Happy Sunday everyone. Post me a pic of your picnic please?
Near Viterbo, about a one hour drive from us, there is a astonishingly beautiful and flourishing peony garden. Apparently the largest collection of peony plants in the world, it covers 15 hectares. Flowering now in Centro Botanico Moutan – take a spectacular wander around the website https://www.centrobotanicomoutan.it/en/visiting-the-garden#
4805 new cases of covid-19 in Italy yesterday. The Istituto Superiore di Sanità have estimated 30 000 lives were saved by the lockdown measures. At the moment for every person with the virus, 1 other person is infected. It was 3 at the beginning, so that’s encouraging. We’re bumping along the top of the statistics curve…I hope. Thinking of all the families and friends, more than 15000 here in Italy who have lost someone special in this pandemic.
On my short jog down to the end of the road and back, I garnered some attention. Renata called from her balcony to say her phone is broken. She’s very sad because the phone company only responds with a digital voice and she can’t get anywhere with it. Rita, the woman with a loud broken voice, cackled and complained from her balcony about the weeds growing up around our common stairway. She was hanging a string of large off-white panties on the line. When I agreed that we should clean up, she instantly shouted to the gardener in the pink house and told him to come over. He agreed to clean the weeds for us on Monday. So it’s business as usual in our cul-de-sac.
This painting is part of the pastel series. You can see others in my portfolio on paperbrush.com
The next time I see a path, I’m going to walk and walk and walk!
Even if the cinghiali (wild boars) are running amok while the hunters sit in quarantine.
Lockdown day 20 in Southern Italy. Simon is reading a colossal German bible illustrated by Salvador Dalì. Apparently he has time to read it now. The Old Testament is quite challenging for a space man like him. I tried to paint a watercolour of Renata’s house down the street. She paces up and down her balcony in a scarlet dressing-gown. Perhaps she’ll notice me and wave in my direction. Below her house is a window where an old man sits and looks out all day. A portrait in a frame. There is no street activity for him to watch, except the two brown birds who hop among the peach blossoms.
The numbers are subsiding slowly. Our Prime Minister says we’re not out of the woods yet. Mind boggling statistics here in Italy, with almost 98 000 cases and a brutal 11 000 deaths. Yesterday we lost another 756 people. Waning new infections point to the peak. We are having trouble understanding our high percentage of mortalities compared to other countries.
You have all been so generous with your comments and good wishes, thank you sending so much love. I know you’re all out there facing similar challenges, some worse than others. This feeling of the impending tsunami of doom makes me think of walking along the beach at Umhlanga. Those frightfully big waves that crash onto the sand don’t usually wash you away, they just fizz and retreat. Sometimes they touch your feet.
The painting is now owned by my friend Francesco Sarti and his little daughter Mathilda.
Last night the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, declared a nation wide “lockdown” from today. He is right, we must do what we can. Sitting here in my sunny studio painting flowers, seems the idyllic way to spend the days, but the thought of what is happening out there is not pleasant at all. It will be a while before I see my family and friends again. Take good care everyone. Like birds in the olive trees, each on his own branch.