Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Pencil Drawings Done In Italy

I have three new figure sketches that I did in Italia recently. I am embarrassed that in my haste, I was only able to tape them up on the wall of my new apartment and take poor quality photographs. I will take new images of them when I return to Italia. However, I hope that you can see some of my latest endeavors to capture the human gesture. “Mauro” was sketched for my Naked Gondolier series on 21 November. “Sara” and “Chiara” were sketched in different model sessions, both on 28 November. These are short poses (2 hours or less). If memory serves, these are anywhere from 10 inches to around 14 inches tall.

While I sometimes can get further along in two hours in paint, not often. And I am really trying to refine my designo of the gesture. So, it is better for me to slow down, observe, and think. I hope you can see these and that they appeal to you. I do feel that my skills in 2-dimensional figure drawing are improving dramatically, even if to some people these differences seem subtle.

Michelangelo and Humor

Here is a little light-heartedness for the season. I was visiting my Italian friend Susanna in her home before I left Florence and typical of me, I share images. While I was in my e-mail attachments folder looking to show her the latest images of my family, I found this gem. So, check out what it takes for Adam to loose his britches!
PS While I am in Texas, I am on verrrry slow lent-e-ment-e dial-up Internet connection service. I cannot see the animation unless I click on the photo and go to a new page. Perhaps you will need to do that as well? This image is not terribly thrilling without the animation.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Drawing of Sara in Charcoal

Even though I am back in Texas and working on my sculpture projects, my mind cannot help but linger on the main drawing that I did not finish while in Italia. I really wanted to keep working on my charcoal drawing of Sara after my time with the model ended, but I had too many friends to visit before I returned to gli stati uniti.

My friend Skye Campbell took this foto of me during one of the model breaks. While I have some more turning of the figure to do, such as making the shoulder and pectoral form darker on the viewer’s left side, most of the work left is everything other than the figure in the drawing.

Per esempio, I have exaggerated the reflected light on the spine of the book under the model’s foot, as I often do when making notes to myself. The exaggeration reminds me that something is there to address, whereas a subtler note might become an overlooked detail, or a missed opportunity. There are subtle changes to be made to the book to show that the source light is falls brighter on one end of the book than on the other. In addition, the big black box that the model sits upon needs more work, mostly darkening the top plane, but also improving the gradation of tone to show more depth to the box itself. The floor and the background wall need to have these sorts of subtleties finessed as well. I will add more movement of tone to improve the interest in this charcoal drawing.

The Best Gelato in all of Europe Bologna Italy

My flight from Italia to Texas, US, began in Bologna early in the morning on the 12th. Allora, I took a train from Firenze to Bologna the night before and stayed in the house of my friend Medi. After dinner I was offered some homemade ice cream. Little did I know what a delight I was about to experience! While I had refused some of the food Medi and his roommate Andrea offered – too much cibo for me at one sitting – how could I refuse gelato?

I proceeded to eat PLENTY of the “best gelato in all of Europe,” according to The London Observer Magazine and Germany's Focus. They were not kidding. Medi’s roommate Andrea works at Il Gelatauro on Via San Vitale, 98/B, in Bologna, Italy, and it was certainly better than anything I have ever tasted in Florence. And that is no small statement.

In 1998, the Figliomeni brothers Gianni and Cosimo opened Il Gelatauro in Bologna. They use organic ingredients, including those from their own citrus grove, as well as a few fig and walnut trees in Calabria in Southern Italy. Besides gelato, they offer handmade chocolates and pastries, as well as selected wines, fruit preserves, and bright green krumiri cookies. Also, they put no vegetable fats in their dolci.

There was an assortment of flavors on our dinner table, but the pistachio was fantastic and probably my favorite of the evening. Bologna is an interesting and energetic city. While I did not see much of it this last trip to Italia, I really enjoyed my weeklong stay in Bologna in 2004. And Il Gelatauro is now on my list to visit and try some more flavors of gelato.

Some interesting links:
Il Gelatauro on Via San Vitale, 98/B, in Bologna, Italy

Fruit and Nuts - a brief history of figs, melons and pears; pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pinenuts and walnuts. Now, does this not sound great:
“The same Medieval tract suggested that pears be cooked in cinnamon, cloves and red wine, and served with butter, soft cheese and sugar on top.” I also love anything with ginger in it. Read more about my favorites – figs, fennel, and cloves:

An interesting history of various ingredients used in Il Gelatauro’s organic gelato:

Other articles on gelateria in Italy/ Bologna
Read about the fabulous krumiri cookies made from Bronte pistachios made by Il Gelatauro:

Another reason to visit Bologna, Italia:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

La Perla - Shopping in Italy

Walking home in a misty night recently, I saw this storefront on a main road in central Florence, Italy. Now, how delightful is that? Is there any place in the United States that is so comfortable with this sort of display? ha ha

BTW, La Perla means in Italian 'the pearl' or 'the bead'

Oh la la. ;-)
Happy holidays. I head to Bologna this afternoon and fly back to Texas from that city early in the morning -- assuming that my travel agent fixes his error. He changed my itinerary without my knowledge and I was apparently supposed to be on a flight THIS morning. Doh!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Light and Shadows in Florence Italy

Before Lisa and I ended up at The Art Bar in Florence last Friday night, we stopped in at a friend of a friend’s attic apartment to buy some sheets for my new room. (Oh, yes, I forgot to say that I found a nice room vicino the Teatro Verdi, not too far from my room with Grazia. I moved in early to help the situation with my old space and am now sharing with a cute young couple studying design here in Florence.)

But, I digress, as I often do. After we purchased the sheets I needed, Lisa and I did some exploring on the lower floor of this woman’s building. If I told you the address, I might have to kill you. (Nice, huh? Gotta protect the private.) I love going into all of the Italian homes and business spaces in central Firenze. This one surprised us both. While I was still photographing shadows in a hallway with a large vase and plant and looking for other hallways to explore, Lisa was curious about some beautiful wooden doors.

We were both delighted with the view below that Lisa discovered after she opened the doors. Pictured here is the beautiful window with a simple floral design that only partially hid a warm Tuscan-colored floor behind it. This is one way to add a bit of nature to a city of stone and concrete!

But then, look at the cast lighting from the hall lamp hanging from the ceiling. Lisa can definitely spot the cool stuff! The way the light hit the floor made the wooden floor look fluid. I hope you enjoy the images I took of the water-rippling floor and a bit of Lisa’s door on the left, as well as the image of the light that cast such a hypnotizing pattern. While the ceiling’s shadow is not quite as interesting, the contrast between it and the floor’s design is fun. So, when you visit Tuscany, do not forget to keep your eyes open for even the smallest pleasures. And definitely peek into open doorways!