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Monday, February 20, 2017

Rain in Venice

 Four days of incessant rain

Rain in Venice; photo Hal Rumney Hunt

It was two weekends back, in fact the weekend of the changing of the light, although you would have never have guessed it. For weeks beforehand I had imagined sunny skies, and Italian weather forecasts promised just that, but rained......and rained
 When I was a kid I had a sort of conceptual dyslexia. I must confess that I have never ever heard of such a condition but I had it, have it still sometimes. Examples.You can't have your cake and eat it' my mother would say. And I would look at a piece of cake and eat it at the same time and just didn't get it. and 'Save your pennies and the pounds will look after themselves' lost completely there. Riddles were beyond me so I guess I sunk myself instead into the mystery of imagery instead as a way of confirming my frail existence
Oh, and worst of all 'It never rains but it pours' that threw me too.
Still does.
So, two weekends back I ran a workshop in Venice entitled Photography and the Creative Mind' Yes, it was about exploring simultaneously the labyrinths of this wondrous City and the labyrinths of the human creative mind. Heady stuff you might say and I'd get the joke.
I watched the weather forecast daily during the week beforehand and what was promised as a 'sunny weekend' went from 'occasional shower's to 'heavy intermittent showers', to 'overcast with rain and occasional sunshine' And neither of these eventuated. Ok, it's true, if you know anything about Italian weather forecasts, you'd know they are Ceaușescusque. And the whole weekend turned out to be what Californians call a weather bomb. 96 hours of not stop rain. In other words it rained and it poured (with rain).
A disaster you might think, but not so. The fact was that the City was practically washed clean of tourists, and it glistened. The light was a pure photographer's light and our night time photography ventures produced some remarkable images. So, I might dare to say that  'Every cloud has a silver lining' (and I think that means that there is always something good to find even in the midst of a seeming disaster).
Does it?
So I was happy with the weekend and encouraged by the way the participants worked on their imagery (they all brought their laptops) and whenever we returned to base, they shared their work and encouraged each other. And this is why am including photography in our next workshop in May in Assisi, combining it with painting and poetry to see what happens. And want happens, you know, is always unpredictable and thank heavens for that.
This workshop, by the way is entitled 'The Tango of Creativity'
An unusual title for a somewhat unusual workshop.
We ran our first one last summer is Assisi, Italy, where Michelle Rumney and I organised an explorative weekend in image making, one which included all sorts of side shows and tactical diversions, such as Ci Kung, Haiku, playful mind games and sorties into the beautiful surrounding landscape and into Assisi itself to open our eyes and minds to the work of Giotto.
Our simple objective was to empty the chattering minds of our participants and guide them gently into the Realm of Creativity, to see, hear, feel the reality of the moment of now, where of course our creativity awaits us.
And we produced a massive amount of paintings, wrote Haikus by the dozen, and this year, as I have mentioned above, we are going to put photography into the mix too.
There! That's what I mean by unusual.
And the Tango?
This just happened serendipitously.
One of the participants, Mauro Magrini (he's Florentine, a photographer), after our sumptuous dinner one evening put on some Argentinian Tango music and started to teach us the steps. I can't explain why, but we got hooked and soon were sailing around our beautiful studio to these haunting sounds.
I think it has something to do with the fact that learning the steps are the key to the door of a temple of dance; that maybe all forms of creativity are like this, that the accumulation of skills runs simultaneously alongside creative expression, that they are not in any way separated.

Our venue is La Casa Faustina, a remarkable place. It is only 7k from Assisi, in the hills to the West of the city. It has the most beautiful huge studio and bright clean apartments, a large swimming pool and a brilliant chef who sustains us with her Italian vegetarian cuisine
And we welcome you to our next workshop weekend in May 11 to 15
You can read more about Assisi here