Category Archives: art + photographs

Some of Fossa’s laneways…

 … at around dawn while most of the village still slept.

These are just a few of the lanes that wind under, over and around the village and to me they are magical. Some tunnels have small frescoes and lanterns in them.

Most are just wide enough for a tiny car, others only able to be walked. The dog on the steps is Musso Nero, the village dog who was looked after by everybody {page 328, Mezza Italiana}.

I took these photographs with black and white film and an old Pentax camera more than a decade ago while staying in the village writing Mezza Italiana.

4 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Old photographs and family stories…

Even though Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar is completed, it is a pleasure to keep hearing more stories from my older relatives who always seem to have a little more to reveal about this era of their lives.

Talking to my great uncle Vincenzo recently I found out the varieties of produce they grew on the family’s Applethorpe farm included Granny Smith and Delicious apples, Santa Rosa and Wilson plums, Packham pears and green beans, also known as French or string beans. And the beans were the easiest to pick come harvest time.

(My great-grandmother – back left – was in her 50s when this was taken and though having recently lost her husband was working hard to keep the farm going.)

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

From over the Aterno Valley, Abruzzo…

Santa Maria Assunta, Fossa, AbruzzoThe steeple of Santa Maria Assunta in Fossa… the church that sits opposite my family’s house in Abruzzo. It was lovely to walk along the lanes below and listen to the bell tolling the time of day or to hear it from afar when you were on your way back to the village.

When I took this in 2005, it was a beautiful, serene day with no hint that just four years later the steeple’s turret would be gone when the earthquake caused it to crash down through the church roof.

Originally built in the 1200s, the church was expanded during the 1400s and then partly rebuilt following the earthquake of 1703. (At this time, my family’s house was about a decade old and had experienced its first terremoto.) I took this photograph with my old Pentax camera on black and white film. Although just over a decade ago, I didn’t yet have a digital camera then!

5 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

To come from what is left behind…

Bruno Catalano sculptureAs much as migrants love and embrace their new country, many cannot help but feel they’ve left a piece of themselves behind… and often those born in later generations still feel that bind as well.

This poignant sculpture at Marseilles is by Bruno Catalano, Moroccan-born in a Sicilian family who later moved to France. Being ten years old and watching from a boat his native land fade away had a profound impact that would stay with him throughout his life.

 

 

 

Bruno Catalano

6 Comments

Filed under art + photographs

last day of autumn Australis…

Tree of Life by Diana SudykaDiana Sudyka

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Ethel’s Chooks…

Ethel's chooks webPerhaps it’s old-fashioned but I still have a wall calendar where I write up all that’s happening. This year it features paintings by William T. Cooper (1934-2015) an Australian artist who painted mostly natural subjects, especially birds. He painted with extreme precision so if there were a certain number of a certain colour feathers then that is exactly what he depicted.

While he painted many exotic species too, I love this painting, Ethel’s Chooks, which Cooper painted of his neighbour’s chooks that free ranged around the farm. When I sit down to my desk each day, seeing the work and precision Cooper put into his art is inspiring. His career as an artist spanned more than 50 years and he continued to paint into his 80s.

williamtcooper.com.au
paperparrot.com.au

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

The path toward a fresh year…

Verso FossaA new year stretches ahead and there is something thrilling and also sobering in not knowing where our paths may meander as the months unfold. Hope this year is a wonderful one for you that brings much happiness! I couldn’t go past this beautiful painting by L’Aquila artist, Juan Alfredo Parisse to begin the year. He painted it on the road below my family’s village of Fossa in the Aterno Valley of Abruzzo and it is called, Verso Fossa.

6 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

19th century Italy in regional Australia…

20151104_121733Recently, while in Victoria I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery and it was wonderful to see their collection of 19th century Australian art (inspiration for the next book!)

It seems Italy is never too far away however as I couldn’t help noticing this circa 1879 painting of women carrying their copper conche to collect water, such a common sight in Abruzzo especially.

Titled, ‘Peasant Water Carriers’, it was painted by Pietro Barucci {1845-1917} who was mainly known for his paintings of landscapes in the rural areas surrounding Rome.

5 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

milk bar glass, circa 1950…

milk bar glassAn original glass {circa 1950} from Nanna Francesca and Nonno Anni’s milk bar. These were mostly used for my grandfather’s sought-after, homemade orange drink but customers would also request milkshakes in them too if they preferred glass to one of the metal canisters.

The milkshake flavours available at the time were chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, custard, lime and caramel, with chocolate always the most popular. The only flavours I had in the house to make this one were maple syrup and vanilla bean, which turned out quite delicious. And yes, that is an old-style, waxed paper straw!

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, books + writing, kitchen stories

the fairy tree dwellers…

The Fairy TreePart of The Fairy Tree in Fitzroy Gardens, carved in the early 1930s by sculptor Ola Cohn {1892-1964} as a gift to the children of Melbourne. Though my own childhood is distant, I found myself rushing through the gardens to find it. And while there were plenty of beautifully carved tree folk to capture, I was taken by this little group hiding in a notch near the base of the trunk, and especially like the owl.

Afterwards, I read, “A Way with the Fairies”, Ola Cohn’s autobiography, and it was interesting to learn more of this Australian sculptor and philanthropist. For many female artists of a certain era, sadly, their work did not always receive all the recognition it may have merited.

Fairy spiderA gift to the children of Melbourne…

“I have carved a tree in the Fitzroy Gardens for you and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them. For they will understand how necessary it is to have a fairy sanctuary – a place that is sacred and safe as a home should be to all living creatures.”  Ola Cohn

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs

Mercers Lane Mosaic…

Ingham mosaic 2Ingham mosaicA beautiful, mosaic artwork is emerging along Mercers Lane in Ingham, Queensland to commemorate the history of the local sugarcane industry. Really inspiring to discover around 2000 local volunteers and tourists so far have taken part in creating the mosaic and it’s wonderful to see local history recorded in art like this, particularly all the different cultures that have been a part. Ingham mosaic 3

more on Mercers Lane Mosaic…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Queen Street, Brisbane in 1939…

Queen St 1939….as it looked when my grandfather, Annibale arrived alone in Australia at the age of 15. Met by his father, Vitale, who took him straight from the ship dock to this street to buy some new work boots. The very next day, they left Brisbane for Annibale to commence work at a farm 200km away. After seven years apart, father and son got to spend just 24 hours together.

{image courtesy State Library, Qld}

Related: Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Italian street painting in Sydney…

Pepe GakaGiuseppe, aka Pepe, is a Madonnaro whom we came across by the harbour at Circular Quay in Sydney. Since the 16th century, Madonnari from Puglia in Italy’s south have been itinerant artists who originally went to cities to work on the cathedrals and when the job was done found a way to make a living by recreating paintings from the church on the pavement. Aware of festivals and holy days in each town, the Madonnari would travel to different provinces throughout Italy to eke out a living from observers who would throw coins if they approved of the work. Pepe explained he makes a living based solely on donations and never sells his paintings. Once they are completed, he gives them away to charitable organisations that then raise money by auctioning his paintings. His most recent work sold for $16,000.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, italy

Rosen in Deutschland…

Beutelsbach flowersSpring in Australia starts today {although the equinox is a few weeks off yet}. I wish I’d grown these myself but I took this picture during the northern hemisphere’s spring – in Beutelsbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where I was doing research for a future book. It seemed every window box and garden were growing beautiful red flowers.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, garden, inspiration

After the storm…

After the storm

….Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens,
Daylesford, Victoria.

 

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia

Piano accordion orchestra

Piano accordion orchestraFor the first time, we recently saw a piano accordion orchestra concert. It was great, some of the music taking me back to attending those big Italian weddings when I was a child and also our family gatherings when my uncle sometimes played the piano accordion. Of course, there were a couple of classics played, including Volare and Funiculi Funicula.

{Photograph courtesy of Germaine Arnold: http://deptford.tumblr.com/}

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration, italy

Twilight over Scanno, Abruzzo – 1928 by Estella Canziani

Twilight Scanno Abruzzi

Leave a comment

July 26, 2014 · 11:59 am

Fossa, with Castle Ocre above, in Abruzzo, Italy…

panorama fossa

Leave a comment

July 9, 2014 · 9:36 am

Katoomba magic…

waterfallI can’t take credit for the cockatoo in flight, it just happened to appear as I clicked the camera.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

a little bit of Italiana…

IMGP3701Anyone with Sicilian connections or who have been to Sicily may recognise this doll in folk costume (right) and the decorated cart, carrello or carrozza…

Came across the display as part of an Italian migrant exhibition at the Commissariat Store Museum in Brisbane.

Along with some bomboniere… (below) familiar to Italian weddings, christenings and communions.

IMGP3697

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, italy

art in nature…

View from the Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia where we recently went to see the new Margaret Olley Art Centre housing rooms from her Sydney terrace house, her artworks, and exhibitions by other artists. This view from the café was like an artwork in itself.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Togetherness and separateness within la famiglia…

…this family from le Marche were photographed by Mario Giacomelli during time he spent with them between 1964 and 1966 for his series, la buona terra – the good earth, in which his aim was to capture the story of work, of life, throughout the revolving seasons, and endlessly repeated throughout a lifetime.

la buona terra

Related article: Priests dancing in the snow

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

“Dolcetto o scherzetto” ~ trick or treat

as night falls, the children may call…

{vintage paper cut – ‘if these walls could talk’}

…vigilia d’ognissanti ~ eve of all saints ~ halloween…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

‘alla fontana’ ~ to the fountain…

Civita d'Antino AbruzzoThe woman in the foreground carries two conche, the copper vessels traditionally used in Abruzzo to collect water from the village fountain for the household. Perhaps she was teaching the young girl to carry it back on her head (depicted by the women in the background). The village women used to do so to transport all manner of heavy things with evidence of this including iron bedheads and, on occasion in very steep areas, even coffins.

The artwork pictured here was painted in Civita d’Antino in Abruzzo by Danish painter, Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917) who first travelled to the mountain town of Civita d’Antino in June 1883. Zahrtmann came to consider it his second home as he was fascinated by “the life there, the strong Italian sun, the brightness of colours, and the exoticness of Catholic Church rites”.

He spent every summer from 1890 to 1911 in Civita d’Antino where he stayed with the Cerroni family, and was named an honorary citizen of the town in 1902. In Civita d’Antino, a memorial plaque to Zahrtmann is set into the wall of the Cerroni house near the town gate.

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

the art of birds…

“Birds don’t only use their beaks to build: they press their breasts against the inner wall to make it round, imprinting their shape on their home, an interior formed by the steady rhythm of their beating hearts.”

Janine Burke
from Nest: The Art of Birds

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

Late afternoon walks…

a beautiful end to a Sunday, walking along Obi Obi Creek, Maleny…

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Castel del Monte, Abruzzo…

  • Castel del Monte – “Fortress of the mountain”.

    Castel del Monte, Abruzzo

  • Evidence of the site first inhabited as early as the 11th century BC.
  • Visited and painted by artist and folklorist, Estella Canziani in 1913.
  • Birthplace of a distant cousin I was pleased to meet the last time I was in Italy.
  • Location where George Clooney was filmed in, “The American”.
  • In mid-August the town hosts the annual event, La Notte delle Streghe – The Night of the Witches, a late-night spectacle I really hope to see in the future.

Castel del Monte by Estella Canziani, 1913

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

In the Land of Submarines…

by Tim Sharp

 

http://www.laserbeakman.com/

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia

The Dome…

The Dome 1977 Jeffrey SmartJeffrey Smart, 1921 – 2013.

 

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration, italy

Litografia di Maurits Cornelis Escher…

Goriano Sicoli, Abruzzi, 1929, by M.C. Escher (1898-1972), a Dutch graphic artist known for his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints.

After finishing school, he traveled extensively in Italy, where he met his wife Jetta Umiker. They lived in Rome from 1924 until 1935, during which time Escher travelled throughout Italy, drawing and sketching for the various prints he would make when he returned home.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

a beautiful place to sit and read, or lie and daydream…

Painted by Estella Canziani (1887-1964) who wrote {as well as drew and painted the illustrations for} one of my favourite books on the Abruzzo about her 1913 travels – Through the Apennines & Lands of Abruzzi.

She painted this picture {oil on paper} from inside her house in London at 3 Palace Green in 1922. The white bird in the painting one of the many birds she rescued and cared for.

3 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing, inspiration

un amour des livres… a love of books

Miniature book art by French artist: Marc Giai-Miniet

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing, inspiration

The beauty of walking in Italy…

…a fleeting glimpse down a narrow, side alley often reveals the unexpected and the beautiful. 

{Taken in Orvieto, Umbria.}

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

the stillness of time…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

Lightly, lightly….

Life Behind by Maki Horanai

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days…Lightly, lightly—it’s the best advice ever given me. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling.”

Aldous Huxley

From ‘Island’, 1962

 

Related articles: Watching Over

3 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing, inspiration

una passeggiata in italia…

Passeggiando Santo Stefano Sessanio by Juan Alfredo Parisse

~ a walk in Italy…

Costa Masciarelli, L’Aquila by Juan Alfredo Parisse

 

 

‘…success
unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

The need for a lie down…

…about seven hours into an Italian wedding. 

{Photographer: Giuseppe Leone, Sicily.}

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

the copper chocolate pot…

Among the Spanish paintings of royalty, religion, death and destruction at the Masterpieces from the Prado exhibition is a small portrait of a copper chocolate pot with its wooden whisk, pieces of cacao, bread, and biscuits shaped like churros.

Still life with chocolate service {Bodegón: servicio de chocolate}, 1770 was painted by Luis Meléndez {1715-1780} who was born in Naples and died in Madrid, a pauper, his paintings unappreciated, and owning only his pencils.

242 years later, among all the other talented artworks, it was his that stopped me still the longest.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, kitchen stories

Italia at night…

….taken from the International Space Station above the Mediterranean Sea on 18 August 2012.
{The lights of Rome and Naples are clearly visible on the coast near the centre.}

 {Courtesy Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Australia.}

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

Rogues, gargoyles and gallery….

Gargoyles, in their myriad forms include being carved to represent local heretics, controversialists, rogues, or personal enemies of the architect or building owner, particularly for ecclesiastical structures during the Middle Ages.

Photographer, Giuseppe Leone ~ known for his photography that ‘narrates’ life in Sicily, its traditions, monuments, landscapes and in particular, its people ~ has created a series that strives to match the faces of locals with gargoyles on nearby buildings.

Related article: the Italian wedding…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Estella Canziani bookplate…

Bookplate: Estella Canziani {1887-1964} artist, writer and folklorist, London {by Frank Brangwyn}, c1919, woodcut, 10.2x9cm.

 

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

To the beach!

To the beach! ~ Gina Lollobrigida

Photographer ~ Gina Lollobrigida {from her book Italia Mia, which my father purchased in the early 70s}.

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

A lovely way to spend an hour or two….

“If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” 

~ translated from Cicero’s Latin quote.

{The Artist’s Wife in the Garden at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1893}

Related articles: A lovely spot for lunch…  (zoeboccabella.com)

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

Fossa Sole, fossa soul, Fossa in the sun…

This painting of Fossa in the Abruzzo is by artist Juan Alfredo Parisse, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and whose parents are from L’Aquila, Italy.

Parisse paints watercolours ‘en plein air’ to capture the people, the towns and rural villages of the Abruzzo.

http://juanalfredoparisse.it/

Dietro Collemaggio by Juan Alfredo Parisse

Dietro Collemaggio by Juan Alfredo Parisse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related articles:

una passeggiata in italia…

Popes, murder and Dante… 

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Watching over…

Maki Horanai is an artist whose beautiful paintings we discovered by chance when we came across her first exhibition in 2005, and have been following her exhibitions since. Maki’s main influences are the works of Italian artists Giotto (14th century) and Fra Angelico (15th century), and Japanese artist, Kano Eitoku (16th century). This painting is called, ‘Watching Over’.

Related articles: Lightly, lightly…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, australia, inspiration

Life in the Abruzzo in 1913…

Maria with cooking pots”, painted by Estella Canziani in Mascione, Abruzzi, 1913. Part of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery collection and printed in Canziani’s book, Through the Apennines and the Lands of Abruzzi.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

3 year anniversary of Abruzzo earthquake…

On April 6th it is 3 years since the earthquake hit the Abruzzo around L’Aquila in 2009 and most residents are still in temporary housing. This photograph shows residents also in temporary timber housing or barracks, taken in L’Aquila after the area’s previous major earthquake in 1915 killed more than 30,000 {epicentre Avezzano}. The humour of the man on the roof bending looking through his legs is heartening considering the recent trauma they must have experienced.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Freshly baked bread…

For many centuries, baking in most Italian villages took place mostly once a week or even a fortnight. Both my grandparents told me how they recalled the women of the village taking their dough to the forno (often the only oven in the entire village), and that each piece of dough had an identifying mark on it for when the women came back to collect their baked bread.

In Palmi, Calabria my great, great grandmother and bisnonna baked for their area in a large, wood-fired oven or forno in a room beneath their house {p.161 Mezza Italiana and p.30 Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar}.

While I’d heard these stories and have been to the village forno I had never seen any pictures so I was thrilled when photographer, Carla Coulson recently sent me this Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph. It was taken in 1953 in the Abruzzese town of Scanno as women were carrying their dough to the forno for baking.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Dancing in the snow…

This picture of young priests
dancing in the snow
was taken at a seminary in le Marche
in the early 1960s by Italian photographer,
Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000).

Initially they reminded me a little
of whirling dervishes but it is not any
type of ritual, merely an innocent time of
relaxation. The seminarians were
playing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’,
unaware of being captured by
Giacomelli’s lens as he hid up in a roof.

Later, he gave them cigars,
which the young priests enjoyed
but the rector wasn’t too pleased.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Michetti’s Abruzzese shepherdess…

Francesco Paolo Michetti - Shepherdess Carrying a Bunch of GrapesBorn in 1851 in Tocco da Casauria of Pescara province, Francesco Paolo Michetti was an Abruzzese artist who aspired to paint ‘real life’ capturing people, animals, and local events. The Abruzzo was his inspiration and in 1883 he purchased a convent there as his home and studio. For the next 20 years, the convent was a meeting place for Abruzzo’s artists including writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Time moves slowly in the Abruzzo and fortunately some landscapes such as in this painting remain.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Pasta drying in Naples, 1897…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Cherry wood and Estella…

Piedmontese peasant wood-pipe carved from cherry wood that writer, artist and folklorist, Estella Canziani presented to The Folklore Society of London in 1911. She donated it along with other items from her travels in northern Italy when she wrote and illustrated her first  book, Costumes, Traditions and Songs of Savoy (before she ventured to the Abruzzo in 1913 to pen Through the Apennines and Lands of Abruzzi).

I saw a similar pipe sitting on a stall table at the antique market in Arezzo and am still regetting not having bought it…

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy