Friday, October 24, 2008

Painting Work

Yesterday I had my critique for my painting class on my work for midterm.  This semester we are concentrating on one theme or idea and making a body of work.  MY theme is "Secrets" and how the individual interacts with and is affected by the secret.  For midterm, we had to have three pieces completed.  Here they are:

This is 60X80 cm, acrylic a oil on canvas.  None of them have titles yet.  I'm pretty happy with this one.  I am going to change the background.  At first I wanted all white backgrounds to isolate the scene or individual, but now its just kind of driving me crazy.  
This one has the same specs as the first.  The guy is my friend Reinaldo.  He was living in my room before I came.  Now he's moving down to Roma.  I'm also pretty happy with this one, but I am going to change the drips of his shirt and possibly add a scene to the background.  Not sure yet.

This one is 50x50 cm, acrylic on canvas.  I was happy with this one, but after the critique I'm going to change it.  Actually, I might change everything.  After finishing these paintings I wasn't "feeling it" as much as I usually do.  I think that was my gut telling me that I'm still not pushing myself to where I want to be.  The critique kind of drove that home for me.  

Anyway, on Monday I'm going to Barcelona with a couple friends and then I'm off to Roma by myself for a few days.  It's my fall break and I'm stoked that I get some time to travel

Italian word of the day: viaggiatore - traveler

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More painting and more pizza

It seems weird that my weekend posts happen on Wednesday.  Its not intentional, its just the only time since Sunday that I have time to sit down and blog for a bit.  Anyway, let start with 'students.'  A law was just passed in Italy to privatize public schools and currently the students are protesting. 

A lot of the schools in Florence look like this.  The students have taken over the school and locked the teachers out.  I think this has become a tradition over the years, but this years occupation of the school is more important because of the new law that was passed.  They are in there 24/7 and I even got to go inside one night.  Pretty chaotic as you can imagine. 

I did laundry this weekend.  
This isn't mine, but I thought it was a cool picture and it makes me feel like I'm out of a modern city and living in a more quaint area.  Cool picture, but of the clothes of our lame neighbors upstairs.  

Before the weekend I picked up my absentee ballot and got to fill it out on Saturday!
I am a dork and took a picture of me voting.  But this election is of great importance and I'm making sure my voice is heard (as loud as my rights lets me)  

After voting I took another attempt at making pizza.  The dough itself actually came out better this time and I'm think that when I get back to the States I will be able to open up a pizzeria.  Ah dreams...

But the rest of the pizza came out good too and I enjoyed my delicious veggie pizza.  This isn't very italian, but I just like to put a bunch of stuff on my pizza.  

So that was the "down time" from my weekend.  I had an Italian midterm on Monday so I was studying for that most of Sunday.  The exam went well and I'll find out how well in a few hours.  
Most of my weekend time though, was spent in the studio getting my painting midterm work in "fighting" condition.  I'm finished with three pieces so far and I will post pictures of it towards the end of this week.  I would tell you what the subject matter or idea is, but its a secret.  

Italian word of the day: Pensare - to think (because I'm starting to think in Italian ... weird!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food and Arts...Italy

This past weekend was pretty eventful.  I went into the studio, went to a museum and spent some time with good friends.  

This is my take on Conor.  I actually did this one a few weeks ago, but I feel like it represents my weekends well - working out ideas and gaining inspiration.  Overall I'm happy with it and learned a lot from.  I was going to put it up in my room, but I think I'll keep it up in my studio space for motivation.  

On Saturday night my friends Enrique and Alina came over for dinner with my roommate Eugenio and the former occupier of my room, Renaldo.  We made curry and I made naan.  It all came out perfectly and we stuffed ourselves with delicious Indian food. 

Sorry to horrible picture.  I just didn't have the patience for a good picture.  

On Sunday I went to the Bargello, a museum full of amazing sculptures.  I got to see a few Donatello's including his David.  I wish could have gotten closer to it, but it was under restoration.  

Here's a cool sculpture on this giant cannon.  I'm not sure it the cannon was actually used, as it was in such good condition and incredibly decorated, but I'm sure if it was it would have been a big slap in the face to have your city destroyed by such a beautiful weapon.

I also got to see a number of Giambologna's.  He is now probably my favorite sculptor.  He just had a way of perfectly capturing the form with fluid movement and alertness within the figure.  This is "Oceano" by Giambologna.

Recently I've been in the studio starting my "body of work" for this semester.  I'm actually going to go in and finish my first piece today, so check back soon for an update on that.

Edit (10/19) - Italian word of the day -salotto or soggiorno - living room (what I need to clean today)

Friday, October 10, 2008


This past Tuesday (martedi) I went to Carrara with my sculpture class.  Carrara is known for their marble and has been providing marble to the world since the time of Ancient Rome.  

The class and I caught the train from Florence to Pisa to Carrara, about 2 hours.  We met up with our teacher and she took us to a workshop she used to work at a while ago.  It was  incredible to see both finished pieces and sculptors working on new pieces.  

The man in charge was this guy.  He has some 50 years of experience and does amazing work.  We saw a portrait he was almost finished with of a couple.   Usually they will make a clay model, make a plaster model from that and then copy that in stone.  This guy went straight from two photos.  And the portrait was spot on.  He was a pretty cool guy with a pretty cool newspaper hat.  

We walked around for a bit, visiting a cathedral and a piazza.  Oh, and since it is a marble mining town, marble is everywhere.  Buildings, tables, benches, even the sidewalks are made of marble!  
Here's a relatively new sculpture in Carrara.  It is to remember the miners who have died while excavating marble.  In the background you can see the side of the mountain that now resides in palaces, museums, and kitchens all over the world.

We went to another workshop, this one being way bigger than the first.  The whole place was white, covered in marble dust.  It is interesting to see the differences between workshops and how their art differs.  

We ended the day with a visit to a museum.  They had stones from Roman rule/excavation.  Despite my initial thoughts on a marble museum it turned out to be pretty interesting.  After walking all over the place we all passed out on the train ride back.   

This photo doesn't have anything to do with Carrara, it has just become one of my favorite pictures.  This is from the street where the art studio is.  Just in front of the "P"arking sign on the left is the door to all the art classes.  Across out school is a hotel, with the back door of the kitchen right down the street.  

Italian word of the day: marmo - marble

Monday, October 6, 2008

PIzza, Stuffed Animals and Ikea

This weekend was overall mellow.  I went into the studio to do some work on Friday and Saturday.  On Saturday evening I decided to make pizza.  But, not really knowing the specifics of Italian cooking, I ended up buying baking soda instead of yeast... in my defense there was a pizza and calzone on the front of the package.  So I went back to the supermarket and felt around for yeast.  After about 2 hours of letting the yeast work its magic on the flour I had my dough.  
Unfortunately, Eugenio (my roommate) and I put the oven on the wrong setting and this is what came out.  I guess the broiler was on too.  Oh well.  I tasted the bottom, unburnt part of the dough and I think it came out pretty well, so thats good news.  So, we had pasta for dinner that night!

The next day I went to La Specola, a zoological museum, with a couple classmates.  It was pretty cool with stuffed animals, pinned insects, snakes and ocean creatures in formaldehyde, and wax copies of our insides.  

Here's a really cool scene.  I was just about to draw it but was told that they museum was closing.  I got a little sketch of another one though.  Josh Keyes would have loved this place.  

Later in the day I headed off to Ikea.  While walking across the bridge, the Ponte Carraia to be exact, I saw this.  
I'm seriously obsessed with the Arno River.  I walk across it at least twice a day and every time I do it is breathtaking.

I made it to Ikea along with the rest of Florence's population.  Seriously, do not go to Ikea on a Sunday in a place where people like to buy stuff on the weekends.  Ikea always cracks me up though.  Where else can you have an impulse buy item be a bed?  

On the bus ride back a saw an interesting man.
Look at this wrists.  I wonder if he was selling those watches or just liked to know what time it was in different parts of the world.  Anyway,  it was a nice weekend.  Oh, and I bought train tickets for me and two of my sculpture classmates all in Italian!  I guess we'll see tomorrow if my Italian was good enough to get us to Carrara on time for our sculpture field trip.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pastel Studies

I just wanted to post a few pics of the work I've done so far in my pastel class.  So far we have only been working from still life.

Justin, my instructor, likes to set up crazy, elaborate still lifes so that we have a variety of stuff to draw. This was the first one we did in sepia and sanguine hard pastels.  It was more of an exercise to get used to pastels and focus on value and contrast.  

This is the next week, focusing on material.  This was done in oil pastels and is totally different than dry pastels.  I've worked once in oil pastels last semester, but Justin had us approach it differently than I had before.  He encouraged us to layer more than rub in, like I had done.  It take some time getting used to just laying colors on top of each other and letting the colors blend visually, rather than physically.  

This was last weeks still life.  We were focusing on the figure since we will be working from a model next class.  Well, I won't since I will be on a field trip for sculpture (bummer!)  Anyway, this one is done with hard or dry pastel and I had a lot of fun with the color.  I also got a little more comfortable with making and leaving marks, although I still have a long way to go in that respect.  

I was going to post a painting, but I think I'll wait till I have a bit more work (or at least work that I'm not too embarrassed of).  

Italian word of the day: affamato - hungry (cause that's what I am)