Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shoe Repair Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

In one of my earliest blog entries, I wrote about meeting the shoe repair team of Giuseppe and his father Signore Carmine. I had been walking down Via dei Pepi in central Firenze, Italia, when Giuseppe tried to entice me into his shoppe. He was not doing such a good job, but his father was much smoother in his approach and won me over.

Since then I have seen Giuseppe on various occasions over the years, including back in February of this year when a friend and I saw him in a bar we had ducked into for a drink. I asked after his father and learned that he had died months before my return to Italia this time. On June 9th, I posted on Facebook:
“Gotta love Italia! I got kissed today - smack on the lips, too! My favorite sandal broke in the studio this afternoon, so I went by to see Giuseppe at the shoe store. We met 6 years ago when I was walking down Via dei Pepi and G's father coaxed me off of the street and into his shoe repair shop. G ran after me after I left the stop that day and dropped some shoe polish in my bag, saying, "Nostro segreto" This evening, as he glued my shoe back together, he said, "sono innamorato a te." He would not let me pay for the shoe repair and also gave me a "regalo" of some cushion inserts (in my size, naturally), but was happy with his little surprise move on me - hahah. I suppose I will always have my feet taken care of! Sadly, his father died earlier this year....

Well, the responses were quite fun! Several women came forward to say that I told the story perfectly, just the way Giuseppe is with ALL the girls who pass his shoppe! One musician friend of mine said that his girlfriend felt she had to find a new shoe repair place because Giuseppe was so naughty. But I think that our Giuseppe is harmless, although maybe that is the cruelest thing to say to/about a man, especially a Romeo.

Before the kiss he gave me, I had told him that I had a pair of winter shoes that needed repair (in fact, they were the same pair that I wrote about many years ago). As luck would have it, the bottoms of my favorite sandals became separated. So, I returned to the shoe repair shoppe and left my two pairs of shoes with Giuseppe’s mamma. She wanted to up the ante and offered to replace the heels of my winter shoes. So, I agreed hesitantly and went to the studio.

However, I returned a day later to find that not only had they not started the work (because the mother was not sure if I wanted the extra service), but Giuseppe told me that he would lower the price and glue my sandals for free if I would wait a moment. He also gave me another regalo; this time it was BLACK shoe polish for the pair I had left with him. Of course, he got another kiss, as he asked me to dinner. I joked with him that now I know for a fact that I am not the only woman he is “enamored” by and I think he is quite the playboy. He laughed, denied it all, but then exclaimed, “Well, at least you know that I am not gay!”

It was a week or so before I was able to get back (this past Friday). My leather shoes look lovely again! And again Giuseppe asked me about my boyfriend and also how long I would be in Italy. To deter him, I told him that I would be returning to Santa Margherita for a few days (true). It did not work. He simply asked if we could have dinner together after I return. Ha… persistence is the key, man. I also received another gift, this time a pair of black shoe laces since he noticed how worn mine were. I asked for his permission to take photographs of us together and to talk about him and his shoppe on my blog. He gave me his address too. so if you need some shoe repair and want a bit more personal attention . . .

Petrocelli Giuseppe - Lavorazione e Riparazione - Pelletteria e Scarpe
Via dei Pepi, 28-30 R (R stands for the red lettered address numbers)
50122 Firenze, Italia
Tel. 055 2345099

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Santa Margherita Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have visitors this week, but thought it would be fun to do a follow-up of my last post about Santa Margherita, Italy … so I hope that you enjoy these images. [There is more on my Facebook page, if you get really curious.]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Roberto Castellini Art Santa Margherita Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

One of my long-time friends, Roberto Castellini, is currently having his first art exhibit (mostra) in his hometown of Santa Margherita in northwestern Italy. Santa Margherita is on the coast in Ligure, near the more famous Portofino. I visited there once two years ago, but never recognized the place as Roberto’s hometown because he has always described where he grew up as “my little fishing village.” I include a snapshot of part of Santa Margherita. See if you can understand my disconnect!

Roberto has exhibited and sold his work in England, where he has spent most of his years since I met him in Firenze back in 2006. He was a bit nervous, I think, to show his work in his own town, but mostly because he did not have enough of it available for the Castle where his work now hangs. [This is not an uncommon problem for artists who sell their work!] Here is the Castle in which you may find the paintings and drawings of Roberto Castellini (“little castles”) each weekend until June 30. The Castle is easy to find in the center of the coastal town.

This Italian artist enjoys painting landscapes and still life compositions (much kinder in English than “natura morta” [“dead nature” is the literal translation for “still life” in Italian]). While I was trying to get shots of people at the inaugurazione on 9 June, you may see some of the paintings in these images. He has already received some inquiries for purchases and a potential commission for this genre.

That said, Roberto has begun to focus primarily on portraits. He has spent the last nine months working in Firenze with models, painting exclusively from life. He did not choose to exhibit all of these paintings and drawings though, preferring to show a variety of subjects and skills.

We have a lovely group of artists that get together each Thursday after the art history lecture given at the Charles Cecil Studios in Firenze. Several of us made a car trip up to Santa Margherita to help Roberto start this event in a fun way. I only state this to apologize in advance for the goofy photo of our friend Caroline and me goofing around. She is British and we have been having fun with our personal favorite phrases, as well as pronunciation differences. Caroline often uses the exclamation, “Delicious!” and since I did not particularly enjoy the taste of the drink in my hand, I was being a bit sarcastic about it as we teased each other. That said, I included this shot because the portrait in charcoal that is behind me was my favorite portrait in the exhibition.

Finally, I wrap up this blog post with a photo of me with my artist friend Roberto. I love it that the shot (taken by one of his family members) includes a nude and a portrait. Here are the visiting hours for the show, which sadly ends with this month. The Castle is rented out during the summer for weddings and other festive events. The organizer of this space told me that only in June and September are they able to start showing artwork. Get over to Santa Margherita if you can. Lovely art, lovely little fishing village!

    Exhibit hours:
  • Saturday 10:00-12:30 and 17:00-22:00 (closes 10 p.m.)
  • Sunday: 10:00-12:30 and 17:00-19:00
  • Last day = 30 June 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Angel Academy of Art Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Well, the last day at Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy was this past Friday. While I am still occupied with end-of-term festivities and helping people move or store stuff for the summer, I hope soon to be back doing my own art full-time. Still, I wanted to share some images from Angel. This first is a group shot that we took in one of our model painting rooms. The second is of the beloved Jered Woznicki, who teaches mostly the advanced classes. I love the lean on both he and his companion skeleton.

This third image is a follow-up of my sight-size copy of the bust of a Roman soldier. You may see already some of the errors that I have made, in particular that overall, I have fattened him up a bit. Still, he will dry over the summer since I have other more pressing work to do. And really, I cannot wait to get to it.

If you are interested in my latest art newsletter about painting in Tuscany, click here:

And here is another fun surprise I received recently when my flatmate Gustavo told me that he was looking online for art by Surikov and found my name connected to it on one link, with one of my drawings posted on this site: So happy June and …

Happy Father’s Day!