I had a sitter coming to the studio at 11. I got the message at breakfast that she couldn’t make it. I contemplated yet another self-portrait, but I was tired of looking at myself. There was no excuse to avoid it any longer. This is my last week. It’s a now or never kind of thing.
Supplies in tow, I headed for the square.
There were a few people inside Giovanni’s, but no one outside. It was chilly. I dropped my paint, pack, and canvas on the ground and set up the easel. Ready. I walked into the Giovanni’s bar. “Giovanni, today, now?” His wife Rita was there, and he had previously agreed to sit for me if I came to the square. It was a quite morning, so it seemed like good timing. “Impossible” he said, and motioned around the empty room. Rita muttered something. I left feeling rejected.
I had a clean white canvas and paint on my palette. ‘Too late to run and hide, I’m already set up.” One of the regulars was on the bench outside. I gestured my way through the conversation and he readily agreed to thirty minutes. It was not long before I could hear the Italian lullaby of conversation beginning to pick up…Something about “the Americana” making Pepe famous.
The first 5 strokes moved me quickly past the fear of it. There was no turning back. Pepe smiled and waved for his gathering friends, not really understanding my need for a fixed position. While the sun was a tool for me, Pepe didn’t like it much and repeatedly held his hand up to block it. “Just an exercise Kelly… keep going” I assured myself. 30 minutes flew by – and Pepe got up. “Ahhh, Bello, Bello!”. My next victims were lining up. I took a deep breath, drank the cappuccino Pepe insisted on buying me, and did it all over again.
Pietro, the retired pediatric doctor was next. I caught his features – but he usually smiles a lot more. He insisted on buying me a drink – “dopo, grazie” I said. Last was Mario – he was fun but fast – less than 30 minutes – I think his lunch was ready.
Through all of it I could understand pieces of the banter behind me. “Now she’s painting your ear…your glasses, you’ll be famous…” The best part was watching them see themselves when our time was up. They all said “bellissimo, bellissimo”.
I think they meant it. I’m looking forward to doing more, and I’m pretty sure I will not need to buy another drink in this town for the rest of the week.
I was going for something a bit less serious then Lucian, …with a few less wrinkles.
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