My essentials: Joanne Fenech Portell’s cultural picks

120 | Joanne Fenech Portelli,  Visual Artist

1. Books

Currently I am reading a biography about the French female Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot written by Anne Higonet. Berthe was the only woman artist in the circle of the six Impressionist painters who first exhibited in the Salon de Paris in 1864. She was a strong charactered woman because despite of her friends’ and family’s protest, she continued to regularly participate in the Impressionists’ artshows and struggle for recognition. Married to Manet’s brother Eugene, her studio was the outdoors in parks and gardens. Yet, she also painted the working women of her time: women washing linen, nannies, cooks and maids, but also women’s private toilette moments. She was a woman of great culture and charm for her time.

2. Film

I hadn’t been at the cinema for a long time because of the pandemic. A while ago I went with my husband and son to watch Topgun: Maverick with a group of aviation enthusiast people.  I must say this sequel is action packed and even though so, I would watch it all over again because it is so well acted and the plot so flowing that it keeps your attention all the time. The most beautiful moments in the movie is when Goose saves Maverick’s life and when they escape, as this resolves the friction between them and rebonds them.

3. Internet/TV

On social media I follow contemporary artists, photographers, nutrition and cooking pages, too many to mention. Lately I had to watch part one of Stranger Things season 4. It keeps you on edge, now looking forward for part two to be released. Even though I don’t usually like to watch horror, this I had to watch since I had watched the previous seasons, just to quench curiosity.

4. Music

I love listening to music while I paint, especially outdoors. My favourite playlist is of a music artist called Sotogawa which I found by chance on Boomplay who has only released two albums till now.  Their music is so relaxing and it helps me to concentrate and go stress free.  Other musicians I like listening to are Petit Biscuit, Besso, Inossi, and Enrico Einaudi.

5. Place 

Locally, I like exploring coastal and countryside tracks with my family, mostly ones discovered by my husband.  From all the places visited abroad, I would always choose Italy, it is a country that has everything, from good food to art and nature. Knowing the language is a plus, Italy never disappoints.  We love visiting Sicily especially. Last summer we spent a week in Pantelleria, an island as big as Gozo in the strait of Sicily, less built. We enjoyed swimming and taking hot spring baths in Lago di Venere. On my bucket list are Cornwall in the UK and Iceland.