Umbertide in May was enveloped in fog on many early mornings. Dew drops highlighted spider webs and foliage. There was a plant designed to collect water, sustaining itself during the long hot days. I developed a piece of work concerned with water. Sheets of plastic mesh captured the fog and channeled the water droplets into clear glass bottles. The process and phenomenon of fog is symbolic of the fragility and transience of life. In another work, an architectual form made up of dozens of small shapes cut in local soft woods, and stained in gouache reflected various aspects of the culture and environment which I was experiencing. I liken it to the experience of the space that houses a Piero de la Francesca fresco. The piece was installed in my studio in a spot where daily a shard of light beamed onto the pieces underlining the continually and constantly changing process of life.
The environment: the rolling, curving, long winding roads that seem to spiral higher and higher into the sky, the umbrella pines, the sea of wild flowers with their intense and saturated colours, and the sky so dominant, so rotund, so religious, were an inspiration. Da Vinci, on painting the Tuscan environment, wrote that he captured the creation, the movement of solid rock over time, the physical and spiritual creation of these mountains. We were very lucky to experience the Tuscan mountains and then to see Da Vinci’s “Madonna con Fusilli” in Arezzo within the environment depicted in the painting.
The Italian painters have for a long time guided my use of color and the overall treatment and aesthetic sense of my work. My residency at Civitella has created an indelible mark in my life journey and provided a brief, yet enduring feeling of a quality, slice of life as an artist: time, space and support (in so many forms) in order to live, breathe and create the work. The work is a process, through which I am able to assimilate information of my current experience and see this against the background of my previous work. It has a subtle yet strong sense of the transient. It is concerned with the continual process of life, the fragility of life, human attitudes to life, and nature as symbolic of life. I am grateful for this experience, for connecting with other artists and for the sheer pleasure of a quality of life and thus of the creating of work.
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