Goodbye 2010

Christmas dinner in Shona's studio

The house is full.  It has been New Year and Christmas and all the days before and in between.  Eating and eating and drinking.  Young people and friends everywhere, lounging on couches, watching movies, barbequeing, dancing and partying, everyone looking after each other, and a constant sense of a crowd…. It was wonderful to go for a walk this morning in the fresh cold air, just Michael and me, along the river, stopping at the bend to look down into the swirling water and back at Ponte a Serraglio, the villas grand as they climb the smaller hills of Bagni Caldi, the pine trees sharp against the smokey grey sky.  Time to reflect on and celebrate a year gone and to place the hopes ahead of ourselves for a new year filled with more adventures and dreams fulfilled.

We loved 2010.  I think it wasn’t an easy year, but I feel like we came out of it well.  There were lots of family things happening, a wedding, Jaqueline coming into our family,

Jake and Jaqui - Lucca Commune wedding

the boys choosing Italy as their home and trying to put their feet down here, constant small restoration projects on our buildings….

Throughout the year and its multitude of distractions, we guarded our studio time jealously and from it has emerged some really good work.  Michael’s painting has been pushing colour and in its abstraction still trying to hold ground and depth.  He is also starting to re-integrate his environmental themes from his earlier sculptural works and prints, of the sea and the catch, the big fish, life’s delicate balance.

Michael in his studio

For me, it was a year of play and delight moving into some tougher work.  It often happens that way for me before I relax again and integrate the new in with all that I am.  I like this new work though, its strong.  Funny doing my warrior, a little bit left of field, he’s very earthy and early Greek, but my influences were really all these great young men I have had around me this year, acrobats, Sollai and Jake, all self conscious as they emerge into their full manhood.   Both Mike and I are starting to think we’d like to have an exhibition again – it would be great to do something monumental – choose the best and go for grand.


The boys have chosen similar paths to us, being creators, and they are now facing the reality of that commitment.  Jake went to Berlin for about 6 weeks before Christmas to work as a composer and musician for an art performance group to continue on the work he had done earlier in the year with them.  I think that after lots of odd jobs doing everything else other than music to make some money, he has come to the realization of who he is when he creates and now he is hungry to realize his full potential.  Jaqueline is fully behind him and is now considering marketing his work and creating work for him while she continues to develop her internet bookshop and program for teaching English.  In the meantime, Sollai is still expanding his repertoire of creative experiences.  The 2010 summer saw him in Pietrasanta learning to carve marble and both Michael and I see him as a natural sculptor, but he also paints, writes, continues to love film making and he still could be anything that he hasn’t tried yet.  In a week he is off to Indonesia to teach English and make some money so that he can come back to Italy, carve marble and ride horses in the mountains.

Tree hugging hippies!


We welcome with gusto, 2011!


The sky is the limit!


  1. lillian o byrne says:

    hello to you both and a happy new year 2011 .i must say i enjoy reading your blog very much.i am encouraged by your love of life and people i hope we meet again someday.xlillian

  2. Hi Lillian – Happy New Year to you and Dominic!!! Yes – lets meet again – Ireland is calling! – We’d love to do a trip over there again to paint and draw – we’ll try and do residency there again – that was a beautiful time of our life – I will do a little blog on the Cill Rialiag experience. Lovely! XXX

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