Thursday, November 6, 2008

Street Painting in the Rain

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

OK, so I paid to be a street painter every Thursday in November. Today it rained less than last Thursday, but it was still a wash. The skies started to clear up again (like they were in the morning) and I might have been able to tough it out, using newspaper to dry what had not been protected by plastic sheets. However, I locked myself out of the house this morning. I had put a few coins in my pocket to pay for printing today’s reference image, but later, I thought the coins were my keys and did not realize my error until I tried to put on the serious lock on the front door.

I usually work until midnight, knowing that there is a lull of pedestrian traffic here in Florence, Italy, from the hours of eight to ten p.m. as most folks are enjoying the Italian dinner hours at nearby restaurants. But I had sent my padrona a text message that I hoped to arrive home before she went to bed so that I could get into the house. Mezzanotte just would not do.

I tried to paint in the street (Via Calimala) a copy of “Le Crab” by William Bouguereau. I like this painting, in part because it uses the same red-headed girl for the model as “The Elder Sister.” The latter is a painting by the same artist owned (I believe) by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (Texas, USA). I love that painting since it reminds me of my two baby sisters, especially the red hair.

Bouguereau is a difficult artist for me to copy because of his subtlety in tones. His work is gorgeous and I understand he was prolific, another of my challenges. I was not happy with my painting today, the proportion or the tones (too contrasty, as is my way). Maybe it was a good thing to be rained out. Besides, perhaps I can get to sleep a bit earlier this evening.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween in Italy

Halloween in Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

OK, so here are a couple images from my Halloween. There are more on Facebook. Basically, it rained so my teased hair fell more quickly than it should have: Kinda takes any terror out of Spider Woman.

And the high heels that I was wearing to keep the dress from dragging in the street came apart in the rain – and on Florence’s famous Ponte Vecchio. No doubt the walk that I was doing to try to keep my balance as I tried to flip the soles back underneath the shoe on each step was what brought my little group to the attention of some of our other friends.

My friends Linda (from Latvia) and Hafiza (a fiorentina) helped me by using masking tape (called ‘scotch’ here in Italy) around my feet. But that did not even hold up to the Palazzo Pitti! Anyway, this gal can make an entrance!

This was Hafiza’s first Halloween (an American holiday, you know) and she loved seeing our friends in costume. I think her favorite was Kieran, the pigeon. Like many tourist-ridden cities, Florence hosts a lot of pigeons. Another friend of mine even told me about a ristorante in which one may eat a pigeon.

Hafiza stayed with me that night and accompanied me as I walked home without coat or shoes. It took about 45 minutes since I no longer live in the central part of Florence. I was amused that at around 3 am along the Arno River, one guy who passed us by actually warned me about catching a raffreddore (relax, that is only a cold).

So, enjoy the fotos. It is interesting to realize just HOW MANY people in other countries pay CLOSE attention to US politics. I only hope that votes are cast wisely.