Love Story, Love Art

Love, love, love.

In addition to painting, I love reading and growing plants.  I used to read

a lot

when I was young.  My backup career ideas as a teen were Library Science and English Literature.  Like some of you may have, I quit reading fiction when I got BUSY.  A few years ago, my mom gave me a hardcover copy of “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith (who also wrote the original 101 Dalmatians story and hit plays for the

London

stage), and I got re-hooked!

I like romantic stories and classics and some poetry, and that overflows into my painting life and always has.  One important piece of being an artist is BEING an artist; that is living life as a story.  The things I can control-doing my best to make them beautiful- and the things I can’t control- doing my best to make the most good out of them.

I’ve always loved reading artist’s biographies and journals.  I’m fascinated by the connections between what they painted with how they lived.  The more I know of their lives, the more emotion I pull from the work.  If I have a real life encounter with an exhibition of paintings by Manet or Cezanne, for example, I am powerfully moved-even if their work hadn't been of noted interest to me before.  There is something about connecting the story of their lives with their original work that I find so moving.  

I do a lot of thinking about "why buy art?  Why watch art?  Why make it?"

There is much I could say about this topic and I’m interested in what

you

have to say about it, and today I’ll just share this thought: Art and the making of it and the living of it is part of a story, the story of the maker

and

the story of the person who collects it.  At that point our stories meet and mingle.  The art expresses something of the buyer’s taste and experience that the painter shares with them.  The artist’s accomplishments become part of the collector’s personal story.  I LOVE this tapestry.  Story is so beautifully human.

Still Life Inspiration from Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Still Life Inspiration from Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

 I almost have the feeling that he would set about to paint something and honestly not know how he was going to pull it off. I don’t think he had any doubt in his ability to pull it off, it’s more that he was unafraid of different techniques and even rather unconventional points of view- odd angles, even including rather odd items or compositional elements. His unique perspective makes his work feel fresh to me.

On Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”

This week I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book “Big Magic-Creative Living beyond Fear”.  I haven't read "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Committed: A Love Story" or "The Signature of All Things" but I may.  
When I read, I’m not the sort of person that feels that they have to agree or disagree or come up with some sort of pronouncement.  It’s enough for me to get a golden nugget of information or inspiration.  I wasn’t always this way, but I am now.
I got really excited by Gilbert’s description of herself as a child.  She describes herself as a very fearful child that wished for example, when at the beach, that everyone there would come out of the water and read so she wouldn’t have to worry for their safety.   That is familiar to me.  My parents would agree that I shared some traits with young Ms. Gilbert.

She goes on to describe her encounters with the creative spirit.  She experiences an Idea as an entity that comes knocking, asking for you to help bring it to life, and if you pass on its offer, it’ll visit someone else.  She has some examples from her own life that are fascinating enough for you to go read them yourself.  Again, after getting over the strangeness of the concept, I had to agree that I have felt that sort of “magic” in my own life.  I found that after reading about Gilbert’s experiences, that understanding creativity in this whimsical way, for me, helps me feel less fearful as I step forward in my productivity, whether it be painting, writing, or doing business or making new connections.  I feel more aware when an Idea comes knocking, more conscious as I accept a project or turn it down.  And I’ve been doing it for years, but without the sort wakefulness that Gilbert has cultivated.


Living Above The Clouds In Montefiascone

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, 

www.artegiro.com

, 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