When I arrived here eight years ago, on a one year visa, I had no idea how long I would stay. Three months, perhaps, and then I would have an annual painting holiday here? Instead, my 'bolt hole' apartment became my home.
A year after my arrival I wrote this post. I am less sure of where home is now, or perhaps I am more sure that I have at least two homes.
The commemorations for 100 years of ANZAC hard on the heels of the 70th anniversary commemorations here last year have left me in a more fragile state. This week my heart and head have both been in New Zealand, and it has been harder keeping my daily life here moving smoothly.
Three days ago my permission to live here expired. My application to stay another two years is in. I play the waiting game. Will this remain my home, or will I become that visitor on a painting holiday every year? Rules are being tightened all through the systems here. I can't take anything for granted any more.
If home is where the heart is, then I am lucky to have many homes.
Today, the festival for the liberation of Italy (WWII) I take stock, paint some ANZAC Day poppies (see note below), and reflect on my fragmented life. I am grateful for all that I have learned over the past eight years. It hasn't been easy, but it has been a good life.
Happy anniversary to me.
Today I am grateful for options and choices.
Poppies: I am exhibiting here in June, and chose to focus on the poppy in all its meanings. I began with the joy and brightness of it, lifting myself away from the commemorative meanings. That series is the strong ones in the previous post. I have worked my way back to the poppy for commemoration. The timing is perfect, but it doesn't make the work any easier. I will be focusing on the art making, more than the significance, as I paint today. ANZAC Day has been emotional enough for me already. (Painting above is a detail from a poppy I painted last year).