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