Deira, Dubai

In the heat of April’s early mornings, I stood like a kid in a candy store, not knowing where to go or look; everything attracts me!!!  It isn’t my first trip to Deira, I have come here many times.  Yet that feel of novelty always lingers in the air when I am there.  Deira isn’t just a shopping for rare objects, or spices but a place to find inspiration!

Between the so many mosques’ roofs popping in the skyline I sit and sketch my first watercolor.  This beautiful and colorful round dome is just breath-taking.

Deira mosque

Deira, Dubai

Deira mosque

Deira, Dubai

Just as I come out from the shaded corner at the entrance of the old souk, I see an older man taking refuge from the radiant sun.  Next to me, and unaware, he stays still and poses for me…

Deira, souks

A merchant’s face at Deira, Dubai

Another Jozef Blok (my own Mr. Blok)

November 30th – the end of the month and the end of many hours of work, sittings, and polishing my little Italian!

This year I chose not to make a case study of a person I know but of one I have only seen in town:  a friendly local chef working a door down the gallery.  His name is not Mr. Blok, neither his first name is Jozef.  Yet, you must wonder why I’ve called this piece “Another Mr. Blok,” and the answer to this question is the story behind this painting.

It was about 4 years ago when I became obsessed with the works of Van Gogh, one of my favorite painters.  I remembered I used to know only his later work:  the starry night, wheat fields, and sunflowers (dead and alive), and his self portraits – the famous Van Gogh’s ear.

Though Van Gogh’s work wasn’t always colorful.  In fact, his early work was gloomy, earthy toned, and on the dark side.  The first transitional – from dark to color- work, is a portrait not many of us know, yet of great significant:  Mr. Blok.  It is a portrait of a black bearded street book seller Van Gogh knew in The Hague.

Jozef Blok *drawing  *5-11-1882  *38.4 x 26.2 cm

Jozef Blok *drawing *5-11-1882 *38.4 x 26.2 cm

It was 3 years ago when I discovered my own Mr. Blok here in Ascona:  a bearded local chef who used to pass by my window on his way to work.  I always wanted to ask him to sit for me but never really had the “nerve”to ask a stranger for such a strange request.  This year I finally did.  I was lucky he didn’t find it unusual to have an artist beg to paint a portrait of his.  He agreed.

“Another Mr. Blok” isn’t a study  of my subject or sitter, but of Van Gogh’s philosophy.  In his eyes, everyone – the postman, the bookseller, the doctor, the prostitute – were of equal value and importance.  With this study, I too stand by this belief.  Not matter where one comes from, what title one holds, what one does…there is always a special story behind a face.

The evolution:

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The beginning.

 

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Taking shape.

 

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The beard.

 

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Background.

 

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The happy ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La mucca al pascolo

There she was.  At last I had found the one.  Although she was not my soul-mate, she was simply, my ultimate and most desirable “subject.”  And what a subject she was!

I have heard her bell not far from the medieval arched bridge, exiting Puntid, in the Calnegia valley.  I felt absurd, chasing the sound of cow bells.  Like the hide and seek game, I was obsessed with trying to figure out where the sound came from.  After all, I was already there, on top of the Foroglio Falls.  My mission was clear.  I had to capture in pencil the biggest oxymoron ever created by me:  a cute beast…a live cow!

I slowly moved in to sit as close as I could to the one cow that caught my eye.  As she chewed her never ending meal, I quickly grabbed my acrylics and started painting.  It was all good till the beast decided she had had enough.  “I’ve been hit, something hurts!”  My body sprang into action.  In a split of a second, I saw myself jump behind a boulder, paints and paper in hand.  I was bleeding and feeling like I had just walked into a nightmare!

Once the bruises and shock subsided, I came down the mountain a happy woman.

To say that “the mucca al pascolo,” is my most special piece of art is an under statement!  Nevertheless, I think I will stick to painting landscapes over moving, live, subjects.

The grazing cow

The grazing cow

Art International Zurich

“Your work has been accepted,” were the only words passing through my (tired) brain, the day I discovered the jurors in the Art International Zurich had approved my application to participate in the 16th international art fair they are having this year.  I was over the moon!

Every Autumn, galleries and independent artists from all over the world, like migrating birds, make their way to one of the most important and beautiful cities in Switzerland:  Zurich.  The Congress Hall will house a wide range of contemporary artworks which have been carefully selected by its very own committee.  Exhibiting my work along work of other talented individuals in the heart of the historic centre of Zurich has me feeling very accomplished!

What contents me the most about this event is that I will be representing, through my paintings, the beautiful place I call home:  Ticino.  Without its stunning mountains, historical cities, history, and forests, I think I wouldn’t create the art I create!

The Art International Zurich is open to everyone with a passion for culture and the Arts.  “Reflections of Ticino,” and “Ticino through my window,” will both be displaying on the main floor of the hall, stand K27.

Some of the work in display are:

A series of reflections of the city of castles:  Bellinzona.

A series of reflections of the city of castles: Bellinzona.

Val Verzasca's favorite spot, ponte dei salti.  A reflection of it, on the river's rapids.

Val Verzasca’s favorite spot, ponte dei salti. A reflection of it, on the river’s rapids.

The very famous painting of the reflection of San Pietro and the promenade of Ascona.

The very famous painting of the reflection of San Pietro and the promenade of Ascona.

Morcote's promenade.  Image selected for the Art International Zurich catalogue.

Morcote’s promenade. Image selected for the Art International Zurich catalogue.

An interpretation of a little port, in Gandria, leading to lake Lugano at night.

An interpretation of a little port, in Gandria, leading to lake Lugano at night.

A little rustico (house made out of Ticinese stones) in Bosco Gurin in the winter time.

A little rustico (house made out of Ticinese stones) in Bosco Gurin in the winter time.

The typical local fruit in the area of Ticino:  Castagne.

The typical local fruit in the area of Ticino: Castagne.

The place I call home, and its beautiful houses looked from above.

The place I call home, and its beautiful houses looked from above.

If you are in the area and want to say hello, please visit ART INTERNATIONAL ZURICH for more information.  I hope to see you there!!!

Life within a flower vase…

A plant in a vase, full of life!

A full of life sketch in my sketchbook.

The sunflowers of Ticino reminded me today, of my favorite artist, Van Gogh. He undeniably painted the most sticking, live and dead, sunflowers portraits.

To me, the most interesting aspect of Van Gogh paintings were not his subjects, but his own interpretation of life. Fresh sunflowers lift our spirits up, not because of their bright colors, but because they are alive. The opposite can be said about tired sunflowers that patiently await death in an empty vase. There, between the stench of rotten mold and death, lies an important reminder that life is truly short.

In honor of such truth, and wonderful flower painter, I filled in another page in my sketch book. My drawing is about life. It is a about a simple, plumped up, yet full of life plant that reminded today, to live life to the fullest!