Sunday, July 24, 2011


Hey people,

Sorry for not updating in an extremely long time, but I have been very busy getting ready for my finals. I can't really remember where I left off, so I'll start off on Monday and just go over all last week in one giant swoop.

Monday was fairly uneventful as always. Woke up, worked out, went to painting class. I did another small self portrait and then moved onto to seeing an art exhibit right outside the bobli gardens. The works were right before the 18th-19th century explosion of expressionism. It was a great glimpse into the transition away from renaissance strict regulation to form and into the more abstract way of painting. It makes me want to take a class on 18th century art. If I have time I might. Although, I have to say, I am really excited to take Japanesse art history when I get back and Chinese painting in the winter. Anyway, after that I pretended to paint in the gardens. I am not very good with water colors and as a result the piece did not turn out very nice. I think I will burn it and start over. Then it was off to open drawing session until 10. The model didn't show up so we rotated modeling between all of the students. The front desk promised us a make up session wednesday (which means I had to again stay after till 10 pm)

Tuesday was an interesting day. The previous thursday had been crappy because my drawing just kind of sucked. The first half was spent drawing from a model, which wasn't out of the ordinary anymore. I drew in pencil and made a descent, not great, piece. Jon liked it well enough, and I was satisfied. The second half was slightly more interesting. Jon couldn't book the model again for the afternoon, so he wanted to take us to the Boboli gardens. Having gone a million times I complained and asked if I could go to the wax museum again to draw. Jon agreed and I drew from the different models there for about three hours. Made some descent studies that I decided I could use for my final. I decided I wanted to do an anatomy drawing that looked like the Veturvian man. That way I could dissect the body at different angles and still really be able to focus on details. I pitched the idea to Jon in the afternoon and he seemed fine with it.

Wednesday was somewhat eventful. My friend Michelle had come to Florence with her sister, so I spent the morning getting breakfast with them. It was nice to see her, especially because she has left me forever by becoming a real person and graduated college. After that, it was another day of painting. We started working from the model and painting from that. I did not think I would like that, but I enjoyed it more than I thought it would. Then we went to the Bobli gardens again where I sat in the front and practiced with my ink for a couple hours and then decided to go early and get ready for another open drawing session. The open drawing session went pretty well. I was really happy with the piece I made and was excited to show it off to Jon and the class the next day.

Thursday Jon walked in and saw my piece and said it looked nice. This was sufficient for me. Then he decided it would be a good idea to go over everyone in the class and discuss their strengths and weaknesses and hear proposals for finals. He started by writing down everyone's name and putting a check, if they were doing a good job in the class, or a question mark if their work was less than what he considered par. Two of the beginners got checks, and two of the three intermediates got check, myself not included. I got a question mark and a period. Two marks of punctuation, since apparently one was insufficient. To elaborate he was really on the fence about my performance. I had made some great stuff, and if the other intermediates were not so far above my level I would have been fine. None of the advanced received checks. None of them were even on the fence. They all received confirmed question marks. Then we started the final proposals. Andrew went first discussing his desire to simply the pattern of shadows into shapes. It was an interesting idea, not really grad enough for my taste, but a good idea. Then I think Gabe went up and proposed his small drawings of different animals. Alyssa and Lauren, the two intermediate girls who should have been advanced, gave a great proposal that he animate the animals (since he was interested in animation) and show them running or moving. Gabe took the advice to heart and changed his final project. I think it will be really great if he can pull it off. Then I went. I proposed my life sized anatomy idea and people generally seemed to like it. The told me not to use pencil though. They said that I already knew how to use that medium (very well as shown in my previous night's anatomy drawing) and should try something looser, like ink. I decided I would try that and experiment with medium. Jon then gave me a couple of good artists and advised that I make the piece a self portrait and try to put myself in the piece as much as possible. So, I decided to do half of the face with my own, and make the proportions match my own. Then we went onto the other people: Nico, Alysssa, and Lauren. Nico's project did not intrest me in the slightest so I wasn't listening. Alyssa's piece had to do with faces and expressions, which I still don't think is grand enough for her. Laurens piece is drawing butts of statues to try and get the personality of the piece to come out with just the figure of the butt. I like the idea, a bit vulgar for my taste, but it is a good idea all the same. After that I did some research, got some pics of nice anatomy pieces, and then set up my station. It took all morning to move tables, set up the paper, and fix a giant broken mirror (I can't really explain that other than the fact that it was in my way and I had to move it and I needed to fix it in order to move it). Once my set up was finally neat and orderly it was time for lunch. I got lunch and then when the beginners left again I started on my piece. I started working in my sketchbook trying different mediums together. It started with charcoal and ink, but that did not go well because the charcoal wouldn't erase as neatly as I would have liked. So I fell back on pencil, but compromised by inking over the pencil with the bamboo pen. The bamboo pen is very loose and difficult to control, but it makes very dark marks and is very useful for getting overall gesture. Then I decided I would go back in with a slip nib pen I had purchased. I then went to work on getting the overall figure. It took until 9 pm, but I got the overall figure in outlined in pencil, with all the proportions right. Then I went home to Ellen's home cooked meals (which are awesome) and then went to bed getting ready for Friday.

I decided to come in early the next day, in order to work on my piece. I started the head and penciled it all in. Then I inked it with the bamboo pen, and then outlined it in fine pen. It took a good two hours, but it turned out really nice. I decided not to color it yet, and just color it all at once after everything is inked in. Then I went to painting class and began my large self portrait (it is huge). I have gotten pretty good at painting in self-portraits and the piece was coming in nicely. I didn't have time to finish before the model came in, and decided to leave the rest until Monday. The model came in and I started ruining my painting. All my hard work done the previous day was getting painted over by my shit painting of today. Gary, the teacher, came in and fixed a couple points pointing out I had all the correct proportions yesterday but was adjusting them for no good reason today. After he was finished I colored in some areas and it came out nice thus far. I have one more sessions on Monday with the painting, so we will see how it goes. Then, I spent my Friday night relaxing and reading, since SACI was closed and I couldn't work on my drawing any more.

Saturday was awesome. I woke up around 9 and decided I wanted to find the pool my friend Amiee had talked about. I found it online and decided to go there in person. I bought a cheap suite and goggles and went to the pool and after much confused gibberish I got to swim for an hour and a half. It was really nice getting back in the water and I will definitely be getting back in monday, wed, and fri if I can. Then it was time to walk to school and do some more work on my drawing. I got a lot finished: three of the arms, two of the hands, the chest, and the rib cage. I still need to do some fixs up and it is not as nice as I would like, but it is alright. I don't really have the time to freak out over details, but I am trying to make sure every aspect of it is correct. After that went home, dinner, sleep. Today I will be working on the piece until the upper body is finished and then no more. That way I can do the pelvis monday morning and then the lower body Tuesday and start coloring Tuesday. I might even be finished by Tuesday afternoon, but no guarantees. If I do finish that early I am not sure what I will do. I guess that will give me time to finish my paintings for the final. yay?

Anyway, that is the update. I will try to be better about updating this thing, but with finals coming up there are no guarantees.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pisa, Pietrasanta, and Biobli Gardens

Sorry I haven't updated this in a while. I was in a MOOD. Anyway, I guess we should start back where I left off....on Thursday I believe.

I had just gone to see Harry Potter that night, so I consequently did not get must rest. The movie itself was amazing and shown in this old theater. i wish I could have gotten some pictures of it. I would say it was worth it, but I am unsure. The day started off ok. We went to the Michaelangelo family house where we saw a variety of early and late works done by him. I sketched a nice marble piece of a boy in controposto. I thought the sketch was quite nice and had done well. And I had. However, everyone had really stepped it up and did works that were even better than mine. I was a little pissy and sulky as a result (seeing art better than your own when you think your own is pretty good will make you sulky). then we can back to the studio and drew from a model for a couple hours, which I was getting use to. However, I was not used to the medium we were told to use: bamboo pen and ink. I had never worked to ink before and to say it was a disaster would be a grave understatement. Everyone around was doing better than me and getting the hang of the material very quickly while I was still struggling. So eventually I gave up and did nothing of value the rest of the session. Then came critique time where John was really harsh on me (as he rightfully should be) because he knew I could take it and needed the reminder. I saw how well done everyone's pieces where and how shitty mine looked. Jon said we should end early for the day since everyone did such a nice job. I sulked and, instead of going home, started a large self portrait in order to try and get something productive done. It was descent, not great, not awful. After that it was 9:30 and I had been working in the studio for over 12 hours. As a result I was very tired and very cranky. When I got back to the house I was very snappy, which to my housemates is usually a sign of playfulness and gambit; however, today I was not playing. However, we have acquired a new roommate who can crush a bitter mood like she is sweeping it off the front porche. She suggested we bake the cake mix that we bought the previous night, which turned out not to be a baking kind of cake but more of a cream pie. The overall experience cheered me up immensely and I went to bed hoping tomorrow would be a little better.

Unfortunately my sulking mood spilled over into the next day. Instead of getting too little sleep I had gotten too much sleep and was still feeling groggy. I had sometime to try and get over the feeling, but it just wouldn't go away. I lugged myself to painting class (a task in of itself) and got ready for a day of pointless studies I would never use. We were painting from a model today, which might have been interesting if I hadn't been such a bitch. I inked washed the paper too quickly and it began to tare holes on itself causing me to give up prematurely. Then we went to boboli gardens to do more water color painting and see an art gallery on 19th century impressionism. I really liked the museum and it has motivated me to study that type of art; however I was in no mood to paint. So I took my things and went home where I then sulked some more. Once I was home I prepared for my trip and went to bed, hoping tomorrow would be better.

Fortunately it was better. Much better. I got on the train (in fear I would mess something up again like on the trip to venice) and sat in my seat quietly for an hour on my way to Pisa. The conductor camer by and explained I did everything right, all I forgot to do was get my ticket stamped, and that ordinarily there was a fee of 5 euros for not stamping, but since it was my first time he would let it slide (a price I would have easily paid considering the ticket only cost 5 euro). Once is Pisa I walked around for a while exploring the city (and surprisingly not getting lost). I saw the touristy things (the tower, the duomo, the cathedrals, the wall, ect) and some non touristy things and after 3 or four hours had lunch and then was back on the train to pietrasanta. The train went off without a hitch (mostly- i forgot to get off at pietrasanata and had to hop on the next train going back to pietrasanta without a ticket [which I was not caught for]) and I was free to explore the city. The city itself was beautiful. It was right below a beautiful range of mountains and the city was just worn down enough to give that homey feel. There were marble sculptures everywhere and the entire city was over flowing with art. I wanted to get to the beach part of Pietrasanta (marina pietrasanta) and decided I could walk there. I got lost a little and had to ask for directions, but it was still about an hour walk, and with my laptop in my backpack i believe it is fair to say I got a descent workout. Once I got to the beach i quickly find a hotel and unpack my stuff and head to the beach. I wanted to take pictures of the beach first, so I wouldn't be getting in, but I decided to get in the next morning while all the tourists were still sleeping. After I took some pictures I explored the area some and tooks some pictures, did some sketches and got dinner. I was very tired so I crashed early.

The next day I wake up early and got the beach. Now I don't know how similar this beach is to other Mediterranean beaches, but my got it was AWESOME. The water is warm, the sand is smooth and flat, there is very little debris in the sand, it was simply amazing. The waves were so large and this light brown color. Not murky, simply tinted. After about an hour in the water I head back (soaking wet) to the hotel. I shower off all the sand and salt and put on my wet cloths for a bit of breakfast. Breakfast at the hotel was simple sweets and baked goods, but that atmosphere was very cultured and homey. The walls were lined with art ranging from realistic romantic 18th century to cubism of the 20th century. Couldn't have loved it more if I tried. Once I was done breakfast I wait for my clothes to dry and then check out. I then walk all the way back to the train station. Or at least that was the goal. I spent an hour or two trying to find the damn thing, asking many different people for directions. I was just about there when all of a sudden I see my teacher running up to me saying my name. I was dazed at first, half expecting it to be my imagination. I was not. My teacher invited me to sit down, have a drink, and chat with his other students. It was after noon and I was starving from roaming around all day, so I happily obliged. He introduced me to a few of his students: a woman actress from Dublin who had been studying under Jon in marble sculpture for over 8 years (Amanda I believe), a woman from Cubia who had been studying under Jon for 6 and had brought her family with her, her daughter who was been studying under Jon this year and was about my age (her name was Claire), and a professional woman bronze sculpture who was taking marble lessons from jon for two years now (I forget her name). We chatted some and Amanda explained she would be returning to Dublin today and at around 2:30 she would need to catch her train. We chatted some more, about various things, and Amanda explained she must be off. She paid for my water (very kindly and without my approval-she reminded me a lot of you mother: irish spunk) and said her goodbyes, Jon said he would escort her off. Leaving me to talk with Claire while waiting for them to get back. Claire is an average american college student who was from Cubia, like her mother, and has traveled all over. She is a very sweet girl and very normal to american standards, which made nice conversation. Jon and Amanda came back after a while explaining she couldn't get her ticket from the station because the machine was broken and Jon insisted on driving. He then offered to take Claire and myself off to see Pisa, since he was driving to Pisa airport anyway. We both happily agreed, and that was that. Once we saw Amanda off at Pisa airport we went into Pisa (for the second time in two days for me, but I didn't mind, I liked the company) where we took goofy photos of tourists and things of that nature. Then we went to McDonalds (because Claire was craving it and I would eat anything since I hadn't eaten since 9 and it was about 4 now) and got a burger. I have to say the McDonalds here are far more classy than American ones. We ate, chatted, and then Jon took me to the Pisa train station where I said my gratitude and pleasantries and was off on the train back to Florence.

It was nice that everything went off without a hitch and I got to experience so many new things in a day. I was thinking of going to Naples next weekend, but I might actually go back to Pietrasanta because the trip was so amazing for me, and i would love to spend more time with my new acquaintances. Well, that is all for now. I have to get ready for drawing in the morning and painting at night. I will try to post something by tomorrow night, but it will most likely be uneventful and short.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lost in the Gardens of Eden

Today was another non-special day. I woke up today super late (about 9) from a super weird dream about kate and mom and other things I can't recall. After I forced myself up from bed I worked out and showered and then mulled over the idea of trying to find the Medici science gallery. I decided against it, since I didn't know where it was and I just didn't want to do anything that morning. I will have to go friday to make up for it, and use google body to get some good perspectives on the pelvis. Once I rethought my weekly schedule I went out, got lunch and went to painting class. I did another self portrait where I tried to go slower and build up the colors. It turned out decently, but the proportions and colors (obviously) were off to a degree that I did not want fix. Once I had given up on my painting I took a picture of it (which I won't post unless someone asks because I do not like it) and read for a while.

Then we went to some fancy rich people gardens to work on painting. The teach told me to do something bigger, so I decided I would try a giant water colored painting. So, I had to carry this giant board and paper with my paints all the way up to the top of Florence essentially in the extreme heat of the day. It was great. Then once I wandered around (aka got lost) I settled on a spot and just started doing it. I soon found out that I am not good at water coloring. There is such a fine finesse to it, and my style is generally much more rough and bold. I am trying though. The picture right now is very light and needs a lot more building up. Hopefully it won't suck, but nothing right now to determine it's level of artsyness yet. Anyway, after I was tired of looking at my stuff I packed up and walked home and now I am geting ready to go out and see HARRY POTTER. I AM SOOOOOO EXCITED TO SEE THE EPICNESS THAT IS THIS MOVIE. It will be awesome! Anway, thats all for now really. I'll blog more tomorrow or friday depending on how interesting tomorrow is. I'll post pictures of the fancy garden soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bone tired

Hey people.

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I wasn't feeling it. Anyway I will catch you up on yesterday and today's activities.

Yesterday after I got back I immediately went to painting class. Being as tied as I was I decided to do the bare minimum work and then pass out back at the apartment. I
started with the self portrait which means I would paint over the curr
ent self portrait I have and paint it again in a new style. i wanted to go for a late Picasso, early Mado (or whatever), and mid Dali. It was awful. I had to take a picture of it so I could mark it as done, but I am NOT posting it. Instead you get to see my first painting that looked half descent in my color blind opinion. Once I had slaughtered 30 years of a style I decided to scrape off the paint and just go back to working on my still life. My teacher gave me a smaller brush, which made the painting process infinitely better. So my still life looks good, my self portrait needs work, which is fine considering I am doing a style a day.

Once I am done for the day I come back home and try to crash at around 11, but it is sooooo hot. It is soooo hot because it happens to be hot that day and I broke my fan offering no relief. What ha
ppened was, the fan was already broken, but still useable, meaning the top part had come off, but the fan itself was still going. Now, for those who don't know me, I like to flail around at night. Kicking, punching, whatever. I happened to be tossing one night and my had goes right in the fan. It didn't hit the fan hard enough to break the machine, but I hit it so precisely that the only thing that broke were the wings (propellors?) of the fan. So, it is really hot in my room, really loud outside and I get no sleep consequently.

I stumbled out of bed around 7:30 (much later than I usually do because I was that tired) and then go to the store to get art supplies. Then I go to class and then we go to the anatomy museum. Apparently the Medici family took a bunch of wax models of dead people and
collected taxidermy animals and shells and shit in the name of science (which was actually pretty legit). We went to the museum to see what the person looks like on the inside, and I have to say it was beyond cool. I chose to draw a head because of the challenging perspective. It came out nicely. John gave it a nice, which is alright considering all I have ever gotten out of him is really good. You see, my teacher Jon has this scale of meaning. It goes from, "No," "Alright," "Ok," "Fair," "pretty nice," "good," "really good," and "great." I have never received a great on the scale of Jon, and have only received one really good. But when I get that great I will have EARNED IT. Then we came back to the studio and drew from a live model for three hours and we were suppose to draw in the skeleton underneath. The top half of my piece came out nice, but Jon thrashed my pelvis. He said I had no idea what I was doing and everyone in the class laughed. Being as competitive as I am, I will be spending most days now sitting in the Medici science place working on anatomy. Especially because if I want to go into medical illustration I have to get really good at this stuff. It is hard taking that kind of criticism, but if you dish it out, you have to be willing to take it just the same. Although, I shouldn't be too discouraged because Jon said eariler that morning that I could draw pretty well overall, and that if you combined everyone descent at drawing in the class (Nico, Alyssa, Lauren, and myself) you would get one good artist. I like that I was included in this minute equation. Anyway, that is pretty much it for today. Tomorrow I go back to the museum and then off to painting class where we will work outside in the disgusting hot sun to do landscape. yay.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Take train straight to hell

Hey people.

So, sorry for not posting yesterday, but I got stuck in Venice. I accidentally bought the ticket for the wrong day and couldn't leave until the next morning (though I am telling most people that the train got cancelled). I will go into further detail when we get there, but for now let us start at the beginning.
The day started off very exciting. I was going to Venice on a train by myself for the first time. I was so excited and nervous at the same time, hoping that nothing would go wrong. Once I got on the train it basically was smooth sailing the two hours until we reached Venice. I got off the train and immediately began exploring. I also immediately got really lost. I even bought a map just in case of getting really lost, but it was not help because i couldn't figure out where I was. Luckily I had accounted for getting really lost and gave myself beyond enough time just to wander around aimlessly. So, I did just that. I stumbled on some very big cathedrals and amazing sculpture, just like I planned to. Even stumbled upon a very quaint pizzeria that served me massive amounts of delicious food. Also found an amazing sculpture garden next to a park. But, after about 5 hours of wandering in the hot sun (which was really hot and I was sweating like a crazy person) I decided to walk into a couple of museums, just to cool down. The first museum was the music museum where I got to see all different forms instruments took before cementing to the designs they have now. Then I walked into a really fancy looking building that turned out to be a modern glass museum that was just in a victorian styled building. weird. Then wandered around some more and did some of the drawings I was required to do for homework very quickly (although they aren't very good and my teacher is going to bash them like no other) and then stumbled on another really cool museum of modern art. The artist took renaissance style pieces and put a modern cartoon twist on them. They were all very clever. That entire area happened to be flooded with new up and coming artists featuring their works in galleries so I got to see a ton of great fresh art. Then, since I was still full from my giant lunch, I had a sweet granite for desert and then headed to the train station to wait for my train.
So, I am sitting in the train station waiting for the board to show where I am to board, but I can't find my train number. I am early though, so I just sit and wait a couple hours for the board to show. Now it is 7:50, and there still is no sign of my train on the board. I start to freak out running all over, trying to make sure I didn't miss anything. I go to the information booth, but there is a long line, and by the time I get to the end the train will have already left. So I stop a conductor and ask if they could help. They looked at my ticket for a while and saw that the train was actually for Monday morning, not Sunday night. This sorta helped my freak out....sort of. I wait in the information line now, reading my book to try and calm myself down. When I finally reach the end I ask if there was anyway I can get a train back tonight to Florence. She said there was no way at all and I would have to wait until morning. I tried to explain the importance of getting back tonight and was hoping I could transfer at Bolongia or something, but she simply said it wasn't possible unless I could get to the other train station (9 K away) and take the train there at 3 am. I leave in a huff and decide to calm down and just take a hotel and stay the night. I go to three different hotels, all ridiculously expensive, and haggle the third place down to a reasonable price. By this time I am so exhausted, sweaty, and beaten that i just shower and crash for the night.

I had a wake up call for 6:45 made so I could work out and eat before my train at 8:30. After I had gotten ready I went to the train station and waited again. I should say I was worried and frantically made sure everything was correct this time, but I had used up all my worrying the previous day and just wanted to get back. The train comes in on time, I board and everything is fine. Once I am on the train, however, the conductor comes by and asks for my ticket. I show her the paper that the reservation said to print out. She explained that this wasn't the ticket, but that this was a reservation for the seat (even though the paper clearly said ticketless and there was no need for a ticket to be purchased). She then said I would need to pay 90 euro if I wanted to stay on the train. Ordinarily I would have fought this ridiculous expense, but I was so tired of fighting and arguing, I just wanted to get back to Florence so I could feel a little better about the entire situation. So, I paid her and she left. I am still a little regretful I didn't fight it, but can't say that I would have done it differently if the same thing presented itself again. Thats when I got off the train and went straight back to the apartment. The entire experience was extremely draining and has made me a little resentful against the train stations and about being in Italy all together. But, I am told this feeling in normal after you have been in a foreign place for a while and it will pass. I hope to travel to Naples next weekend, but we will see, as of right now I don't think I could muster up the nerve to do that again so soon. Perhaps the weekend after. No, I will probably go this weekend, but plan the trip better.

Anyway, I am tired and have class in a hour. I'll keep everyone updated on how today goes and will have some pictures to post of my paintings, maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Sorry I forgot to update yesterday. My laptop was dying and we only have one charger between my room mate and me since his broke and he needed it (I do not like, but am over looking it for the safety of his health). Anyway, yesterday was fun. I did laundry and hung it out dry by hand, which was fun and different and I only dropped one pair of underwear! I think that is a success. Then I chilled while it dried then went out and saw more of Florence. It is a fairly small city, so I walked around for an hour to the edge of the city, and then back. Then I went to the big square with David and did some drawing homework. I don't think it is as good as my other piece, but I did my best here. After I was done I got some dinner and sketched more people around the duomo. Then it was off to bed, fairly uneventful day all together essentially.

Today I am getting ready to leave for my trip to venice with the train leaving at 9:30. As of this moment I am just pestering my roommate in our room with my typing because there is no other outlet in the apartment that will charge my laptop. He really needs to get his own freaking charger, and I really have to try and stop waking him up. Living with people is funnnnn. ish. I say that cause it is nice not living alone, I just wish the people I was living with were less weird. The girls are fine, one of them, but my roommate is just odd. I don't really hang out with any of them, which means I have to travel by myself, which is just a bad I idea in general really. Anyway, I need to get ready for my trip. I'll have a post about it when I get back tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wardrobe Malfunction

Today was a typical school day for me. Got up at 6:45 for no good reason, moved my bowels, and then ate some breakfast. TYPICAL. Went out at 11 to buy my ticket for Harry Potter only to find the theater closed then, so I just kind of wander into an art gallery. Turns out the one I stumble into was on Picasso, Dalhi, and some other dude no one really cares about (Malo or something). The exhibit was really great and showed the style influences of Dalhi and showed how he took up cubism and Neo-Classism before finding his niche. Apparently all these guys knew each other too. Picasso had met Dalhi when he was 18 or 19 and Malo knew Dalhi when he was like 16 or something ridiculous. Picasso I think was mid 20s/ 30s at the time, so his style was a little more rooted by then, but Dalhi still made some impact on Picasso's style and shifted Picasso into an even more cubism style. Picasso didn't really fall into cubism, a style Malo had been doing for sometime, until he was 40, and Dalhi was around 26 when he found his. It was really neat because it all happened around the same time, 1930/40s, which caused a big explosive amount of artistic innovation and views on modern art. Overall it was really cool to see all these ideas come together in a similar time frame with such great artist bouncing ideas off of one another. NEAT CONCEPT SAYS I.

Anyway, after contemplating the awesomeness that is painting I realized I should probably get ready for painting class. I go to class, nothing special, and then start work on my still life. Now, I haven't painted since high school, so I had kins of forgotten how incredibly messy the entire ordeal can be. I got paint all over my paints and shirt and now my shirt is ruined (though the paints are fine). I am thinking I will leave that shirt here and try to buy a new one, one more in style for Italy (but nothing too pricey, I am hoping to find something on par with an Italian thrift store). Anyway, during my break I head over to the snack shop across the way and order and sandwich. The lady there, Moso, is really sweet and remembers me by name. We have a conversation (a small one since she only nows Italian, and my Italian isn't so good) about how much she worked, what her life is like back home and her dogs and kids and all that (I tell you about this because I was so proud of myself for holding a normal conversation in another language for a good twenty minutes). I have to say I now understand why when you are talking to foreigners too quickly they just look at you and smile. Moso was talking too quickly to understand and all I could really do was smile and nod. It felt ridiculous. But I did well enough for a conversation in another language. So well Moso came out with free Risotto for me and my friend. It was awesome.

Then I went back to my still life and after about two hours I was so tired of working on it I decided to work on my next project. The project is an abstract concept piece (meaning we can do whatever we want, as long as we work on it the entire month we are here), so I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. I really wanted to test my painting abilities in the sense that I wanted to try out different styles. Seeing the Picasso exhibit really inspired me to try out different styles and see which one I liked and understood best. I couldn't stand the thought of doing still lives everyday, so I decided to be incredibly self centered and do a painting self portrait every day in class. Each class session I would paint over the previous painting and then do the self portrait in a completely different style. My teacher loved the concept and told me to really go for it and learn as much as I can from experimenting like this. I don't think the practice will help my technical painting skills, but that is ok because I really hate painting and do not want to become good at it. If I do become good at painting I fear I will do it all the time, and I do not have the patience for that. I need instant gratification when it comes to painting, and it takes me half an hour just to get the color right (even when it is dead wrong).

So, that was my day. Not too exciting, but I thought you would like to see what I am doing in classes and what my class day to day life is like! Tomorrow is laundry and museum day and then Sunday I am off to Venice! I am going alone, which kind of freaks me out, but I think I will be ok. I will have my phone as a safety net, and I my Italian is specifically geared for practical things like train stations and such. Fingers crossed and pictures soon!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Hello internets!

Today was another typical drawing day, get in at 9 get out at 9. But today we started off by going to the Uffizi gallery and that big square area outside (I dunno what it is called, but it has the copy of David by it). We were then shown the fountain where Neptune was chilling and told to draw some of the creatures on the sides. I am not so good at figures, though I have gotten a lot better, so I decide to play it safe and just do contour outlines of them. I spend two hours on the piece, even though it remains unfinished, and it turned out decently. I really tried to focus on the composition and see if I could at least do something right there.

Then we broke for lunch and then came back to the gallery where we drew from models for another agonizing three hours. After that we did a critique on some stuff we had done, including the fountain drawings. Even though mine were descent they still needed some improvement. My teacher was keen on making that point well known. I forgot how cut throat art can be sometimes, but in a way I prefer it. I just have to get use to that style of teaching again and get me some thicker shin. After that we then went outside and drew from perspective for another two hours. Even though it is really tiring I really do enjoy the process of drawing and have been getting a lot better in just these short couple of days. I can't wait to see how my art will continue to improve and I hope I can really do something exciting with it by the end of this trip.

On a more adventurous note, I just booked my day trip to Venice! I am so excited. Then next week I will be spending the weekend in ROME! Gah! I am so excited. I also need to go get my HARRY POTTER tickets which will be coming out wednesday here (two days earlier than America), I can't wait and am really looking forward to this weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hello people!

Today was field trip day in painting class! We took the train to Bolongia! It was not all that exciting in all honesty. It kind of gave off that lazy small town vibe of Davis, which gave off some nostalgia, but all in all was very pretty. We started off going to the house of this famous painter of the 1900s (Marols of something) where it showed how incredibly simple and boring his life was and how his art reflected this. Then we went to this beautiful church. Not so much beautiful on the outside (actually it was kind of falling apart on the outside and they were doing renovations) but inside it had the most detailed and elaborate paintings and sculptures. My only regret was not taking pictures. The sign in front said no pictures (or it had a picture with a camera with a slash going through it), so I had subjected myself to the understanding that I would be taking no pictures and would be forced to remember these beautiful images. However, no one else in my SACI group thought it pertinent to adhere to these rules. I am not going to lie, it really pissed me off. Not so much that they were taking pictures but that they were taking pictures and I couldn't take pictures because I was following the rules. I hate people who disregard those types of rules though, so I stuck to my guns.

Anyway, after that we went to this very small museum in the center of the central square of Bolognia (which in fairness wasn't that small as I may have implied earlier) where they showed pieces done by the guy whose house we saw and contrasted with the modern artist Wayne Theibaud (sp?) who is the dude who is famous for those cake paintings. It was a fair contrast, but I was more interested in Wayne's paintings. They were sharper, more colorful, and had much more life to them. Mordublahs were just depressing. Anywho, after we finished looking at the museum we went to dinner in some fantastic small Italian restaurant and head back to the train station. Best part of the day was realizing that half the class didn't make it on the train nor did the teacher, who had our tickets. I tried to be sneaky and hit from the conductor (which worked in all fairness), but the other students explained their situation and the teacher called the train station and explained what had happened, and everything turned out fine. I still think it would have been more for to go train hopping, like real hobos. The rest was uneventful. Got off the train and finished up the day. Now it is time to mental prep myself for my 11 hour drawing class tomorrow. Here we go again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Today was the first day of my 10 hour drawing class and it was the most intense drawing experience of my young life. For those of you who aren't artsy people 10 hours of drawing is like taking 10 hours of straight lab. Your brain sort of melts away after a while and you become incredibly cranky and your fingers start cramping and it is overall not a good experience.

The first hour was ok. We did the normal things. Went over the powerpoint, talked about gesture drawings, talked about what we wanted out of the class, blah blah blah. The teacher was introducing himself and he portrayed himself in a very interesting way. He didn't talk forever like my painting teacher, so I liked him straight away, but he is very interested in our opinions; which I find REALLY bizarre. He will constantly stop mid sentence to ask if we are following ok, or if we have questions and is always making sure that we are comfortable with the set up he has given. He isn't afraid of telling us what to draw, but he is very concerned with making sure we are learning and doing constructive things. Being the smartass I am I say a sassy thing here or there to keep him on his toes (which he doesn't appreciate at first). He quickly caught on and seems to enjoy my banter now though.

Then after the brief presentation we draw from a live model, FOR THREE STRAIGHT HOURS. Then for the next three straight hours the teacher brought in a model and said draw. We had various poses and various restraints, but my god it was boring, frustrating, and disorienting all rolled up in the same burrito. I had forgotten how bad I was at gesture drawings and how much it frustrated me that I sucked at them soooo hard. Though I got progressively better along the way, those three hours drained me of all my energy. We then got a solid hour lunch break where I consumed two panini and a chocolate pastry, just to try and get my engines going again for the remaining six hours of class. Fortunately only four of them would be intensive drawing and the other two would be powerpoints and breaks.

So after we get back from the break we start off with a 30 minute slide show about contour and I am getting myself ready for the most agonizing three hours of my life, especially after the catastrophe that was gesture drawings. The models them come in and I start drawing and I start to really get into some of them. The next three hours passed by in no time and it was already time for our second break. I looked back on my piece and realized that I didn't suck at art and remembered why I loved it so much to begin with.

After the last of the drawing was we took a break and me and the other kids sat outside the SACI building like homeless people eating gelato. The gelato lady was really nice and asked us all our names in Italian and talked about the little things I was able to understand (especially under the ext
remem exhaustion of drawing all day). She then proceeds to give us the remained of all the baked goods they are no longer selling in the store anymore. I swear to god it was like getting a chocolate filled miracle Christmas gift. That little moment gave me the energy I needed to finish up my last hours with pride and not weep uncontrollably on the floor in the fetal position.

I walk into the studio, head high ready for drawing once more! Only to find out the only thing we have left is a perception garden drawing in our sketchbooks (which only takes an hour to do, and it is with pencil so it isn't very trying). I am thankful that is all we had left, but to be honest I was ready to put my recharged energy to use at that point. So I stay an extra half hour and finish up my homework for thursday and get ready for painting tomorrow. We are apparently going on a field trip to a place I have never heard to see this artist that I don't know, but is famous. Hopefully it will get me in the painting mood, which is unlikely, but I am willing to give it a try.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th- No America

Hello people. I am making a daily blog about my experience in Italy so everyone may enjoy it without actually being here with me! I guess I should sum up to what I have done thus far.

Took off from the airport in Sacramento at 12:oo am on Wednesday morning and got to JFK at 7:00 am leaving me 14 some hours of layover before taking the next flight to Rome. It wasn't so bad. I basically slept in the terminal and read a lot. Then after we got to Rome I took another flight to Florence and by the time we got there it was about 3:30 in the afternoon. So, basically I hadn't slept for two days or something of that nature and as consequence I was ready to fight an army of dragons to get to bed. However, to try and fight the jet lag I forced myself to go out, get something to eat and go see some of florence, and then crash at 6. The first thing i noticed was right when I stepped out of my apartment and turned the corner I was in front of a massively huge building. Turns out it was the duomo. If you have never seen the thing, it is fricking huge and towers over the entire city. After being mesmerized for a good hour I got something to eat and then went to sleep.

The next day I woke up and went to market with my room mates. My room mates are great people, but I am a bit of a loner sometimes so we all split up when we got to market. Now Italian market is kind of like going to farmers market in Davis, except everyone speaks Italian there, and it is everyday. I got to show off what little Italian I know, and bought some groceries to last me a couple days. After I was finished buying groceries I went to orientation for classes, which was incredibly boring but lasted an unbelievably long time. Before I knew it it was 8 pm and I was beat and ready for bed.

The next day I made it my mision to do STUFF. So I started off by going to the top of the duomo, which as fore mentioned is HUGE so it consequently took a while, and saw the entire city from the top of this massive building. The big treat was really getting to look at the paintings on the inside of dome. My dear god they were amazing. All the figures where in ideal human male and female proportions and they were HUGE figures and there was so much to take in all at once my head nearly snapped off from looking up and spinning my head around so much. I took some pictures but it doesn't do it justice. It is amazing how the artist had to take into account every aspect of how the viewer was looking at the pictures and how large and scaled they would have to make it for anyone to even see the paintings. Once I had my fill of nerding out on pretty pictures I went to the Uffizi and the central square where I saw amazing art. I got to see the copy of David in the plazo (which I thought was real at first, so I got that genuine surprised and amazed feeling) and Perseus slaying Medusa which I wrote about in a paper and was the most amazing thing to see in person. I also say the Primavera, the Birthing of Venus, and some other pictures that I knew from studying art history last year. After 5 hours of wandering around Florence I decided to head back and nap. It was a good life decision.

Sunday I decided not to do anything because I was becoming a bit overwhelmed by everything around me suddenly changing all at once and I needed some time to adjust. I stayed in and read all day, which really gave me comfort. I found that when I start freaking out in a new place it helps to find something in your life that can't change and hold onto that for a little while. Like facebook, or reading, or drinking yourself into a coma. Anything to make you feel like you are still within the norm of your day.

That leads into today. I woke up around 7, worked out, went to market again and got to show off my fancy speaking skills, which is always fun, and got ready for class at one. I am taking painting 1 from 1-8 and I absolutely hate painting. I can't see colors which makes things frustrating but also there are so many techniques and styles that I simple haven't learned yet that it becomes a confusing mess that I don't want to deal with. The teacher did not make anything better. I have never met a man with the ability to talk and mumbling on so long that it takes him 5 hours to go over the syllabus. Either he is really insecure about his teaching abilities or he just really loves to hear himself talk, I'm thinking the latter. Anyway, that is what I spent my day on and now I am tired, so it is off to bed. More updates to come. NIGHT MOM.