Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ExTempore Art Festival Grožnjan Grisignana Croatia

Dear Art-loving friend,
The ExTempore Art festival that I wrote about in the previous post on Grožnjan, Croatia, had a deadline on Sunday, 10 a.m.  All 2-dimensional artworks had to be turned in before that time.  If the earliest registration time was Thursday morning, then each artist had a maximum of three days to create his masterpiece.  I had only spent a couple of hours on Friday working on my surprise entry.  

On Saturday morning, I had taken a walk to another little village up the hill from Grožnjan.  For me it was an escape into sanity to be out in the country air in mountainous areas, dirt roads, and stone buildings.  I returned to meander among the stalls selling antiques at the festival.  

After lunch, Marino locked up his gallery and again we drove out to his home.  I studied the plants in his garden and the woods behind his home.  We are starting off castagne [chestnut] season, the trees loudly and periodically dropping their nuts.  Then I took my obligatory nap, loving being outdoors.

It was not long before I got out the paints and plastic bags I had used as a palette the day before.   I had done some thinking during the night and wanted to add a few things to my composition, despite the short time I had left.  I even painted while another artist from the symposium in Bulgaria where I met Marino dropped by with his wife.  They left and another couple arrived for dinner.  So the hour was getting late and pacing oneself is an important part of the work, at least when there is a deadline and you are at the mercy of others in their lives.

Marino hunts cinghiale (wild boar) and he had prepared a dinner for our little group of artists, including Saša Kosanović and Željka Gradski, artists who have a gallery selling their photography and paintings across the little stone road from Marino’s gallery.  Marino served up his own hunted cinghiale with gnocchi and peppers from his garden:  a lovely and tasty way to dine!  During dinner, I heard about “Big George” … really called “Jure Grando. He is said to be the first vampire in Europe.
Maybe that was why I woke around 4 a.m. and looked out of my bedroom window back in Grožnjan.  What a joy to see the constellation Orion above me!  So many stars that city life cannot offer.
I still managed to get some sleep before really waking around 8 a.m.  Marino suggested that we turn in our paintings early since the crowd would start to gather around 9 a.m.  They actually have a pretty good system in place.  They stamped your empty canvas day(s) earlier to insure new art and when you turn in your piece, they instantly photograph it with a plain background.  I was told they had a long-distance juror, but these images allow them to not only document each year’s entrants, but gives them an easier ability to create publicity or send images to magazines or newspapers, even on the Internet.

After the photography is done, artists wander off to find a place along any wall (except the church’s) to hang the art.  Marino, Saša, and Željka already had nails in exterior walls around their gallery.  Marino took this shot of a sleepy me with my work “Elettricità’”  in acrylic (60 x 80 cm).  The next image is of our artworks along one wall.. .mine, Marino’s and Saša.  [Saša won third place with his photograph (right) and bought drinks for all of us later that evening!]  And two of Željka’s colorful compositions grace the wall in front of her gallery.

We returned to the caffe with the best morning view in Grožnjan and I enjoyed a strudel stuffed with soft sweet cheese and a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast.  By the time I returned to the registration area, it was obvious that Marino knew his stuff. The line of artists waiting to enter their artworks extended beyond the town’s outer wall.

Back inside again, I was delighted to see an exhibition of … FUNGUS!  I had never seen so many varieties in one place and I loved the display of them against the green moss. 

Although two entries, this pair won Second Prize.  I like them as I composed this image.

This pair of paintings is obviously by the same artist.  The one on the right, however, was a prize winner.

This child hanging from a clothesline was the First Prize entry this year! 

I was surprise to meet a lot of other artists that had participated in the Russalka symposium in Bulgaria that I had attended this past July.  They had created art there in earlier years, but we knew some of the same crowd.   I had an idea that it would be fun to take a group image and share it with our various colleagues.  This was taken inside of Marino’s gallery by the brother of one of the artists.

The 5:30 p.m. awards ceremony was packed with  all sorts of people and the winners were well-chosen.  Afterwards, interviews were taken and the band recommenced while  the party moved on into the dinner hour.  I chose to disappear, not knowing many people anyway, and sat on one of the city walls to watch the sunset.  Life is so very peaceful here!

Calimara was my lunch choice, having received a voucher from the contest organizers.
Saša Kosanović with his award for wonderful photography.

The next morning involved a trip to a few spaces along the coast.  I had come to research a place to live because I must leave Italy for a bit later this year.  People here in Istria were so friendly to me and I have a lot of things to work out, but I may be back for the winter.
I hope that you enjoyed this art festival and I thank you for your continued interest and support.
Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher


Jo Mulholland said...

Looks great!! Lovely atmosphere. Wish I was there!

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Jo... they repeat that art fair in Grisignana each year.. .last weekend in Sept!
Thank you for posting! Glad you enjoy my pics.