A blue cat – art is therapeutic.

On my 100 goals list for 2017, there was ‘get back to painting for pleasure’. And so I began to draw for myself only, again. Not for commissions, not for design projects, but for my own pleasure alone.

cat artIt took me a while, to be honest…

First, I had to free myself from the sense of guilt that doing something not work-related – of wasting time –  gave me. The false myth of productivity is still running after me, but I ran faster, ha ha!

Second I had to put some tape on my inner critic’s mouth. A lot of tape. A LOT. To regain the sense of playfulness that making art once gave me, I took a few drawing courses on Creative Bug and that did the trick! I know I just mentioned this, but it worked so well for me that I will never say it enough. Sometimes all you need is a little push! I took beginners classes on purpose because when you are a beginner you are not supposed to be perfect, you can just experiment and have fun. The permission slip on perfection that feeling like a beginner gave me worked. I began literally playing and have fun with colors and brushes once again! And perfection seemed like a boring thing to aim at. It is! Perfection is boring!cat art

Getting that feeling back is priceless. I honestly thought I had lost it forever. I thought it belonged to childhood, that it was never going to come back. I wondered how could artists live in their seemingly dreamy world made of imagination and colors when I couldn’t anymore. I was so envious.

But it’s all back, and it’s even stronger than what it was when I was a child! I fell like I’m high all the time. Not that I know what being high is like, believe me. But I’m pretty sure it resembles what I’m feeling these days.

I go to bed thinking about drawing, I wake up thinking about drawing. I spend all free moments reading about art, looking at art blogs, or artist’s accounts on Instagram. My wish list on Amazon is no longer full of self-help books but of art supplies. It’s such a great feeling!

Naturally, I make mainly cat art, my furry babies are my muses. I know this isn’t a surprise.

Painting following your own inspiration is pure magic. It is therapeutic. Things click inside of you, things start to unfold. You gain clearness.

I forgot what it was like, I forgot why I loved so much to draw and paint as a kid. Drawing is a lot like doing yoga, especially when you start adding the colors to the drawing. There is a sense of unity, of mind-body connection, of presence, even if you are in another world with your imagination. As I said, it’s magic.

cat artcat artcat art

I’m spreading cat art in every corner I can! The blue cat is on Etsy as digital downloads, the cushions and the posters are on Zazzle and Redbubble, as are the t-shirts. And I can’t wait to make even more cat art or any other art…just leave me with my pencils and brushes and some good music playing in the background and I am happy!

 

Places to visit around lake Garda: Castellaro Lagusello.

One of the places to visit around lake Garda is Castellaro Lagusello, which is a lovely small village just a few minutes away from the lake.

I go quite often to Castellaro. It is small and you can tour it entirely in less than an afternoon, but there is a quiet, magic feeling that makes you want to go back. Plus, the restaurants are really excellent!

The village was built in the year 1100/1200 and was property of count Arrighi. This below is the entrance to the fortress. Imagine what it looked like when there was the drawbridge instead of this one made of bricks.

So Game of Thrones.

places to visit around lake Garda

As you can see the clock works perfectly. I have no idea of how old the clock is and when it was placed in the tower, it surely isn’t from the 1200! It is ancient, though.places to visit around lake Garda

The other side of the tower has a full working clock as well. Unfortunately the fort was bombed several times during various battles. In this whole area Napoleon fought against the Austrians and us Italian to take dominion of the country.

places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

All the houses are made of local stone and are all medieval. Again, so Game of Thrones! The streets are narrow and rounded.

places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

Every time I go to Castellaro I stalk people’s gardens. And I spy into windows. I’ll probably get arrested, some day. But the interiors of these medieval buildings are worth an arrest.

This below is one of the good restaurants. The typical dish here is Pumpkin Ravioli. You have no idea how good they are.

places to visit around lake Garda

And the place is so pretty. I guess this was an old inn, a place where travellers would stop to rest the horses and eat something. I can imagine a fat innkeeper with big breasts serving wine to already very drunk guys. That’s what always happens in the movies, and I guess it was really like that.

places to visit around lake Garda

This below it the entrance of the residence of Count Arrighi, which is within the fort. Naturally the Count had another tower, all to himself, from which he could see part of his property.
places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

The entire Village is closed to traffic. Those pictured are the cars of the descendants and heirs of Count Arrighi. They still live in the Villa.

Yes. There are people who really live like this.

This is the inside of the Villa’s garden, which visits are possible only on request. You don’t want to disturb those poor souls too much.

places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

This is the last tower of the fortress, which is on the right side of the Villa. Behind this tower there is a surprise.

places to visit around lake Gardaplaces to visit around lake Garda

Ta da!

A lake. A small, enchanted, wonderful lake. Which gives the name to the place: in fact Castellaro means ‘of the Castle’ and Lagusello ‘small lake’.

It is private property of the descendents and again, visits are on request. You ring the bell to the guardian, and he lets you in for 2 €.

It’s legal, not that he extorts money from tourists. I thought that, the first time I went.

places to visit around lake Garda

But the biggest surprise comes later, when you discover that the lake is shaped as a heart! Isn’t that incredible? Who said medieval people where all about guillotine, tortures and dark dungeons?

places to visit around lake Garda

Whoever shaped the lake that way, was probably inspired by the nature surrounding the fort. It’s all hills, woods and green fields. Serene.

places to visit around lake Garda

There are many places to visit around lake Garda but Castellaro is so unique. It is really, really small, but it’s what it makes it so wonderful. And it’s never crowded, finding a table at restaurants is easy even during summer, when the whole area is flooded by tourists. When you finish the tour you can go to lake Garda, which is just a ten minutes car ride away. There are also wonderful bike routes through the hills, immerse in nature, and you can stop here and there for a little wine tasting. The area’s largest economy is in producing excellent wines.

I’m so lucky to live here. I can get as many day trips as I like, there is so much to see. You gotta love Italy. There is so much history everywhere you go, and for a history junkie like me, this is heaven.

To the next day trip!