Monday, November 27, 2006

Open Studio December 2

 see where all the paint is going!
December 2
5-8 pm
american university
katzen center studio 257
washington, d.c.
in conjunction with the Katzen Museum Artist Reception (link below)

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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

That's It! I've had it with the neighbors! I'm moving!

They neighbors argue way too much, really to the point of ridiculousness. The cops constantly are swarming the neighborhood, but are never around when you actually need them. See attached picture of neighbors house. You'll understand. Not to mention, living in a place that is nicknamed the "virgin vault" and is stuck in the early 20th century isn't exactly helping either.... So. I'm moving. Actually, it's all about the extra sleep I'm going to get from being 2 blocks from work and not commuting an hour a day.....

Hope this finds you all well and happy.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The scoop on Jenny in DC

Hi all,
It's recently been brought to my attention that its has been too long between mass emails.  First,  I hope this finds everyone prosperous and content.
So, What have I been up to lately.   In the words of Monet, "Im not performing miracles, I'm using up and wasting a lot of paint...".  I'm including two pictures of works IN PROGRESS, to demonstrate.  Some of you will recognize this a huge departure from my work prior to graduate school.  However,  it seems to be much easier to work on and deal with.  Its something that I know more intimately than any of my previous work.  Something that I feel I can speak with passion on in my paintings.  They are both over 5 feet in lenght/height. 
I flew to Boston this last weekend to see a show that I thought might help inform my current work.  Not only did I make a contact for myself with the gallery (which is two blocks from Harvard and has connections to galleries in New York) but I also was able to meet the artist of the show and schedule a studio visit in New York with her in order to help me understand my work better.  This is not your normal gallery experience, I assure you.  These amazing opportunities still amaze me.  Not only that I got a signed working copy of her book to boot!
I am currently under application also to move into an apartment.  I found one that is much closer to work (2 blocks walking vs 45 min commute) that will allow me more time in my day and the ability to finally cook!   I'm starting to go into kitchen withdrawals, and its really not a pretty picture.  It is also a place that I feel like I can call "home" for a while and not continually be living out of my suitcases as I have done for the last year and half.  I'm really sick of my suitcases at this point. 
My job is going really well for the marketing firm.  I have been offered a full time position after I graduate.  It definately gives me a little more breathing room when May comes and an I have to face life after grad school.  I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but as long as I'm painting, I can be satisfied. 
Anyways,  that is the long and short of me lately...How about you?  I'd love to hear how everyone is doing...

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Hi all,
Sorry for the mass email, but it seems my time is eaten by the studio.  I'm trying slowly to get to everyone.  I'm usually leaving for work around 8 in the morning and getting home past 11pm from the studio.  Work at the marketing firm is going well and is offering a good break from the constant studio practice. 
I just wanted to send a little update.  I'm doing well.  I'm alive.  And I really am very happy with my decision to come to DC early.  My studio is gorgeous.  I want to be here.  I want to be creating.  Its amazing what happens when someone feels comfortable in their own environment.  I'm really starting to make some good friends.  There have been some great laughs so far and the air around here is much lighter than in my previous year. 
My current work is well on its way.  I've got my first group crit in 2 weeks and I'm trying very hard to get several pieces ready for it.  My scale has taken a huge leap and I'm working right now on 4 pieces that excede my arm span. 
I am managing to get out and see the city a little on Sunday's.  Its what we call SundayFunday.  It helps us get some perspective and see a museum and maybe explore a new neighborhood together.  Anyways,  things are going well here.  How are they going where you are?
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

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

DC update

Hi all,

Just wanted to send a quick note saying that DC is starting to grow on me.  I've been able to just walk into major museums and wander to my heart's content.  I've managed to pick up a free concert at the Kennedy Center and find the best crabcakes.  I moved into my studio on Monday and I LOVE IT!!!!!!  Since all my studio supplies finally arrived yesterday, today is more the moving in day than any.  I was able to snag some furniture for the studio in the free for all the other day and so today it will start to feel a little more like home.  Classes thus far are going well.  There are several new 1st year grads and I'm glad to say, there is a great balance between men and women.  WOOHHOOOO!  It also seems to be a decent geographic mix as well, though I'm still the only native Northwester.

Anyways,  I hope this finds you all well and happy.  Keep in touch!


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

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ireland photos

Here are some photos from my trip to Ireland. Please follow the link below:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The adventures never end.

Hey all,

I'm hoping this finds you all well and happy. Would love to know the truth of it though.

Just a quick update on stateside adventures. I've moved. again.

I'm now living in Goldendale, WA and working at my best friend's winery. (My address will stay the same for now though) The benefits for me is a paycheck, wine, and studio space for work. I have gorgeous views of Mt. Adams, Hood, and on a very clear day Mt. Bachelor as well. I also have the Columbia River gorge at my doorstep so lots of wilderness adventures are to come.

I have to say vineyard work in tough, but its great being in the sun in the early evening and I get to meet really interesting people coming through the visitor's center from all over the world.

For those of you with travel adventures on your mind you can find me Monday through Friday at the Maryhill Visitor's Center and Waving Tree Winery Tasting Room on Hwy 97 just across the Columbia River from Biggs, OR.

I'll still be moving to DC in a month and a half so essentially its still suitcase living for me. But in the meantime, I intend to have fun with it all.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

There is no place like home!


I have stopped my wandering (temporarily) and am unpacking my suitcases at home. It feels good to be home after the whirlwind year I've just had. Its been fun and awesome, but the bank coffers are telling me its time to get a job for the summer!

So that's what I'm doing this week, on the search for the summer job now that jetlag is a thing of the past. I'll be in the Tri-City area I think until around mid-August when I pack up again and move to the Washington, DC area to finish out my Master's.

Hope you are doing well and hope to see you soon! (if possible)


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

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

week 15 and then some

Dear Family and Friends

I got a concerned phone call because I hadn't sent out my weekly email recently. I want to assure all of you that I am fine and well. It has been extremely busy lately trying to get everything done for the end of the semester and continue with classes and prepare shows for both thesis and drawing. The good news is that I am done as of this Wednesday!!!! I've finished my art history class and drawing and I only have thesis to finish. We will have a marathon critique on Wednesday with a visiting artist, who aparantly is former faculty of the program and now works for a well known gallery in Paris. So it will be interesting to see what he has to say about my work. Thus far the public reaction has been good.

Some of the highlights in the last couple weeks have been the culminating art history project and class. I studied the church of San Lorenzo and developed a picture book from the death of the church from WWII bombings which allowed excavations to happen while it was being reconstructed that proved the location and existence of the original church that Constantine built. I actually did this all in a book I had found at the Sunday market on meaning of death and resurrection in the Catholic Church. I ended with pictures that I had taken of the present day church after the reconstructions of the bombings. I'm pretty happy with how the project ended up.

The final class was spectacular. We finally received an appointment to tour the Scavi underneath St. Peter's Basilica. For anyone that has read Dan Brown, they know which one I'm talking about. It is the third level underneath St. Peter's that was originally a Necropolis (ancient Roman pagan cemetery) that the Christians adopted later on.
The necropolis was secretly excavated around the 40's after they hit the roof of one of the family tombs in the process of digging a Pope's grave in the 2nd level under St. Peter's. The 2nd level is where most of the pope's are in a Mausoleum including the recent John Paul II. So anyways, this Necropolis, inside they found some really
interesting things, such as what is believed and now accepted (based on the archeological evidence) ST. PETER'S BONES.

Our tour guide was excellent, he allowed doubt to play a lot within his tour as well as was excellent in explaining the archeological and sociological aspects of burial habits in ancient Rome, pagan and Christian alike. He also assured us that Dan Brown was incorrect and there are no secret passageways in the bottom most layer of St. Peters. And I have to agree with the tour guide. Its cramped and small and any sort of excavations that happen down there have to be very careful because if they dig too much, it could be structurally unsafe. So being able to see part of the original constructions of St. Peter's tombs (built on top of each other) is difficult. But it was fascinating to actually see all of the layers of history literally built over one man. We ended the tour with the Lord's Prayer, which I felt extremely appropriate and moving.

PS this is actually even late from when I wrote it. My time has been consumed as a whole by the studio in the last several days. Fortunately my friends Carla and Dane were here so that I at least had to get out of the painting fumes and go meet them for dinners.

Today is the day. The Final day. Good or bad, I will be done with my first year of grad school. We have a visiting critic ( a former faculty member now working in a Paris gallery) so there will be a new perspective in the crits today. Mine is the final one so I will have to be nervous all day. But the good news is that I will be done

I will then be finishing packing my studio and my aparment and travelling for the next several weeks through Italy, Scotland, and Ireland. So emails maybe just as scarce as they have been recenlty. But please know that I can't wait to see you all and that I'm looking very forward to coming home.


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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rome week 12

Well this one is gonna be short I promise.

I'm just letting you all know that I'm alive and completely overwhelmed with school right now. I've got several large projects coming to a head this coming week as well as my program director is visiting, and open studios/thesis show on Saturday. Most all of my "free" time (not that I really know the meaning of that word) is spent in the studios or library doing last minute research.

Easter was good. A Buona Pasqua goes out to all those that celebrate it. I had a little dinner party in my garden and did actually manage coloring easter eggs this year as well. Also thanks to Mom, who sent me easter candy.

I hope this finds you all and well. I promise to send along more adventures when I get the chance.


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

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rome week 11

Time here is becoming more precious. As I write each of these emails,
I become increasingly aware that as the week numbers get higher, I
have less time to explore and find the spirit of Rome. I honestly
believe I could be here for years and still not understand it fully.

However, just so you all aren't completely convinced I have my head in
the clouds here in Rome here's a dose of Italian reality. (I recently
wrote this to a cousin who wanted to swap places).. I do laundry in my
apartment in a washer the size of a 2 gallon bucket, I swear. Of
course there is no dryer so all clothes must hang dry. I cook on a
hot plate that takes 20 minutes to boil water and 2 people cannot
stand in my kitchen together. Well, its more of a platform that holds
a small shelf, a fridge that should be in a dorm room, and a
waterspout that empties into an old marble basin with a depth of 3
inches. Of course if you turn the water on too much, the water
splashes everywhere but where
you want it to go. Which means the floor gets mopped regularly.

As far as electricity in the apartment goes. I think we've finally
figured out that only one plug in per outlet actually works. So the
extension cord that feeds the hotplate and my computer actually gets
plugged in in the bathroom. Which of course also means that if
someone is cooking, you can't shut the bathroom door all the way.
Fortunately the fridge is in a "secured" (meaning the plug is shoved
so far in you can't pull it out, even when trying very hard) outlet.

But then again, there are the outside pleasures of Rome. AKA, Rome is
spring is amazingly beautiful with flowers spilling from everywhere.
The scent of traffic is actually covered by all of the flowers in
bloom if one can imagine. I love the museums and even just riding the
bus gets you places you wouldn't have normally seen.

Last week was packed. Monday was spent in the midst of research and
papers. Tuesday was spent in several cemeteries and in the Church of
San Lorenzo Fuori la Mura. I have never experienced anything quite
like an Italian cemetery. The sculpture found in them is moving (and
great to draw from), family mausoleums are given as much attention as
palaces, and the landscaping is like walking through formal gardens.
Here, they give me the much needed peace from the pace of the city.
They are constantly filled with beautiful flowers and one can actually
hear the birds. Wednesday was spent in studio and attending a

Thursday for class we studied San Giovanni en Laterno "the Mother of
all Churches" named that by Constantine who layed its first
foundations. It was interesting to be there at the beginning of the
Holy Week pilgrimages. There is a staircase (said to be the one
Christ walked on to see Pontius Pilot) in one of the churches across
the street that must be ascended only on ones knees as you pray to the
stains on the stairs. The stains are said to be those of Christ. At
the top of the stairs is the private chapel of the Popes.

Friday...ugg.. Friday was critique day. It amazes me that 30 minute
crits for 6 people end up being 7 (SEVEN) HOURS!!!!!!!!! 'nuff said.

After Friday, I figured that since it was the Week of Culture and all
state owned museums are free, that I should actually take advantage of
it. So on the weekend I went on a Museum Marathon starting with the
Etruscan Museum at Villa Guilia and the Modern Art Museum on Saturday
and then Sunday the Crypta Balbi (Ancient excavations and such) and
the Galleria Doria Pamphilli which has one of the most fabulous
privately owned painting collections I've ever seen. Not to mention,
the fact that the same family still owns them and the palace is

Whew! Its been a week. Sorry this email was late. I needed a
breather :) Well this week promises to be even busier, so I best get
some rest for it.

Take care. Hope everyone is well at home.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Rome week 10 (my, how its slipping by)

Last week was certainly a rollercoaster ride. The early part of last
week was spent with my head stuck in books and traveling throughout
libraries here in Rome trying to find sources for my art history
project. Of course the chase was for the sources in English.

Drawing class on Tuesday was spent on the Ponte St. Angelo near the
Vatican drawing. I actually started taking advantage of a tourist
taking a break across the bridge and used him as a live model. There
was also the entertainment of watching all of the purse sellers clear
the bridge when they thought the police were coming and return when
they thought the coast was clear. Of course this process was repeated
several times while we were there.

Wednesday night I treated myself for my birthday and went to a concert
of the Count Basie Orchestra at the new Auditorium build by Renzo
Piano. Both the building and the band were great. The auditorium
inside sort of looks like an inverted wooden turtle shell.

I mourned my 20's passing for most of the week and celebrated entering
a new decade on Thursday. My friends took me out for Indian food and
made me a cake with Reese's peanut butter cup frosting.

Art history class was spent looking at the architecture and baroque
paintings of Caravaggio and walking around the Campus Martius again
from Church to Palazzo to Church.

I went south for a mental break to see an old friend and his family
who have been stationed at the Naples Navy base. It was great to get
some Americana, relax, and not think, talk, or make art. I had the
fortunate opportunity to go to a t-ball game and a pee-wee soccer game
in a recreation park the Navy has built into a volcano crater. It was

Leslie, Trevor, the kids, and I all explored downtown Naples for a
little while Saturday and walked down Christmas Alley. It is the
street that has all of the shops selling the world renowned nativity
scenes of Naples. It was wonderful to be around kids, dogs, and a
family even for a little while. Life felt a little normal again. For
dinner they took me to a little trattoria down a back alley that was
some awesome. It's a fixed price place that you get what the cook
feels like for the day. The minute you sit down the food just keeps
coming and coming and coming. I still might be full.

I must thank Leslie, who took me to the commissary on base where I
stocked up on certain grocery items you just can't find such as:
cheddar cheese, maple syrup, jello pudding, and Reese's pieces and pb
cups. And to take on the train back to Rome with me, I swung by the
Subway on base. I have to say it was definitely a splurge to be able
to have that in the middle of a foreign country.

Yesterday was time to return to reality and concentrate on excavation
reports and analysis of early christian mosaics from the church of San
Lorenzo Fuori le Mura (my independent research project for art
history). I've take a break from them to write this, which reminds
me...I better get back to it.

I hope all of you are well and happy. Hope to hear from you soon.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Settimana 9 en Roma


Well this week has certainly had its ups and downs.

I received an excellent crit from a visiting professor from the DC
program. She gave me some really good advice: purposely try to make
mistakes and make as many as I can. She told me to leave my field of
vision wide open until next fall when its time to take all that I
learned from my mistakes and narrow down my thesis work. When many of
my critiques thus far have been the exact opposite, it definately
lifted a huge weight.

Its hard and scary to say that I don't know what I'm doing, but it
feels right. So I'm going to try to start exploring outside of the
boundaries of my skills and knowledge.

Other news, I visited St. Peters for several hours this week. Just
prior to getting there I was caught in a flashing hail storm with
hailstones the size of large peas. It was insane! There was
lightning all around, rain and hail pouring down, and by the time it
was all said and done, it looked like it had snowed and the streets
were temporarily flooded.

Of course, St. Peter's was a fabulous refuge from the brutal weather
outside. It's one of the few places on earth that I really feel
insignificant. Its absolutely huge! It seems like you are surrounded
by an ocean of marble, stone, and light.

This week has really been more of a time of reflection and trying to
figure "life and art" out. I guess its been spurred on by my upcoming
birthday and the visiting artist. All I can say is, I'm still


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Week 8 in Rome


Spring break was good. Though I did do some work in the studio, I did
take a break from research and more academic pursuits.

After the trip south, Nathan, Valerie, and I explored the Catacombs of
San Callisto. Of all the catacombs in Rome, this is the the largest by
far with over 500,000 underground graves including some of the
earliest popes. We went down to the 2nd level 20 meters below ground.
There are two levels farther below that. It was very damp and cool
down there, but with the modern renovations, fortunately very light.

My friend Al came into town and we explored the Vatican museums and
some new collections I hadn't seen in my previous visits. I found a
room that isn't usually open that had micro mosaics in them. If you
checked out the pictures I sent earlier this week, there was a picture
of one next to my pinkie finger. They were truly amazing things. It
was also nice to just wander at will through the museums. Of course
it was pouring rain outside so it was nice to have the excuse to stay

We found a few good restaurants here in Rome. The roman institution
of Il Baffetto on Via Governo Vecchio where the owner sits you where
there are empty seats, regardless of people already being at the table
and yells out orders to the back room. Its not really a place to
linger as there is usually a line out the door by 7:45. Fortunately,
we beat the crowd and had some great wood fired oven pizza and had to
fight our way out the door.

We explored Campo de' Fiori by day with all the market stalls and had
an excellent cornetto (probably the best I've had.)

I excused myself from being a tour guide for a day and spent some much
needed time in the studio, yes, even though it was spring break.
Masterpieces don't paint themselves I guess. I thought I paid the
elves enough to get some work done, but they must be on strike with
all the Italians. It was a rare and lovely day spent completely alone
in the studio with some Miles Davis on the stereo. It was definitely
much needed. The lights did go out at the end. Italian electrical
panels seem to have definite personality.

The next day was spent taking Al around the shopping districts and
marveling at all of the men in kilts wandering the streets of Rome.
This week was the big rugby tournaments in Europe and Scotland and
Italy battled it out. Scotland apparently won in the last few minutes
of the game. Whew!

Of course I did my weekly pilgrimage to the Porta Portese market this
morning looking for untold treasures. I got 4 new pairs of socks and
a couple scarves. No big finds, but I'm also becoming more aware of
how I'm going to get all my stuff home. Though there were some pretty
amazing seashells that were being sold today for insanely cheap
prices. There were some the size of a football that were absolutely

I'm looking forward to getting back into class and resuming research
activities. We'll see how this next week goes. We will have a
visiting artist from the DC campus in this week. I'll be interested
to see how my work is received. I'll give you all the update next

In the meantime, I hope you are all doing well. Hope to hear from you soon.


P.S. I bought my tickets home and will be coming in the 31st of May,
via Ireland!

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

Friday, March 17, 2006

Rome link to photos

Hey all, I've set up a small photo album online that you can visit for some of the stuff I've seen here in Rome.  This by no means covers even the slightest portion of the treasures that I have discovered in this living museum. 
Please forgive spelling mistakes as I feel my English gets worse as my Italian gets better and spelling suffers in both!


Scenes of Rome

Check out my photos

rennyren76 has invited you to view a photo album on Yahoo! Photos

View Scenes of Rome

If you can't see the button above, copy and paste this web address into your browser's web address bar:

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy - Terms of Service

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

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rome week 7


So this was a really busy week. Monday was pretty cool, we met early
to get into the Vatican Museums for Art History. It was like waiting
in a cattle herd. (keep that phrase in mind). But I did get to see
some pretty cool things. Ancient Greek statues, so really great
paintings by masters like Giotto, Raphael, and Caravaggio, and of
course the Sistine Chapel. Though getting into the actual chapel
honestly did fell like being swept up into the middle of a stampede.
So once I got into the actual chapel, I eagle eyed a seat so that I
wasn't being shoved every which way. The coolest part, as long as
your sitting, you can sit there as long as you want. I got out my
sketchbook and did a few quick sketches. I'm surprised I didn't get
busted from the guards. I was later told, they don't normally allow

Tuesday was spent in the studio trying to get some drawing and
painting done before my friends arrived the following morning.

Wednesday, Nathan and Valerie arrived. I gave them a whirlwind tour
from my studio to the Pantheon and St. Catherine's tomb, after feeding
them and pumping them full of Italian coffee. It was then off to St.
Peter's where I was supposed to be drawing in the Piazza. They headed
through the security gates and up to the top of the Dome of St.
Peter's. They tell me, that even after all the steps, the view was
well worth it. I'll take their word for it. We then did a tour over
the Gianicolo hill with some great views of Rome and walked home. We
then went down to my favorite pastry shop for some visual and yummy
delights and were then off to a wine bar for dinner and after dinner

Thursday we were off for a nerve racking initiation to Italian driving
in our rental car to Paestum. There was a small detour in Portici to
see the remains of the lesser known ruins of Herculaneum (destroyed at
the same time as Pompeii). It was, in my opinion, more enjoyable than
Pompeii, with actual bits of preserved charred wood and the vacation
homes of the rich and famous from 2000 years ago.

Paestum was great, there are 3 Greek temples stuck in the equivalent
of a flower filled cow pasture with some ruins from public and private
structures surrounding them. Here you could actually climb up on some
of them and explore at will. It was a nice walk around and definitely
a treat to see actual ancient Greek temples in person. They are so
much better than the slides in art history class. From there is was
some hair raising drives and exploration through the hills of Campania
and the sea side town of Agripoli, which had some beautiful views of
the stormy Mediterranean Sea.

We stayed at an agriturismo B&B which is a country farmhouse
hotel/restaurant. I ate water buffalo and fresh mozzarella di bufala.
Both were yummy.

The drive down the Amalfi coast was a little nerve racking, as its a
full highway with humongous tour buses and cars trying to pass each
other on hair pin curves that as the equivalent of one land on a
freeway at home....YIKES! But I've lived to tell the tale and the
views were spectacular, even in the pouring rain. My chance to drive
was on the freeway, I can almost understand why my brother Josh is a
racecar driver. Wow, that was fun for a few seconds.

Well, spring break looms ahead, I will actually have some time for the
studio. And another friend is coming into town. I think we are going
to explore the outskirts of Rome a little bit and sit and relax at
some cafe's here in Rome. Sounds like a plan to me.

Miss you all back home. Wish you were here to share in these
adventures. Hope to hear from you soon.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rome week 6

Well This week, I had my first critique, which went really well. I
feel like my work is now heading in a clear direction these days. I'm
falling in love with oil paint again, after a long absence. I'm
enjoying the luxury of studio time. Though I find I do still do best
at night.

During art history we toured Castel St. Angelo. Originally meant to
be Hadrian's Mausoleum. It was later turned into the defense fortress
of the Vatican. There are now grotesque paintings in Castel St.
Angelo. The style of Grotesque was first discovered in Nero's Golden
Palace in the 15th century after people had dug under some baths built
by Trajan. They are these flowery, linear designs with morphing of
humans, creatures, and flora.

Spring break is coming up, my friends Nathan and Valerie will be
coming to visit. We will be going to paestum, an ancient Greek Temple
of Hera site on the Amalfi coast. I'm a little scared, since we will
be renting a car, and I KNOW how Italians drive.

Well, it was sort of a "short" week, alot of time spent in the studio,
so I will leave you all with a breather. :D Hope all is well with
you back home. Take care. Would love to hear from all of you.


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

Friday, February 24, 2006

Rome Week 5

I just want to get it out fast....Oh, How I adore Rome.

The beginning of the week was a bit lonely and spent mostly in the
studio trying to figure out how to paint and draw...hmmm. One would
think that I could do it just fine already. But, I guess there is
always something new to learn. (If anyone knows a good method for
fixing watercolors on panel....let me know).

It's always nice to get emails from home about news and goings on. It
can sometimes be very isolating here. So whenever I hear from all of
you at home, it helps combat the loneliness that can sometimes settle

I did get a chance to go back to the Capitoline Museums and draw from
the Roman replica of the Dying Gaul statue. It was beautiful.
Actually, I was incredibly lucky. When we arrived there was a film
crew in the next room. Almost right after I sat down to sketch the
statue, they moved to my room and kicked out all the tourists. But I
guess since I was sketching and in there for serious pursuits they
left me alone, and then proceeded to light the Gaul with several
spotlights. I had my very own lighting crew to get the specifics
down. It was fabulous; of course I also had an occasional audience.
It was nice not to have anyone getting into my line of vision for

Thursday was a wet and rainy day. We stood out in it for nearly an
hour and a half studying just the Arch of Constantine upon the entry
into the Forum from the ancient Via Sacra. There is such a myriad of
styles of carving from Trajan's, Hadrian, and Constantine's eras that
it is an interesting lesson in sculptural styles.

From there we headed to the Church of San Clemente, one of the best
examples of Roman Building Recycling or Palimpsesting. At the bottom
most level, we were exploring a factory of some kind (thought to be
the mint of Imperial Rome) and a house from the 1st Century BC. In
the 3rd Century it had been turned into a Mythraic Temple (one of the
early mystery religions) and in the 5th Century it was all covered and
a basilica (church) was built on top of that which is now on the 3rd
level up as the 1st era had 2 stories). From there, in the 11th
century the 3rd and final layer was added as an updated church
(filling in the 5th c additions). There are some fabulously gilded
mosaics of the saints and Christ in the apse of the last level. I've
never actually seen any of this style. Building within the current
structure has continued throughout the last..oh...900 years or so,
with the addition of frescoes in the 15th c. and later. I think
though the best part of the tour was finding the fresco that really
was more of a political satire cartoon included with profanity in

So today, I went on a tour of a Fattoria in (farm and winery) in
Tuscany, near Siena and Montalpulciano. This particular one is owned
and run solely by women; the only one in Italy. I have to say, they
make some really fabulous wines. We ate lunch at the restaurant and
had a pasta making lesson. It was well worth the excursion fee the
school charged just for the lunch alone. It was all farm /locally
raised/grown ingredients. WOW. I don't think I've ever had a better
roasted chicken. (Sorry Mom.)

It is also the little things that are constantly surprising me. Like
finding an Italian lesson when getting my cappuccino at the local bar.
All of the beautiful flower stands, who have there flowers displayed
for all to see. My favorite foods are constantly far
suppli are still at the top. If ever there was something to make the
Atkins guy turn in his would be suppli (and potato pizza).
They are tomato rice balls stuffed with fresh mozzarella, then deep
fried. I think they were sent directly from heaven.
Then there is the incredible support for artists. For example my
roommate, the vegetarian, wanted to buy a shrimp to draw from the
seafood counter. Since she had never bought meat in her life, she
wanted me there for moral support and my language skills. When I
explained that she only wanted one shrimp for a model in drawing, he
actually gave it to her for free, and considering it was a jumbo prawn
at about 25 euro a kilo…not really a small thing!

As per usual, Rome is full of surprises. I can't wait to see what
else is in store….


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

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rome week 4

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week has been very eventful. I've discovered that my
Italian is good enough to get me through the hospital on my own
(Bronchitis, don't worry I didn't have an accident!) and to tell off a
florist in Campo de Fiori for being a HUGE jerk.

Most of the week was spent in bed, unfortunately. But there were some
significant things that have happened. I stood on the foundation of
the Temple of Jupiter, a temple built in the early days of Rome (BC),
and walked amongst some of the best sculpture in the world and
sketched quite a bit as well.

My research progresses and on that front we did the tour of the
American Academy and now have access to their library. Its a beautiful
17th century Palazzo on top of one of the 7 hills of Rome. Its an
amazing collection that I feel very priveledged to use. My status as
a graduate student got me in. I'm hoping it will be a temendous
resource for my art history research.

I found the perfect pair of boots and actually bought them as well. I
guess this will be my one splurge for the semester. I also got a
great steel on some really high end watercolors and found my new
favorite art supply store. All of this on an expedition into the
neighborhood south of me.

I also found out about the future of the MFA in Italy program. My
university has chosen to discontinue it. They will be keeping the
Corciano study abroad portion, however stating the reasons of cost,
are no longer going to offer Rome. As a result of this decision, I
have requested transfer for the full year next year to Washington, DC.
This decision makes everything I do here now very bittersweet, as I
know that I will not be returning to enjoy the bounty of Rome for
another semester.

However, I feel this will be the best decision for me in the long run.
I have chosed to forgo returning to Italy in the fall due to the poor
condition of the studios in Corciano and trying to move
internationally right before my final thesis semester is next to
insanity. I will also have the chance at scholarships I would not
otherwise have available. While this all logically sounds good, my
heart hurts a little with the decisions.

So....if y'all were going to try to make it across the pond, I'd
better do it soon if I were you. I am going to try to stay as long as
I can this summer without completely running out of available funds.
And in the meantime, I'm going to try to soak up as much of La Dolce
Vita as possible here in Rome.

I hope this finds you all well and happy. Hope to hear from you soon.
And fyi, you are probably seeing more of the Olympics than I am. :(


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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rome week 3

I would like to enter this email by just saying how lucky I feel to be
in Rome. After the experiences last semester, I truly appreciate the
things that I have here. I love Rome. It is a fabulous city that is
constantly surprising me.

I found a kosher butcher who was extremely nice and the customers were
even friendly with Becca and I. Becca said that its the best
experience she's had in a shop so far, though the funny thing is she
is a vegetarian. The great thing is that its within walking distance.
I'm hoping that the laundry place is just as nice.

So far I absolutely love my classes. Last week we toured the Campus
Martius in my art history class, found the place were Caesar was
killed (now a cat sanctuary), the Pompey theatre outline, the Temple
of Venus (and the funny woman who now lives there), did an
introduction of Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the original gaming and field
exercise site for ancient Romans, and hmmmm...several old temples, and
the best coffee place in Rome.

Drawing class was spent at Santa Maria in Trastevere piazza in a cafe
across from the church. I sat there for over two hours sipping the
best cinnamon cappuccino of my life, sketching, and not believing that
I was actually in class. The best thing is that we had sat there so
long that the waiter didn't believe it and thought we hadn't paid for
our drinks. I then got a chance to try out some original roman
arguing techniques. I did pretty well, and they finally believed me.

I've switched up to a higher level of conversation class, which is the
only Italian class period that I was able to fit into my schedule. My
professor says that my Italian is doing very well and that I shouldn't
have a lot of problems without taking a regular grammar class and if I
do, she'll help me with it. This is good news. For a while I thought
I wasn't going to be able to take anything do to my regular class

I've found that saying the words graduate student actually have some
weight. I'd asked our head of library services to help finding some
obscure technical manuals and the minute I said the magic words
"graduate student" suddenly he was going to try to get me into the
American Academy's library. So far, I think he's going to do it, it
doesn't hurt that his wife is also the librarian there either. Yeah!

I've found the Porta Portese Markets on Sunday mornings are so far the
best way to get things that I need for the studio or home. I've
gotten some killer deals on linen for painting and fabric for dividing
the studios and am now in search of a great pair of boots. The Porta
Portese is the largest flea/open air market I've ever seen. It first
took me over two hours to walk it when the vendors were first setting
up. The best thing is they are always willing to bargain.

I've hit a Manet show, Piazza del Popolo is on the schedule today with
some fabulous Caravaggio's (one of my favorite painters), and maybe a
quick trip to the English bookshop for some reference materials in the

So I will leave you here, so I can go get ready for today's adventures.


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, January 26, 2006

Roman Palimpsest


What an interesting concept. Its the title of my Art History class.
Wiped out and written over. History. Rome. All in one. It will be
interesting to try to keep up with Lila. I expect that unless you are
a genius and running marathons and have the hearing of a dog, then it
is going to be difficult to catch everything in her lecturs. Just
today with only 3 students there were passages that I was unable to
catch due to the background noises of Rome. But I have a feeling that
I will absolutely enjoy the class. This is what I wanted. I wanted
to dig deep and delve into what is here. Emerse myself into the
histories, the art, and the passions of Rome and Italy. The
independent project will be interesting. I am looking forward to
finding a topic. This semester is what I feel grad school should be
like. Grueling, challenging, stimulating, and an absolute riot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rome Week 1

Dear family and friends,

So the first week of Rome has been an adjustment period. To all the
noise, people, traffic, time zones, my bohemian apartment, and the
being back in the midst of Italian language.

I feel as if I have gained not one roommate but three. Our garden
entrance is shared by the apartment next door where there are two
really great guys. Oscar and Robert. So far Robert is still at home
in America working and visiting family though he returns soon. Oscar
has kept it lively around here with his insanity and outrageousness.
I have a feeling this semester will be very interesting.

We moved into the studios last night. They are going to be very big
with only six of us. But the greatest news about the studio is I have
my own electrical plugs, walls, and the best of all....HEAT!!!!! It
was actually warm in there. What a luxury. There is no computer
access there that I know of. But the university has a BIG computer
lab with the most up to date equipment and I have my laptop with wi-fi
in my apartment. So look forward to better contact from this part of
the world.

So far I have found the school here itself to beat all of my
expectations, so unlike last semester. I was greeted by name (from
only one visit last semester) and given explanations on everything
that needed to happen. I even had a real orientation that covered the
basics plus some. I've found out that both my drawing and art history
class will be on site and most of thesis class will be as well. When
I consider all of this, I feel very fortunate this semester.

I will be going to Bologna for the Fiera either Friday or Saturday.
It is a huge international contemporary art fair sponsored by
galleries and museums. I'm very excited for that. And I think now
that I've lost myself and found my way back in my own neighborhood I
can also do so now in the Historical Center. (I live a little outside
the Aurelian Walls In Monteverde Vecchio).

Anyways, I will leave you all with this for now. I look forward to
hearing from you one way or another. Take care!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jenny is now in Rome

Hey all,

Just a quick update to let you know that I am safely in Rome now. Jet
lag is taking is usual toll, but I have a comfy bed here in my new
apartment and I'm enjoying just being here so far. It was definately
nice not to have to wait at the airport for 6 hours this time waiting
for all the group to get in. I just put my two big bags in storage
for the night and headed to the apartment. I went back and got the
big ones today then for a little stroll for much needed groceries etc.
Tomorrow I plan on heading up to the University pretty early and
seeing what there is to see for the semester.

Expect more updates soon. I apologize for the mass email, but its
easiest until y'all start writing individually :) So...hope to hear
from you soon.