Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nice, day 10

"Un chien" by Hilary J. England, 8" x 11" oil on hardwood panel


It's dawned to be a very nice day.  I hear that we are suffering a heat wave across the pond in the USA, but here, the temps have been holding steady in the mid 80s, the problem is it has become overcast, so the weather has become humid and sticky, which is rather uncomfortable.

I am sitting on my terrace, drinking coffee, and mulling over what I want to accomplish today.  I began working on ideas for the bigger painting, and I'm debating whether to to stay in and work on that today?  Actually, I'm feeling a bit "stir crazy" after yesterday's long work hours both indoor and out, so I'm thinking first things first, a very long walk along the shore.  Then, I'm definitely meeting up with some of the locals that invited me out for coffee tonight, so maybe I will take a bus into Antibes in the inbetween, and save the work on the big painting for tomorrow. I think that sounds like a plan.

I worked on this painting "Un chien" in the nice cool of an alley way in the backstreets of some little village we went through called "Biot."  Apparently, there is a great deal of Crusader/Templar history here, and that is very tantalizing and appealing to me.  I couldn't resist the ancient alleys and quiet corridors, and of course, the mousy, brown, little mutt of a dog just roaming about on his own.  Very old school, haha.  I feel completely at home and connected with these ancient villages...like being on a soul journey back in time to where we came from, and directly visiting the villages and towns our ancestors lived and walked and played and died in.

So, that is the sum of these middle days here.  I am still working at a furious pace, and would like to even step it up further, if I can.  I haven't been sleeping too well, since the bed is very lumpy, and my back and neck are starting to protest this (lucky I have a good supply of Ibuprofen gelcaps!).  I have resorted to pulling the window barricade down to prevent the sun in the morning, and also sleeping in the opposite direction from the foot of the bed (seems less lumpy cause it gets "less traffic").  Other than that, I am very motivated to complete the mission I am here for.  Now, off for another day of work, sweat, and intrigue.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nice, day 9

"Flowers of Cap Ferrat" by Hilary J. England, 8" x 11" oil on hardwood panel


The weather is very nice today.  In the low 80s with a very nice breeze, and now overcast, so it makes for excellent working conditions.  I woke up early and was able to get out and about, and hope to complete another painting before the day is out.

No beach for me today, strictly work, but that is good.  The old saying about "making hay" is a worthy one, so I have no problems working through into the night tonight, and returning to the isolation of my room to plot out tomorrow's work adventure.

This painting is called "Flowers of Cap Ferrat."  What more can I say, this place is surreal in it's beauty.  Magnificent, Stupendous, Dazzling.  There aren't enough adjectives.  I am looking forward to more painting, so I must get moving out the door.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nice, Day 8

"Wallflowers" Oil on hardwood panel, 8" x 11"






Blazing hot again, no rain yet, but maybe some tonight.  I spent the day working, in the cooler areas, and then headed to the beach, just floating in the sea like a seal, but even that gets hot after a while, so I headed back to my apartment, and took an icy shower.  Felt good for about five minutes, and then I started to sweat, haha.

So, I'm lying still, just reclining and relaxing, and enjoying the little breezes that come through every now and then, and that feels very nice.  Tomorrow, I'm off to Antibes and Cannes, and then over the weekend, St. Paul-de-Vence, where Picasso and his crew used to hang out.  Should be interesting.

I did this painting of these two locals, very quick, and very quirky.  They seemed so incredibly French, sitting in their slacks and long sleeves, not a bead of sweat on their brow, and leathery, craggy complexions composed in a stance of complete serenity.  The backdrop of gardenias and other flowers on the wall was quite interesting as well, and I am thankful that they would sit and leisurely pose for me, as part of the local culture and flavor of the area. I'm calling it "Wallflowers."  Pun intended, hehe.  They were very sweet.

So, that is it for now.  I am supposed to meet up with some people later on, but I don't know if I will have the energy.  Maybe.  I have an hour to think it over, or I can just stay in here in my underwear, and relax in the cool of the breezes.  I think I like that idea better!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nice, Day 7


"Flowers of Cap Martin" oil on hardwood panel, by Hilary J. England

Just outside of Monaco!

One week today!  I am finally getting used to the blazing heat, and that's no easy accomplishment for me.  I am not very good in the hot weather, and my paints don't want to hear it either, as they have become sticky, gooey messes, and trying to get that to adhere to a panel is quite an arduous task that takes some getting accustomed to.  But, I blunder on, haha.

I went up the coast to Monaco and Menton today, stopping off in Cap Martin and a few other "Caps" as well.  Very beautiful.  I was most grateful for the air conditioned bus!  I tried to pair my supplies down to a bare minimum, but even so, and in this relentless heat, I wound up nearly dead from heat exhaustion.  Every inch of my body was sweating, even parts I didn't know could sweat!!  I packed it up just in the knick of time before I went down for the count!  I was quite surprised at how the sun and heat just crept up on me,  am just recovering my equanimity at having been beaten by the the Sun.  Literally.  Sun 1, Hilary, 0. ;-)

While I was languishing in the weak shade of a palm tree, I did happen to recollect my wits enough to look around, and people watch awhile,  and see the beautiful Mediterranean architecture,  the posh shops, and posh people.  I guess I didn't look very appealing to an Arab billionaire, all covered in sweat and paint, LOL.  I guess also that for a weird woman painter, not all dolled, pinned, powdered, and primped, they didn't know what to think.

I noticed that many women here are walking their dogs and just window shopping in high heels, designer dresses, and full war paint.  I guess to each their own, but for me, as a woman, I hate the idea of not being able to be au natural without being conspicuous or judged by both men and other women. The women here enjoy being dolled up and being adored and validated for that, their outside appearance, and from the view of an outsider looking in, that seems to be their entire life.  But again, it IS their life, and they are free to live it any way they want, including spending it as a Stepford wife.  I just don't get it, and wonder what goes on beneath the surface, if anything at all...

I guess I'm an odd person as a woman, but I am what I am, so I don't lament it.  I always was a tomboy, but never to the extreme.  I like getting dressed up when the occasion calls for it, but that doesn't mean rolling out of bed and spending three hours doing hair and makeup to walk the dog.  Ah well.  I guess that's as foreign to me as I am to them, and that's why I am lugging my paints around the Riviera covered in sweat instead of lolling about drinking champagne on the deck of some billionaire's boat!  But, I must say, I do admire the pure glamour of these women, and they do make the world beautiful with their efforts at their appearance, even if I don't understand it, they are still very charming and elegant to look at!  And the jewels some were wearing, wow!!!  Very impressive.

Aaaaaanyway,  views were beautiful, and although Monte Carlo is the playground for the wealthy, I didn't notice a huge glut of yachts, just a handful littering the Mediterranean.  Maybe it's the hard economic times, or maybe yacht season isn't in full-swing, but either way, I don't really care.  Yachts and cars and clothes and so on don't impress me, BUT, the natural landscape absolutely blew me away in it's endless and unabashed beauty!  The soaring rock cliffs, the caves with the gulls flying in and out, the scrubby landscape that was still verdant and lush with exotic flowers, and of course, the never ending azure of the Mediterranean, all so gorgeous, I didn't know which way to look first.  Truly a paradise, if you can have one on earth.

I painted the one particular crag of a precipice as quickly as I could, working against the elements, particularly and ostensibly, the sun.  The flowers were just a lovely profusion of color, and because I am not local, do not know what genus or species they all were, just lots of bright color and breathtaking beauty.  Trying to transport the little panel became difficult as well, but I got it back in tact, where I could touch up the damage and places that needed help after my hasty abandonment of the area.

Anyhow, I hightailed it back down the coast, and literally took a flying leap into the shower as soon as I dropped all my stuff at the door.  I stayed in there like I was on fire for at least a half hour, no joke.  I thought about taking a dip in the ocean, but all of the gear for that was too tiresome.  I didn't feel like lugging an umbrella, putting on sunblock from head to foot, packing water and a beach bag.  Nope, the shower did the trick just as handily.  Maybe tomorrow if I don't decide to head into St.Tropez, Cannes, and Antibes.

So that's my recap of todays "Caps," haha.  Pun intended.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nice, day 6

"Gardens of Nice" by Hilary J. England, oil on hardwood panel,
8" x 11"

I better make this a quick post, since the wifi is on a downer tonight.  It took me the last hour to make a stable connection, and this one is weak to put it mildly.

Spent a very nice day at the beach, swimming, and that was it.  I couldn't fall asleep until about 5 am last night, between the mosquito buzzing in my ear and the house party across the courtyard that didn't break up until then, so I just kind of tossed and turned and then got up around 10 and headed out to Charvin suppliers, which brought a big smile to my face!

I have been working away, and I will post the first painting I did.  It is hard to get a decent picture of it, but this is the best I can do working with my portable camera and little else.

This little plein air painting was done in the area of some Musee or Palais, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and then threw it away by accident, haha.  I will get the name, but in the meantime, maybe someone will recognize it!  I have been wandering aimlessly like a nomad, and haven't been keeping very good track of the places I've been to within the city, just know that I have kicked around the old city for the last several days, and seen some pretty interesting and beautiful stuff--this was one place that really stood out to me.

So, friends, that's that for tonight.  I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight, if it will be kind and visit me!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Nice, Day 5



Well, Rome was not to be on this particular trip but I am not too anxious about it.  God willing, I will be back soon enough, and I can plan a visit to Rome then.

I have been busy working away, and have completed two paintings.  I am trying to do a painting a day en plein air, plus mulling over what larger painting I will do for the project as well.  The smaller paintings do keep the juice flowing in my mind, as I have no TV, and had no internet until a few moments ago, but that is a good motivator as well.  I do think I may be smoking too much though--all of this time on my hands makes me wound up.  I literally don't know how to sit still.

I guess I am not alone, because when I take breaks away from drawing or working on my paintings, I can see other people either on the street, or from my balcony, and a bulk of them are either on their phones, on their computers, or watching TV.  As a global people, I don't think we know how to exist anymore without technology.  What on earth would people do with themselves?  I think the digital "have nots" are actually better off than the digital "haves."  If the internet ever went down for an extended period of time, we might collectively have a rash of suicides!

My sunburn is starting to dull, and it is all icky and blistered and weeping.  Next it will itch and peel.  Yuck.  But, I have an umbrella, and I think I will attempt the beach tomorrow after 2 pm, when the sun is slightly less strong.  I have to say, the sun stays VERY strong until at least 6 pm here, so now that I know that, I am prepared a little better.

Nice is quiet now that the Ironman has gone away, and the streets are leisurely but still bustling, especially towards Old Nice and the shopping district.  I am planning a trip to Monaco in a day or two, stopping off in Cap Ferrat, and maybe head over the border into Ventimiglia Italy.  Cannes is on the list as well.  I know the locals encourage a stop in Monte Carlo, but "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" isn't really my cup of tea, nor is gambling, so I am not so sure I will stop there.  I would like to take a ferry to Corsica, as that has a lot of history to explore, and Roman ruins are definitely what I love about the area.

So, it is nearly midnight here, and still we have activity in the balconies.  I hear the guy next door loudly and repeatedly yawning and yawning (Go To Bed Dude!), and two other ladies in the balconies below have been ironing clothes literally for hours.  What is up with that?  Ironing is a big deal around here.  I see a lot of women doing that at various times of the day when I stop in,  and I wonder about it...it is an especially mundane and thankless job, LOL.

I have been going to sleep fairly late, and waking up fairly late as well, but when I breakfast on my terrace, I notice I am not alone, so later sleeping hours here seem to be the norm.  That makes me feel a little better and not like some lazy loser who just likes to sleep until 10 or 11 am.  I would NEVER do that back home, haha, but around here, it seems OK.

I guess I will clean up a little, read my book, and enjoy this delicious breeze flowing in from the balcony.  I have not slept with the door closed yet, and I don't plan on it tonight.  It's kind of like camping out, only better, haha.  Goodnight and bonne nuit!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nice Day 4




It was a rather relaxing day, as the Ironman triathalon competition basically shut the whole Riviera down, LOL.  Seriously though, it did, from like 8 am to almost 9 pm, the whole Promenade was shut down, the bus service, etc.  Which leads me to my next sentence:  I can't get to Rome because the trains were mistakenly double booked due to the glut because of the competition, and we did not confirm first.  Big time bummer.

I am going to try and make an attempt tomorrow morning, but it's not looking too good.  If it can't be done, I will just take it as a sign that it was not meant to be this time around, and I will get there on another trip.  Can't really gripe over things beyond my control, so that's that.

The flipside of the coin is that because of the Ironman, I was able to walk around through old Nice, which is very picturesque and pleasant, and have a gelati!  Yes, they are quite good here, I will give them that.  I had a pecan and praline gelati, which was quite nice.

Well, I am not going to go on.  The wifi here is just intolerable, and I just lost the original post I had written, and I am too tired to go through the events of the day again.  Just remember folks, I am on public wifi here, and this is what happens when the government owns everything:  it all goes to crap.

On that note, I bid everyone a good night, pleasant dreams, and bonne nuit.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nice, Day 3


So happy to have a kitchen and an apartment again!

Wow, what a day.  I moved from the Hotel in the center of Nice to the beachfront apartment the gallery has for me, and I thought it would be an easy thing, but it was actually quite laborious.  It is very crowded this weekend due to the Ironman competition, and lugging my huge suitcase and odds and ends on two buses, in 90 degree heat, with sweltering sunburn, was not fun at all.  Then came the odyssey of figuring out the keys, codes, etc. to actually get in (and out!) of the apartment building which was a whole other experience, but I finally got in and unpacked, and then, off to the stores for food, supplies, and art supplies, so, back into the thick of things with the overwhelming crowds, etc.  Wheew.

The apartment is very nice, it's a studio, but has all the little amenities necessary, including a whirlpool tub and bidet (of course, we are in France), and fabulous views of the mountains and the sea.  The wifi is a little iffy, but, that's OK, I can't spend too much time farting around on the computer!  So, that's a good thing.

Now, I'm in, supplied, showered, and relaxing.  I'm going to cook up a steak and some salad, and then off to meet with some people I met here--very nice, from Scotland, Ireland, and London, with a Parisien in there too.  We will go out for coffee and ice cream--Nice is famous for their gelati and other ice creams, so this should be a treat.  I am gearing up to put in some work time tomorrow, so I will officially begin mixing work with pleasure ;-)

While I was in the center of Old Nice today, I saw a very interesting and sweet occurrence: A very large gathering at an ancient cathedral, with multiple weddings occurring.  This is highly unusual in the US (ummm, can you imagine a bunch of "Bridezillas" sharing their "special" day??), but here, this is not uncommon.  The whole street was thronged with family, friends, bridal parties, and well-wishers, and I saw numerous lovely brides.  I saw two wearing very stylish white or off-white short wedding gowns, one traditional bride in huge bouffant-skirted bridal wear, and another in a very elegant floor length gown in all white lace.  Each one was very beautiful, very different, and radiant.

 I was amazed by the whole clamor and happiness of all of these people (different bridal parties)  co-mingling and just having a wonderful time.  The streets were lined with restaurants accommodating both the different bridal parties and people who were not involved, just eating at the same time.  There was no griping about "strangers" entering the restaurants or eating during the same time, it was all a very open and casual affair, while still being very elegant and fancy.  We need to lighten up a bit in the USA with our wedding "protocols," LOL.  This certainly seemed a lot more fun than many weddings I have attended with everyone being uptight to the point of the nuthouse if one little thing goes wrong.

Anyway, as I pushed on through the crowds, I found a really quiet street, the one I was looking for, with two ancient art supply stores (hooray) and was able to purchase the flammables I couldn't bring through the airport.  The elderly French clerk helped me get all I needed, even with my horrible French, and I was on my way back to the apartment quite speedily.  After dropping off my stuff, I was able to get some quiet time in the old cathedral (yes Jilly, it was beautiful!) of the Holy Trinity, near the Rue Buffa.  I try to see as many cathedrals as I can when I am out, because the history and architecture is amazing, and it is a calm oasis in the midst of chaos.

So, to wrap it up, I have gone out and come back for the night: I am in for the evening after a very nice night with some new people, and no, we didn't make our way to Pinocchio's Gelaterie, but we did stop at a fine patisserie and I had a most delicious chocolate pastry, with some kick butt creme (coffee), and now am sitting listening to the seagulls fly back and forth over the gardens between the buildings.  It's 9:30 pm, and still not dark, so I can see the mountains, and the throngs of people on the boardwalk, which is very relaxing.

All in all, it was a busy day but very good day, and looking forward to relaxing tomorrow, painting, and meeting up with some friends for Sunday brunch.  Bon nuitte!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nice, Day 2



The weather was quite warm today, and the sun blazing high and bright.  Due to jet lag, I fell asleep at 8 pm local time, and woke up at 2 am, unable to fall back to sleep until nearly 5 am, and then, slept through almost to noon! I guess I really was wiped out.

Then, I woke up disoriented, and upset about having slept as long as I did (typical American!).  I hastily washed and dressed, and headed out to explore a bit, and then to the beach.

The stores are plentiful, with everything you can think of being sold.  Souvenirs, trinkets, and more beautiful handcrafted items such as leather purses, and then the high end stuff.  I admired this all as I walked along, and then I headed into a McDonald's (yes, shame on me, and there are plenty of fast food places here, including KFC, unlike Paris, where fast food chains are scarce), and I got a coffee to go, and a package of sliced apples.  I noticed the oddity here--you can get a Heineken with your Burger Royale or Big Mac--I got a laugh out of that.  Beer at McDonald's.

I headed into a dollar store (yes, they have them here too, except everything is 2 Euro instead of $1.00) for a few little comforts for the beach, such as a straw mat, a straw hat, and a pad and pen.  Well, the search for a writing pad was on--the dollar store had pens, but no pad or paper. They did, however, have a section of Pornography and discount sex toys.  I was in complete amazement by this.  Even water pistols in the shape of penises and breasts (very odd).

So, in a country that reveres the arts, the locals don't stock writing implements, but they do stock a strange variety of sexually explicit beach items, and Dollar Store pornography.  Better question still--how do the people feel who are in these movies?  They do porno thinking they will make big bucks and be seen as "sexy and exotic," and they have been relegated to the Dollar Store porno section.  Depressing!

Anyway, after my lesson of beer in McDonald's and Dollar store sexual eccentricities, I was off to the beach.  I got down there, and got settled in as best as I could, since the beach is literally entirely smooth, round rocks.  No sand, just rocks.  Makes things very interesting, especially trying to navigate them on bare feet.  You would think it would not be uncomfortable, but it is, very.  I saw a few people fall down, and made a resolve that wouldn't be me, haha.  When you get to the water, you nearly have to dive in, because the rocks get harder to navigate rather than easier, so most people just try to plop into the water without looking to clumsy.

The water is heavenly, so the trudge to it is worth it.  Hours of peace as you literally float in the azure blue.  Here, there are no lifeguards, so people swim WAY out, and there is lots of horseplay in the immediate surf with kids slinging footballs, splashing, and making human pyramids (I guess the trick is to stay up despite the rocky bottoms).  Vendors walk up and down the beach selling water, hot peanuts, beer, cold wine, cigars, and people just lounge and eat, drink, and smoke.  Like we used to in the United States before we became subjects of the Nanny State...also, people are VERY tan here.  Another "No No" stateside.

As I sat around, a few people struck up conversations, particularly a German student from Paris, working on her Master's degree.  Her name was Lydia, and she was very congenial, and we talked of all sorts of art and culture.  She was here on a short vacation, and hoping to go to the United States to complete her education. She was a little dismayed that she was having problems obtaining a work permit in the USA.  I told her to go to Mexico and cross into the USA illegally, and all of her problems would be solved.  She looked confused, but I ruefully laughed and told her it was a joke that would take a native to the USA to understand.

So, I'm back now in my hotel, relaxing, and looking to head out in a little bit.  Lydia invited me to join her for dinner, but I declined.  She also said if I would like to meet up later, she and another girlfriend of hers would be at the ice cream stand by where we were, listening to some music.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.  I get paranoid about "meeting" with people in foreign countries, no matter how innocent they look.  I shouldn't have read  "The Journeyer" all those years ago, LOL.

So, bon soir for now.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nice, is very nice. Hehe.




Wow, what a trip, literally.  I could go on and on, but we all know how annoying air travel is...first the security checks, lugging your baggage everywhere, and of course, when you turn the cancer machine down, you get the felt-up in front of everyone.  That's OK, that doesn't piss me off anymore.  Rather get groped than have TSA agents looking at me naked in the x-ray machine.  That's just creepy.

The flight was pretty horrible.  Screaming babies, puking kids, and for some reason, everyone was up running around the plane all night.  I have never flown LOT Polish, but I'll tell you what, it was a bizarre trip.  They kept feeding everyone, and there was only like an hour's downtime during the 9 hour flight.   Plus, factor in shitty movies (some stupid movie with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah) and freaky music on the headphones, and you have a formula for a midair freak-out worthy of an emergency landing.  Safe to say I will not be flying with them again (after the flight back).

Plus, another weirdness--when we disembarked in Warsaw, we were all escorted off the plane, and back through another security check point which took nearly an hour.  I am wondering what these people were thinking?  Did someone smuggle a baby bomb on board somewhere between Newark and Warsaw?  If we were thoroughly screened in Newark, and never went anywhere but the plane under their watchful eyes, why did we need another humiliation upon disembarking?  Talk about hysterical out-of-control bullshit.  I didn't know Poland had that many terrorist attacks, LOL.

Upon arriving in Nice, I was completely washed up.  I had 80 pounds of luggage to lug around, and when I left the airport with only an address, and was accosted by taxi drivers offering me a lift for 50 Euros (about 75 dollars American), I was so fed up I told the one guy to piss off.  I wound up taking the bus for *3* Euros, and walking two blocks to the hotel.  Definitely worth saving 47 Euros. 

So, first thing I did was drag my giant suitcase past the hotel clerk who didn't speak a word of English, get into my room (pretty crappy as well), instantly strip and hit the shower.  The shower head fell off and clunked me on the head, but NOTHING would stop me from washing off the travel grime of the last 24 hours.  I feel like a new human!!  Who cares about the crappy room.  I'll sleep with the lights on so no vermin crawls in my ears LMAO.

Now, all of those bad experiences can pale next to the splendor of this place!  It is sooooo beautiful here, the water is the most beautiful shade of aqua, and the ambience is a mixture of ancient Rome, New Orleans and Paris, and a hint of the Far East.  Very exotic.  I walked along the beach, and was in absolute awe of the beauty of the entire area.  I am definitely impressed.  So, I am turning in for an early night so that I can be nice and refreshed for tomorrow...Bon soir.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Getting close!

"Study of white flowers in a vase" by Hilary J. England, 2012,
Oil on canvas, 8" x 11"

I leave for Nice next week.  I am looking forward to my time there, and especially the days in Rome and Milan.  I have been very busy, but I still need to relax my mind and so, I painted the little study of cockleshells, or at least these little round, white, bunches of dangling flowers reminded of cockleshells...they probably have some fancy scientific name, but of that, I am not aware.  I only know they were pretty and interesting looking to me.

So, I am getting ready to get going to Europe, and  have a very productive time working with Gallerie Monteoliveto while I am there. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Painting, "The Road Trip"

"The Road Trip" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 36" x 48" x 2", 2012

Here is my newest painting, "The Road Trip."  I absolutely adored creating this painting, with the challenge of fleshy, rosy little cheeks, the strange intimacy of the overcrowded car, and the private universe each child seemed to inhabit--what was going on beneath their quiet exteriors?  What dreams were flitting through their still little forms?  They were together, yet very separate; each with their own distinct and immense dreams to explore beneath their closed eyes.

I wanted to convey the cramped quarters, yet how they still were able to find that comfort of sleep, even in the discomfort of an overloaded car.  Travel has its drawbacks, yet we deal with these annoyances to get to where we want to go to...we overcome to get to a goal, a better and greater destination.  This starts in infancy, and never ends until we are dead, and then it goes on from there as well.  What a wonderful cycle to delve into!

Each child looked as if they were engaged in their own dreamworld, with each of their expressions conveying a different experience, a different expression, which reflects in their personalities as well.  It was completely enthralling, and in the end, it was hard to wrap this painting up and end the experience of it.  I literally had to tear myself away, and resist the urge to keep working at it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

"Stormy sky" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11"

I've been very busy lately, and also, had an extremely hectic month.  Three car accidents, one with injuries, two without, last one involving us getting hit-and-run by a drunk driver on Memorial Day weekend, who thankfully was eventually caught.  Not a good month for my mind, getting frazzled every other day with serious car accidents, or for our wallets.  But, the old superstition is that bad things come in "threes," and there you have it. If I want to put a positive spin on it, it was good things.  No one died, or was permanently injured, thank God.  So, it's the old "half-full, half-empty" deal.  I will look at it as half-full!

I've also been very busy with a time-consuming class, and lots of work from that.  But, that's fine, and thankfully, it will be wrapping up in a little over a week, so I look forward to the month off I have coming after it's finished.  I will certainly need some time to just relax and get caught up on some "me" time.

I feel good today, despite having the worst allergies right now, my eyes are swollen up like I have pink-eye, LOL.  Claritin won't touch these bad boys!  So, I will just deal with the condition...usually the month of June, for some reason, is worst for me and my allergies for the first two weeks of it, then it just goes away.  So, I know it's just a matter of time.

I am packing and getting ready to head back to Europe in a little over two weeks from today.  Nice and the French Riviera.  I am very much looking forward to my three weeks I will be there.  I am doing an artist's residency with a gallery out of Naples, Italy, with a satellite gallery in Nice, and the apartment they are putting me up in is literally right on the beach, so I should bronze up nicely!!  I just have to make sure I pack lots of sunscreen so I don't get burned to a crisp.  It's an art form in itself, trying to get the right balance of sun.  Unbelievably, I burn SO bad.  But, if I get a very gradual exposure, I do get nice color.  Very strange for someone who is has some olive tone in there.

I plan on a four day excursion into Italy--one day in Milan, two in Rome, and one in Naples.  I am all arranged for it, with a room near Vatican City for those days.  Having never been in Rome, I am extremely excited at the prospect of it.  Rome and Roman history has always been fantastic and mysterious to me, the beauty, power, and brutality of it, along with the longevity of it's survival has always made me think that it was the supreme civilization of all, even to this day.  But, that is my opinion, and I'm sure everyone else has their own idea of it.

So, I am carefully packing, because I don't want to be lugging a lot of crap around with me, and have to also take into account my painting supplies which will be stowed inside my luggage (and takes up probably half the suitcase).  I'm only bringing one large suitcase (Yes Jilly, the Life Raft!) along with my carry-on (which is just my laptop and computer/business gear) so I have to pack very carefully since I will be gone for three weeks, and I can only bring the bare necessities.  But, as long as I have access to laundry, I'm good.  It's all about roaming and painting, and sunbathing, and mingling.  It will be awesome.

Well, I am trying to finish up a new painting in my series, which I am determined to do this weekend, all other things be darned.  I want to bring it to Myron for Monday, or Thursday the latest.  His opinions are very important to me, and I would like the peace of mind to have a critique before heading overseas.  So, I'm out on this quiet, rainy, afternoon, and I am looking forward to getting it done.  It's time.

Ciao!


End of Summer

"Mountain sunset" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11" End of Summer, and it's going out with lots of heat!...