ART HOLIDAYS!!

The arthouse now has a series of windows open for folks who love art, and who’d like a one-on-one, individually tailored, painting-with-the-artist holiday: go and see VAWAA’s beautiful site, to hear more about it.

Your holiday will include prior consultation on how we’ll craft your art activity; we’ll hone in on your specific goals and needs.
We design the 4 day session just for you: you can focus on skills development, wild expressive work, creative catharsis, a personal project – or even work completely spontaneously.
I’ll be there throughout, and will also show you around this magical town, in which I’m protagonist of a growing international creative community!

It’ll be a highly inspiring break, guaranteed! A completely unique experience, super-nourishing to your creative spirit!

Please share this blog if you know someone who would love such a holiday!

Keep in touch with all my news, and with the Real School of Art, via PATREON and on THIS WEBSITE

Happy August creative expansion to you!


xx Clare 

DOING NOTHING/ FACENDO NULLA!

the Italian coffee break is an art form

Sei italiano? Vedi giù – è in italiano!

I’m certainly not the only one who finds difficulty in sitting down and doing absolutely nothing! I’m not talking so much about meditation, as simply having a rest: taking a seat, switching off the computer and the phone, putting the day’s work out of my mind. Leaning back into some cushions, mmmmmm.

P1030097resting in the early months, painting from 2013

Since buying my house, I’ve not rested enough! It is hard to sit down, when I have to look at walls which still need plastering, when I’m thinking about upcoming deadlines for events or paperwork, or being interrupted and cajoled to go and look at a house someone wants to sell. And like many people in the modern world, I have got used to doing everything at a fairly perky pace, even though my work and life don’t require it. Continue reading

EXHIBITIONISM

Last night was the opening party for a sweet wee expo I am doing, down in Telese at Giuseppe Lese’s Hops2o beer house.

Here are a few snapshots of the preparations and vernissage:

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The kitchen has been a squeeze, with two Terra Vivente artist residency guests, and my own makeshift office and studio, as my downstairs rooms are still too damp to house paintings, nor anything papery…

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I spent at least 2 days painting all the edges of the big unframed paintings, with several layers of gouache needed on each edge.

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It has been a bit of higgledy-piggledy summer, as I moved out of my studio and down to my basement (the old stable) to allow the lovely international artists to stay in my upper rooms all summer… I hadn’t really taken into account how much stuff I’d have to house, and then the big water issue from the house above set me back loads: wet wet wet, damaged paintings, had to simplify my pop-up shop event hugely, needed to keep all delicate things at the front of the house, and avoid any wooden furniture touching the floor, etc, etc. Urgh. So ultimately, the consequence was my having to try and do all my art activities in the kitchen, which has been shared with my lovely (and very accomodating!) guests.

_DSC0299   Anyways, it felt great to get the stack of 15 paintings, some of them rather large, out of the kitchen, and up towards to car. I’m very grateful to my dear artist guest Fleur Brett, who assisted me in not straining a muscle in my back, by helping pull the trolley up those big steps. Phew! This is one of the reasons I dislike framing my artwork- glass and wood are heavy!

_DSC0301One of the slightly challenging aspects of having a house in an Italian medieval quarter: everything we want carried in or out, must be taken under our own steam, up a load of steep stairs, and up a steep cobbled hill (or two). I can get the car down to this wee piazza, but only if I fold the wing mirrors in.

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The show was about the easiest ever I have hung: Giuseppe got these fabulous vertical strips of wood attached to the walls, with nice metal hooks in- all I needed to do was put a painting on each one, in an aesthetically-correct manner, and hooray! I love seeing my colourful artwork on these warm, dark grey walls.

 

_DSC0307Here is an article in the regional paper Il Sannio: it talks about the expo being a selection of works from the past 7 yrs, which is a powerful period of time, as it represents the period in which the human body replaces every single cell with a new one. So every 7 year cycle, we are effectively a completely different person.This article also refers to my involvement in the Scottish referendum debate; the importance of our spiritual autonomy and sustainability within ourselves, in order to be a country and culture which can flourish.

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My paintings contain stories about our cycles, our patterns in life: about how we can find equilibrium by being aware of these cycles, being responsible and conscious- the potential to interact healthily in our own co-creation, by not simply following a destructive pattern to its logical end, e.g. The above painting which we used in the poster for this expo, is a good solid example of the kinds of figurative artworks I do: it has a small figure inside a bigger one. To me, the larger self represents a person who has this dialogue, energetic discourse, relationship with the smaller self inside.

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I feel strongly about leaving the interpretation of art to whoever might be looking at it in any given moment, and am passionately against the dry assumptions of ego-based art forces, which think that ‘regular’ folks cannot see art. I heartily believe that creativity is a divine right of every person, and that art in particular is a thing which we all have an eye to see, a heart to feel, a voice to speak about. I’ve had all sorts of very differing reactions to the same painting throughout my career, from sheer anger to tears of compassion and grief.

I adore the fabric that is woven around a piece of artwork, by the myriad emotions and perspectives which are presented by those experiencing it.

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We had a lovely wee presentation from Guiseppe, about his dream to bring this lovely beer house into being, and to have a place which brings together wonderful artisan produce, great music and inspiring art. His beer house is quite unlike any other place in the zone- perhaps much more like a northern European pub- I am happy to have my work there, as he shares my values and attention to detail, and creates this warm atmosphere which I prefer (in contrast to a cold gallery space).

_DSC0323Here we are cutting ribbon, with the mayor of Telese, and another of our international artists from the Terra Vivente Art Studio, Indian photographere Shiv Ahuja.

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And then we got stuck in with eating and drinking and looking at art and chatting at length! Fabulous!

_DSC0333It has been a brilliant experience, hanging out with all the artists, and with some lovely Guardia people, this summer- we have gone to many expo openings, had tons of shared meals and bottles of wine, and created a truly stupendous web of connections, which now reaches from Guardia’s centro storico to the far side of the planet!

  _DSC0335It is one of my greatest pleasures to break bread and share a good beer with new and old friends. Life doesn’t get much better than that, eh!

_DSC0336At the end of the evening, I had a great discussion with some wonderful people whose family is originally from Guardia, who have some very old property here, and are inspired by what is happening, to possibly set up something interesting too- that, and another old friend contacted me this week about scoping the town out as a possible base for a spiritual centre. Things seem to have such a good momentum here! Then I was interviewed by Alessio, Lorenzo and Mariapaola for Art’Empori until I was flagging from brain drain -hehe! I sped home up the hill to Guardia, singing loudly and thoroughly satiated.

You can read more about my work via my Arthouse website.

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INTERCONNECTEDNESS

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So it was a busy busy summer in the centro storico of Guardia Sanframondi!

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Instead of the silent Via Dietro Gli Orti, with only occasional yowling of cats, twittering of birds, water cascading and regular intermittent yelling from neighbours, there were hoards of people outside of my door, and filling the street, and the gardens!

 

_DSC1606 Though I was stretched, doing a lot of hands-on stuff for my own installation and pop-up shop, and supporting my guests, and messing about with the DIY on the arthouse, and getting ready for Scotland… etc… never-the-less I was sufficiently lucid to see that we’d created something pretty damn special.

 _DSC3189 - Version 2Alongside the stupendous Helena Wadsley, I helped host the Terra Vivente Art Studio: two months of art residency, with tremendously sweet and engaged folks from as far away as Australia and India… It was truly a whole load more splendid that we could have imagined when we first chatted about it!

 

_DSC1520    Multifarious ad hoc get-togethers, improvised dinners and parties, had us all bonding like we were family. Real meetings of minds, in an atmosphere of sharing, deepening, being creative and true. It was all ever-so-slightly chaotic, but the one thing which stood out, was the universal praise for the GOOD VIBE- everyone felt it was tangible, and left with shining eyes and wide smiles. I personally felt like, wow, I’m here- this is just how I hoped it could be.

 

10531322_10203195132574072_1024160144_nSome strong friendships were struck up, and a mass of new creative dialogue, both within the gates of the centro storico, and in regards to/ dialogue about the place. Slowly, slowly (piano, piano), a collective vision is coming together, of how such a place as Guardia might have a thriving alternative community: how this community might flourish and inspire, whilst simultaneously providing a magical haven for those needing respite from the madness of modern life…

 

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THINKING INSIDE THE BOX

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my studio in the arthouse, Guardia Sanframondi, 2013

Finding the space to be creative was always my priority in life: from an early age I’d carry an old plastic bread bag around with pencils and paper and books in, so that I could set up my hobby work wherever I went.

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my workspace, Glasgow School of Art, 1995

In art school I adored, and thrived, having a studio- a place where I could finally splash paint around, let it drip onto the floor, experiment with all manner of oils and inks and natural materials. It felt like an extension of my imagination, my emotional and psychological space, having an area to leave my projects out, to come back to them the next day. This developed a strong need in me for a constant ‘making-working-being space’, that I could be free to be myself most fully in.

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UP gallery, Calder High-rises, Edinburgh, 2007

Between art school and my having my arthouse in Italy, I tried every which way to set up the perfect art space, but my need for multi-functionality was challenged when I was always renting property.

Nevertheless, I managed to run a great variety of studio-gallery-workshop-events-spaces from a village in Cyprus, a top-floor council high-rise flat in Edinburgh, and a ‘Secret Shop’ in a glen cottage in the Scottish Borders, to a travelling circus-tent gallery which was eventually pitched in the gardens in front of where the arthouse is… My use of the space evolved, from a place to simply show paintings, to additionally being a meeting, celebrating, healing zone, and the centre of a dynamic raising of energy and ideas.

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Secret Shop, Scottish Borders 2008: photo credit Colin Gajewski

The freedom I worked so hard to manifest in my life -to think, work, feel, be- meant that I existed almost exclusively out with galleries and conventional art circles. It felt like my values, awareness and viewpoint were highly different from the mainstream, and even from the alternative, so it was essential to me that I cultivated my own clear path, that I could develop this philosphy of Spiralling Upwards which I strongly sensed might be needed in the world.

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Secret Shop travelling tent gallery in Guardia, 2010: photo credit Sergio Desiato

It took a long time for me to realise how my different way of thinking and perceiving might fit into the world- mostly it seemed to me that society, culture, peers wanted me to dampen down my spirits and wheisht. On the other hand, I passionately wanted to celebrate being alive, to see the beauty in small simple things, and to inspire and enthuse others: I sought to raise the energy rather than stopping it up, and knew I’d have to find a particular, special container in order to house such a magical world- in order to not be interrupted every time I got the vibe good!

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Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, 2012: the arthouse is to the lower right

The way my house finally came to me is quite a story! I’m writing it down on paper, whilst developing the various strands of my business and life in Italy and Scotland… but it appeared at the perfect moment, and just how I dreamed it- not that I could’ve imagined it physically (this jumble of rooms and alcoves, built in under the ground in this incredible, atmospheric, abandoned centro storico!), but it has grown rapidly into the most apt container possible, for all my creative outpourings and enthusiasms!

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Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, from the Ponte Ratello looking west

I’m writing in my book too, about the whole process of manifesting a dream lifestyle- about the minutiae, the hard slog, the focus required to make a vision in the world (especially when you have to carve it out of very little, and when your dream is sort of the opposite of where the herd seem to be flocking to).

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Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, from below the gardens

I always thought so far out of the box that I wasn’t ever anywhere near any box: I lived barefoot and wild in various countries, subsisting by selling artwork, life-modelling, helping grow organic food, etc. in order not to compromise… well, anything. Once my ideas and energy and intention were ripe and ready though, it became time to search for a container, to put all my stuff into it, so that I could finally make sense/ find my place/ identity in the world. The container, to me, is the holy grail, holding the sacred flow, allowing it to alchemise. It’s the organising factor- a boundary and box to keep the energy in place, that it can grow. There’s a time and a place for thinking inside the box!

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La Chiesa Dentro Di Me, installation at the arthouse 2014, photo credit Sara Cancellieri