“Off to Rome…” Chapter 2

Here is a draft abandoned two years ago. I have to say that it took most of the next two years to feel free of Rome’s effect on me. Perhaps self-indulgent to publish after all this time, but it is better out than in.

Do you know about the human body’s healing process? I can’t remember all the details, but one thing remains in my memory. That is that the body lays down more tissue than is needed at the site of the trauma. Bone forms a lumpy bit (callus) around the fracture; skin forms raised hardened scar tissue. After a while, the extra tissue is resorbed by the body and things return almost to normal. The profile is never quite the same and the structure of the repair never duplicates the original exactly. But the result is near enough to allow function.

It seems to be the same with the psyche after a stressful experience. The body is on high alert for longer than necessary. Too much adrenalin for quite a while. Ordinary things become complex. For me crossing roads brought on an overwhelming sense of impending death and then tears of relief when I got to the other side alive. Hard to believe!

Now that the paintings of Rome are hanging, things are clearing, adrenalin is settling. Perhaps it is time to finish the story.

Feb 2016: A few paintings sold at that outing (Mockingbird Cafe, Glenelg) but there are two remaining. One of these (below) has had a small adjustment, but the other I have given a good thrashing!

Centuries apart, Rome (copy)
Centuries apart (25x20cm) acrylic on linen panel

How did this come about? Time, more painting experience and then the knowledge that my creations are not necessarily precious. 

This painting has had the sky blue intensified (only a minor thrashing you might agree). My thrill in the painting was the juxtaposition of the old and the “new” so the extra blue seemed to help make the gulf more electric. In doing that I removed some other notes – antennae on the apartment building were mirroring stalks of grass atop the ancient wall. An artifice, perhaps unnecessary? Given the painting is only 25x20cm we may be discussing fly-specks.

scooterscape, Rome v2 (copy)
Scooterscape, Rome (20x25cm)acrylic on linen panel

The thrashing this one needed related to windows, door, walls and tree. Both paintings were developed from photos from our bus to the airport. It was a sort of salvage mission. I am glad my camera didn’t fail me. And that the healing process didn’t fail me either!


5 thoughts on ““Off to Rome…” Chapter 2

  1. Philippa, I’m so happy to see such lovely little gems emerge from such a difficult experience for you. Personally, I love piece #2 and your treatment of the windows, especially. You must be masterful at disguising adversity, as I’d never have figured it from viewing these lovely paintings!

    1. Thanks Patricia. I was dreadfully disappointed not to be staying to paint in Rome as arranged, even though that was not my uppermost feeling. As soon as I arrived home I tried to paint in sync on the days that had been planned. That little burst produced 4 paintings from my airport bus photographs! Nice mementos (one has been sold – even nicer).

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