A beautiful day, but a very subdued Palm Sunday for those who usually celebrate. No religious celebrations for the community and in the UK, Queen Elizabeth made a public speech from her quarantine quarters in Windsor Castle — a special occasion and something that she hasn’t done in many years.
But there seems to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel — at least for some of the northern regions of Italy, where new cases of coronavirus have been a few less, and the death rate not quite so high — which means that there is hope that we can soon move into the next phase and begin to ‘live’ with the virus instead of just hiding from it.
Have gone in for grunge in a big way with the collection of 5 Christmas cards created using recycled paper and prints from my original lino cuts. Each iconic image of a Venetian landmark has been treated with a distressed effect to give the finished image a weathered and old, grungy feel to it. They make a change from the usual images if someone is looking for something a bit different. Every card is different for the simple reason that each of them is printed by hand.
As usual, please be aware that the colour reproduction on the site is not perfect so the photographs are intended as a guideline only.
They actually take quite some time individually as the mixed media all dry at different speeds (inks, acrylic and tempera) meaning that I only manage to do one print at a time and then have to wash the lino and brushes – dry everything before moving on to do another print.
But I just love the muted shades which emerge for each print. Every single one is always different as it is impossible to produce the same effect every time. They really are unique and always a surprise, however well I think I know how the colours will combine!
Now I have to put them all inside their ivory coloured cardstock frames…
Still no time to cut any new lino, but I already cut about 15 different subjects, so there is quite a good selection of local monuments for people to choose from…
Feel almost bad about having had such a good day yesterday – we went off early morning on the bike and only just got back indoors in time for evening meal.
Visited a big regional market where I bought some nice yarn and haberdashery bits – and we picked up some nosh which we ate on a park bench – then we visited an ‘outlet village’ where hubby hoped to pick up some Timberland flip flops, but we were too early seasonally speaking.
Then we went to visit our favourite Guzzi agent, and then found a big hobby/craft/DIY store where I stocked up on a stash of seemingly useless bits which I am certain will inspire me for weeks.
My face is even burning from all the sunshine!
So briefly, what is in the stash …
A couple of big canvases for my paintings
some braid yarn – not quite sure what to do with that, though I do have a couple of ideas buzzing around
a handful of polystyrene eggs
a cork board for pinning when I create decorative knots
some super glue
a little squeedgee (spelling???) roller and tray
some large silver coloured rivets
30 meters of beige cord
10 meters of heavy beige braid
and last, but not least, some super glue
And now I have my thinking cap on!!!
I do mixed media work using upcycled newspapers with my lino cuts and here you can see the base sheets hanging outside my window to dry. When there is a breeze up I keep my fingers tightly crossed that they don’t all end up in the canal directly beneath the window!!
When these sheets dry, they then get a partial cover of gesso before eventually having the prints added on top. The prints will be my usual lino prints but will have the added attraction of the newspaper cuttings’ base – a style which is a bit more contemporary and tends to appeal to a different audience.
Here on the right is a sample of the mixed media lino cut prints…each is then framed by the textured cardstock matte frame which finishes them off really nicely. Every one comes out with a totally unique combination of colours highlighted with copper paint (or silver or gold – whichever is most appropriate for the base colour scheme). I just choose the basic colourways – usually 3 different colours and then wait for the surprise…never quite sure how the finished mix will look!
We had a motorbike some 30 years ago – just a little thing which we kept whilst we were in the UK for about 3 months and then sold when we returned to Italy. All sorts of reasons for not getting another one, not least having a family and needing to cart baby things around.
Then a couple of years ago we set in motion a major life change and put our house on the market with the intention of using the funds to buy a house boat and move full time afloat. But we were not able to foresee the terrible international economic crisis which hit the house market – nor had we given enough consideration to the wieldy bureaucratic machinery which blocked our request for a mooring here in Venice.
So – rather than feel that we had been let down in our adventure, we invented a new one and sold our car to buy a motorbike. The first bike was a Honda Shadow, but it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO uncomfortable on long rides, and earlier this year we moved onto what you see here in the photo, a Moto Guzzi California. You see, hubby is about 6’2″ so needs a bike with plenty of leg room. On the other hand, I am only 5’2″ but I need a bike with plenty of tummy room – and this bike fitted the bill perfectly!
And after experimenting a few short rides (to the local supermarket and back), in August we set off from Venice to the UK. Wow – what a haul – and how many nightmares I had to deal with! Without going into too many details, the trip did me a lot of good – I had to face up to a whole bunch of private fears, but at the end of the day, I think I came out stronger and with a renewed sense of respect for my hubby who did a brilliant job. Driving for almost 5000 kilometres in some really lousy conditions, and having to deal with some major problems (including me and my back seat driving) he came out with top marks!
Here is a quick peek at what I have been up to over the last few days.
Just realised that Christmas is around the corner, and that we have a craft market at the weekend – although the weather forecast is not in the least bit encouraging so I have my fingers and toes crossed that it will hold up until Monday! At the last market all our earrings seemed to go really well, so I should have been making some of those – but have just not found inspiration right now! Fell off the motorbike and I have a streaming cold and my brain (and body) are too addled to think creatively.
So felt hearts it is.
A couple more of the gorgeous colour pigments to add to my collection. I just wish I had taken a pic of the shop window to show you what a fantastic display these powders make. I was wondering around town with my photographer friend Mark, and whilst I was chatting to the shop owner and making my purchase, he was outside taking a pic of the shop window. Can’t have it all …so Mark gets the pic and I get the pigments!
Anyway, on the subject of Mark, we had a great few days wandering around town doing a couple of exhibitions and getting in a couple of nice meals…catching up with our news and meeting up with some of my old friends too. A couple of them own a lovely restaurant called “Il Covo” where Mark and I ate a delicious meal yesterday…I can hardly believe that some 40 years have gone by since I first met Cesare the owner! Anyway, if any of you are ever around these parts looking for something local to do in Venice, Cesare does cookery lessons for small groups…he has a passion for food and can make even an omelette sound like heaven!
Mark has just called me from the airport… as a travel photographer, he is off on…well…some more travels. I think the next few weeks see him in London, France, Turkey and then the States again. It’s a hard life!!
Well it’s just about that time again, and we are getting ourselves ready for the Craft Market to be held in Via Garibaldi here in Venice at the end of this month. We have a fairly good stock of bits and pieces, but were surprised at the last market by just how many earrings went, so need to make a few more of those. The odd thing is that on the previous occasion, the felt items seemed to be more popular. These markets are so infrequent (only 6 a year) that it is very difficult to build up an accurate picture of what goes or not. The passers-by vary so much because of the different kind of events going on in the city, so as this market it linked in with the Venice Marathon, who knows what the ‘average’ customer might be like!
Anyway, if you happen to be in town, do pop by to find us even if just to say hello! If you do decide to make a purchase, you can be sure of a discount just by telling us the name and address of this web site!
You will find the event listed in the events’ calendar on this site, but just to remind you, here are the details:
‘Mercatino di Via Garibaldi’, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Venice on Sunday 28th October, from about 10.00 through until 20.00, weather permitting.
Well if ever rain stopped play, I can say with confidence that is exactly what happened today to put a stop to our last craft market of the year. Gale force winds, lashing rain and a particularly bad bout of high water just put us out of the game! Even if there had been no wind or rain, the high water stopped us getting our little boat out to transport the stuff over to the market zone would you believe. We are moored in a small inner city canal, and at both ends there is a very low bridge. Sounds like a joke, but unfortunately – there is no laughing going on here today!
So frustrating when we have both put in so much work to prepare all sorts of stuff for the event. The one good thing that came out of the bad weather is that I made a careful inventory of all our stuff which always gets put away in a rather haphazard fashion after the markets. Just glad that daughter wasn’t around as she would surely have had something to say about how I organized everything!
ps. Mustn’t complain – the Venice Marathon was on today and those poor souls really had problems to deal with!
When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.