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April 2017

Interior happiness

Friend in the mirror

Do you like being guided in a museum or an exhibition?

I usually do.  I like to hear about the background of an artist or how she/he got inspired to make this specific artwork. But sometimes too much information can also limit the way you look at art.

Last week we – my dear friend Leen and I – visited the exhibition “Man in the Mirror” at the Vanhaerents Art Collection in Brussels. Vanhaerents is a private collection of temporary art.  Worth a visit! Here are a few impressions:

This work is a big box, totally covered with gold foil inside. The artist, James Lee Byars, put his own memorial in the scene. It originally was set up in 1994 as a performance in which Byars reclined in a gold-covered room, wearing his signature black hat. He referred to the performance as “practicing death.”

The view changes depending how the light reflects. When you walk by, the thousands of thin foils move.













These pieces are by Iván Navarro: the twins (two similar installations referring to the towers) and the electric chair. He works with light, mirrors and reflection and this way creates depth. Really impressive! Continue Reading

Interior happiness

On Photography – one

What is your favorite hobby?

Since September I have been taking a photography course – I think it lasts six or seven years – at an Academy nearby.  What I find most difficult at this point is the lighting: finding the right balance of the shutter and/or aperture.

As with most forms of art, what you think of as beautiful is personal. Our assignment this year is taking pictures, analog and digital, and adjusting them in Photoshop. We need to work around a list of subjects: depth, light, texture, animals, captivity, freedom, documentary, still-life, decline, portrait.

I worked this way. I just took my camera whenever I could, just when I went for a walk, paid a visit to a city. And while in Puglia, I took my camera with me in the car, wherever I went. Searching for the place to deposit my rubbish, I got lost but ended on the following spot. Catalog it under “decline.”

And of course Dori was again happy to pose before my camera.

I adore the work of Eve Arnold and Man Ray. Man Ray was a very versatile artist, he was a painter and filmmaker too. And of course all Magnum photographers are so talented. I am often in awe of contemporary pictures in newspapers and magazines. How one image make you wonder what tragedy lies behind it?  How can it tell so much with so little information?

Picture on top is Lee Miller photographed by Man Ray



Puglia: heaven, with some sharp edges

Have you ever visited Puglia? You definitely must!

I just got back last night after a busy Ryanair flight. I ordered a white wine to be a bit soporific and less sensitive to the disruptions of the noisy kid sitting beside me. On the other side was his father, who spent most of the time trying to calm his son down. When the father wasn’t looking, the boy sneakily pushed his feet onto my thigh. At first I tried not to react and stared intently into my book.  But then Paolo – the boys’ name I learned later – took one of his many stuffed animals and tapped with the nose of a groundhog on my arm and whispered: “Hello, I am Tippy!” I melted and laughed. We became friends. He showed me his achievements in the games on his iPad, and I gave him my napkin when his hands were full of melted chocolate. Eventually he calmed down. I fell asleep and woke up during landing, my head bouncing against the window. “Another Ryanair flight arriving on time!” reverberating through the speakers. Paolo applauded enthusiastically together with the rest of us who couldn’t bear the overcrowded, close quarters of the plane.

It was an animated week. I got some stuff done I had planned, painting furniture in the Sofia Loren room: the rack, bedside tables and metal beds. They are all white now!

The new Fermob outdoor furniture set looks lovely on the front patio! I chose olive green. We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast and lunch out there. Hubbie hung the swing chair on one of the big olive trees in front of the house.  I love the 1900 collection.
In the evenings I made dinner in my new kitchen, so cosy! Or we went out for dinner. One night we had a tasteful seafood risotto in a restaurant by the sea, in a small touristic spot, near the town of Carovigno. Continue Reading


Casa Vita

Sono stanca, molto stanca.

It was a beautiful day, but I lost too much time.

We hopped on the plane in Eindhoven Airport on Tuesday. Vacation had already started when we were waiting to board and had a drink in the large hallway, Hubbie, Daughter and me. Hubbie started a conversation with another Belgian couple, sitting next to us. They were traveling with their ten or so year old son to their little getaway in the South of Spain, at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
– I know Italy is lovely, but, the weather in Spain is so much better
– Indeed, it froze this winter in Puglia
– We had twenty degrees °C when we were there during the X-mas break
– Wonderful!
– We really feel safe there, so clean and neat. It is like a protected area.
– We actually feel safe too (if we pay the security company enough). But we admit dealing with the rubbish is a problem.
– That is a pity!
– Oh well, Italian food is the best. And culture!

It was already late when we entered Casa Vita. The new kitchen looked lovely, the new cabinets were all installed, and Natalino, the carpenter, had done a great job!

My first task the next morning was to go to the grocery store. Daughter came along. She was looking into the special foods aisle, looking for pasta “senza glutine.” She is on a special diet for her rheumatoid arthritis. The rest of the morning I was busy with cleaning out everything and giving all kitchen stuff a new place. And then I tried chasing the dust out of the house.

This morning started brighter. Yesterday we had some tough rain storms. Hubbie and I visited a big plant store. The guy of the store gave us a tour and explained all about the fruit trees. You’ll never guess his name. Giovanni! Clearly it is the most popular name around here. His father of 80 years old was even more talkative, he chatted endlessly about all possible features of all types of fruits. It was already noon before we got rid of him. Back home, I fixed a quick lunch with fresh small tomatoes – they taste so much better here in the South – arugula, and local mozzarella. Off to the next job, sanding and painting a dark brown rack and two bedside tables. It was almost five pm when I realized I still had to buy dinner. I’ll be in the fish-shop in five minutes, I thought. It is just four kilometers down on the main road. Not today! Two big trucks collided, and traffic was guided to smaller roads in the countryside.  A disaster!  When confronted with oncoming traffic, I had to rush into a driveway, find refugee in the fields or stop and hope the other one didn’t scrape the side of my car. On my way back I hoped they would have cleaned the crash-area, but no, the same off-road story till I found our house again.

But the evening ended well: Fresh fish, with grilled vegetables and small potatoes flavored with rosemary from our yard!








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