Archive for June, 2010

Overhead, on the verandah, Sollai is cementing the patch work of canals made for recent wires and plumbing, cheerful and gung ho, cement is flying from his flailing spatula. The garden is water ridden and the river is swollen and brown, but today the sun is shining and we pull the geraniums back out onto the walls – they had become so water logged we thought they’d drown. Glorious to see the swallows swoop and glide over the river, gobbling insects in the fresh glowing light.

Michael is standing back absorbing the triptych he has just completed for Morgon Stanley in Hong Kong. Its beautiful. A river scene. The bank full and pulsating with wildflowers and lush green herbs. The river gushing past, and on the canvas it looks fast, the colours almost tripping over themselves, glinting and dashing with that special light at sunset. The energy of the paint is fantastic and you feel part of early summer and its bountiful delights. He’s a mad man in the studio. How can he work so fast? At the end of every session he’s exhausted but emerges victorious, eyes shining, and then dumps on the couch and naps as quickly and intensely as he works. He says he doesn’t think about it – just does – complete trust.

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Today is the 21st June and the weather is unseasonably cold and wet. People have lost their lives in the floods in Provence. We were just there picking up our youngest son, Sollai, from the airport in Nice. It rained so hard that we were completely drenched in seconds while walking on the Boulevard Des Anglais. Back here in Italy the weather followed us and for a week we are back in winter dreaming again of the sun and light summer clothes.

But still dreams are made. On the way back from France, Sollai ventured forth his dream of working in a marble studio in Pietrasanta or Cararra. We stopped at Pietrasanta enroute to inspect a bronze coming out of the foundry and casually asked the owner if he knew of a good marble carving yard for Sollai to start off in. They gave him their introduction to a carving yard they knew of, ‘Shakti’, situated under beautiful mediterranean pines, with accommodation as well, albeit an aluminium shed. He is so excited. Now he is back in Bagni di Lucca working his tail off so that he can afford the rates for his one month sojourn in Pietrasanta from mid July to mid August. Michael will happily go with him for a week to teach him some pointers on carving and set him on his way, as well as to enjoy some carving of his own. Summer carving in Pietrasanta, home to the great quarries that Michaelangelo discovered, beautiful stone tools, a city romantic and ancient, its walls climbing the hills above its centre, overlooked by great craggy mountains, olive groves, below it on the flats, mad industry and the sea, every day in summer a pushbike ride to the beach – the sculptors life.

Today this sculptor is back in her studio. A week away is sometimes a long time and today was joy itself. Its like coming home. This beautiful space under the old vaulted ceilings, bricks black with age, a cave to indulge in one’s fantasies, surrounding yourself with nothing but yourself. I love it when I come here. I come back to myself. And today I started a new series of horse and riders. I have been going regularly to my friend’s ranch where I have been drawing and touching and loving her beautiful horses. At last I am sculpting – from a Shona perspective – these noble creatures that for me express a freedom and at oneness with life.

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