In the recent weeks I was very involved in art exhibitions and charity auctions and produced a significant amount of artwork for these events. I have many pictures I made in the past thirty years or so, but I wished to add some new work. I used to paint in oil and tempera in the past and then acrylics. In Italy I attended workshops at painters’ studios and experimented in pottery and papier-mâché as well as making masks and objects inspired by primitive art. When I moved to England, I attended several art classes in the north west with interesting artists who taught me watercolours and different techniques with mixed media. I learned to be looser and I believe my work became more interesting. In the north west I took part in Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail and now in the south I joined the Woking Art Society (https://www.wokingartsociety.org/ )
and am part of the Surrey Artists: https://www.surreyartists.co.uk/artists/meeting-menage-a-trois-still-life-artwork-by-woking-art-society-member-carla-scarano/
and of the Surrey Artists Open Studios: https://surreyopenstudios.org.uk/artist/carla-scarano-dantonio/
I visited the artists’ exhibitions around Surrey last month and will open my studio in the next exhibition in June 2022. I have already booked a large room in Chobham Community Centre where I will exhibit my artwork and craft work and will offer workshops for children too. It is impressive how children can be creative and original just using paper, pencils and some colours or glitter. I will advertise everything on my website (https://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/ ) and on my blog and it will be on the SAOS website as well.
In the meantime, I took part in the outdoor exhibition with the Woking Art Society in Mercia Walk last September and managed to sell a few things. I also exhibited my folios at The Lightbox in October and my work is currently displayed at the Pop-Up exhibition at the Peacock centre (between the iStore and Milletts) until the 28th of November. I am so happy that some of my pieces were appreciated, especially my new work with loose watercolour flowers, and people bought my cards too. This stimulated my creativity even more and I produced more pieces from photos I took in the north last summer and flowers in mygarden. Working from photos is all right but it is also important to see what you wish to paint so you can feel it and keep it in your memory. Fashion inspired me too like Salvatore Ferragamo’s iconic shoes and Alexandre McQueen’s outfits I saw at exhibitions at the V&A some years ago. Watercolour wet on wet, mixing oil pastels and watercolour, tempera and gouache, biro and ink are my favourite techniques that I use in a free style. I follow some steps however, starting with the selection of the subject and then the paper, the board or the canvas deciding the size and thickness. Choosing the media is the next step though I am not so strict with it. I feel free to add other techniques in the process of my work. I prefer paper to canvas at the moment and I have all kinds of papers from the expensive handmade ones to common cartridge paper. I have recently gone back to tempera to paint a portrait of my son, daughter in law and granddaughter Violetta from a photo they took at an Indian wedding last summer. They are so beautiful in the photo that I couldn’t help doing it. My final steps are the actual painting starting from choosing the colours and filling the surface and then proceeding with the details which may imply erasing, adding and/or changing what I had planned at the beginning and maybe using a different technique. The process is important and the final aim is to produce an interesting piece which is not totally complete but is at a good resting point. For this reason, towards the end I stop looking at the subject I chose and look at the painting from different angles.
Stewarding at the Pop-Up exhibition, I could also appreciate my fellow painters’ artwork and speak with the public. I found that the viewers who visited the exhibition were genuinely interested and sincerely praised the pieces on display.
It is very encouraging that the sales are going well. I especially like the works of Hannah Bruce: https://www.hannahbruce.co.uk/
Yana Linch: Basieva Art https://www.instagram.com/basievaart/?hl=en-gb
Stella Mariash: https://www.artmajeur.com/monadani
Ron Willcox: https://www.wokingartsociety.org/gallery_767855.html
and Louise Rowe: https://surreyopenstudios.org.uk/artist/louise-rowe/
I bought some work by Hannah, Stella and Yana for me and to give as presents to my friends in Italy. I also posted my work on social media and received many likes and nice comments from my followers.
I am taking part in charity auctions as well, both online and on site, such as The Rotary Club of Redhill Redstone,
and The Prostate Cancer Project: https://theprostatecancerproject.com/
In February there will be one more charity auction at The Lightbox, Replacing Kitty: An Exhibition of Canal Artwork. It sounds very interesting; the Basingstoke Canal Society is collecting money to replace an old boat (the Kitty precisely) and they asked for pictures inspired by Basingstoke canal. So, I took some pictures of the canal near the centre of Woking and am in the process of producing new work probably in tempera and/or watercolour. I usually make one piece several times in different techniques and then choose the best one or the most interesting. For me an artwork doesn’t need to be perfect but needs to be original and appeal the viewer; it should be inspiring in some way and make people think or dream, that is, stimulate their imagination. This is what art can do, and that’s why we love and need it.
I am also part of the Chobham Art Group. We meet at the Valley End Institute Hall every Tuesday afternoon. The place is green, quiet and spacious and the people of the group are friendly. I feel very comfortable to paint with them. They give me good advice on my work and I can easily concentrate on my painting. I can paint at home too, of course, but it is always nice to meet fellow painters and share ideas or just have a chat. I recently bought a new set of watercolours from Cornelissen and my daughter gave me some metallic watercolours for my birthday which I am using extensively.
Next weekend, I will also take part in the Christmas Craft Fair at The Lightbox in Woking (Woking GU214AA) on Saturday 27 (10.30 am-5 pm) and Sunday 28 (10.30 am-4 pm). Here is the link: www.thelightbox.org.uk/Event/christmas-craft-fair
My stall is ‘Carla's Favourite Things’ on the first floor. I am selling some things I made during the lockdown but also new pieces I made for Christmas. I have women’s clothes, some new some second hand, accessories (bag, jewellery, scarves, belts), Japanese pottery, crochet work, silk haori from Japan and Italian bags and clothes.
And my artwork, of course. I am looking forward to it not just to display and sell my work but also to meet other people, see the reactions and feedback from the public and taking contacts, networking. I post my activities on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook every day just to share what I create in pictures, poems, videos, songs and stories and enjoy seeing what other people do and imagine. There is so much creativity bursting from social media, so many interesting people that I am impressed by the vitality and renovation we all show despite the bleak perspectives related to the climate change and global warming.
The results of the COP26 were encouraging but not definitive. I believe there is still so much to do. The representatives of the different nations need to meet again and update the documents next year and probably the year after too. They came to some agreements, but I wonder if these deals are enough to reduce drastically the dangerous gas emissions. The event certainly emphasised the urgency of the problem as well as other devastating issues such as deforestation and plastic pollution in the oceans. For me, the great amount of garbage we produce, especially in western rich countries and that mostly ends in the oceans, is a major issue. I recycle as much as I can and follow all the recycling guidelines very carefully, but I still wonder if it is enough and how many people are actually doing the same.
While I paint at home during the day or do my crochet work in the evening, I usually watch TV or listen to music from Youtube. My favourite TV programs at the moment are Strictly Come Dancing and Giallo series, that is, detective or crime stories. There is a channel on the Italian TV, Canale 38, that broadcasts only crime stories from Midsomer Murders to Miss Marple, Elementary (American TV series), Astrid and Raphael and Balthasar (French crime-thriller dramas). They are our favourite ones and if there is nothing on, we watch old episodes of Columbo as we have the complete series on DVD.
In the morning I usually listen to songs while I read the news online. I often listen to Yves Montand’s and Adele’s songs. I love Montand rhythm, his mesmerising voice, his ‘Frenchness’ (though he was born in Italy and his parents were Italian), that is, a mixture of tenderness, casual self-confidence and great charm. His style is unique and never faded. Here are some good songs:
La tête a l'ombre
Faubourg Saint Martin
C'est si bon
Mon manège à moi
Adele’s new album is a hit at the moment. What strikes me in her music is not only her beautiful voice but also the emotional content of her songs, the sadness and the hope; we can survive and grow despite traumas and failures.
Here is ‘Easy on me’:
and more links to her songs:
Someone Like You
Set Fire To The Rain
Make You Feel My Love
When We Were Young
To Be Loved
Love Is A Game
I Drink Wine
Woman Like Me
Cry Your Heart Out
Oh My God
Can I Get It
Last but not least, I have recently come across an interesting review of Linda Nochlin’s essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ (London Review of Books, 4 November 2021) which can be found here:
It is true that there are very good women artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Käthe Kollwitz, Berthe Morisot, Barbara Hepworth, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keeffe and many others, but none of them can be considered at the level of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Picasso, Cézanne or Van Gogh. The reasons are, of course, institutional, as Notchlin remarks. For centuries women did not have access to workshops, professional training and academies. Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656) was an exception. Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was a painter; he trained her, supported her and believed in her talent. Even contemporary women artists do not seem to reach the level of the masters. I follow women’s art on Twitter (https://twitter.com/womensart1 ) and though the artwork they post is impressive it is not at the level of the greatest men artists. I believe that women artists need time.
For centuries they have been denied the access to education and art; they cannot catch up in a few decades or even one century. They need time and opportunities to develop their practices and thoughts. In order to paint a fresco such as The Last Judgement by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel or paintings like La Gioconda by Leonardo, you do not only need artistic skills but also the knowledge of what other painters are doing and notions of philosophy, theology and literature. You need the education and contacts with the wider world that women could not have. This kind of dedication and awareness cannot be achieved in a relatively short time but needs generations to be accomplished and developed. I wonder if there is enough space for women today or if we still need to fight inch by inch to achieve the place we deserve.