Emerging Carolinas

This past weekend (Oct 2) was the opening reception for the 1st ever Emerging Carolinas Juried Art Exhibition at the Showroom in downtown Spartanburg. Both Steven and I had work featured in the show, which included other artists from the upstate between 20 & 35. Jason drove over from Florence to hang out and see the show. An exciting night in the upstate!
The show featured 31 works of art from 24 emerging artists

Pine frames measure 38" x 30", handmade by me, Steven & a little help from Bill Willis.
Ships With Holes Will Sink, Meet Me There, graphite & colored pencil
Our Grass Stays Green,
graphite & colored pencil
Dreams Go By,
graphite & colored pencil

Steven, me & the other artists in the show, from North Carolina & South Carolina


Back to reality, stateside

Happy 4th of July! I arrived home in time to celebrate our independence!
It has been a week since my flight home from Italy and I can hardly believe it! The residency went by so quickly! Last night I spent reorganizing and tidying up my studio. Clementine was a big help in the process, here she is resting her eyes. Finished this piece at home yesterday as well, had to buy more pale green and gold prismacolor to finish the background. Up and Away, Bon Voyage!
While I was away, my garden continued to flourish and so I enjoyed a nice caprese salad from the front yard! A bit of Italy, even in South Carolina.



The last view of the residency complex at high noon. Packed up my studio here in Italy at La Macina di San Cresci. It's amazing how quickly a month has gone by. Leaving at 5 am for the airport! 
Look out America, here I come!

Ultimo Giorno

Delicioso breakfast with Giuditta in Genova. Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

in case of shipwreck, abandon ship

It is my last day here at the residency in Italy. My flight leaves bright and early at 7 am for Paris tomorrow, then back to American soil. After visiting the Uffizi on Friday I was able to catch a train to Genova for the night and visit with my friend Giuditta, and I cannot believe it had been two years since the last time we saw one another. We enjoyed a nice night and afternoon together in the city before parting ways on a train heading to Pisa.
Yesterday I finished up my final drawing, in case of shipwreck. All the work I've made here can also be viewed on my flickr page (or click the typewriter at the top of this page). I'm going to walk into town this morning to pick up a few things and then back here to do a little sketching and pack!

The Uffizi

Friday morning in Florence, it was off to the Uffizi where I saw some of my favorite paintings, including Titian's Venus of Urbino, Boticelli's Birth of Venus, Artemesia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes, Laocoon and Sons and an unfinished painting, Adoration of the Magi by Da Vinci. I had the pleasure of seeing many works that I lecture about to my classes, here is a link to the virtual Uffizi tour online, it has links to see images of the rooms and a comprehensive list of the schools & artists in the collection.


Domani, a Firenze!

Tomorrow, a 7 am bus into Florence. Look out Uffizi, here I come. I'll be there early enough to revisit the Duomo & get some coffee and brioche con cioccolata in me before my 10 am appointment at the museum. I found this book at one of my favorite stores, Helping Hands, while searching for potential art supplies. It was literally the day before I was accepted into the residency here at Greve in Chianti, and I think it was a sign.A little peek into my idea to image process here at La Macina di San Cresci. It is very similar to preparing a drawing for a woodblock, but instead of carving and printing, I am drawing and coloring. First, I draw on tracing paper because I like how the pencil looks on the surface, and I can see what is underneath when layering the drawings. Next, I arrange the images on gridded paper, draw in the patterns, tape everything down & transfer to Stonehenge paper (found out the hard way that it doesn't erase well, the pencil indents the paper and never goes away).

Then I begin to develop the image in color on Stonehenge, little by little. It's actually a lot like developing an image in print, layer by layer, until finally you get to the end and see what you have! It is either a disasterpiece-plus or a masterpiece-plus, as one of my high school art teachers used to say. Today's drawing, about abandoning a sinking ship. When we were little my friends and I would ask each other what we would bring along on a deserted island if we only had three things to take....

Above is a detail of the background, the iceberg that brought the trip to an untimely end. Sharks patrol the waters. Ever since watching a Jaws marathon on vacation circa 8th or 9th grade, I have been terrified of being eaten by sharks. You can click on any of the images on this blog and they will enlarge in a new window so you can see the detail.



Finally got to the grass in this piece, the 1st drawing I began here in Greve.
And put the finishing touches on the love story drawing.
These little guys will have to wait until we get back on American soil, as the pale green prismacolor has once again been completely used up. All that remains to be finished is the background, so not too much more to go. Tomorrow is my second to last working day in the studio. Can't believe how fast time has gone!



Almost finished...the clouds need to be filled in and then basta! Finito! It is a daring rescue, a love story. Two more working days in the studio and then off to absorb some art history in Florence! Non vedo a l'ora! Very excited to see what I've been teaching to my art history classes in person again and hopefully get some good photos for my slide lectures. Nerd. The new artist arrived yesterday, she is from NYC and will be working on landscapes in watercolor and gouache. Mailed off my last batch of postcards today, even though I will most likely get home before they do. I received a letter today from my Great Aunt Dee and was really excited! It made my day, and then some. I love mail! In fact, I made this collage concerning my love for letters by post (the lace was the inspiration for the background in my drawing).


Monday monday! let the countdown begin...

What I once thought was too big of a table to possibly ever need is now full with the work I've made these past three weeks. Front and center is today's drawing in progress, 1/3 of the way done. I have two other pieces in rotation and will try and get some more sketches done tonight. As they get finished, I'll be posting the images to flickr, so make sure and visit and leave some comments if you fancy! you can access it by clicking on the typewriter at the top of the page.
Tomorrow will be nice weather (it has felt like october in Clemson this past week, windy and rainy and cold) so I will head out to the hills with some acrylics and attempt to do a few landscape paintings. Wish me luck, haven't painted since undergrad...exactly one week left of the wonderland that is this residency, on Friday I head off to the Uffizi Gallery and then a train to Genova in time for apperetivo with Giuditta! Woohoo!
The colored pencil body count so far. Thanks to my BF who mailed me some desperately needed replacements! My hero. He has been busy with engineering and photography while I've been away, and posted some very beautiful miniature pictures on his flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenbower/). In other news, I bought some carbonation packets from the store this evening to make my own frizzante water, but I think I did it wrong because it just tastes like crocodile tears.


nighttime drawing station

My after dark drawing station here at the apartment, there is a nice big kitchen table, at least 3' x 10'. The lighting is nice, and within close proximity to the teapot! Also very convenient for spreading out, as I tend to do in my own studio. Gathering some inspiration for my next sketch, listening to the rain and drinking jasmine tea here in Greve. Picked up a copy of Under the Tuscan Sun in Florence the first week I was here, and have been listening to the dubbed Italian version (also is in English w/italian subtitles, pretty hard to find.)
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday!

Rain rain go away

A detail of today's drawing, above, and the entire image below (about halfway finished). Listened to one of my Dad's favorites, Harry Chapin, all day in the studio.
Happy Father's Day!

Well, it is raining again and today the storm feels very ominous, not a clear spot all day long. The church attached to my apartment was struck by lightning in 1966, let's be glad lightning doesn't strike the same place twice! I woke up with the crack of dawn this morning and got a good solid day in the studio. Apparently the word for rain and cry are very similar (piovere and piangere). now I know why Duccio was confused the other day when what I said roughly translated to 'I'm always crying.' I meant always raining. Oops!


Marketo a Greve

Spent the entire afternoon and evening transferring my next two drawings to Stonehenge paper. Here is a peek at a portion of what I worked on today. The background is very intricate, and took the better part of four hours to complete, but it is done and I can move on to the rest of the image tomorrow! It is either a happy reunion or a sad parting, depending on how you look at it. More to come! It rained and thundered all day long, and the storm rolled across the hilltops here in Greve. Good for the vineyard, bad for the tourists.This morning I drank my tea in the doorway of the apartment, watching the birds fly around. One kept singing and chirping and fluffing his feathers because it was just starting to rain. He kept swooping around off to a tree, then back up to a post sticking out of the front of the church in front of my door. I wonder if birds from different countries can understand the different chirps. Mimma took me down to the Saturday market in Greve this morning, before the rain really got going. These tomatoes looked tasty, and I will use one in dinner tonight, along with the eggplant, mozzarella and basil I picked up. Buon appetito!


Swan on a stick

The view walking back to the apartment for dinner and drawing. It looked like a painting, and such a nice change from the gray skies we've been having. I enjoyed a nice apperetivo in the garden with Mimma after a day of drawing in the studio.
I have invented swan on a stick. It is a handy little device for drawing the paper swan from different angles, and I don't know why I haven't thought of it before. Genius. I worked on two sketches today in preparation for the final drawings, you can see one in progress behind the swan. A large group of Italians came in to the studio and wandered around smiling and talking today. They had walked all the way from Florence on their way to Siena (one of my favorites) and according to what I understood of their Italian, it took them 5 hours on foot to get here. I'm glad it wasn't raining for them! Now it is time for pasta, email, and planning my trip in to Florence and Genova later this week! Kelly & Meghan, I wish you were here! Not the same without my ragazzi. A dopo!


Why hello there

After the storm that rolled through Greve today, I went outside looking for snail shells to draw from. I happened upon this little fellow, a few steps from the door. He was having his lunch, munching on what appeared to be a small rock.
The view from under my umbrella, which did not keep me dry. It's neat to hear thunder here at the top of this hill, because the sound bounces around and you can see the rainclouds sitting over parts of the town.

while you were sleeping

Good morning! It is 7 am in America, lunchtime here, and while you were were all sleeping I got into the studio early today, excited to add to one of the first drawings I started here. Last night I sketched this snake, which you may remember from one of my woodcuts in grad school. He makes a repeat appearance here at the welcome home party, camouflaged under the couch. This is the beginning of the end of this drawing, it's nice to see some of them nearing completion.Two women, Bev and Gerry, from America (who are staying in greve for the summer) came to the studio today, Gerry is a retired art teacher from NC, moving to Asheville this year. I love that town, a good place for an artist. I passed the wild artichoke plants on my way back to the apt for lunch and noticed that someone had picked all the fruits. Now they just look like giant weeds.


Clouds rolling in

The view outside the studio doors today, off to the left it looked like the cloud was sitting on the ground. Chilly, gray and windy again here in Greve. I've been drinking mint water all day today. I discovered some fresh mint on the way to Montefioralle while walking with Jillian yesterday. I picked some, boiled it in water and chilled it in the fridge. The fresh mint smelled better than the mint water tastes. Oh well. This one is almost finished, from the sketch I posted a few days ago. a bit more work to do in the background. My favorite part is the iceberg in the distance. Here I attempted to create a more stage-like setting with flat colors and a shallow sense of depth.
Visit this link to see my bio on the La Macina di San Cresci website It can also be found under 'guest artists' where you can look at what other people have done at the residency so far.