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.