My essentials: Joanne Fenech Portelli’s cultural picks

No 33 | Joanne Fenech Portelli, 46, Visual Artist

1. Book

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 her family’s protest, she continued to regularly participate in the Impressionists’ art shows and struggle for recognition. Married to Manet’s brother Eugene, her studio was the outdoors in parks and gardens. 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. Last week I went with my husband and son to watch Top Gun: Maverick with a group of aviation enthusiasts. 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 re-bonds them. I would recommend it to anyone, even if they haven’t watched the original Top Gun, though it’s a bonus if they do.

3. Internet/Film 

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 I’m looking forward to part two being released. Even though I don’t usually like to watch horror, but this I had to watch since I had watched the previous seasons, just to quench my 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.