Initially in shock and nervous, even to leave the sanctuary of my sunny apartment for food, lockdown proved to be very fruitful for me.
My work as a tour guide in Florence, came to an immediate halt. I returned from Carnevale di Venezia on February 24, to a flood of tour cancellations, requests for reimbursements and no new tour requests.
While I realise I needed a rest, following years of hard work, a year, is rather too long. One does need to pay their bills.
For guides who work with clients from the US, our work may not return until the new season of March 2021. This is terrifying.
During lockdown I quickly created a schedule. Distracting myself as much as possible from the news, was key to keeping well. I exercised at home in the morning and began painting in the afternoons, into the evenings. It felt wonderful!
There were also many tea breaks, on my sunny balcony.
My first piece was a self portrait in one of my 18th Century costumes. It is oil on linen and measures 110cm x 80cm.
Once finished I began to paint, a series of peonies, then in season.
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Feeling desperate for work and seeing no guide work in sight,
I began to use social media, Facebook and Instagram.
I began to post paintings for sale and it has been a great success! I am now sending paintings all over the world, to the US, Germany, the UK and even New Zealand. I am currently working on a portrait commission, that will go to New York.
The next commission, I hope, will be a portrait in costume, of a young man who worked on the costumes, of the recent film adaptation of “Little Women”. The young man in question, looks like a beautiful, Caravaggio boy.
Phase two was a relief. I wept tears of joy, when sipping my first, take out cappuccino. The Boboli Gardens opened and are more spectacular than ever and this week, the Bardini opened. I now offer, sketching tours and classes in the gardens and met my first, small group in the Bardini Gardens, this week.
If I had not lost my work as a guide, non of this would have happened. I have rediscovered who I truly am and feel wonderful, body and mind as a result.
My future ~ will be one of balance ~ painting, some guide work and teaching small groups drawing in the gardens of Florence.