work in progress: sparrows

Today I tackled the sparrows in two of my drawings.  The key lines of the image were transferred from my cartoon using a hard pencil.  The graphite lines disappear as I add the colored pencil over top.  I really enjoy this part of the process, watching the image slowly come to life.

I'd like to finish these up by the week's end and have three more ready for the artists-in-residence show at the end of the month (6 total, maybe 7). Our exhibition is set for July 24th here in Guardia Sanframondi.

The drawing is pictured alongside the sketch & cartoon for the image.  I wanted it to echo the strong triangular arrangements of figures so prevalent in Italian Renaissance art, which I viewed recently in Venice.

I began sketching the above image after returning from Vatican City, the morning I left Venice-palms were everywhere, dotting the sidewalk along the way to the metro.
More progress on the other drawing I shared yesterday.  Below are some of the plants and colors inspiring my art here.  I start my mornings with a walk into town for espresso & on my way I pass the most beautiful gardens-plants growing out of corners, perched on ledges and spilling over balconies.

Three days in Venice

I spent three days in Venice to see the city and visit the 56th art biennale, All the World's Futures.  The residency director arranged for myself and the other artists-in-residence to stay in an apartment in the middle of the city.  This was my third trip to Venice, and by far my favorite.  I had an ambitious schedule of places to see: the art of the Venetian Renaissance in the churches and museums, the biennale and general sightseeing.  In addition to the biennale, I had the good fortune of viewing a special exhibit of Henri Rousseau at Palazzo Ducale.  My friend Crystal, an Australian poet and filmmaker, came along to shoot footage, navigate, and search out the best pastries in the city.  At the end of our first day, we stood on a pier and watched a storm roll in and out over the water.  The skyline completely disappeared at one point.
Day 2:  San Marco's square is so nice in the morning.  Peaceful and mostly empty, save for the pigeons. Wednesday was a little cooler thanks to the rainstorm the night before.  We were among the first in line to go into the church; being surrounded by floor to ceiling Byzantine style mosaics was a truly moving experience.  St. Mark's Basilica is the third building in this exact spot (the first burned down, the second was torn down).  

Palazzo Ducale is host to an exhibition of Henri Rousseau's art, titled Archaic Candor. In collaboration with the Musee D'Orsay, the curators set the artist's paintings (40 in all) alongside works by Kandinsky, Cezanne, Redon & even a portrait by Frida Kahlo.  My favorite room was the Jardin des Plantes, which contained many large paintings including Snake Charmer, Horse Attacked by a Jaguar & Merry Jesters.  Photos weren't permitted inside the exhibition space, so follow the links to learn more about the artist and his work. 

I find it so interesting that the artist never left France, yet created such imaginative worlds of tropical vegetation.  Rousseau painted captivating scenes that reveal something new the longer you spend in front of them.  

Panorama form the balcony at Palazzo Ducale, after leaving the exhibition.  White stone and pink Venetian marble were constructed in the Gothic style for the Doge's palace in Venice.
Next was a visit to the Gallerie dell'Accademia, a collection of artwork spanning the Byzantine, Renaissance, Baroque and later 18th century art.  The Renaissance collection is really incredible; they have Giorgione's Tempest and Veronese's Feast in the House of Levi, two works that I focus lectures on in my art history course.  I still can't believe I had the opportunity to see them in person.

Veronese's painting is 18 feet tall and 42 feet long!  

The last destination in Venice was Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, to see Titian's Assumption of the Virgin.  The painting, measuring 22' 1/2" tall and 11' 10" wide, has hung in the same place above the altar for 500 years.  The light pouring through the windows into the space made it appear even more heavenly.  Also in the church was The Pesaro Madonnaon a side altar next to the pyramidal tomb of the great Neoclassical sculptor, Antonio Canova.
 Day 3:  We left Venice at 6 am & caught a train to Rome for a whirlwind visit to Vatican City.  The sunrise coming over Rialto bridge was beautiful.


work in progress: cactus and artichokes

A look at another work in progress.  I began by spending some time sketching in the garden and later working from photographs I had taken of the plants.  The media is colored pencil; I'm working by blocking in light layers of color, pulling them together with a blending stick.  This was my morning and afternoon, after two long espressos and a donut at the local cafe.  I'm not sure what will go in the background yet, I may leave it blank until I get home and have access to the lightbox in my studio.

Five hours in Rome

On our return from Venice, Crystal & I took a detour into Vatican City for a few hours.  We visited St. Peter's & the  Musei Vaticani to see the Capella Sistina and Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura.
Crystal in the Gallery of Maps
Floor to ceiling, the Stanza della Segnatura is covered in mosaics and frescoes.  Raphael's School of Athens, the artist's most well known fresco, is located here.  Incredible.  I took a lot of photos to use in my art history lectures.
The tiling on the floor reminded me a lot of the work in the entrance of San Marco, in Venice.  Similar design and stone.

La Capella del Rosario di Vence, containing artwork by Henri Matisse.

Photos aren't allowed inside the Sistine Chapel.  I spent some time sitting in a pew against the wall, trying to absorb all the imagery.  This was my second time in the Sistine Chapel; in 2006 I visited while studying abroad with Clemson University.  From Michelangelo's ceiling and Last Judgement to the paintings by Perugino, Boticelli and Ghirlandaio, I was in complete awe.  St. Peter's was our final stop before heading back to the train station to return to Guardia.  The basilica is massive, flanked by an even more impressive piazza.  

 On the left is Michelangelo's Pieta, sculpted by the artist in his twenties.  To the right is my first view of Bernini's Baldacchino.  The interior space of St. Peter's is enormous!

Kelly, I tossed your coins in the fountain in the Piazza San Pietro.  I didn't make it to the Trevi Fountain, but I think this will guarantee our return just as well!