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 evolving...so far
suppli are still at the top. If ever there was something to make the
Atkins guy turn in his grave...it 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
What lies behind us and what lies before us are nothing compared to
what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson