Saturday, October 20, 2012

Painting in Tuscany; thanks and thoughts


Viareggio, Tuscany, oil on card, 12 x 14.5 cm

Well, that brings to a close my trip.

It was a wonderful trip and I want to thanks everyone who helped me: my parents,the people in Tuscany, Steve in the Beehive Hotel in Rome for restaurant recommendations,  Julie for company over dinner, and to Patrizia in Bari for taking me to Monopoli and buying me beer.

And many thanks to Sarah and Stefano in Tuscany for their hospitality and meals.

Other pleasant encounters were the sweet guy in the Lecce who runs the tourist information for giving me a ride on his scooter with my luggage, pleasant if surely eccentric hotel owners in Orvieto and the Italians in general for being kind and tolerant with ignorant British painter travellers.


From an artistic perspective, one always hopes there is some definitive lesson from a trip, but there rarely is.  There is a fine interview with Chuck Close and he states that all  the ideas he ever got came form the act of painting itself. Which is a way of stating, perhaps, that talking about it isn't that valuable.

 I feel more and more that this travel painting thing is analogous to fishing: you pick your equipment, your reels and hooks and lines, you think about what you want to catch and you go towards the place. And you might be luck you might not. A good number of days are  wasted and a good number of pictures are poor. I never know until some days after which are the good and the bad, and it almost embarrasses me how little I can trust my own immediate judgment.

The best paintings occur when one is in the zone, meaning that in that mindset where one is not really thinking about what one should or should not do but simply fulling engaged with whatever one is engaged with.

You know instinctively when a picture is fake or forced, but I don't know the words to  detail that instinct, and I doubt anyone else does either. Like many artists I spend my time often wanting to be another painter, one whose work I've seen and admire. Fortunately, incompetence or the mere ridiculousness of such an ambition forces me to work in way that is my own.


Next trip: London, Egypt and Scotland in January, if the Egyptians haven´t gone completely kookoo that is, in which case it'll be Jordan.



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