The Love that Surrounds Me 1 & 2. Diptych 36" x 36" ea

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Path to Inspiration

... and I mean "the path" literally as well as inspirationally.

You want a view? Here, you gotta earn it baby! No elevators, seniors' scooters, escalators or any other type of "UP" methods of human body transport, just what you've got on you.

Just so you know, you've it good - by this first photo, we are now half way there to more inspiration. This journey starts from just outside Susie's front door on Via San Francesco in Vernazza - she lives up a good few "stories" by this point.

Let's go!

heading around the first bend...

gotta stop and enjoy this...

heading around the next bend...

up the next path...

you gotta look over the edge to see more things...

her studio is in the former church which is also Vernazza's city hall now - the bells still echo thru the hills on the hour and half hour, the new church is down in the village in Piazza Marconi. Her studio space is in the former priest's residence before the church was converted into what it is today.

outdoor "lobby" of church

Ok. We're ready to enter the church... but we're not there yet...

outdoor courtyard inside the church

she's got a lot of free reign around here... they like her!


just in case you need a rest, I haven't included yet another flight of stairs in this foto journey... you can thank me later.

pass by and overlook Vernazza's elementary school playground... (you'd THINK school would be fun with this view!)

Susie and Jake come to the door and...

yep... go up more stairs.

Oh, but WORTH IT!

Sepia tones can take you back in time. Never seen the sea so black as it was this day - it was the morn after a big thunder and lightening storm.

former kitchen... now another work space for her

her main work room... I'd love to rip up her floor and frame it! (she's laid a canvas sheet over the stone)

Charcoal sketches...

Another work space outdoors high up on the church "catwalk"... that sounds rather ironic!

Jake's "running room" on a rainy day (part of the outside area of her studio) - I had to catch him running... he's so sweet!

happy "Jake prints"

ready to start new pieces... at the moment, most of her work is at her exhibition in Genova.

Heading back down now...

Good exercise, beautiful view, gorgeous paintings - and also lovin' that floor of hers - refreshed my inspiration once again!

[even Jake has learned "il calcio" (soccer, or football for you Europeans!) ] :

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Amalfi Fish Shop - A Mini Adventure

Well, for those of you who know me, I love fishing and all things about the sea. So, this blog is for all of you who enjoy similar things, or just simply looking at photos!

Sun coming up in Amalfi streets.

On the way to the fish market store from Amalfi. Yes, this is a 2-way street... the MAIN street.

Luigi: quiet, thinking, smoking - notice the missing mirror, most are ripped off in traffic or driving too close to rocks to avoid traffic, OR just driving too darn crazy! [Me: quiet also, foto and foto and foto taking...]

Part of the main 'drag'.

Short wee video clip... camera battery SOooo close to dying and I am SOooo not done yet!

Arrived at shop... the guys, checkin' out today's catch.

Deep plates of local fish.

Shellfish tubs.

They can't ALL be called Alice... hehe

"i Dentici"... yep, they got teeth.

Sword fish. Mmmmm.

Totani (Squid)... these are little guys - you should see the big ones!

Got lots of guts...

Looking out from the fish shop - lots of lovely Amalfi lemon trees! To the left (not in photo) is the Mediterranean Sea.

Brisk 2 sec espresso stop, then back on the windy road... I'm standing by front door, cafe is SUPER narrow, perched on the cliff...

Just outside cafe, hop in car and head to the left, back to the Fiord restaurant.

Espresso with a side of water - I'm much slower at drinking it than the Italians!

Crossroad Signs

Quickly off again back to restaurant in the Fiord... an even shorter wee clip of winding Amalfi road - camera battery finally dead... :(

...but I arrived safe and sound from fun little adventure!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Benvenuti a Fiordo di Furore!"

Welcome to the Fiord of Furore!

Furore translates to “fury” in English... here, it is the fury of the sea. When a torrent sea is present, the water rages with great force, exploding like an angry volcano of sea water through the narrow channel of the Fiord.

The following photo was taken in 1987 of such a storm:


Every July, there is a platform set up for a diving competition on the other side of the bridge - an amazing drop of 30 meters. This poster is from 2007, the first time I lived here.

the bridge:


Yesterday, the fisherman were going out to sea and the surf was a little too rough for them to launch their boats. They lined the beach with their bows aimed seaward, anxiously waiting for the calming of the sea. Silent and reverent in anticipation... except for the sound of the waves crashing ashore.

All of the sudden, the fishermen started shouting all at once! “Go! Go NOW!”

I quickly grabbed my camera to capture this moment on video, but of course, I got lost in the moment and kept filming and filming... that particular video is the best, but the file is too large to post on my blog!

Here’s another video that’s shorter - but it definitely lacks the drama of the first one.


Earlier during the day I had gone for a swim out past the bridge and back. As I was nearing the shore, one of the older village fisherman whom I know, asked me if I wanted to go for a short row to see some of the villas that are hewn out of, and built up around the cliffs. [Yes... there can be benefits of being a woman in Italy... just choose wisely and appropriately!]. As he rowed, I wondered who lived in this one... what that one looked like inside... what were the secrets of their past...? I was shown the sea rock ‘carved’ by the wind and elements known as the small Madonna (lo scoglio della madonnina) who seems to gaze out to the mariners, perched on nature’s towering stone plinth. Now I was the silent and reverent one.

[Sorry, didn’t take camera swimming!]

We soon arrived at a little moorage spot close to shore to stop for a short swim. There are many of these “moorage” areas scattered about... they consist of a floating plastic container, or plastic pop bottle (anything that will float, really) with a looped rope on top to attach to your oar peg, then also a longer rope wrapped around a rock at the sea bottom. By the way, the oar peg is often just a jammed in stick, but hey, whatever works!

As I was swimming around, I headed toward the shore rocks that welcomed the gently swooshing waves that flowed around them. Apparently it was calling ME too. I knew I had to be a little careful, but there really wasn’t a lot of motion happening... only until one swoosh too many that totally surprised me (that’s how the gets us all!). I grabbed on to the rocks (ohhhh... don’t EVER do that!)... the soles of my feet, knees and palms of my hands got a wee bit scraped on the shells and corrals that are attached to the rocks.

I am told that the sea heals all wounds, so I guess I’ll simply have to keep on swimming - just a little tough to walk right now! Nothing like a little (operative word here!) raking and gouging on sea rocks to make one feel alive!

On the row back, I got my usual lesson in Italian from this singing and educating fisherman... this time about the weather and about the wind, the name of each kind of wind, depending on from which direction it comes...


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Villa Borghese by Bicycle

For today's Roman adventure, I decided to walk to the Villa Borghese... not too far from my b&b, but still a good distance. I've seen a lot of the popular monuments and historic sites on previous visits, but this one was new.

As I started out, I stumbled upon a street market - so many nice things, from Parma ham, to fresh buffalo mozzarella, super inexpensive (and NICE) clothes and oh yes, those beautiful Italian shoes. Yet somehow, I... resisted. I didn't take a picture of the market - I figured it not too wise for a small blonde woman to start 'playing tourist' in this congested area and perhaps, get corralled in and away from the crowd, taken somewhere only to disappear into nowhere. [how dramatic! lol, but you gotta think of these things!]

This blog, for the most part, is a story in pictures. Primarily because I couldn't decide which photos to choose, and also because I'm too tired to write a lot.

Thus begins my day at the Villa Borghese.

The first thing I saw was TREES!! One of my favourite subjects... these fascinating umbrella pines that saturate the city of Rome.

Just then I found out that I could rent a bike and see more trees, and more statues, and cover more ground, and more things, and have the wind in my face, and enjoy a sort of quietness! [Sometimes I think that the inside of my head is noisy enough]. This bike rental place looked pretty interesting, so that's what I did: rented a 'bici normale'.

Me with my bici normale ["beechee normalay"], basket and all - feeling like a real italiana!

got a map of the Villa grounds (like this sign)...

... needed to fill my water bottle before I started...
stopped to view the Piazza del Popolo from above....

scr-r-reached to a stop when I saw this sign - it's my favourite Italian actor - you know him from La Dolce Vita and other films...

then took some other pictures of things that I just liked:

Mmmmm... ok... how about a gelato now? As soon as I saw the sign for gelato, I stopped by 'bici' and my eyes wandered over to the cooler beside the ice cream. Oh... look at that... a Corona! So, I chose that instead. A gelato vendor here is kind of like the ice cream truck at home - quick fix, but not the best fix. So I'm waiting till I can have the real thing. At least a Corona is always a Corona!

... pedalled past the Zoo...

... looked up in awe at this napoleonic statue... (don't ask me who he is, sorry)

Then I saw Leopardi (don't know who HE is either). But he looked so disheartened. All of his friends, philosophers, poets and the like were all so solemn (AND separated).

I decided to imagine that after dark, they all come to life and shoot the breeze about the issues of the day. Maybe they even storm the gelato/Corona vendor!

I figured this pigeon had the right idea - so I also took a little stroll through the sprinklers to cool down. (NO, not in the dirty bird bath).

Saw the Galleria Borghese (as well as the other Museums and Galleries) and was really not in the mood to go in - maybe next time - it almost felt like I would be incarcerating myself to leave the beauty of the outside. It was just my bike and me today!

Now tired, I decide to take the Metro [subway] home. I thought this picture was quite a contrast of subjects... modernity against the backdrop of antiquity.

The first level of entry into the bowels of the city was through here - felt like I was on the set of Star Trek or something... in Rome... ???

So... before coming "home", I bought my train ticket for tomorrow to Salerno. [Next time, let me tell you how notorious the Italians can be for budging and slinking in line ahead of you...]. I'm off to Amalfi to stay with a family who has adopted me as their sister (close to Fiordo di Furore where I painted the mural in 2007). Can't wait! The food is going to be tasty, authentic with company and conversation to match.