After a two year absence, I have managed to find my way back to Europe. I am beginning the second week of my artist residency here, at La Macina di San Cresci, in Italy. It is located in a small Tuscan town outside of Florence, called Greve in Chianti. The complex is a renovated church, chapel & parish house (where my apartment and studio are). According to the website, the Pieve in San Cresci is the oldest in the Greve area and is mentioned in church documents dating to 948. It is pretty amazing to be living and working here for the month. The cellar of the parish house is where my studio is located, and I am sharing it with a painter named Jill from Washington DC. The walls are all original stone, and my drawing table is the bottom of an enormous wine barrel. The studio has double doors that open out into the road, and lots of tourists and locals wander into the studio to see what we are doing throughout the day. Other than the occasional visitor, we are pretty secluded, on a hill overlooking the countryside and medieval town of Montefioralle. Every single hill that I can see is covered with olive trees and mostly vineyards (this is the region that produces chianti wine).
I am working on a series of drawings during my residency, and have three in progress that are 22"x30". The media is graphite and prismacolor colored pencils. They are different narrative scenes that have a dreamlike, constructed quality to them. I am using representational imagery & abstracted patterns to create an imagined world revolving around home & distance. Perhaps all of my moving and traveling have influenced the first few drawings, of characters at going away and welcome home parties. My environment always impacts my work, and so I am interested to see where the rest of it goes from here!