Friday, June 25, 2010

More characters

My temporary studio at the castello. Not a bad place to work with a view over the town and no curtains to splash paint on! The easel painting is of Rita with a 5 hour difference. She is a lovely character at my local, hardworking with a brilliant smile but with an underlying longing. Michele is in the background.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I ask myself why Roccasecca feels like home to me and I guess there are many answers. Sometimes it just takes a friendly face to change your perception of a town and from the very first night I have been blessed with many friendly faces. But there is more to it than that. In Gagnieres I felt claustrophobic with the hills coming right down into the village. I'm used to living by the sea with wide horizons and Roccasec perched high on a mountain looks out over a very wide plain which gives me the impression of an ocean, particularly in the morning when it is covered in mist. But more. There are at least 10 public sculptures, in a town much smaller than Whitianga, with a huge (15 metre) one of Tommaso Aquinas the middle age philosopher who was born here. Is it his legacy that brings artists? My apartment is right next to his figure (fate?), leaning forward as if about to stride out over the plain.
So I really can't answer the question but do I need to? Sometimes something just feels right and you grab it with both hands.
La Locanda, the hotel that bought my sculpture have generously offered me free accomodation until my apartment is ready in 2 or 3 days. It will be good to have an kitchen again!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poor Traits

OK I have finished Allessandro, he doesn't look much different but you will have to believe me that he looks better in real life (paint!). Ugo is finished too, a lovely 86 year old and a regular at the card table

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Allessandro (yet again)

Just about finished Allessandro, alright I have done my 8 hours but it looks like he has a wad of cotton wool on his head. I need to settle it down with some shadow. Please!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm back in France but not for long, maybe two weeks. I've fallen in love with the small town and people of Roccasecca where I stayed during the exhibition and will head back there to find a place to live. I sold my sculpture to the Locanda Del Castello a beauitiful old hotel, family run and who have become very good friends.

The title is 'Feb. 1944 We died. For What!'
Over 300 civilians died during the bombing of the Abbey on Monte Cassino ordered by Freyberg the NZ Commander. I have portrayed a mother, father and child rising phoenix like out of the ruined buiding and looking out at the world today and asking the question "Was our sacrifice worth it?" Is there less war? Are peoples' values better? I think not.

You can just make out the sculpture below the hotel with the old church on the hill leading to 2nd century ruins

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Allessandros' tyres have been slashed again. He says it's because he is from Rome but I don't know. He rocks between anger and laughter then suddenly picks up Mr Brigadiers' glass and hurls it at the teenagers across the street. There is a moment when it's alright as the glass bounces once but miracles don't happen twice and everybody lets out a sigh as it smashes and lets loose the young men. Allessandro is down and I try to deflect the kicks then it is over, nothing malicious just bantams crowing and fighting.
He plays chess like a gentleman. Indicates when I am in danger and wants me to take back a move that he considers stupid and then cries out 'I cannot play like this' when I won't. We play fast. Bang, bang, bang and as soon as he feels I have an advantage he knocks his king over with a great flourish. Sure he wins but then he gives me Stautons chess book in english and says I have to read it from cover to cover before he'll play me again.
I feel for him. His heart is in Rome but his ailing parents are in Roccasecca. He must travel sometimes 3 hours each way to work as a lighting tehnician in Rome for 1000euros a month. 'But I love them' he pleads and 'I can't afford to live and I can't afford to die'. He's fond of quotes and not a good listener but what he says has huge meaning and I can sit with him for hours trying to decipher his wonderful mind. We have a common love of Bertrand Russell and both read his 'History of Western Philosophy' at an early age which certainly opened my eyes and, I suspect, his.
So heres to you brother. Long may you hold court at the bar and I will sit and wonder and kiss your feet.