Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baglioni Hotel Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

La mia zia (my aunt) Carole just left Florence, Italy, for Venice this morning. She is traveling around Italy with a group, getting a taste of life here. Unfortunately, she was only here in Florence for two days and we were only able to spend dinner time together. It was so generous of her to treat me to some great meals.

She stayed at the Astoria Hotel, which looked lovely to me. We ate there on Sunday night. The next night, Aunt Carole had invited my friend Skye and me to join a few of her friends for la cena. We ate dinner in the elegant restaurant on top of the Baglioni Hotel and later took a short walk up to the rooftop terraza for a brisk night view of Florence.

The fotos I include here are from the Baglioni Hotel. Both are near the train station (Santa Maria Novella). My stuffed pear (thin flaky) pasta with gorgonzola cheese and . . . rosemarino (I think it was rosemary anyway) was delicious, although the one of my plate looked a lot like a sea turtle to me!

Thank you Aunt Carole – from both Skye and me.

Tonight, I finished my portrait drawing of Skye. I am playing with materials, trying to see what kind of range of tone I can get and to what effect. This portrait of my charming Australian friend was done with white pastel on black paper. After looking at my snapshot tonight, I think I will reduce the brightness of the strands of hair in the lower right corner before I spray fixative over this art to protect her.

This portrait is available. Please contact me via this blog, my site, or e-mail if interested. Skye has a beautiful face and a rather distinctive profile, not to mention a dramatic personality, which I tried to play up in this black and white portrait drawing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Flights Over Florence

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I was riding my bike home around noon today and when I got to the Ponte alle Grazie in Florence, Italy, I saw unusual crowds gathered on the bridge. Naturally curious, I pulled over to see what the big deal was. And there were men falling from the sky and landing in the Arno River. Not actually in the river (which is good since the river is disgusting). They were parachuting onto a platform. All four skydivers that I saw landed on the same spot in front of Florence’s famouse Ponte Vecchio.

The last diver let go a stream of colored smoke – red, white, and green, the colors of Italia. This next picture was taken one bridge upstream from the Ponte alle Grazie (ponte is the Italian word for ‘bridge’) shortly after a helicopter flew too close to my head for my taste. It is the Ponte San Niccolò and I ride my bike over this bridge almost once a day.

I apologize for the horrible spots on these images. My Sony digital snapshot has dirt inside the lens and I was told this summer that I would have to send the camera to Sony and pay about $200 to have it cleaned. Since this is not my favorite camera (it has suffered from artifacting ever since I flew to Paris 2 years ago) and new digitals are not much more expensive, I decided to keep this for a party camera until it dies a natural death before I invest in another one. I have it with me almost all the time now.

Ok, now I am out the door to try to find my Aunt Carole, who is visiting Florence for the first time with a group of tourists. Let me see what she thinks of the David and Michelangelo’s unfinished slaves!