Florence, Day 4: Travel: The Good, the Bad and the Sick



It finally caught up with me…

The day started normal enough. I had been arguing with my stomach, which had been a bit upset. But on this day, I left the house early to start my one-on-one plein air lessons. Like all of those cute kids whose adorable faces are filling up my Facebook feed, I was going back to school. A bit nervous about how I would manage all my, er, stuff — easel, paint, chair, etc. — but I was off.

My kind teacher informed me upon meeting him that today would be only a sketchbook. A sigh of relief.

The morning was colder than expected and windy, but we braved the elements anyway, heading to the Piazza Signoria and the Loggia dei Lanzi. Once a platform for public debates, the Medici decided great art was more important than free speech and turned this space into a tribute to sculpture. From this vantage point, you can see the whole square, and my teacher, Enrico, took me back to my college days again, as I used my outstretched arm in combination with my pencil to measure. It’s something my studio work just doesn’t require, but it is such a good discipline. Getting back to the basics is good.

En route to and from school, Enrico shared little bits of history with me, including a little chiseled-out profile on the side of the Palazzo Vecchio attributed to Michelangelo himself. He’s said to have whipped it out to prove his identity during the bonfire of the vanities (another story for another time), but how I enjoy seeing little treasures like this. How many times have I walked by this and not ever noticed this?


I can wrap the story up here, as my ill feeling overtook me after lunch. I think all of my dashing around before leaving, jet lag, running around here and the strong coffee finally took over, and I spent the rest of the day in bed, sick. But I slept more than I have in weeks and woke up this morning ready to face more: more art lessons and more Florence. And yes, body, I got the message; I will not push myself so hard. I will remember my rest and dilute my coffee like a good American. And my apologies to all of you food and wine lovers. It’s just crackers and water for me today. I’m not one to tempt the gods to take any more revenge on me.

Cheers, or not,


About Stephanie Schlatter Art

Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. For more than a decade, her journeys have taken her across the globe. She has studied art both locally and abroad, including time in Mexico, where she decided to shift her focus from photography to painting. Stephanie's travels led her to found Absolutely Art: A Project for Change in 2006. Through this non-profit organization, she brings art instruction to the children of Ethiopia while supporting their education. Stephanie's work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction.

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