Friday, September 17, 2010

Life Drawing

Well, my time is nearly up. Tomorrow it is back on the plane to the US. I leave Ancona at 7am and arrive in Phoenix about 7 in the evening, but will have been traveling over 18 hours. Funny thing crossing the international date line.

We had a lovely Dutch model for our life drawing class, though my skill does not do her justice. I am happy with some of my drawings, but can see I definately need more practice.

Today has been a sort of lay about day. Getting things packed up and ready to go home. Sad to leave this lovely place, John and Jana have been so nice and Thomas, their helper has been great also. By Wednesday I will be back at work and all of this will be a dream....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a lovely first week I've had here. I'm so relaxed I feel like a wet noodle. I've realized I don't have a single key about my person. At home I carry two large keyrings full and here I don't have a single one. My pockets are empty. And my cell phone doesn't work either.

The day goes by in a very leisurly fashion. Breakfast is pretty set, from 8-9 am, continental style, coffee, tea, juice, toast, cereal, yogurt, a soft boiled egg. Then on out to tour a local town, usually with a little break for coffee at mid-morning. John is a great tour guide, he knows all the best ice cream and coffee shops, as well as all sorts of local history. He has taken us to see some amazing art and architecture in the area.

Then painting or drawing until 1:00 when we go for lunch. Italian lunches may last a couple of hours and have several courses. We've been trying to have pizza and beer for lunch for several days but no luck. The locals tell us pizza is not for lunch, but for dinner. Here lunch is the big meal of the and dinner is more of a snack.

Then back to painting until late afternoon when we wend our way back through the mountains to The Retreat. Enough time for a 'lie down' as my new Australian friend Elise calls it, though if we are back early enough there will be cake and coffee. Then dinner at 7 or 7:30.

This little valley has a lot of agriculture, but not like in the US. Here every farmer has just a few acres, with corn, sunflowers or hay, a few grapevines and a garden patch. There is a co-op for wine making and one for olive pressing. At the local wine co-op you can take your own bottles and get your wine for about €1 a litre. That is something like about $6 a gallon. And very nice wine it is, served with lunch and dinner. To night's desert was a dish a bit like jello made with a sparkling wine and with fresh picked blackberries in the bottom of the glass.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beautiful Italy

Well I'm having a lovely time here at The Retreat. We have been drawing and painting everyday with wonderful meals. At the moment I can't upload photos because I can't access the net with my laptop, but maybe we'll get it sorted out tomorrow and you can see a bit of this beautiful country side.

Edit: 9/18/2010 Well sitting in Charlotte, NC waiting for my flight to Phoenix, and actually have a good 'net connection. So here are some of the pictures that should have been with this post!

All the towns here are on the top of the hills. The town here is Force. This was taken from the front yard of the Retreat. The far mountain behind and right of Force is Monte Falconi, or mountain of the falcons. Peregrine falcons nest in the cliffs.  In many ways the people here live much as they did a few hundred years ago. A family have a few acres of farm land, growing grapes, olive, figs, corn, sunflowers, for sale, a garden patch, a few pigs, cows, chickens. About the only differences now are they have electricity and use tractors instead of oxen to plow their fields. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Count Down to Italy!

tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow! Tomorrow morning I will board the plane and while I have to change planes two times before I get there, I will get there!