Sunday, August 29, 2010

Francesca and Lydia

A couple more portraits. No commissions this week but I still paint every day

Monday, August 23, 2010


A portrait of friend Franca. I am getting faster and a little better. The need for speed is to keep the cost down, nobody has any money to spend on art here and I don't want an apartment full of paintings!

After one hour

Two hours

Three hours

Three and a half hours + half an hour prep = Four hours total

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guiseppe and Laura

A couple more portraits. Because I socialise on the street at night (and a painting hermit during the day) most of the commissions I get are from photos taken in the dark which are often blurry and difficult to see detail. Perhaps it is good for me to be not so particular!

Friday, August 13, 2010


So do you need talent to be an artist (or anything) or can you make it through sheer hard work? And does it matter? Perhaps tapping in to your creativity is something you need talent for but I think you can learn that also. So why are artists considered special? Different than a good plumber? It's all a hoax (look at that word for a while, unusual) so as long as we don't tell the common people we will continue to be special. Hope no common people are reading this. Do you need talent to be a common person.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas

My latest portrait (well until the one I did today) - Monica from the best gelato shop in town

My house is the last on the street out of Roccasecca right next to the statue Of St. Thomas Aquinas who was born here. He stands fifteen metres high, bare foot with a book in his hand, leaning forward as if about to stride out over the plain and is perhaps the reason the people are so proud of their town. There are many public sculptures both old and contemporary in a town half the size of Whitianga (take note councillors!).
At six I kneel to the altar of my coffee machine (no room for it on my bench) and walk early along unpretentious country lanes. Small farms, around 3 hectares, olives, grapes, fruit and nuts, large vege gardens, tomato, bean, eggplant, lettuce. They grow all their own food and make wine, olive oil, tomato paste etc. Small flocks of floppy eared sheep, goats and a cow or two graze in fields of cornflower blue and queen annes lace.
The well kept houses 2-3 story, some white but mostly soft creams and browns with orange tile roofs without flower gardens all concrete and tile with big pot plants.
I climb high up a stony track in a narrow gorge to the 11th century church Eremo Spirito Santo built into the rock with a hermit cave above it. Well preserved but used rarely except for the sheep (religion Baha’i??) it’s as if time has stopped. The bell up as if to ring down and inside a withered apple an open drawer and faded family photos.
So I swing home to a day at the easel happy with the rhythm of my life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Lone Wolf

Being completely alone in a foreign country where I don't speak the language hasn't been easy but I wonder how much can be attributed to the residue of 42 years of relationships. I have become used to a shared experience with partner and children and now the joy and pain are completely mine (and yours now!). Lonliness is a strange experience, you can be lonely in a crowd and unlonely by your self but really in the end it is only a state of mind and I like to change the rules in my head to change the experience. You know how time, which is constant, goes fast and slow depending whether you are enjoying yourself or not. Imagine if you could make it go slow when you are having a good time and fast when you are being tortured. It must be able to be done, it's only a state of mind.
My Italian is improving. I know all the regular patrons of my bar and we have great fun every night. They teach me new words then laugh at my pronunciation. They are a warm and loving people as long as you keep money, religion and the mafia out of the conversation! What's left??