Coming from a new world country, one of the things I love the most about Europe is the patina ~ the layers of paint and grime that build up on the surfaces of things. It’s where some layer of paint have peeled off or worn away, and sometimes even layers of plaster or stucco have fallen away, revealing the substructure and different colours and textures. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me is that usually, a building or structure has to be fairly old in order to be old enough to develop a patina. Its not something that happens quickly, and because it doesn’t happen quickly we rarely see it here in Australia, so when I see it in Europe, it stands out as so very different from home. Some people say it just looks grubby, it makes a place look delapidated, but I just love it.
I love the softness of the colours, I love that it usually reveals the natural elements ~ the soft greens of a tarnished copper roof, the chalky accretions of years of rain down a wall, the silver/green of moss on an olf wall, and the shine of wear on something that is touched regularly, and even the hollows on a façade blackened by soot. The patina on or inside a building always makes me feel the yawning stretch of time behind me. It always makes me feel that the world is bigger and older than I am, that streets and walkways are timeless and ageless, and I am just another person in centuries of people who’ve walked these old streets just like I am. And I guess, in a way, it makes me realise that life is short and not to be wasted.