Weeks 4-5 @ MIRA and working steadily on the glass imagery – playing further with texture and really enjoying the process, but not the result as much now. But this is a healthy and necessary part of the artistic process, especially in this new surrounding. This is exactly why I have chosen to do a residency – to give myself the opportunity to explore other options – to play with techniques and imagery that I may not have otherwise explored. I find it frustrating that many residencies cater to only the younger emerging artists, when even established artists need to take a break from their usual work – or even have the chance to see it in a new light. MIRA has offered this, at this point in my career, and I am grateful. I am certain others share the same needs and I would highly recommend a “holiday” with your work – away from the factors that perhaps inhibit or stagnate and keep you from the luxury of going sideways that we all deserve – and need.As I said in an earlier blog, I had to leave to come back again. Where I went was sideways. I gave myself the opportunity and I have come back from this journey refreshed and looking backward and forward with renewed energy and confidence – and perhaps a theme to return to someday… but now I find Martignano has provided me with another gift that I wish to explore – or return to.
When I left Berlin on my way here in April, I had decided to focus on the theme of dogs – a subject I have painted previously, but I wanted to do a body of work – up BIG and BOLD. I had started about 8 studies, but as I started travelling I found it difficult to find opportunities for collecting imagery and there was no guarantee that I would find what I needed to continue this theme at the MIRA residency. I could have stayed with this plan but I was deteremined to try the glass idea first - to see what I could do with it and to see what it would give me – and I am glad I stuck to that plan. But having had a quick peek into the glass as a subject, I now wish to return to the dogs as a tribute to Martignano and my time here. I had no idea that Martignano would have a dozen or more local characters (dogs) to study! I never imagined that there would be dogs here (cats yes, having visited Turkey, Greece, and Croatia), but not so many stray dogs. It is definitely a problem, but I was heartened that the beautiful people of this town let them roam, feed them, put bowls of water out for them and they are part of the character of this place - a wonderful character. The animals are not as healthy as they should be, but they are gentle and seem happy. It is a lovely thing to see. Rather than putting them a shelter, this is ideal - if there is funding for the animals that are here to be spade/neutered, I think they would actually be happier. Later perhaps there might be a facility to find homes for these gorgeous animals, but the system seems to work here - at least the animals are tolerated as part of the town. I have no idea if this is unique to Martignano, but I am going to find out more. If it is a problem, would it be better to work with what already exists? I will ask the Mayor here for some history and get his comments. Perhaps this could lead to something else – who knows – but I need to follow this one.
There are 2 dogs in particular that I have come to adore. I can’t say I pet them or feed them – I actually do not want to start something in fear that it will disrupt the natural process of things – I am an outsider and I am seeing Martignano through my naïve North American / Australian experience. It is different here and I am aware that I should do my homework first before barrelling in wanting to “fix” things. I will be leaving here soon and I cannot create change but I can create awareness – or I might find that it is a symbiotic system that doesn’t require change, but just “is”.
But … these 2 dogs and I have a special and very enjoyable bond. They seem to recognise me and follow for a while. They welcome me whenever I am out. (See Blog #1 “The Art of Bus Travel”) Why me? I know it’s probably because they are just hungry, but animals have a way of communicating and these 2 have spoken to me. Gorgeous souls who have a very rough life and yet seem to be better behaved than most pets!
So I am now determined to create a tribute to them and the lovely people of this small town – and the gift is a return to my original idea, something I might not have followed had I not come to this particular place! Salute Martignano and all its inhabitants and Salute MIRA!