28 March 2012

post script for artists

My skype phone call with the Kiwi artist mentioned briefly in a previous post was followed up by some email pondering and advice, one to the other. This (edited) email conversation should be shared, as so many artists forget how we expose ourselves to toxins daily. (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking! And another yes, I do heed my own, somewhat belated, advice).

Via skype we talked about her stress condition, how it was affecting her life, and what the doctors had diagnosed and recommended. I shared with her my own experiences with resins, varnishes and turps, and more recently hydrochloric acid. She later replied by email:

Artist: Am going out to studio to work out a plan on getting rid of toxic chemicals, especially Turps and enamel paints and varnishes...


Me: There is a (NZ) book you can get that tells you what nasties are in all our products, the book costs 20 dollars and is available at health shops. I think we need to be more aware. When I was with my daughter and son in law in Alabama for Christmas and New Year they were doing the paleo diet, no sugar, flour or processed foods, everything natural. I felt great on that diet, my eyes improved, my skin was good, and my digestive system seemed to function better. ... But maybe worth a look at it without being extreme? eat nuts, seeds, fruit veges and meat. It takes a while to adjust but really I felt so good. But one day of flour products and I was back to feeling flat again.

Food for thought... we are what we eat and breathe!

Artist: PS spent a day working in the studio without fumes and no symptoms whatsoever, so now I realise nearly all of what I and the Dr was putting down to stress disorder was actually caused by chemical sensitivity (mainly turps fumes, but probably also enamel paints and varnish fumes too...) I could have killed myself by being so careless...

Quite a wake-up call...


Unrelated(?) meanderings:

When I read recently about how it is possible to manufacture foods to order, artificial everything, it scared me. What are we doing to our bodies these days? Women paint themselves with toxins to look more beautiful, then turn to more artificial aids to repair the damage those things have done. Give me laughter, fresh food, walks in the natural environment and a stroll along the beach ahead of "beauty treatments" any day.

Passion, enthusiasm for life, and inner peace give us a wonderful glow, and is a "beauty treatment" that costs absolutely nothing!

Today I am grateful for "slow living".

the blossoms

The blossoms are looking fabulous. The landscape is a gentle palette, romantic despite branches broken by the snow still hanging at acute angles in places. I want to wax lyrical but it is 3.30am.

The dogs had been barking at something in the valley a short while ago, and I did the "water out the window in the general direction of the noise" thing. Then I got up because I heard a noise outside. It was my neighbour heading out at 3am. Odd, I thought, something's up. I woke up properly and checked my emails, pondering on the separate lives in one building and hoping that nothing was amiss.

Just as I was thinking the worst (a most unfortunate trait of human nature, or is it a readiness to help?) the neighbour returned. He didn't know that he was being observed.

I guess when you run out of cigarettes and it is 3am you simply drive down to the village and buy them at the vending machine, using your medical card to prove that you are old enough to do so.

But why was he awake? I certainly hope it wasn't my dogs that woke him!

And now back to sleep for me, senza cigarettes, not even having a cuppa in fact!

My ponderings on life and springtime can wait, or resubmerge where they came from. Either way it doesn't really matter, in the bigger scheme of things!

Today I am grateful for my hot water bottle.

23 March 2012

i miss my books

Living between two countries is sometimes a difficult balancing act.

One of the things from New Zealand that I really miss is my wonderful library. Yes, I have books in Italy, but not the wealth of philosophy and art books that wait for me patiently in NZ.

The other thing that I miss hugely is animated debate in my own language about artistic concepts, and the wonderful critiques of our work with fellow artists.

Why didn't I learn Italian when I was younger? How marvellous it would be to discuss at such depth with Italian artists and philosophers.

I guess you could say that Italy fills my soul, but due to my own short-comings I must rely on New Zealand to fill my art-language exercise needs.

Today I am grateful for phone conversation with a New Zealand artist.

22 March 2012

thinking I might

... do another poppy painting and surprise the purchaser of the poppy and scissors painting. Apparently she was disappointed to miss out on the matching pair, and as I hoped that they would be a pair I could paint a similar one and post it to the gallery.


That might be fun. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Today I am grateful for safe driving between towns.

16 March 2012

on life


How precious it is.


Today I am grateful for all those I call my family; blood relatives and chosen friends.

10 March 2012

donated paintings

The request was a donated painting on paper sized 200x200mm - much too small for my liking! I would rather have painted these at 2 metres and in oil, but in the spirit of the fundraiser I managed to produce these two simple watercolours (which did not photograph particularly well).

I aimed for a summery feel and happy colour in this work:
The small square shape requested by the organiser bothered me (I didn't really choose my subject photograph well) so in this one I played with the composition to sit it with a rotated "square" inside the square. I then produced two more much to my own liking, the tall poppy paintings.

It was a "silent auction" and I heard that there had been more bidding on the "prettier" of the two beach scenes than the perhaps more peaceful and reflective one. It certainly reached a higher price than I had expected, so I am pleased that I did make the effort to support the gallery.

I was (just quietly) very relieved that all four works sold, as it would not be nice to feel that your works have been rejected when you have painted them with the specific purpose of raising funds for a good cause!

Today I am grateful for energy chocolate.

9 March 2012

up to date again

It's been a lovely old catch-up time, reading all the blogs that I have been missing out on recently. What a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours!

I have also borrowed some books from a friend and look forward to the treat of reading. (I have written a little in Italian today, so can reward myself with reading in English!)

Tomorrow I will be painting again; it is exciting to be back in watercolours for a while.

Speaking of paintings, I heard today that the paintings I donated to the gallery fund-raising auction in NZ sold and collectively we raised a reasonable amount of money for the gallery, so I am very appreciative of the generous buyers. I will post the images soon, but they can be found here on the gallery website.

I donated two kiwi beach scenes and two poppy pictures. I'm not sure that all viewers "got" my tall poppy images, but they were in fact a quiet poke at the town council who cut the funding to the gallery. The gallery brings visitors from other centres who spend money in the town. Tall poppies should be allowed to thrive, but we have an unfortunate habit of clipping them and bringing them down to size. The metaphor may not be a perfect match, but I am sure you get the picture (no pun intended!)

I am feeling very contended and "mellow", for no apparent reason. Life is good, despite the few ups and downs like broken windscreens and dentist bills. La primavera (spring) is on its way, summer will be close behind it, all is good!

Right now I am tempted to skype family scattered around the world, but instead I will enjoy the photographs and blogs and just think warmly of how much I love them all!

Today I am grateful for communication.

6 March 2012

a sleepy blog post

I have been contemplating dental fees. It's looking like an expensive time for me.

The photo above is of my poor little car, somewhat damaged by the dumping of snow from the roof. Ouch says my pocket, as there is some ongoing debate as to what is and isn't insured in a snowfall - or rather, who covers the cost when the car insurance doesn't. But I've also had a dental check-up, and those photos were a bit scary too. I think that fixing the car might be the cheaper of my two bills.

It got me to thinking about poverty, or lack of, as the case really is. I am overweight, ("buttery" is the delightful term in Italian) which suggests that I eat more than I need to. I have too many clothes in my wardrobe, which suggests that I could give some away and not miss them, and certainly don't need more. I have more than one cell phone, more than one computer, and more than one place to call home. How dare I even think that I am "hard up" when I am living the life style I choose, working when and where I choose, and generally living "the good life"?

As one of my daughters says when people are not moving on with life in a positive way, "suck it in and get on with it" - or words to that effect. So I will "suck in" the bills, enjoy the primavera, and get on with earning my daily bread once again.

And every day I will count my blessings and enjoy the richness of my life.

Today I am grateful for a savings account.

1 March 2012

honest thoughts on a friday

today is Friday, or almost, depending on where you are. But most of my readers are in NZ, so there it is definitely already Friday.

A blog I follow, one which shares much wisdom, arrives in my inbox regularly. I haven't read many of the most recent posts as I have been nursing my strained painting arm and avoiding internet.

But something made me read the post in my inbox today. When I went to comment on it, the blog author had removed the post. I think I understand why she has done so. Perhaps it was just a little too personal, and reflected only a fleeting moment in her day rather than where she really is in her thinking. But it set me thinking.

How honest are people really? That particular blog writer has a wonderful honesty in her writings. They come from her heart. But over the past couple of years I have been terribly disillusioned by some of my own countrymen (and women).

Our country is falling apart, thanks in part to the "old boys network". I hear repeatedly stories of injustices happening in our legislation and business simply because someone plays golf or drinks wine with someone important in the policy making.

People pretend to be who they are not, to achieve their own ends. It sickens me.

I am constantly hearing from NZers about the corruption in Italy. These days I reply that at least the corruption in Italy is open and honest corruption; even Italians will tell you not to trust anyone. In fact one of my closest Italian friends said to me "Kay, don't trust anyone. Not even me." His advice was wise. The newspapers report what is going on, and everyone knows where they stand. In NZ it is sinister, sly, and has the smirk and smile of self-serving evil all over it.

In New Zealand, I trusted almost everyone.

Sadly, that is now in past tense.

Today I am grateful for truly honest people.