This is an exciting time of the year, in terms of transformation!

I just had my birthday, so it’s my new year, and I always use this transition into a whole new cycle as a way of looking afresh at my life and work – sometimes I make big changes!

This particular season is also special for me, because it marks both the end of my fifth year in Guardia Sanframondi – and a new phase of my professional life as an artist. The past few months have been highly successful and satisfying on one level, and yet on another, they’ve felt like I’m dragging a heavy load of responsibility and worry – which shouldn’t really be mine.

So it feels like time to slough an old skin!


all images by the artist, from the oriental museum of rome

‘Sloughing a skin’, to me, means a big clear out/ tidy-up/ autumn deep clean (body and house), but it’s also a shedding of e.g. inappropriate workloads and others’ projections. A time for delegation and release.

It is powerful to do this at least once annually, and why not during the period when all of nature is dropping fruit, shedding leaves, letting go and resting back into itself, as the nights become longer.


One potent way that I’m marking my own ‘letting go of inappropriate responsibilities’, is by transferring all the useful wisdom I have about Guardia Sanframondi into book form. This coincides with a much tougher line on interruptions: i.e. not allowing interruptions at all, thus making a renewed commitment to my art practise.


It took me these past 5 years to restore my house, learn the language and set up a business abroad: it is a dream made true, and I am doing everything I want to, so it was bothering me that I wasn’t waking up ecstatic every morning.

In fact, I was feeling consistently agitated and too full – my head crammed with all sorts of trivialities, emails ting-ing away, and infinite requests for answers streaming in and out of my social media accounts: most of it around the town, and practicalities, orientation… The doorbell was being buzzed far too often, and folks getting into my head space, my workspace, my emotional space, with things that had nothing to do with me. In the end, it felt like I was re-living my own struggle to get established here, whilst simultaneously acting as counsellor and councillor!


It is a great thing for us humans to be able to have symptoms – to feel negative emotions – because these draw our attention to what needs attending to. Without symptoms, we’d just keep crashing on towards self-destruction.

So having figured out what was holding me back, and why people were asking for my time, I can now figure out how to proceed, whilst hopefully not abandoning or offending anyone!

I’m excited to be honing my practise; focussing much more on the creative acts at the centre of my work. My relationship with creativity is like a strong tree trunk in my life – and my being inspired is the nutriment which is required to keep the structure solid and vibrant; my own pleasure and enjoyment of the place I live in, my travels, my painting and writing.


If we’re stretched out into others’ needs and wants, then our trunk begins to become brittle, our limbs limp – and less and less essential nutrients gets to where they need to go.

I’ll be announcing some new Patreon rewards this week and next: particularly interesting for those of you passionate about Guardia Sanframondi!


Tante belle cose, Clare


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