Monday, September 19, 2016

Now I'm scared.

I'm trying to get my stuff together for the Kim English workshop that starts a week from today.  I'm packing up my pack, thinking about the weather and packing clothes.  I'm checking out various blogs of artists who have taken his workshops, and, well, that is why I'm scared.  It is going to be a grueling art boot camp.  OK, I'm going to get myself pumped up for this!  Mostly this workshop will be about painting the figure, but FAST!  One person said she painted 60 paintings the first day.  He does 3 to 5 minute poses, back to back, and you wipe off the first one and go for the second one, etc.
It's a good thing I told my message person that I might be calling her when this workshop is over!
I am really glad I booked a room in the area so I can crash each evening.
Here is an excellent video of Kim talking at the reception of one of his shows.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What's next? -- Gloucester MA

I've been home about 10 days and finally got rid of the cold I got on the plane.  It was the dizziness that bothered me, the sniffles only lasted a couple of days.
Well, I've booked an Airbnb in Gloucester, MA for my next big adventure:  A workshop with Kim English for 5 days the end of this month!  Why big?  We'll he's one of my favorites and very famous.
Link to his images:
Why am I staying overnight there?  It's 100 miles round trip and doing it everyday is just a little much.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day 15, travel day home

I loose 6 hours today going west to east.  
We left at 3:15, 1 hr. Bus ride to airport and we got there before the desks opened.  My luggage, thankfully, came in 1/2 lb. under the 50 lbs., plane to Rome was fine.  Funny thing happened, I figured I wouldn't be in a rush to deplane so I started a text message and all of a sudden the hostess was there asking me to get off.  It was one of those planes that disembark down an external staircase onto the Tarmac.  When I got there I felt like a star as I was the only one and the bus was waiting with everyone on board waiting with the doors open. OMG.  We drove a ways to the terminal.  Nice how they land planes like a big parking lot and they drive you to the terminal. From there you progress through the various gates and public areas, quite nicely styled and renovated.  Since I had several hours, it was a nice walk for me. Upon reaching my gate, I wandered around through the shops and food areas, had coffee and croissant, did emails, wrote in my blog and journal,bought a book to read and something in the duty free shop, ate lunch, listened to blog talk radio for a couple of hours, and as I'm writing this now, I have my alarm set to board in 3 more hours, and I'll start to read my book.
I'm sitting in the restaurant where my traveling buddy, Carol, and I have sat before on a previous trip.

Day 14, rest and packing day

Our last regular breakfast since we are getting on our bus at 3:15 for the airport tomorrow. 
Its a day of settling accounts and packing.
After cutting the cheese many purchased some to bring home so it was ready today, vacuum-packed for travel.  It started out hot again so we were "resting", had lunch, the weather started to cool down a bit so I had my last walk-about.  We packed, napped, ate supper where everyone said goodbyes, endless toasts, just like summer camp.
We had our short night of sleep before the journey homeward.
Some of the gang.
Charles' underwear keeps popping up. :) 
Our wonderful host family.
The toast--champagne.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 13-painting day-and a pig

After breakfast where they had fig jam (yay!) I had the good fortune to be invited to go to Ravina with Margaret and Arwed, our trip hosts, in their car.  The market was excellent, several blocks were appropriated for it and there were top vendors in many categories and from many countries. We returned for lunch of figs, prochutto, and cheese.  It was in the 90s with no breeze so we sat by the pool and rested.  At supper we were going to do a joke on Charles and Karen but the events were so special that the joke never happened. 
The final art show and critique was held and Margaret did another great job of advising and suggesting.
Folk dancing.
A full wheel of Grana Padana was cut in a demo by the hotel.  This is something of a ceremony.  
The roasting/smoking of the pig that has been going on for 2 days was completed and it was a fantastic event. It was a 6-month old pig weighing 30 lbs. there were also dark brown baked onions in garlic and balsamic glaze. orchestra arrived and local dancers in period costumes did dances of the different areas from the turn of the century. They brought us into it and everyone danced the night away. 
Final critique. 
Cutting the wheel. 
Grana Padana. 
Smoked Pig

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Day 12, Sept. 3, Venice

Today was special for sure.  I throughly enjoyed it.  We took a bus to Fusina and a boat to Venice.  I walked a short with Sandi, Diane and Joanne and geared off to find the place where I had lunch before on the food tour.  It was a little like a magical mystery tour, TO MY SURPISE, I found it!  I had spaghetti ragu (meat sauce) and added mushrooms. It was the second best meal I had so far on the trip--the first one being when I ate there on the food tour--spaghetti with fish sauce and fish. I met the owner and chef and told him how much I loved his food.  Due Colonne restaurant Venice. 
Then I headed out to see a modern art museum--I found that too--but it was closed.  Then I headed over to the meeting place, but I was very early so I walked through S. Marco square and out along the walkways along the open sea down to where the cruise ships dock and back again.  By then it was time to meet the group and go for our walking tour. 
I wasn't much in the mood for a walking tour as I was hot and tired.  It was in the 90's all the time I've been here.  We didn't like the tour lady very much but it was still interesting.  It ended by the gondola boats, and we all went on them.  I was not especially interested to go but I'm very glad I did as it was restful, cooler, and strangely peaceful and a beautiful view from sea-level. The trip seemed long but it was 1/2 hour long and we went down several and out to the Grand Canal in somewhat of a circular pattern. 
We then walked fast after that to make it to the Zattere boat stop and made it in time to enjoy yet another gelato today (2) :)
All went well on the trip back. There was a very interesting camping place where the boat and the bus meet. It was clean, modern, well laid out, had a restaurant, bar, grocery store, etc. and cabins. 
What a surprise when we had spaghetti with meat sauce (again today) for supper. OK by me!
After dinner we had one of those funny situations where something is said and it's funny then everything after that only makes it funnier and about 10 of us were laughing tears of laughter--what a good time we had.
Owner and head chef--fantastic food!
Their lobsters look just like ours.

Ragu with mushrooms added.
Fish market at Rialto bridge. 
Gondola with Margaret, Sandi, Joanne and Diane. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Day 9, painting day

After my walk, Margaret did a demo, then lunch, did a sketch of my subject.  I was planning to go back to town because it is market day but went to the store of this farm instead and bought wine for my friend, Carol, and some delicious onion jam. Then it was time to do a quick painting since I had used up a considerable part of the day already so I got out my supplies to see how they would work out.  These painting trips, especially that involve air travel, require minimum supplies to meet airline weight requirements.  It did work well, and I did a painting of the view of this place from the entry driveway. The composition was not the best, so I may try again another day or reference my photos later on.  I took a little nap and then there was a BBQ for dinner out in the garden with many kinds of meat and nice biscotti. This was preceded by an art show of artworks of the proprietor's relative who was well-known upstairs in a hall and after dinner Arwed showed two videos of the history of Venice by Great Masters Videos. 
For anyone interested, here is my "kit" for this trip:
1. An antique aluminum easel that is basically a tripod, not small but rather light.
2. 8 or 10 brushes.
3. Small glass jar for turps. You can't fly with flammable liquids so Margaret supplies it when we get here. I can do without mediums because these are studies.  
4. Primary colors of oil paints plus white.
5. A few oil-primed canvas sheets and one canvas board.
6. Masking tape to attach the sheet to the board. 
7. A few sheets of wax paper in case the painting doesn't dry. 
8. A mailing tube that houses the canvas, wax paper, brushes, paper towel sheets.

Day 11, a painting day, Sept. 2nd

Or the day after the power went off......we had candle light dinner followed by early to bed, then the power was restored around 11.  I woke up then and didn't get back to sleep until maybe 5 or 6.  So it was a late morning for me, I wrote in my blog, took a bike ride to some nearby farms for the view, at 3:30 we did a portrait session of the wife owner of this place.  I wiped mine and started over, then the light shifted a lot and we stopped, so I didn't get very far.  I might work on it from the photo, we'll see. Everyone is talking about the trip tomorrow to Venice.  I looked up the restaurant where I ate with my food tour people, and I'll try to eat there.  We are also looking ahead to the travel day when we have to get up at 3:00 am.
Delivering some food for our supper.
Portrait subject.
Sign at agritourisimo. 

Day 10, Thursday, Sept. 1, Padova (Padua)

I was glad to visit Padua for the second time and especially the Scrovegni Chapel which has world-famous frescoes by Giotti.  Details of this chapel are at the end of this post.
We saw the famous coffee shop, Cafe Pedrocci, that is open 24hrs. since a hundred years ago, where people meet to discuss current events, also the very large open markets in several squares (plazas) as well as regular permanent shops that are interesting to see--in particular butcher shops. They have a very interesting method of collecting the trash.  (Some pictures are on my phone and I will add those when I get home.)
I visited the Duomo, a very large church that had unusual modern appointments on the main alter. 
We left Pedrova and stopped at the Basilica of Saint Anthony--it was huge, gorgeous and very impressive. 
Another short drive away we stopped for coffee and shopping at Monselice.  
Gelato with chocolate sauce in the cone, gelato, whipped cream and cookie.
Large square sections of the street are lifted and bins come up where the trash is collected. 
Market day.
Area near the market.
Modern art on the alter.
Power failure during dinner.

Details about Scrovegni Chapel:
The son of Reginaldo, the usurer mentioned in the 17th canto of Dante's Inferno, built this chapel to improve his and his father's chances of getting into heaven.  :)  :)
He commissioned Giotto to decorate the chapel with frescoes which according to reliable information were done between 1303 and 1305, they cover the interior entirely--it has a darker clue at the highest point with nice stars and the blue gets lighter as it progresses downward.  There are panels separated by faux marble frames. If it only took 2 years to paint all of this, I gestimate that it took about 2 weeks for each part, not including the famous Last Judgement which covers the entire end wall and shows what it might be like if you go to hell.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Day 8 Brenta Canal-August 30, 2016

Got up while still dark, ate breakfast, boarded the bus and went to Fusina, a town near the coast across the lagoon from Venice.  
There were delays but we were on our way on a river boat called a burchielli towards Padova on the Brenta Canal around 10:30. This tour takes about 7 hours and includes a big lunch  in Oriago (which was delicious) and had a guided tour of two villas.  After the one-way cruise, the bus will meet us and return to our agritourisimo (hotel). We are going from sunup to sunset today.  The second villa, Villa Widmann, was immense.  After the year A.D. 1000, wealthy folks built summer places along the hand-dug canal. These mansions especially in the 18th century are much larger than the ones in Newport, RI.  Napoleon, Mouselinni, and ever local Doge (leader) came here.  These sumptuous summer residences were popular from the 15th century until the fall of the Venetian Republic due to the arrival of Nepolian. Early on these boats or burchielli were powered by oars and drawn by horses along the sides of the canal. The canal system along this section drops 10 meters and there are 9 swing bridges and 6 locks.  
This is a view of the stables.
Dining room 
One of the garden houses.
Bed Nepolian slept in.

Swing bridge. 
 Entry area. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Day 7 - a painting day in Chioggia

"Chioggia is a place they call "little Venice". It has an amazing extremely large beach with endless cabanas and umbrellas.  I never dreamed there could be such a place!  It has another side where there are canals and all kinds of boats.  They are separated by types and they have a large fishing industry with a large amount of working boats.  I took a boat tour and saw many points of interest including a mussel farm and The Mose Project, the system intended to protect Venice with concealed gates at the lagoon inlets. After that I strolled around the working boat section, visited a very old church that has a painting by Tintorretto and ate at the fishermen's restaurant having spaghetti a la volgone (mussels) for a lot less than my friends spent for their lunch. I took a lot of pictures to use later for painting references.  By the time I finished roaming around this beautiful place with prettier colored buildings then Burano, I decided not to paint as I wouldn't have enough time so I went to the canals where the shops are to find people in my group and then headed to the bus.  When we returned some of us went to the pool and it was very refreshing.  Tomorrow is an early day, breakfast at 6:00.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Day 6 Verona

Today's plan is to see Verona.  The bus left us off and we saw a beautiful church together, "The Basilica di Zeno Maggiore". Then we were on our own from 10:30 to 4:00.  There was some confusion because the icon of the church on the map was not the church we thought it was but we finally got straightened out--no wonder none of the street names were right. When I got to the main attraction, the arena or colloseum, I jumped on a small tour trolley and saw the town, then checked out the coleseum, shopping area and returned to the bus stop in a nice shady park and had an aperitif. 
We are back to the agritourisimo at 6 and supper is at 7:30. 
Sandi brought proseco to our room and we had a little appetizer.  No time now for the pool. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Days 4 & 5 - Asolo, Bassano di Grappa, Marostica and a painting day

This post really should be titled "the big lunch"!  Heading to the foothills of the Dolomite mountains, we first visited the city of Bassano di Grappa, famous for ceramics, grappa and the Palladio designed bridge over the Brenta River.  Before heading to the center of Marostica we stopped at a somewhat unassuming restaurant called 'I Rusteghi', Via Stroppari,8-36063.  It was a feast of gigantic proportions.  We thought it was just for pizza.  None of us knew it was a 5-course feast with all the wine, etc. you could drink and part of our package. The quality as well as the quantity was surperlitive! This may be the most memorable part of the trip.  I have to say it was a little too early in the day for me to eat so much.  After a quick stop to the town to see where the  bi-ennial human chess match takes place, we were off to the beautiful medieval hillside town of Asolo where 5 of us climbed a mountain to the top.  
The first painting day.  After breakfast most of the painters disbursed around the grounds and painted, some did one before lunch and one after lunch, others relaxed, read, swam in the pool.  I'm in the relaxed group.  There was a crit before dinner and there was a good number of paintings presented. I love the fresh food we eat here in Italy. 

Days 1, 2,& 3 - Venice 2016

Getting here - the flight
Day 1 - arriving in Venice
Day 2 - full day on my own 
Day 3 - leaving Venice, meeting the group

I tried to be brief when I wrote the first (one hour) version of this post at the airport (a draft which I didn't save) and I hate to write things twice, so here is a very brief version:
Getting here
The plane trip was FULL of delays, and I got here about 6 hours later than I should have.  
Day 1- Arriving in Venice
I carefully planned to stay at a hotel located on all the water stops, but it was closed for the first two days of my stay and I had to drag my 50 lb. bag a distance from where the airport boat landed, up over and down several bridges.  That felt really great after a horrible plane trip.  And I was advised at the airport upon finding out that my stop was closed to take the wrong boat that goes all over creation.    The good news is that I got the right boat back to the airport from right at the hotel. 
I arrived at the hotel that first day at 5:30 pm, repacked, showered, and went out to traipse around and get my bearings for the next day's activities.
Day 2- full day in Venice
Ate a great breakfast at hotel the Accademia Museum, took the BEST walking food tour, visited the GoggenheIm Museum boat to S. Marco Sq. and walked all over that district.
I'll add pictures and links to this post at a later time and edit it most likely to add lots of details. 
Day -3 Leaving Venice, meeting the group
Returning to Marco Polo Airport was a breeze since the boat stop was opened, got there early, their plane was on time, but they had a hang up with their luggage and it took 2 hours to be on our way to our hotel.  It was truly "old home week" seeing everyone again! 
We had our Apero (cocktail hour) at 4 and dinner at 7:30.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Italy Trip, 2016

Hello again, I'm leaving soon for another exciting and wonderful trip to Italy-- this time to the small town, San Martino Di Venezze, near Venice.  I'll arrive at the Venice airport on the morning of August 23rd and stay at the 4-star Hotel Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal.
I'm in Venice until the morning of the 25th when I meet up with my favorite painting friends in the whole world!!!
"CORTE CAREZZABELLA" is the agritourisimo where we are staying with our hosts Margaret and Arwed.  It's an OIL PAINTING WORKSHOP WITH MARGARET EGLI--FIVE DAY BIG SKIES WORKSHOP AT CORTE CAREZZABELLA, ITALY 2016. We are there for 14 days with tours and painting days and lots of wonderful fun and food.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Art Reception for "The Merrimacians"

Invitation to the portrait show, please share and pass along.
My portraits in my show at the library are also viewable here on an online photo book.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Come to the Reception-Saturday 21st at noon

The Merrimac Public Library show of "The Merrimacians" will be having its reception, open to the public, on Saturday from noon to 2:00 on the 21st.  If you are local, I hope you can make it.  Come and meet the artists and the models and have a good time, we might even have music!

Please forward this invitation to anyone who might want to come or know about it.  We'll have finger foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Here is a newspaper article about the show and project.  The show is there until March 30th.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Merrimacians portrait show installation day

30 portraits of people of Merrimac MA - see now at Merrimac Public Library
ends March 30, 2015.
The Facebook page for this project is and there are lots of stories and photos there to see.

The installation is not completely finished, it will take me another day or two to finish collecting entries because of the blizzard, and I'll label the paintings of other contributors and take photos of all the work and put them up on the facebook page.

There were a dozen people who painted models during the almost 30 sitting opportunities and the results are amazing.  There are many many wonderful depictions of those models, try to find the time to view the facebook page over the coming month as it will take a while to post all the photos.

For lots of detailed information about my part in this project, see my daily blog listed here on the sidebar or click here