So you've all been asking to see my workshop journal...here it is! As I look at the pages, wonderful moments of the trip come flooding back to me. That's what sitting and really looking at something will do for you, better than any quick photograph. Not that we didn't take hundreds of those. We all have PLENTY of source material to work with for a long time! I can't wait to print out some photos and use them as new inspiration (that was our last day's lesson, after all!)
My final day in Italy, I made my pilgrimage to the Church of Renaissance Art History, The Uffizi Gallery. I arrived before opening, with advance ticket voucher in hand and STILL met lines and lines of faithful art lovers there before me. But all was revealed in God's time, and I was face to face with the great masterpieces in all their larger than life glory.
Like most museums, you move in chronological order, observing artistic developments in progression. From flat, wooden Medieval altarpieces with stylized faces to the introduction of perspective and suggested depth to the fully understood workings of human anatomy and light, I delighted in pulling the bits of remembered art history lectures from the cobwebs of my memory. Names like Giotto, Filippo Lippi, Caravaggio, Bronzino and of course Botticelli and da Vinci.
And it must have been Heaven, because almost all of the paintings featured Jesus, Mary and assorted Saints in their majesty. Like any good icon, these religious paintings were a conduit towards the divine, an inspiration and a recognition to me of God's life and incarnation in the world, working through the hands of his creative artist children. And I wondered, as I navigated the crowds of tourists from many countries, did these images hold anything sacred for them? Or were they just another stop on the bus through European masterpieces?
I sketched as I could in the museum, taking as many photos of the people as I did of the art. After a marvelous morning of art, I retired to a nearby cafe, eating the best Italian panini EVER, with a refreshing glass of vino bianco, and painting my own small homage to the day.
As my Bishop from West Tennessee once told me, "God speaks to us in the language which we understand." And I was hearing the chorus of angels all around! Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
I'm sad to say that the shortest week ever, my week teaching a stupendous group of students in Cortona, has come to a close. Just when we knew how to order Vin Santo y Cantucci for dessert! Some of us added onto the journey with trips to Rome, the Amalfi Coast and myself here in Florence. A few of us added to the adventure in the Amsterdam airport, to their dismay, but made the best of it with a day free for museums. All of us will return home changed. The experience of living in a new place for a week, really studying the landscape and all its wonderful details, and sharing meals and laughs and hurts and hugs was a gift to me. And we all made great art! I am truly grateful.
Look for a survey from me soon, about art travel trips and future dream destinations. It can be a stretch to set aside the time and resources for a journey like this, but it's something I can't recommend more highly. I would love to be your creative guide in far-off lands!
And don't worry, I will share more art from my sketchbook, too! But right now, I'm going out to see and sketch more on my last 2 days in Florence! Ciao!!
A wise man (Paulo Coelho) once wrote, "Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup."
We have certainly had our taste of wonderful wine and adventures here in Italy this week as we drink from every cup and a variety of glasses! We have visited two beautiful wineries and become experts on Chianti Classico (with the Black Rooster seal of approval) and the local Sangiovese grapes. Our new favorite for after dinner is Vin Santo, wine of the Saints! It's a strong, sweet little drink that's often served with biscotti to dip into the wine.
Yesterday was windy but sunny during our visit to Le Terre dei Cavalieri, a gorgeous villa near Cortona that grows fields of sunflowers (past bloom now unfortunately) and grapes. Today we had rain for the fields while we toured the Chianti region, stopping for lunch and a tasting at Il Molino di Grace, part of a large collective of organic vintners, with rows and rows and rows of grapevines.
Today our painting prompt is to imagine your own wine, design a special label for it and write a review. I can't wait to see what these creative, wine-loving women come up with in their journals!
I wish I could pass you some wonderful wine through the computer. All I can say, is così delizioso! Saluti!