It seemed like I worked on it for ages… and yet 8 months has flown by.
I was nervous, and then I had it in my hands. And now, I love it so much.
Thank you Vici Johnstone, we did this together.
So Max proclaimed, and it was true. Also true is what Julie said to me back in Florence just a couple of days before we left to go home. “Oh, you’ll be happy to get home, but about February, on a cold grim day, you will feel a deep unquenchable yearning in your soul for Italy.” OK, maybe those weren’t her exact words, but very nearly. So, in an effort to recapture some whisper of the flavour of that time, I have turned my eyes to coffee. Luckily, I have many, many pictures of it to choose from.
I dream of espresso, aromatic and sharp, but sweet. Sipped from thick, white porcelain cups. Even at the gas station, they would not serve a “To-go” coffee – Paolo brought it out in its perfect little cup with saucer and I drank it by the pump. It was all so delicious, every one. But the best was in the piazza of Santo Spirito, or the Boring church as Max called it.
I see his point, but I could never find it boring to sit on steps which felt the feet of Michelangelo.
And I do long to go back……… I knew I would.
I have been talking about sketching in Janet and Robert’s garden for awhile now, and we made it happen today. I rattled over the country roads and up a steep drive on my beast of a ShopRider, basket full of sketch stuff. I thought I might spend a couple of hours, drawing the clusters of grapes on the arbor, but it turned into a most wonderful afternoon – the three of us gathered around a still-life of freshly picked things, either from their garden or a local stand.
We had food and a shade umbrella and the blue sky was streaked with horsetail clouds.
Five lovely hours we all sat and drew, the murmur of India Runner ducks in the background.
So delightfully peaceful.
Even though my mind is moving toward Italy, I haven’t ignored this beautiful coast summer. I have spent pleasant hours on my pretty back deck, enjoying my flower filled pots and O’Keeffe inspired wall art.
I scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.
But the best day of all was when instead of going up the lane back home, I unexpectedly turned the shoprider down towards the lookout at the end of my road and started a sketch of the view. Suddenly, I heard a huge whooshing blow – a woman on the beach below started yelling “The Whale!! The Whale!!” so I peeled out to a more open point and there it was. Or at least there was the spray and a huge hump of a grey back, moving slowly, following the tide line toward Sechelt.
I could feel it – I’m sure.
A great day indeed.
That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.
I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly. So, I have made up a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.
Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.
While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.
Two more weeks……….
Last June one of these beautiful friends landed on my shoulder.
It was a lovely surprise, but I didn’t think too much about it, I just thought it had been battered and tattered in the cool wind and rain. This spring, when I saw a fresh strong butterfly in the shrubs around the Arts Centre in Sechelt, I did a little digging
They are born with the tatters, they are native, and were possibly given the poetic name “Mourning Cloak” by Scandinavian or German settlers, though no explanation as to why. It doesn’t matter, I love the name. I also think it amusing that Nymphalis Antiopa is a brush-footed butterfly, called this due to their hairy front legs. 🙂