Monday, December 12, 2005

Boun Natale e Felice Anno


Its my last night in Italy for a month. Final crits are over, the
studio that should be condemned is torn down (well at least all the
partitions and tarps), my bags are packed and stored from Corciano to
Rome. I dropped a suitcase off at my new apartment underneath the
villa for storage until January. And I'm ready to say hi to the
States for a month (after a small tangent to Scotland for a few days).
Its been a long and eventful semester. I have been successful
personally and in classes. """read"""" I might actually have
understood western aesthetic philosophies. At least I convinced the
prof I did. And despite a little turmoil in the final crit for my
semesters work, that went well too. I can leave saying I'm proud of
myself for this semester. I look forward to the next semester in Rome
where even the school is changing and I have an entirely new city and
I would venture, even culture, to explore.

I hope to see some of you soon in the states. If I don't, I hope you
have a wonderful Holiday Season. As they say here: Boun Natale e
Felice Anno.

Ciao a doppo

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Update from Italy, Midterms are OVER!

Hey all,

So midterms came and went this week. I finally had my first crit, as
the last one was spent in the ER after a graceful attempt to walk down
wet tile stairs. I'm not too sure how I feel about either yet. I had
my 3 day take home mid-term in criticism and finished under the
deadline by 15 minutes. Whew. While my brain is still recovering
from the mush that became of it while trying to figure out the
relationships between philosophy, art, and politics, I do actually
feel smarter. Though I did look like the picture below afterwards.
And I do have to say that that was the hardest test I've taken to
date. I now think that Dr. Folkestad's classes were a cake walk.

The weather here is definately changing into fall. Walking up and
down the hill the air is crisp and smells of wood smoke. The fog has
been rolling in around 3 pm and sticking until 9 am or so. It reminds
me alot of Ellensburg. Though there have been some pretty spectacular
sunsets. Example attached from this week. Though I have to say the
cooler damp weather does nothing for trying to line dry clothes. The
studio is become colder and colder, I'm getting used to not feeling my
fingers. I guess its part of the whole experience.

I'm going to try to make it to Florence and Fabriano this week.
Fabriano for the paper museum and some good paper samples for
printmaking and Florence becuase there are decent art supply stores
for inks and another trip to La Specola for some for sketching

The Venice Bienalle is still spinning through my head and it was a
great trip. There was lots of work there to ponder and be influenced
by. Not to mention being able to be literaly surrounded by work. I'm
just thankful that I made it to the last days of the Lucian Freud
exhibit. There was also the added plus of experiencing Piazza San
Marco and the duelly orchestras at night. Its magical, is all I have
to say.

Anyways, just a quick update on studies in Italy. Hope all is well at
home, write soon.


Monday, October 17, 2005

photos of my trip to pompeii are available!

You can see my photos of pompeii at Enjoy!

I want to live my life not by the regret of "what if", but by its
possibilities. -ME

What lies behind us and what lies before us are nothing compared to
what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Update from Italy.

Hey all!

Life in Italy is grand....cold and chilly, but going well. We are
enjoying the last days of sunshine before the notorious fog sets in.
We were in Pompeii last weekend which was fabulous. I have a whole
view of the culture of that time. I guess Vegas is not a new concept.
The culture of Eros and Bacchanalian pleasures as they say was very
prevalent. At the same time I was recovering from a bad case of
bronchitis, but the Italian medicines are pretty great. Can't say the
same for the doctors bedside manner...but hey, one can't have it all

Next weekend is the much anticipated chocolate festival. I'm already
signed up to help carve one of the 1\2 ton blocks of chocolate.
Aparantly there are mobs crying for the chocolate as it comes off the
block. Even the elderly push kids out of the way I guess. But there
are also chocolate tastings the next day. They say by the end of the
festival, the entire town is covered in chocolate. (I know my sister
is going to be very jealous).

Classes are progressing. I'm starting to gain a better understanding
of western aesthetic philosophy, though at times I find myself reading
passages over and over just to get one phrase through my thick skull.
I have my first big critique next week, which I'm getting nervous
about it , but so far no one has really be slaughtered per se. So
cross your fingers for me. I did an 8 hour session of printing today
and managed to get 10 decent prints out of 21. I feel like it was a

We are heading to Venice for the Biennial (Bi-annual international art
exhibition) at the end of October. I'm going to try to stay at least
an extra day from the group since I don't have classes until Tuesday.
I'm hoping to do some night photography while I'm there.

Anyways...that is the update from Italy for now. Hope all is well at
home. Please let me know how you are all doing.


Friday, September 30, 2005

Italy update.

Conditions here in Italy are such that this is the best way that I can communicate at the moment. We have one very old computer that is intermittent in its access to the net and a donated laptop that is only slightly more reliable. So needless to say, unless I go to Perugia or Ellera (the next town over) and pay for internet, this is the best that I can do. But that does not excuse any of you from writing me. My inbox has been very empty lately….hint hint.

Its three weeks since I've been here and so far so good. I'm starting to get into the program and am falling for printmaking even more. I haven't stretched a single canvas yet. Partly due to the lack of decent tools that we have here. Most of you that know me with power tools, you will be proud to know that I made a perfectly squared canvas stretcher. The only problem is that I now need wood putty to fill in the corners because the saw cuts at a diagonal down……I have ¼ inch gaps on the outside of the stretcher. The good news is they do sell metal corner braces here, because there is no way that glue would stay in the gaps. I'll be stretching this weekend though; never fear there will be paint flying soon.

My work has already changed dramatically, partly due to the trip to Florence that we took last weekend. The program went to the Gori Collection (a sculpture park) outside of Florence. It is an 19 th century romantic garden (55 acres or so….) behind a country palazzo now owned by Mr. Gori, a textiles magnate. He has commissioned big name sculptors to come in and do site specific sculpture to be incorporated into the property. It was beautiful. The hike was challenging though. I feel proud that I completed it. Though I did splurge and go buy a little camp stool for the hike during stops to study each sculpture. Its one of my best purchases here so far. I love using it in the studio.

I convinced the program director to drop me and those who wanted to go at the nearest train station and we headed into Florence for the night. It was great to be back, though I still think its way too full of tourists. But I did get some decent art supply shopping in with the purchase of some beautiful papers. I also got a great wool scarf in the San Lorenzo market for dirt cheap. I spent a good 5 hours sketching anatomically correct wax models of knees (go figure) in La Specola museum on Saturday. I'm hoping that it will inform my work greatly. I am planning another trip back soon to study the muscles of the leg. The staff there was also very supportive in finding artists studying from their models. They provided us with chairs to sit and study further in. There are all kinds of animals there. I think there are 4 rooms of birds alone. In some ways seeing all the animals that have been stuffed and put on display is odd and creepy. (I couldn't look at the owls, it reminded me too much of the one in my grandparents house)

The program itself is a mixed bag. There are many things that I think could be improved quite easily, but I had indications of it when I came. Communication does not seem to be a priority with some. The levels of graduate work are also very mixed and I feel confident in my skills. We had an excellent visiting artist last week the really helped with a lot of insight for me at least. I think the program will be made in the most part by visiting artists and my thesis professor for this semester. I honestly hope that he gets to return. Up until this year, the program has been taught by recent graduates and an intermittent program director. But this year, at least for the grad students, we actually have some professional level professors. The studios are a mixed bag. They are large, though there is next to no natural light and fluorescent lighting. The printmaking studio gets its power by an extension cord strung through the window from the main studios. The lighting consists of parking lot lights that are hooked to that extension cord. Despite all of these quirks, I do believe that I made the right choice. I think that this will be a tremendous growth opportunity for me.

The weather is starting to turn chilly here. There is talk of an early winter. But for now we are all enjoying the sunshine as it comes and speaking of sunshine….I'm gonna go find some. Ciao! Hope to hear from y'all soon!

i'm including a few photos of the house. the one looking down the hill the row of three houses, mine is the middle. The rest are my room and the view from my room.


Settling in

Corciano is small. Really small. On top of a really big hill. I'm live half way to the bottom of that hill. I hike up to the top of the hill everyday. To the studio below the parking lot. In an old building that overlooks the valley, the olive grove below, and my house half way down the hill. The studios are dusty and musty, with rough rock walls.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bags are zipped, sort of

Well at least one is.  the other 3 are in almost complete packing state. Just a few items to try fit here and there.  It will be interesting that is for sure.  We will leave for Seattle tomorrow, stay the night and I will fly out of the country in approximately 31 hours.  I think I might have packed too much.  I don't know.  One never knows I guess.  But still, I've got art supplies and clothes, a few pair of shoes.  Those that know me would be extremely proud in my control on the shoe issue.  I guess there are a lot of should coulda woulda on time and money for this trip, but I will have to make due with what I have packed.  Some people just look at me in amazement.  Its hard to compact your life into just a few suitcase with a blank slate looming ahead.
Today I hid in the bathroom while I had a mild panic attack.  It was better for all that I did.  Kimiko then took me to dinner where a monster margarita helped the nerves tremendously.  I'll have to remember that next time.  Thanks Kimiko.  Well back to the bits and pieces.  I don't want to leave anything behind.  Least of all my passport.  :D  Laters!

I want to live my life not by the regret of "what if", but by its possibilities. -ME

What lies behind us and what lies before us are nothing compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Last push, I can do this

There is nothing like gettting the flu, having 3 dental appoinments, a physical torture appointment, and trying to pack in 2 days to create stress more. Wow. I just hope to god I survive these next couple days. So what really woke me up was the flu at 3 am. Nice.

I just keep thinking....Italy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Its 3am

Well, as the title states. It 3 am. I came home went to lay down for a minute, rest from work and woke up at 3 am. I never even heard my roomates moving around. Now I'm up, contemplating working on my commission, packing some more, or laying in bed trying to fall back asleep like I have for the last hour. Its nuts really. I have so little time left in portland and I spend my hours at work and awake in the dead of night. I think I should do some packing. Though Ella, the cat, is awake to keep me company. She came in to join me around 1 am. Though she has alternately tried to sneak under the covers, attack my hands, and snuggle. Crazy cat. Well its looking like there will be no sleep for the wicked here, so I might as well start packing something. Though at 3 am tyring to pack something quietly is going to be a challenge.

Found out today that its going to cost anywhere between $120 and $500 to ship my paint to myself because aparently TSA won't allow me to bring them with me in my checked luggage. Wish that my questions would have been answered so that I could have been more prepared for this.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ah, to return again! Posted by Picasa
Here is a small description (au) of where I will be living this fall.
Corciano (Fall)
In addition to working in the studios, we will see the magnificent cathedrals in Florence, Siena, and Venice; Giotto in nearby Assisi; Raphael and Perugino in our neighboring town of Perugia and the smaller hill towns of Umbria; Medival Carvings, major works by Michelangelo-Donatello- Titian-FraAngelico-Bernini-Botticeli-Martini-Lorenzetti-Bellini-Caravaggio- Leonardo-Mantegna-Lippi-Masaccio-Ghiberti-Signorelli...

Corciano is a quiet, perfectly preserved 1000 year-old medieval hill town in the Umbrian countryside of central Italy. Our studios are surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, fields, and farmland. To the east we see the Appennine Mountains, beyond the nearby Tiber River valley. To the west are the hills of Umbria and Tuscany, as well as Lago Trasimeno, the largest lake on the boot of Italy.

Midway between Florence and Rome, we are even closer to Assisi, Siena, Arezzo, Cortona, Orvieto, Perugia, Todi, Spoleto and many other fascinating cities. The medieval piazza, narrow cobblestone streets and centuries old buildings are the heart of this culturally active hill town founded by the Etruscans (before the Romans) in the heart of Italy. Because of its central location, excellent public transportation and easy access to the railway and bus stations, Corciano is a perfect base from which to see the rest of Italy.

While Corciano is a quiet hill town in the countryside, less than five miles away is the bustling capital of Umbria, the incredibly beautiful city of Perugia, where one will find the National Gallery of Umbria, the National Archaeological museum of Umbria, the museum of the Accademia di Belle Arti, numerous Medieval and Renaissance churches, Etruscan and Roman ruins, and works by Piero della Francesca, Perugino, Duccio, Cimabue, Raphael and many others (frequent public transportation is located only steps away from the studios).
For those interested, you can read more about my program here:

My dog Skyler. I'll miss him. Mom take good care, throw the ball LOTS. Posted by Picasa
Welcome to "something with hamburger". Over half my life I have heard that as a response to the question " Mom, what is for dinner?". Dinner is about to change drastically for me. It will be set not around Mom and dad's dinner table, but in a foreign land with new and adventurous meals. Granted, Italian may not be adventurous for some, but when you've heard "something with hamburger" half your life, it really is.