November 29, 2003

Colors good enough to eat

I’m apprehensive about assigning precise meanings to colors, although it has been done throughout history. My relationship to them changes according to what’s happening in my life internally and externally. For me, defining anything too closely limits the potential of what it might bring or invoke. I’d rather allow my intuitive self to choose its color, size, etc., in present time.

On the other hand, I once took a color test from a homeopathic doctor in Roma. I must admit that I was quite astounded by the results.

In terms of painting, as I said in my artist statement I think of myself as an intuitive alchemist when I mix the paints. I don’t stop to think that yellow and blue make green, for example, and although you might say, yes, but that’s ingrained from all the years of working, I’ve never worked by the chart. It takes away the fun and the sense of exploration. One is always happiest when they discover things on their own.

To continue the Thanksgiving theme, last night I made a meal of autumn colors. I baked a small pumpkin squash and yams, cooked amaranth grains and poached eggs. The center of the eggs oozed out yellow trails to the other food, making an underlying natural sauce. I added a spiral line of olive oil over all the food on my plate, and sprinkled parmeggiano on the amaranth. The rich colors appealed to my sight and made my meal even more delicious. It made me think of how some colors in paintings make me want to eat them. Some of Mark Rothko’s paintings have had that effect on me, and even more a desire to be embraced and merge with the colors. I also had that reaction when Donna, one of my workshop students in Ischia showed us photos of a series of her completed work.

Buon appettito,

Posted by Barbara at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003


I listened to a program on NPR radio a few days ago that discussed blogging. I can’t remember who the speakers were, but the main idea was about how people read blogs for distraction; for example to read about the daily lives of movie stars. There is so much going on in each of us everyday that it amazes me how people could be interested in such trivia. This kind of activity exemplifies yet another form of disassociation so prevalent in our culture.

Hearing this program made me question my own “blog,” asking myself why I am writing this online journal? Initially it was suggested to me to bring in more traffic, which it has done. But writing is something/a ritual that I have done for many years. It is part of being an artist for me as well as a tool for clearing and digging within. Yet, what I chose to reveal here is just a glimpse of what’s there, which I feel to be appropriate for an audience, and especially one that I am blind to. Although I believe that vulnerability is actually a strength, it’s important that it’s done in the right context where the conditions are favorable and the people are compassionate, open and evolved enough to hold it.

I’ve just taken a 4-day Continuum workshop that was extraordinary, as they always are. At the end of it I came down with a rip-roaring cold, which I still have. This morning, after a long sleep I feel better, though it’s now at the stage where it has moved from to my chest. I usually walk away from these workshops feeling euphoric whereas the cold is weighting me down to another reality; perhaps it’s a clearing process and at the other end refreshed creativity awaits me.

Here’s a painting for you, to make up for my lack of words.

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Posted by Barbara at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2003

Ti Aspetto

Sometimes words carry unknown powers, or hold mysteries that although intuited aren’t completely understood. Years ago, someone wrote to me “Ti aspetto,” which means, I’ll wait for you. Since then, when people say that to me in Italian, an exhilarating sensation washes over me. It only happens in Italian, however, perhaps because when my friend said that to me in 1978 I was planning my second return trip to Italy. Little did I know that what was then to follow, or what was waiting for me was a world that would become mine.

When people used to ask me why I chose to live in Roma I would respond that Roma chose me. You might say that this is true for every place that one chooses to live, since each place has something quite unique to offer and learn from, but I have not felt that in the other places that I have lived. When I went to live in Roma in 1983 I had the intention of staying a year or maximum two. The first year, however, I had the feeling that my psyche was floating outside of my body and I knew I had to stay on if I was to go away feeling satisfied. Then, the second year I was just beginning to get my feet wet, and Roma herself (Roma is definitely a feminine entity) asked me to stay, so I decided to accept her invitation and stay on another year until I lost track of time and it made no sense to leave.

Why did I leave? Whatever I thought I was leaving for then, in retrospect I think that it was ultimately to be here for my mother at the end of her life. And I’m not sorry for that because it gave us the opportunity to heal what was difficult between us, which wouldn’t have been possible if I was not present.

This morning the sun pouring through my 5 southern, happy windows woke me with that “ti aspetto” sensation. Perhaps I feel good because yesterday an artist friend came to my studio for the first time and really appreciated and understood my work. It always means a lot to me when another, serious artist responds to my work. And even more because his work is very different from mine. Or maybe what I felt was that simple sense of joy one feels in those between spaces of waiting for things to happen, like the old saying goes, “it’s not about the destination but it’s the journey that counts.” This was a message from a new person I am having the pleasure to work with, who gives the right ingredients to work: intuition, enthusiasm, attention and joy.

with gratitude,


Posted by Barbara at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)