"...having always that strange brightness of an essential flame that is caught, meshed, contravened.."
--D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love
In case you don't know, earlier this year I received a two-week partial scholarship to do an artist-residency in Civita Castellana, Italy, part of the JSS program. It was a huge deal for me! My first time going overseas, my first time living in a community of artists, my first time being away from my husband and children for more than a night...in over a decade! I was soooooo excited. My flight was July 9th. I missed the bus to Newark, so my husband drove me to the airport. Here is my luggage:
I tried to cool my heels in the Newark airport. I wrote frantically in my diary:
I'm so excited to be in Italy soon! I'm nervous about getting on the plane. I'm anxious about flying. I'm scared of crossing the ocean. And then I'll be in Italy!! Wow! I can't believe it.
To pass time in the airport, I made myself some goals...
I flew over the ocean in the night. I could see the full moon resting on the wing of the airplane, as we sped through the darkness. I couldn't sleep at all. In the morning, I looked down to see Italy! It looked so beautiful, just like I dreamed it would.
I met some other artists at the airport in Rome, and there was a bus waiting to shuttle us to our apartment in Civita, a small town one hour north of Rome. The drive was amazing; rolling hills and vineyards and mountains that looked like they were right out of paintings, and old buildings that looked sort of like castles, and cypress trees and miles of sunflowers. The bus was filled with artists from different countries, and it was so exciting to get to know each other on that drive.
We arrived at our apartment. It was a beautiful big house that had five separate apartments in it, and yet it was laid out in such a way that it felt private and spacious. The house was owned by a wonderful couple, Patrizia and Fabrizio, who were so warm and welcoming to me during my stay.
My room was so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kristen taught me a lot about being an artist, mostly by example. Her work ethic was admirable; together we got up and watched the sunrise with our espressos, before going out for a day of painting. But, whereas I would come home and flop into my bed, exhausted, after a few hours of painting, Kristen managed to soldier on for several additional painting sessions. She also put a lot of time into doing drawings with charcoal and pencil, and it was apparent that this practice supported her painting work, and it's something I would like to imitate.
Kristen exposed me to new artists and ways of mixing colors, and she gave me valuable critique and encouragement. She also inspired me to be a better human being just by being herself: a good person of humor, integrity, and compassion.
Also...we ate a lot of divine pasta together. Mangiamo!!!
I have so much more to tell you about, including more photographs of the town of the Civita, stories about people I met, and food I ate, and trying to paint, and learning about making art, and learning about myself. Not to mention our field trips to Florence and Urbino and other places, as well as my own solo-trip to Florence at the end. But I'll try to tell my story slowly, over several blog posts, so that I can just savor the memory of it all beginning again.