Mozia gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
Olive - Mulino vicenzo oil on canvas 15 x 20 cm
Stagnone watercolour on paper15 x 20 cm
Whitaker House gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
Grigio vines gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
Olive Grove gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
Shade gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
4 quiet flowers gouache on gesso 15 x 15 cm
Sitting on the chocolate coloured sofa
The front door is open and I can see the Stagnone through the trees

Nicola is taking me to Mozia today

Coffee at Mama Caura and he talks about his Marsala wine.
We get the boat across to Mozia, there is always a sense of excitement in a ferry journey however short - the crossing of water.
Mozia is small, with a group of houses, the largest was owned by Whitaker the wine merchant. The museum is full of artifacts from the Phoenician ruins, all laid out like a Morandi still life, very beautiful.
Nicola says he will show me around the Island, he insists.
We meet a family and have sweet coffee and they invite me for lunch.
We taste some local wine, then walk and talk in pigeon English / Italian

The Stagnone is beautiful, reaching out to a spit of land, I Grande.

We pass a man knee deep in the water bent down searching the shallows
' Ostriche ( oysters )' exclaims Nicola
Then the man pulls out a fish and puts it in his bag,
I think this has been done for centuries
just hands

I am left to wander the island and ruins.
This place is perfect,
I look with envy at a couple in a small sail boat out in the lagoon.
A lazy sail through the shallows, cool in the heat.
Lunch in Mozia with a some Sicilians, around a large shaded table.
A life lived outside.
I cannot speak Italian and they know no English. We converse through gesture and humour.
Pasta, zucchini, melanane and sicilian sausage that has caraway seed in it, which in the heat gives it that lift.
There must be about four families all around the table, of all ages, making me feel very at home. The guy I was sitting next to me was very funny. In fact they all laughed alot and spoke at a rate of knots.
They cut me a large piece of melon for me - gesturing ‘prego’
I showed them my book which they all found interesting, they asked me if I was famous.
Drank coffee and smoked cigarettes.
They couldn’t understand me not having sugar in my coffee. Sicilians have things very sweet.
Then a huge dollop of cake was presented, a flat crumble filled with sweet ricotta cheese.
I parted saying grazie grazie grazie and arriva derci
We took photos and waived goodbye
Next year you must return for lunch again was implied.
I will, but with more italian.

I sat on the sw tip of the island with a well fed glee in me, dosing in the sun by the gentle lapping waves.
Nicola said rain tomorrow and you could see the weather turning
A nice working breeze coming up from the south
Oh to set sail out in the Lagoon.

Real Sicilians.

On the ferry back

“Ticket Ticket?”

“Across Across? “I replied

“Ticket Ticket?”

“Friend Nicola Spano “ I exclaimed


Drove back along the lagoon road, back to a lonely dog and slept
Tonight is spaghetti, without pannichetto, just pomorodino, fungi and anchovies.

Things are happening that are real and of the place.

Which is great.


Sat thinking of Bonnard

Of what Nicola said about the grapes not needing too much water as this concentrates the flavour and sweetness. In Mozia the vines are kept low to save them from the salt wind
Think about my own work in context with wine growing - trying to be low, sheltered and concentrated.
There is so much I need to find in my work.
I hope I always have difficulty finding me in the art I want to find.

The sweetness of Sicila is just right. It cuts through the heat, the same with the sharp wine. Marsala and Cassatta, it makes sense.
The fig makes sense in this dry land.
A fresh sweetness, not syrupy.
As the water is evaporated into salt, the same process concentrates the sugar.

I can’t remember the name of the large leafed tree planted by an englishman on Mozia. Large leaves the shape of almonds, waxed green like plastic, the new fronds, uncurled and cadmium red.
I sat under its spreading limbs in the cool shade.
The gaps of blue sky above like stars.

Small garish coloured flowers, yet in this light they sit in the brightness
( like fruit in a bowl of sugar )

I read somewhere that one of the English wine merchants was so carried away with Sicily and his wine that at night he used to run through his vines naked in ecstatic glee.

Being here I can understand that sort of ecstasy.

Its far enough near to an Eden.