Tag Archives: artist

An Ethiopian Diary: The Final Days (Seeing Artists’ Souls Through Their Work)


The Ethiopian Odyssey II team at Nahosenay’s studio.

Visiting our friends’ studios is a final highlight in an extremely full trip.

First, our team arrives at the studio of Nahosenay Negussie. Gasps could be heard as we entered. His art so alive and vibrantly beautiful. It is one thing to be painting alongside of someone on the road; it’s quite another to enter his studio, filled with finished pieces. It is here in the studio that the full spectrum of an artist is felt, and Nahosenay does not disappoint.


Nahosenay’s work


On the road, when you’re working, conditions are rough, time is limited and your brain is already stretched to capacity with the sights and sounds swirling around you. But for most artists, the magic happens in the studio. You have time to process all the ideas and have all of your supplies at hand. Seeing inside the studio is a special experience.

Our next stop is Yacob Bizuneh’s studio. Here, our minds were stretched and expanded. Yacob is a very modern, contemporary artist. His paintings are supported with video and are exhibited as installations.


Yacob’s work


His current works on our addiction to technology and the oil barrel workers of the Merkato of Addis Ababa make you think about the price we pay for “advancement” and our dependency on oil. Who pays that price? You can’t leave his studio without introspective thought and a nod of respect to the artist.

An Ethiopian Odyssey II: The Exhibition is going to be as magical as the trip itself and the beauty we beheld — just you wait and see. Troy Zaushny and myself have a high bar to reach for, but I think we are up for it!


Florence, Day 16: Can I Get Any Sympathy? Anyone?


But really, I’m not seeking sympathy at all. The truth is, none is needed. Though I’m full to the brim with information and tired in the bones, I am as happy as a clam here.

Today was my first day with my new teacher, Francesca, and she could not be more lovely. I’m so happy and filled with all the things I love, it’s as if I’m levitating. Still, it’s only 6:20 p.m. as I type this, and, without question, I’m in for the night. One has to pace all this wonderful with plenty of rest and a good book. (Currently reading the second book in the “Outlander” series and loving it!)

Francesca is more relaxed than some in Florence about all of the art “rules.” She is, after all, a painter. Also, she is Florentine and her work is beautiful like a photo. But she does not want to make me her, she says; you have to honor you, do what you like, in the way you like. So here I am, coming up against myself. Art and the making of great art is, after all, like life: Get out of your own way and let it happen. It’s about letting go of fear and trusting the process.

If I am here to learn — and I am — I must try new things. But (said using my hands like any good Italian), I long for my comfort zone. It’s like running with good shoes and shorts and a tank top on a hot summer day versus running with weights on your wrists and ankles in heavy sweats. One is more comfortable; the other might train you better. So here I am with the weights on and sweats, um, sweating it out so to speak.

I like Francesca and she has ideas to challenge me more, so I anticipate more sweat. Stay tuned “As the World Turns” or, OK, I really don’t have anything that dramatic, just some personal growth here. That is, after all, what I came for!