Still on Tuscan Time

Back home…the world is pushing me to engage in the frenetic/dead stop manner that has been my conflicted way of surviving to date.

However, Tuscan motes of sun and sea have invaded my mind and body, cushioning the reality check that downed telephone lines and backed up beaver dams are compelling me to attend to.

The wind rips at the 300 lb paper, luring my watercolour to sail the Meditteranean Sea , artist in tow. Painting on the Lungomare, and it’s crazy to be out here…palette and water cup anchored by select stones from the sea, supply bag crashing wildly into the wrought iron fence it’s lashed to. I’m out here as I’ve been every day…exploring, being, savoring salt, sun, mist and the community of others walking by, heads lifted high to the sun and mist and air that anoints all with radiance, peace and joy.

Back home…my obstinate nature refuses to deal with business at hand in a manner that destroys the gift and learning acquired working and living in Castiglioncello for three weeks. They say it only takes 21 days to instill or imprint a new response or habit…if this be so, then apparently I have a good start. The trick seems to be stepping back into stillness as quickly as I leave it.

I’m discovering that stillness doesn’t mean inactivity or desperately searching for the right mantra, the correct body posture or the aligned, enlightened community.

It may be as simple as enjoying who you are in context with where you are… fully present, no apologies, some tears and/or laughing out loud permitted.

Glistening, blinding heat….felt pen slipping in my sweaty palms…ice cold Birra Moretti, beside me in a draft glass and the unbelievable Roman Colisseum across the boulevard…its immensity and power overwhelming but user friendly. I draw, but only a fraction of what I see enters my tiny 5×7 sketch book. It seems the grandeur of Rome creates huge awe digested in small bites. This works for me.

Back home…amid an Italian repast laid on the papa­crafted, oak kitchen table…the family surveys my paintings and drawings done on Tuscan time. The pastoral, lyrical scenes evoke a response that is gratifying and surprising…it seems that the sun­burnt colour, the unrestrained yet gently sculpted and tamed Tuscan countryside are felt and the diferences appreciated. I’m uncomfortable with the angst­free work because it reveals a totally different Sharon to me…one I am willing to get to know.

Train to Montelcino …shifting encounters with Tuscan landscape …vinyards, albaster quarries on the mountain foothills, expanses of gently wild, tenderly tamed land cared for by generation after generation of people committed to love of land and life. My felt pen races to capture the gesture and languid vitality of the rapidly changing countryside … I draw fast, but time is suspended as the olive and shadow greens and ochers and siennas kaleidoscope into one unending drawing on a multitude of pages.

Back home…the pulse has quickened, sometimes the beat is erratic and aggressively demanding…but there is an underlying strata, imbedded with the imprint of an ancient, unfolding beingness informing, creating a blueprint for a life lived in Canada and savoured on Tuscan Time.

~ Sharon Moore Foster

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