The bags are unpacked, laundry done, passion vines trimmed away from the door of my studio, email from a month finally read, and I’m once again enjoying being home. This is not to say there isn’t still a big chunk of me sitting in that chair by the window in the Artestudio Ginestrelle, gazing out at the mountain. While the month is still fresh in sensory memory, and now that I once again have a responsive internet and my familiar computer, I intend to share the residency experience in more depth as I had originally intended. So please stay tuned!
Art Trails Open Studios, which I have been participating in for about 13 years, begins next weekend, but my studio will not be open. You are invited however to see a new exhibition of my paintings, just installed two days ago at the beautiful La Crema Tasting Room in Healdsburg, located in the first block south of the Healdsburg plaza. An artist reception and wine tasting will be sheduled for later this fall. This spacious venue is an opportunity to showcase some of my larger works, including the dyptich “Alvus”.
I will be resuming my workshop schedule this month. You can find more information and dates on my website. There are still openings in the monthly Saturday Workshops. This next is scheduled for Oct. 17.
There are three of us visual artists sharing the studio on the third floor of our residency. It’s a large attic room with two big windows that are always open wide to let the light and cool breezes in. The view is of green forest and blue mountains and always big sky drama. When my feet get tired I pull up a comfortable chair, prop my feet up on the thick window sill to sketch and day dream. Hours go by in this way.
I’ve finished my painting for the annual exhibition and the rest is up to me. We artists joke about needing to “get work done” on those days when we’re not visiting sights in towns. There’s that feeling of needing something to show for the time spent in this heavenly art spot. I find that after being romanced by walks in hill towns that are like time machines, with art and gelato stops along the way, and jaw dropping vistas, my efforts at painting are simply trying to capture some of that passion on paper.
Though I certainly brought gold paint with me, I of course had to buy some Italian gold as well. These paintings are small, so that I can bring them home with me in luggage. Larger work will no doubt evolve back in the home studio in California.
First day in Florence we walked many kilometers trying to get our bearing and finally escaped the crowds to find a restaurant in a narrow street. Beginners luck! I ordered pistachio pesto and shrimp tagliatelle and broke my rule of no wine at lunch. The guy with the crazy cap and pointy chin sat down at the table near us, and I sketched furiously. Later I saw him selling his paintings to the tourist crowds. I tried to capture the Italian way of talking with not only expressive facial movements but also hand mannerisms. Italians so enjoy the art of verbal communication that one can listen even to a heated argument, not understanding a word of Italian, and enjoy the pure theatre of it!
By the time we reached the Piazza Della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio I was glistening with sweat and desperate to sit down. In the Loggia there were marble steps among the sculptures. I picked the closest one and got out my pen. The golden brown ink has been my favorite here for its soft golden line which melts with the watercolor application and harmonizes with the warm stone and marble.
Just a note here. . .I read and enjoy all your comments here. Due to extreme wifi slowness, I am not answering yet, but hope that won’t deter you.
A couple of clarifications here. . . I am still on Mount Subasio in Assisi for another nine days before returning to my California home. And yes, I visited the mind blowing Uffizi Museum in Florence.
- I’m back on the mountain here in Assisi after four days of travel, to Spello and wine tasting and then three days in Florence. Today I’m digesting the experiences – the art, the food and wine, the crowds, the confusions and the delights of travel. I just decided that humility is the most valuable attitude to have while traveling abroad. Things rarely turn out the way you expect, but are often, at least in hindsight, far better. When I return to a REAL computer and REAL internet connection, this will unfold in a way I can share, with some photos and lots of sketches.
The above picture is for the catalogue of the Artestudio Ginestrelle annual exhibition in the beautiful palace on the Piazza del Comunale in Assisi. The picture is of a section of an accordian hanging that is about 8 feet long. Using acrylic inks and acrylics, applied with droppers, brushed and scrapers I painted connected shapes from some sensory memory of the nature here on the mountain.
Morning in our residency starts with a hearty breakfast including espresso with foamed milk, local fruits, cheeses, meats, and even homemade pastries.
After breakfast on Sunday it was a five minute ride to the thousand year old church on the mountain to attend Mass and receive a hearty welcome by all.
Which gives a better sense of the moment which i’d like to share with you, the photograph or the sketch? I opted to give you both here. Sitting in the Piazza del Comune in Assisi, drinking cappuccino and eating gelato, surrounded by throngs of tourists on foot and in bicycle caravans, I choose to sketch this artist with the beret, a cyclist on her cell phone and the medieval buildings beyond.
I have already switched from the feeling that I have the luxury of time in my month here in Assisi to a bit of urgency about all that I want to do and accomplish while here. There’s the hiking and the sightseeing and the sketching, but also the studio time in the lovely spacious attic by the open windows where the breezes are always blowing. I’m in the sponge stage of soaking up the sensory experiences and seeing what gets squezed out on paper. My fascination is with the mountain rock, transformed into the roadway which glows white at midday and silver at night, the rocks here and in town that sustain the memory of 20 centuries of living. Add to that the glory of art in those magnificient structures and somewhere in there is to be found the paintings which I hope to create this month. The above is a start, tease, the beginnings of ideas to be explored.