Dreaming Down Under – last reflections
Sad, sad, sad. It is eleven pm at Perth International airport and I am waiting for my flight to Hong Kong for the first leg of my trip back home. I soo do not want not want to leave after having the most wonderful time and incredible adventures with a large number of people. Best of all my sister Carol and I have become very close and we are plotting next year’s itinerary already. Everywhere we ran courses we were asked to return and I have multiple offers of places to stay and paint if ever I want to just chill out.
So less chatter and more photos of some of the final highlights from the last half of my sabbatical.
Above is a refractory clay angel from outside my room at the irascible Vincent Moleta’s mini Assisi in Bridgetown. Vincent is a lifetime scholar and translator of early Italian poetry, such as the beautiful words of Jacopone da Todi.
He also publishes many books and is about to go on his latest launch tour. Every day I stayed at Fontecolombo to be his first artist in residence, in his not quite complete studio, I was treated to many stories; poetry; the art of hand-made books in Italy and in his own workshop plus many more anecdotes.
A constant supply simple Italian cooking and fruit with ice cream at every sitting – which became something that amused us as did the ringing of his bell to summon me for feeding time. Like Pavlov’s dog I would emerge from the studio and trip up the stairs to be regaled for hours and pampered with pasta.
The studio was a very creative space though I was doubtful at first. Once my host lit the incredible stove made from two welded juggernaut brake linings and the room was warm I settled into some incredibly productive sessions. I also met some incredible artists, one of whom is still active creating public sculptures in his eighties and was incredibly curious about egg tempera. He asked many questions with livley interest and his conversation was peppered with exclamations on how joyous life is.
On my trip back to Bunbury, Vincent took me on a little tour of all peoples of Italian descent and tasted award winning wine, some rocket fuel orange liqueur- made by a wonderful french chef (most definitely not Italian) and ice cream to die for.
Vincent’s Venetian friend in Busselton, or Busso as it is locally known, serves the best ice cream ever.
Katerina, Vincent’s beloved donkey who was adorable. I would have liked to take her home along with Tiberias the macaw and a few of the little lizards I have seen basking in the warming sun.
Back to Bunbury for a weekend workshop,
You may notice that they are all smiling after a gruelling two days attempting a small panel of the Saviour of Zvenigorod.
Rogues gallery below:
People from 15 to 84 and some never having painted before managed to master a little of the egg tempera technique in the Russian style. We managed some sankir, two highlights and two floats with a lot of prayer, some meditation and, from the oldest, a few muttered swear words! Shame on you E.
Time to eat something nice. One thing about posh Aussie restuarants – you get heaps of incredibly fresh, locally produced food,
Enjoying a celebratory Italian meal with Dean Stewart, Revd. Sarah, Carol and Don. And in true Aussie tradition it was “Yummo.”
Icon installed expertly and securely by the carpenter. Now Jesus is there to greet all who enter the cathedral as they enter. On my last day I attended an excellent concert by the Vivace singers. Bach’s Magnificat and Rutter’s Mass for the Children. The latter was so stunning I felt like a jelly fish throughout. Don, my brother-in-law has been rehearsing during my stay and I was blown away by one of my students, Gabby the vet, who did the most beautiful alto solo’s. All this activity is part of St. Boniface’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
During the interval I was introduced to a number of people including Bishop Alan, whom I had only seen briefly up till then. It would seem that the icon is a big hit- “He is so beautiful!” is the general cry. And he is – but I’m completely biased, of course.
Going back a week – Carol and I managed two days R&R at New Norcia. A Benedictine town founded by the Spanish who worked alongside the aborigines to create a most wonderful place.
My sister and I did the whole gamut of prayers from 5.15 onwards for the first day; met some truly dear people, one of whom came to my lecture in Fremantle a few days later; then promptly fell asleep for several hours in the afternoon. I also met Brother Anskar, whose actual brother Carol knows. Anskar has written some delightful books about a Benedictine cat and I now have one in my paws.
On to Fremantle. I am not kidding, this was six weeks of work with a few days off but as it is work I love it does not feel like ‘work’. What a joy.
Off to Fremantle, Perth for my last lecture and one day workshop. St. John’s is right in the centre and all kinds of people popped in whilst we were working. Walking past the church one would have seen bunches of students waving little cards with various renditions of Christ developing on them as they were encouraging the tempera to dry so we could make more progress.
Another happy bunch. This icon writing is spreading much joy.
Pretty good for 6 hours work. Mansueil Panselino’s version of Christ was our model.
One of my favourites images of Christ. You may be wondering why I have chosen to do Christ for every workshop. Quite simply I prayed about it and that was the prevailing thought. It is good to do as one is told- I keep telling my students the same thing and when they do they get good results; so at least I should follow my own advice. Not like Alice in Wonderland.
Packing is going to be hard as I now have another book to take home- but I’m not complaining! Here is Gill the priest presenting it.
What a proactive and organised young woman- everything was set up brilliantly and Carol, for once, had some time to go and browse and shop and do her usual PR on all who popped in. What a great team. We’ll be doing this all again next year- it’s official as we have been asked to return wherever we have been and I now have numerous houses and places to stay if ever I want to including Harare! How come? A couple from Bunbury hail from Zimbabwe and have told me if I ever go there I must stay with them.
A final cup of tea from my beloved sister and no sling. Wrist is healing well but that never stopped my intrepid sibling from cooking delicious food. Back to my regime when I get home.
Thank you Carol and Don for such a light-hearted and good time; and also Stewart and Sarah who are especially dear people who work and live the gospel in their daily lives and their preaching, I will not forget the wonderful chats after the early morning services over coffee.
And also a great big hug to absolutely every single person I met from start to finish-I have lost count but it has been a wonder for me to be among such sincere and open people.
And I haven’t even mentioned the squeezed in lecture and lunch at the university for the U3A at the last minute- now those ladies and gentlemen were extremely lively.
As one of the women said to me, “Well go back for a while and do what you have to do and then come back home here……”
This entry was posted on October 2, 2012 by apocalypseicons. It was filed under Artist in Residence, Commissions, Events and was tagged with bridgetown wa, donkey, egg tempera, Fontecolombo, Fremantle, iconography, icons, Jesus, public sculptures, St. Boniface's Cathedral Bunbury, St.John's Fremantle, travel, Vincent Moleta. Saviour of Zvenigorod.