Monday, October 01, 2018

Oops, I Did It Again!

Back in the '70s and '80's, I had wall art that was probably like everyone else's - a beautiful landscape over the sofa, a nice floral on the wall, some pleasing, generic something-or-other's flanking the bed. You know what I mean - the sort of stuff they sell at BB&B, or Target, or Michaels. It's pretty, but it doesn't really mean anything, doesn't have a personal connection.

And then I started to travel. Back in the day when we still used film in cameras, I quickly learned to added a few hundred dollars to the budget for the developing and framing that followed every vacation. Sometimes I'd buy posters, or even postcards that I found interesting. Once, following in the footsteps of my son, I ripped a concert poster off a wall in Prague to bring home as a souvenir. I bought ceramic plates to hang rather than eat from, and took every photo with the thought that this could be the one!

Now, every single thing that hangs on my walls, or sits on my shelves, has a story, has meaning, and brings back memories of the place, the occasion, and the people. Anyone who's seen our house knows that the walls are pretty full, and I promised myself I wouldn't buy anymore art on this trip, but I've failed miserable.

At first I started small.  I bought postcards and greeting cards with beautiful scenes, thinking that I could frame them, or not - if I didn't, I hadn't spent a lot of money, but at least I had the option, and at least the picture was small. But then my collection grew. A couple of prints from Ireland. A few more from England. A tea towel from Sussex to hang on the kitchen door. A charming scene of Innsbruck, bought directly from the artist. And now, quite a few more from Italy.

I bought a print from the same man we bought an original from last year, 'just in case'. I found a charming scene, already framed!, from a local artist who'd set up a temporary exposition in a nearby town. And today, while visiting a tiny little village here in Umbria we walked past an exhibition of paintings that were absolutely breathtaking. The artist, a small man named Rolando, welcomed us into his studio. A speech impediment made conversation difficult, but what he's unable to express in words he's more than made up for with his artwork. (And later he'd gift me a book of poems he's written!) How could I NOT buy one of his pictures?

Deciding on just one, and a small one at that, was difficult, but in the end we choose one that depicts the town we were in, Ferentillo, and the two towers that watch over it. I really wanted the large one with the field of poppies in the foreground, and the one with sunflowers - and I LOVED the one with the simple vase of flowers, but unfortunately not only are my walls full, I also have to consider my suitcases for the trip home.

The best part about these purchases is that in the end, I don't feel guilty at all - I know once I get home I'll remember exactly where we were, exactly what the artist told me about his work, and I'll instantly be transported back to that moment in Ireland, England, Austria or Italy.

Ferentillo - If you see it, you'll love it.

Rolando Lucidi


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