Saturday, November 3, 2007

Picnic in Piazza Santa Croce - Florence, Italy

Today was one of those incredibly beautiful autumn days that feel a bit summery. At least while in the sun. Even though most buildings in Florence average only four or five stories tall, the streets are rather narrow, usually with one-way traffic only. Some places probably never see the sun. It can be difficult to photograph this city’s charms, and even more difficult to know how to dress if one plans to be out for more than two hours.

However, this afternoon was to be enjoyed and I invited my friend Lisa O’Neil over for a picnic. We packed a traditional Tuscan lunch and took downstairs with us a blanket, porcelain plates, real forks, food, and glasses of wine. And we spent the standard amount of time for Italians to relax and enjoy a meal – longer than most Americans would have. It was truly lovely. And the piazza (square) was full of life.

Shortly after we returned out picnic items to my home, we went out to the Coop – the most affordable grocery store around us. Lisa had not been before and I wanted to help her learn more about the city. The Coop is beyond the central historical center of Florence, just outside/east of the Porta Beccaria.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pencil Drawing - Seated Female Model

On the 24th of October, I did a pencil drawing of a new model, Eugenia. I have been interested in doing drawings on dark paper with the light shapes being prominent. But I only had a grey paper with me. I began the 1.5-hour session by sketching the figure in with a pencil. But I ended up liking the drawing and only added a wee bit of white pencil to try to round out the form. I am pleased with this figure drawing, especially because of the relatively short duration of the pose.

While I am working to improve my seeing of shapes accurately and this means a study of classical proportion and realism, I am not sure how far I will take this. What I really enjoy about the process of drawing that I am learning now is that I can leave some elements of a work of art only implied, such as the chair and hands. There is enough of a chair drawn there so that a floating figure does not confuse the viewer’s brain and the gesture is visible without all of the details in this pencil drawing.

She is 23 centimeters tall – from foot to head. Signed and dated. If interested in this drawing, you may add her to your collection for only $50 (US) plus $15 shipping from Italy to anywhere in the world. Just send me an e-mail!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trattoria Dante - Florence, Italy

24 October 2007
I was treated to dinner on a cold and rainy night here in Florence by the charming Clare Santacroce. I met Clare in late August or September of this year at Cafe Caffeine in Austin, Texas, shortly before I arrived in Florence. She and her friend Krystal spent part of their Italian holiday in a very charming flat near Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. How convenient was that?
Anyway, I took them to one of my newly discovered and favorite ristoranti Trattoria Dante. It is just down an alley from my place on Piazza Santa Croce. The food is yummy and reasonably priced. But mostly I love the family atmosphere and the fun staff. Crystal and Clare were taught a wee bit of Italian by our multi-lingual waiter. And we really enjoyed watching a young girl acting cute -- a prelude to trouble -- with a family who so obviously eats here a lot.

Clare owns a business making wedding invitations and more. Check it out at:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween in Italy

Halloween in not an Italian holiday, although the day after (1 November) most certainly is -- All Saints' Day. However, the costumes and decoration of things in the spiritual and/or fantasy realm of this American holiday have been making their way into Italian cities, such as Florence. Here you see some of my friends (with me on the far right) in costume from last Saturday night's party. The moon was mostly full and we enjoyed walking down the streets of the city center to arrive at a fun party.

I am sometimes surprised at the responses of artists -- so many at this party asked each other, "What are you?" Did it matter the label? Allora, perhaps this explains why the title of an artwork is important. It adds to the story. The best description of my costume of argento (silver) was "The Tin Man's Favorite Fantasy"!

I hope you enjoy taking your favorite holidays and sharing them with new friends.
ciao, ciao, e buona festa.

(BTW, festa means 'party' in italiano. Partito means 'party' but refers to politics.)