Wednesday, May 12, 2010

very blessed

I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum with my friend Anderson from the UGA program, ate fish cakes, had tea... weird to see a Cortona friend in another country. It'll be even weirder to see everybody eventually in the states. Anyways, then I went to meet up with Mina and had a shandy with her coworkers and went to watch Sister Act (the musical) at the London Palladium. It was sooo good, much better than I expected. I even cried a little once haha.

Yesterday I went to the British Museum and got my ticket for the Italian Renaissance drawing exhibit, then to the Hunterian Museum and saw tons of strange things: intestines of different animals, ears, eyes, an abnormally large skull, still born baby fetus from 5 weeks to 9 months, dissected animals... it was fascinating, i loved it!

The day before I went to the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the British Library. The National Gallery is still probably my favorite. I went through the most of the museums, saving my loved one for last and came face to face with a plaque with a tiny photo of Virgin of the Rocks saying "We regret to inform you..." It was in restoration. WOW. So I spent the next hour drawing a few Mary faces from the da Vinci drawing they had there instead. National Portrait Gallery had some interesting things but a lot of portraits of British royalty throughout the centuries that was kind of boring. The British Library was really interesting in the exhibit area, the library itself is just huge but normal. There were original manuscripts by several musicians including Handel's Messiah, Chopin... tons of other manuscripts like illuminated Islamic and Christian books, the Magna Carta, pages from da Vinci's notebooks... then I went to Mina's work to meet up with her. I've been to her work for the past 3 days at 5:25pm, getting to know her coworkers pretty well :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

less than a week :(

I've been going going going ever since I wrote my last post. I think that was after the exhibition, so I had 1 week left in Cortona at that point and did everything I could to make the most of that last week. Then we left for Venice early on Monday the 26th. I think Venice is a nice place to visit but the most touristy place I've ever been. It's beautiful but reminds me of a toy store or Disneyland, not like the rest of Italy.

I left Venice on the 29th and flew to Bari to meet Giuseppe, my host brother from 5 years ago. We hung out with his friends for a few hours and then took a bus for several hours to my host family's town. We went out with his friends, went to the beach, I drove a scooter and rode on his motorcycle, ate with the family... I had a really good time, I miss them a lot. Giuseppe drove us back to Bari where he goes to school on May 1, and from there I flew to Brussels. A bus and 2 trains later I arrived in Paris, met Mina, got on another train, and finally arrived at the hotel. We slept in and the next morning Noah met us at the hotel. The food and art in Paris is beyond amazing, I can't really describe it. However, not my favorite city, surprisingly kind of dirty and the people aren't too friendly. Even though I had heard that, it was different to experience it.
Then Mina went home to London back to work and Noah and I flew to Barcelona to meet my mom's friend. I really liked Barcelona. There's no other way to describe Gaudi except as a creative genius. Then on May 7th, Noah and I left. He went back home and I came to London to visit Mina and Shige. We've had a nice relaxing weekend hanging out. They have to go back to work tomorrow so I'll be on my own wandering around the museums. I'm really excited to reunite with my favorite painting (Virgin of the Rocks in the National Gallery, not the Louvre version), and for the Italian Renaissance drawing exhibition in the British Museum. Can't wait!!

So overall traveling has been exhausting but great. Venice, Bari, Rotondella, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, London- that was plenty for less than two weeks haha. It probably would've been less tiring and stressful if I hadn't taken cheap airlines, it makes a pretty big difference. But I'm a student so what can you do... plus I have all summer to relax.

I miss Italy. I'm trying to think of how to go back. I'd love to go to grad school in Florence. We'll see...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I need a break so I'll write a blog post...

I'm starting to get emotional about leaving. I looked out at the view from the bottom of the hill, watched people, the car race, and thought about how I won't see these things for a long time or maybe ever.

I sat out on the steps of Piazza Repubblica this evening, wrote in my journal and hung out with Italian friends. I think they're a lot more fun and lively when they speak Italian so I'm glad I understand it and can talk to them. I'm finally getting used to the different Tuscan pronunciation of making "ch" sounds "sh." It's still sometimes weird to hear since it's not the way I learned it.

One final left. My hand is cramping from carving the inlay for my accordion book cover. It's an illustrated book about a kappa from space.

I drove a Vespa yesterday.

We had our exhibition last night. Great turnout, it was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This past weekend was wonderful!!!!!! I can't even describe it. We went to Siena. That was one of the churches I remember tearing up at last time I came. Then we left the field trip group early and went to Florence for the Fiorentina/InterMilan game. We drew a lot of attention in our matching purple jerseys. I felt weird until we got to the stadium and saw that everyone else was decked out in purple and we fit right in. The game was like a dream come true, I can't put it into words. I have a 2 inch bruise from getting knowcked over by the fans, which is a pretty good memory and makes me laugh when I see it. Fans were crazy, I learned several bad cheers, I recognized/caught on to them because last time I came the other kids taught me all the bad words haha.

Then Sunday I went to San Marco. I would like to live there for a while, it would be really interesting to be surrounded by those paintings. The Savonarola room was a little creepy. My first drawing in my Italy sketchbook is a figure that was towards the bottom of the Last Judgment wall in the Sistine Chapel (because it was closest so I could see it better). I asked one of the guards later who I was drawing, and he said it was Savonarola. At that point I didn't know who he was but now I do after studying him in art history and going to San Marco and seeing his room. That was at the very beginning of the trip and now this is the end, it's all coming around in a circle!

I also got a medium purple leather wallet. I haven't bought one since I was 14 so I thought it was about time, and what better place to get it than Florence. I got it down to 15 euro from 23 euro. Pretty good... :)

I haven't been writing much because of finals. 2 down, 2 more to go. Last Thursday my painting professor decided that our finals would be due on Monday. I just had a critique last Monday, so that meant I had a few days to start and finish my painting. I haven't gotten enough sleep in... I wish I could remember... but anyways, I'm sleeping enough to function but I've caught a cold I guess I need to slow down a little. The other final was yesterday for drawing. I turned in my 40+ hour drawing. I've never spent so long on one. It looks good but sadly doesn't look like that much time went into it. I guess that's just the way it goes with art, toooo bad.

The art history final is this Friday and bookmaking is due Tuesday. Seems possible. I also need to go to Florence one more time before leaving, there are too many things left undone. Maybe next Sunday.

Our end of the semester exhibition is Saturday! We can only put in one piece so I decided to put in the green/white wall painting that's on my art blog. It's my favorite painting this semester.

Monday, April 5, 2010

painting update

I finally uploaded photos of paintings I've been working on here to my art blog.

It took 2 hours to do it so I'm just posting the link here...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Buona Pasqua!

Even though it's part of the culture and people probably don't believe everything they talk about, I appreciate the Catholic traditions here on holidays. The last one was Santa Margherita day, the patron saint of Cortona. I don't pray to the saints or worship them, but their lives (at least the ones told in stories passed down) are inspiration for how I would like to be remembered after I die. Today is Easter, so this past Friday was Good Friday and there was a procession through town stopping at each church to pick up a statue of the suffering Christ. There are photos on my facebook, it would take too long to upload them all! It ended at Piazza Repubblica in the center of town. There was a skit with Mary and Jesus, and the Archbishop spoke. The statues of Christ were displayed in the piazza. After studying tons of paintings from before and during the Renaissance, I understand the purpose of how they painted. It wasn't to say: "this is exactly what the scene would look like if you were there." The paintings might look a little awkward because people don't usually stand symmetrically on two sides of something in a 3/4 view away from who they're looking at... BUT the point is all the symbolism in each figure as reminders to the viewer. That might be a vague explanation but it would take too long to explain further. Anyways, all these traditions like the Good Friday procession with statues of suffering Christ, Saturday midnight mass where they run through the church with the resurrected Christ statue right at midnight, Easter mass... have all been reminders to me of God's grace and Jesus' suffering to cover my sin. Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ is risen!

"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
Romans 5:6-11

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
1 Tim 1:17

Monday, March 29, 2010

time is ticking

Exactly one month left!! NOOO!

My parents visited this past weekend. I showed them around, we went out to dinner several times, and they went on the field trip to Assisi and Perugia on Saturday. It was great to see them and I'm glad they got to see things that I can't really explain. They even got to be part of the Palm Sunday procession through town! We used olive branches instead of palm branches, quite appropriate for Italy.

I bought 2 plane tickets today and yesterday for traveling afterwards. I have mixed feelings, soooo excited for the sibling reunion in Paris but not excited for the program to end because it seems like I have to go back to reality then.

So far I have 2 possible Florence trips planned and maybe Cinque Terre this weekend but I haven't decided yet.