painting my father

long time coming

2018, new work, retrospects, trips

it’s snowing.

almost spring just the other day, but today it’s winter again. so it goes, this climate change is very real.

snow today

snow outside the studio

here in the studio this morning, taking a break from the bench, taking it all in, hot tea, fire in the stove…it’s time to regroup and look at what has happened these past few months. a lot.

it may seems like a superfluous attempt, to catch up with things past, but they do inform my present and continuously bring insight into all that’s needed next.

2018 was a hard one. full of challenges, delays, enormous stress, quite a few losses, but also, alas, some good news.

the losses were heavy. i lost my father and 2 dogs last year, and i am still mourning all of them.

painting my father

my father

the time to process everything and a sudden trip to italy this past fall, all still in the ‘digestive’ mode. it takes time to grieve, really, and that time has eluded me well into this new year….

but the good news is that on march 8, 2018, after 11+ years of riding the complex and taxing task of keeping my artist visa alive, i finally got my green card

a huge chunk of stressful living was wiped off my slate in matter of hours, literally.

the immigration officer who interviewed me had my 12+ inch thick file on her desk, as i entered the room and apprehensively sat down on the chair in front of her.

the first thing she said was “i love your work!”

THAT was promising, i thought. everything was a joyful ride after that, i answered all the protocol questions with a bunch of ‘no’s (you know, am i in the us to overturn the government? was i ever part of the communist party? will i engage in prostitution, human trafficking, or join some terrorist group?) at one point i almost gave her a business card, but refrained. the whole thing took maybe about 20 minutes and i was out of there in a flash, stupefied.

two weeks later, while at the santa fe artists market, my regular saturday showing in town, i spotted a somewhat familiar face among the customers perusing my booth, but could not place the memory. i was busy with closing a few sales, and could not readily pay much attention to this person. but she hung out and kept looking at my work with avid interest and finally, when the booth cleared, she came forward and introduced herself: “ms. aureli, do you remember me? i am the immigration officer who interviewed you!”

she was there with her husband, whom she introduced to me, and then…she bought a piece of mine! a long arc pin, in the black finish.

i was in shock, again. did not expect this at all, it made me REALLY happy and had to go and share the event with a couple of trusted friends right there at market. it was such a coronation of a long long journey, and definitely an honor. i felt so grateful!

the next few months were spent nursing my 19 year old ailing dog, and hanging in there, not wanting to let her go. tasha had been with me since i moved to santa fe, a beacon of light throughout all those years, along with my other sweet four-legged companion, cd, who had passed on suddenly due to a liver tumor just a few months earlier.


I struggled to keep a regular routine at the bench, but pushed on however i could, reshuffling and reviewing inventory, planning to add and remove pieces here and there, a new line, new work, at some point. several trays with work in progress scattered all over my studio, patiently waiting for my intervention to become something.

it all dragged on for a while, a new dog entered my life and things seemed to settle for a while, work days ahead were looking promising and i longed for hours on end spent at the bench to flush away months of stagnation.


kara, a new blessing

then, one sunday morning, right after a very successful day at market the day before, and right when i was ready for a fresh reboot, i got a text message from my brother from italy: my father had passed a few hour earlier.

and so, i dropped everything. 

i felt numb, confused for the next several days, needing to review everything, needing to book a flight to italy almost immediately, needing to go, see my mother, be there with her.

my trip to italy was a 15 day-long nightmare, for so many reasons, but i survived it with minor scratches and quite a few memories to live by.

view of the sea

view from my mother’s house

i was back home mid november, landing in los angeles, re-entering the country on my new permanent resident status and i almost kissed the ground. passing through immigration was smooth as butter, despite my resurfacing apprehension, the custom officer talked to me in italian, asking if i was carrying vino with a smirk on his face and waving me through with a broad smile that made me want to hug him. i was home, i felt i belonged and i danced my way to my next flight to new mexico all the way through the airport.

now, a few months later, i am just beginning to recover from these last events, taking baby steps into what’s ahead: my work, better work, new work, in celebration of life, that goes on, despite it all.

work in progress

new earrings in progress