Tag Archives: comfort zones

Florence, Day 17: Awaiting My Sweetie

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Art, food, wine, coffee, museums, history … fKeep it coming, Florence! I’m loving it!

I’m a bit baffled that it has already been 17 days. Time does indeed fly. My husband is en route to join me as I type this, and I am truly excited about that.

Being in the moment is the only cure for time flying. You really only have right now. Right now, I’m sitting in my freshly cleaned (if a bit wilted) apartment, with a pleasant warm breeze floating in as day turns to night. I can see a magnificent sky as the sun contemplates setting. I’m enjoying a glass of Chianti and dark chocolate, thinking about making that Caprese salad I’m going to enjoy in a bit, with basil I’ve been growing on my windowsill. I had hopes of cooking while I was here, but why? The food out there is too good and easy to come by, so rarely do I eat at home.

Tomorrow night I will take my love to either the Piazza Michelangelo or Fiesole to watch this grand display and let someone else prepare the food. Tonight, however, I will rest up; before you know it, I will be a “tour guide” sharing “my” city with my sweetie.

But it is not my city. I’m just an admirer here, a passerby, like so many who come here to Florence to study, to visit and to let the extreme grandeur of its past wash over our present in hopes of making a better tomorrow. That is why we come, to brush elbows with a truly epic time in history when some of the world’s all0time greatest minds were here in this, not-so-big Tuscan town. In the span of just over 200 years, this city, truly — without putting them on this pedestal I warn of — was home to genius. Dante, Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Giotto, Donatello and Botticelli to name just a few. Poets, writers, painters, sculptors and all artists have been drawn here ever since. So does the city rub off on you? Of course. But still, it is a pilgrimage. You have to remember, everywhere you go, there you are.

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To the far left, that tiny figure sitting along the wall — that’s me, working!

So today, there I was. I’m still more a studio painter than a plein air one. There is nothing like being outside, but it is more difficult — to get comfortable, to have what you need, to work with ease. Francesca is a great teacher and she pushes me.

Today we went to the Arno to paint the river and the Ponte Vecchio. We alternated between the view along the edge of the river and the comfort of the park nearby.

I don’t, I feel, do my best work in plein air. It’s ideas, feelings; I’m planting the seeds of that will sprout later in my studio. But it was lovely, a “romanticized” thing to do, to sit along the River Arno and create.

I’m working differently here; the architecture of a city and the smaller sizes require more detail, more study. It is, after all, the Florentine way. Francesca, though, is all about the feeling and less concerned about detail, a perfect way to wrap up my Florence study.

Tomorrow I am off from “school” to pick up my hubby at the airport and settle him in. I will take a few more breaks from blogging as well. For everything there is a season.

As I sit here reflecting, I wonder, what were the trips that changed or most influenced you? I know there are many stories out there because places are like people — they affect you!

The sky tonight from my apartment!

The sky tonight from my apartment!

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

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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!