April 25th. Freedom and Justice!

The Path. Oil on board, 30cm x 30cm.
The Road. Oil on board, 30cm x 30cm.

April 25th is a national Italian holiday commemorating the end of the second world war and the end of Nazi and Facist occupation of the North of Italy. Today is the 70th Anniversary.  The liberation put an end to twenty years of fascist dictatorship and five years of brutal war. Now I am glad to walk peacefully through the landscape but today I remember what our countries and the Partisans who fought here had to go through first so we could live in Sasseta, a small village at the base of the Ligurian Appenines.

The worst conditions and fighting took place in mountainous areas like this where the Gothic line was drawn. Resources were scarce and living conditions were difficult. Many soldiers both English and American came to these mountians for refuge, relying on the locals for support and supplies while sleeping in abandoned farms and farmhouses as they fought with the Partisans against the Germans. There were no roads in those days, only narrow mule tracks that confused the Germans who were used to broader fighting grounds, infact many were killed in a battle nearby due to their more agile enemies. There is still a group of old Partisans who come to Sasseta to remember this day, each bringing their story to tell. How many innocent victims for freedom and justice.

A couple of years ago a lady from Sasseta bought her grandchild to my daughters birthday party at my house, she said the last time she came here it was to hide during German round up raids seventy years ago. This is a painting of the ‘modern’ road that now leads to our house were we can drive up and down whenever and wherever we want, how times have changed!

Down by the River

Down by the River.  Oil on board, 25cm x 35cm.
Down by the River. Oil on board, 25cm x 35cm.

The days are getting longer and so more time to be outside playing and painting!

Mimosa

Mimosa.  Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm
Mimosa. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm

A few wonderful facts about the Mimosa:

1. It lights up the winter with its bright yellow flowers

2. It inspires a delicious recipe for an italian cream cake called Torta Mimosa.

3.  A champagne cocktail is named after it (one part champagne and one part fruit juice).

However when I came to painting the tree it was almost as frustrating as trying to spread cold butter on an even colder pancake!

Mimosa and Sunflowers. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.
Mimosa and Sunflowers. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.

Portrait Sketch

Painting children from life is difficult, I guess you need a good memory to finish any details incase they move which they do all the time so I decided on a longer pose using Winnie as she slept as an excuse but then again a true portrait of her would be bouncing and running around…..but that is easier said than done!

How did Sorolla paint the finest details in blinding sunlight as the children he painted ran along beaches and splashed in waves? He definently had magic in his paintbrush!

Winnie Sleeping.  Oil on Board.  20cm x 25cm
Winnie Sleeping. Oil on Board. 20cm x 25cm

Waiting for Spring

Last Autumn.  Oil on Linen, 80cm x 100cm
Last Autumn. Oil on Linen, 80cm x 100cm

With the arrival of Spring I am looking forward again to planting the seeds of these pumpkins, sunflowers and the sweetcorn which were growing in our vegetable patch last Autumn.

Even though some of us are waiting for Spring, in Southern Australia Autumn has only just begun!