Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Serious Speed

Saturday was a day at the races, the Formula 1 races at the Monza Autodromo. We went on Saturday because it was cheaper - only 50 Euro (~$70) per general admission ticket and Brandon was free. Not cheap! We saw the F1 qualifying rounds and got an idea of how popular this sport really is! Pictures are posted online here.

I don't think this will ever be a favorite sport of mine... too much waiting around for watching cars go by for a few seconds. You have to admire the techical work it takes to run these cars and the guts it takes for the drivers to drive at those speeds. Incredible.

This morning was also another milestone - I know I keep marking these for some reason - I've been in Italy for five months now. It's been a crazy, wonderful, stressful, interesting five months. So many ups and downs for me personally and for our family. Right now I am a bit weary.

But as I reflected this morning on this, no matter what new stresses and difficulties that this experience brings along with it, it is worth it. I know I am in the right place right now, learning whatever it is I need to learn. It's just a little tiring sometimes.

Emails and letters and care packages and FB posts - those connections with friends and family back home are sooo important. Think of that as you read this blog, think if there's anyone else you know out there far away from home and if there is something you can do to perk them up, let them know you are thinking of them. I don't think you realize how important that can be to someone until you are far away...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Painting without a net

OK, maybe not painting without an actual net. It's not like painting is that dangerous. More like painting without a plan, painting without a drawing. Playing with color and shape and layering paints but not doing a big "painting." That's what I did on Friday night, because I didn't feel like drawing more of the "painting" I had planned and had started to draw. I just wanted to play with some color and see what I could come up with.

I came up with a lot of things I didn't like. But this is just play, right? So I kept playing. And eventually painted this cup, which I did like. I liked the colors and the brushstrokey-ness of it (is that a real word?). When I paint from a photo and a drawing, I feel like I am too precise, too linear. Yeah, people seem to like it but I'm not convinced that's what I want in painting. I like the paintings where you can see the brushtrokes and the paint clumps and know it is a painting!

So, for the last day I've been wanting to paint more tea cups. Play around with what I had learned Friday night. Paint some more without a drawing. Let myself be brushstrokey and see what emerges. I put a tea cup in the window and started to paint. OK, this was not as bright of orange as I wanted. Apparently my beautiful dark red doesn't turn into a beautiful bright orange when mixed with bright yellow. So, learning something about color mixing too... try again. More the color I wanted. Still not quite so bright, more work to do there, but closer.

So, here you have my painting experience for the weekend. Thanks for joining me on this little creative journey I have going. It helps for me to type these things out and solidify the things I'm learning. Oh, and by the way, one more lesson - be sure not to drink the tea you are painting after you've accidentally cleaned your brush in it! Maybe there is something dangerous about painting after all...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where did the week go?

It's gone, disappeared. It wasn't a particularly busy week, it wasn't particularly stressful, but it's gone. It's Friday night and we're going to Formula 1 races tomorrow - I should have some interesting pictures tomorrow! Who knows if we'll be able to see the race very well but it sounds like there are lots of booths, and cars you can see up close, and crazy fans...

Here's a pic from Parco di Monza a couple of weeks ago, a "last hurrah" of summer before Brandon went back to school. The summer is coming to an end... we have cooler days and shorter days. The sun is coming up when I get up and heading down when I head home, fall is on it's way.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Day in Fair Verona

What a wonderful place to visit! Verona is a beautiful city in the Veneto, the area that used to be controlled by Venice when it was a big power. It has a longer history, having been a Roman town and sometimes part of Austria. We were delightfully surprised by this beautiful town just two hours to the east of us. We definitely need to visit again to see more of it, so it will be a place we go when visitors come to see us.

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite to come for a visit.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Painting #3

So, painting #3 is finished. This is Marksburg Castle in the Rhine River Valley. With all of our vacations this has taken a little while to finish!

This painting incorporated some new elements for me... it was larger, for one, at 40cmx50cm (my previous were both 25cmx35cm). It included clouds and trees, new and different. But the biggest difference was that this was of a structure - where perspective and angles and light and shadow were all important. It was a lot more difficult! I think the eye is less forgiving on a structure than an element of nature. While I like how it turned out, I didn't enjoy painting it quite as much as the others. I think I need more nature in there!

I showed it to Rosella, my italian teacher, and she asked me where I learned to do all this. That made me think. I did learn somewhere, didn't I? How and when did that happen?

I guess I learned perspective back in drawing classes in maybe junior high school, we did quite a bit of drawing back then. But I didn't learn a lot about light and shadow from there... I realized that I have learned a lot about light and composition over the last 10 years from photography. Also the scrapbooking/card making I used to do has taught me a lot about color and composition/design. So I'm just pulling together different elements I've learned over time and using them in a different way. I guess it's surprising to others that I had all of this inside me just waiting to come out, but for me it is natural. It just seems to make sense, it feels right.

You never know what life is going to show you...

(PS - I created an album on Multiply where I will add photos of my paintings as they finish. If you want to see them together click here.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Day of School

It is September, and time for school to start! Today was Brandon's first day of school. As I walked him to school, we talked about how he was both excited and nervous. He didn't want me to take pictures of him or hang around, but he allowed a few. Hard to believe it's another year of school starting! I will miss our lazy mornings and not having to wake Brandon up for the day, but it also will be good to get back into a routine again.

Here is Brandon on our walk to school (I forgot to take the "obligatory" photo at our house, so we did one on the walk)
Brandon with his new teacher, Mrs. Partridge. She went on their residential trip last June, so he already knows her.
The class waiting in line, to go in for the first day.
Reconnecting with friends while waiting in line. It's nice that he knows most of the kids in his class!