The Slow but Noticeable Progress in my Drawing

The last few classes and open drawing sessions, we have been working on contours, still haven’t quite got it, and proportion, which after a rocky start of attempting to comprehend the notion of using my pencil as a measuring tool, I think I have finally begun to get the hang of it. On another note, reflective of my previous post, I am still convinced I made the right decisions. Dropping drawing would have been terrible and I don’t think I would have forgiven myself had I actually dropped it. John probably wouldn’t have either, but now we are able to joke about it in class, much to my relief, and it has given him another reason to pick on me. He still remains as cynically encouraging as ever.

Go ahead and laugh at this one, I know I do every time I look at it. (Contour attempt)ImageProportions:ImageImageMy Attempt at the famous “The Rape of the Sabine Women” by Sculptor Giambologna:ImageThese next ones show the step by step process we learned today incorporating everything we have learned to this point to compose the figure. Gesture -> Contour -> Full Figure:

ImageImageThen there was this crazy contour reversal/retracing/impression/transfer of the soft lead to the good paper to create a light outline from which we were to build off of to make our final figure. No pictures and not necessarily the best explanation. Oh well, heres the final product:ImageWith a little bit more practice, I’ll soon be the next Picasso. Ciao!

 

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Posted in Drawing | 2 Comments

The Feeling That Comes With A Good “WOO!”

The four days leading up to Wednesday were some of the most stressful of my life. I do not think I have ever been more scatterbrained and flustered. The reason for my all-over-the-place mental state was because Wednesday was the final day to drop/add classes for the semester, and I had had a previous revelation while on the field trip to the Medici villas that, as far as art in general is concerned, I really have very little interest, if any, in any other medium except for photography. We were walking around in the top floor of one of the villas, which had been turned into a sort of museum with a collection of still life paintings that the Medici family had owned when I had my revelation. As I listened to Helen talk about each still life in overwhelming detail, I could not help but allow the background chatter of my friends reach my ears. “Oh look at that one, the grapes look so real that you could probably pull them off and eat them!” “Look at how the neck of that dead chicken bends in such an (enter artistic word here) way, how incredible.” But the one that caused the panic lights to go off in my head and caused me to question my reasons for being here in Florence was when one girl made the bold statement that, “The Dutch still-life’s are better than the French still-life’s.” I thought to myself, ‘what the hell does she even mean? How can she tell the difference? All I can see at the moment is a painting of a bunch of flowers. I am not inspired by these at all!’ With those being the first thoughts to run through my head, I began to question if I had made the right decision coming here in the first place.

I had declared studio art as my major at the beginning of last year, but really only because I want to pursue photography. High Point is not big enough, especially in the art department, to offer a specific photography major so the closest I could get to one was studio art. I had never drawn, or painted seriously and just about every other kid here at SACI had taken all sorts of art classes prior to their coming to Florence. I had not taken any besides photography and as far as High Point and the requirements for a studio art major was concerned, I had taken all of the photo classes possible already. I was done with photography. As soon as I figured that out, I started to panic. I had committed to a year of art school in Florence, pretty much the art capital of the world, I do not enjoy art and I didn’t sign up for any photo classes this semester because they would not benefit my major! What was I thinking?!?! Ok, so maybe it was not that bad, but that was my initial reaction.

For the rest of the trip, and the ride back, I had a whole bunch of different thoughts running through my head. Unfortunately, most of them were aimed negatively towards art. I thought about switching majors and whether that would be a plausible thing to do this far along in college and if I were to change then what would I change to? I have considered for a long time now following in the footsteps of my mother and grandfather and becoming a teacher in either the English or History departments and so I thought maybe I would major in one of those two areas. However, because I was planning on being in Florence for a year, how would I graduate on time if I changed majors now? I am at a school that offers roughly three courses outside of the artistic world and I was already taking one of them, creative writing. If I were to change majors either one of two things would have to happen.  I would either have to come home after one semester, which is something that I really wouldn’t want to do because I love it here in Florence. Or if I stayed, I would have to come to grips with the fact that I would be unable to graduate in four years. I would have to wait until I got home to change majors and then I would have to take all of the required courses for my new major and that would take more than two semesters. Neither of these options eased my mind in the slightest. I began to really stress myself out.

That night I skyped with Will “The Jet ski” and explained to him my predicament. I was reluctant to tell anyone at school how I was feeling because one, I was still unsure of my emotions and two, I didn’t want to potentially excite anyone at the though of me coming home early. I failed in both of those fields in one video chat session. Although, Will was very excited at the thought of me coming home early, he helped me to try and think logically through my options so that I would ultimately make the decision based on what I, and I alone, wanted to do. After our chat was over, I think I felt slightly less stressed but the lights were still going off and I was still very high strung.

Next was a skype appointment with the parentals.  That one didn’t go much better. Well that’s sort of a lie, but it didn’t fix everything.  I explained to them my situation and how I was feeling and they gave me similar advice. Advice you would expect to hear from parents but with a slight twist I guess you could say. They told me to not worry about fitting into the “graduate college in four years mold.” They reminded that I was twenty years old, IN ITALY, with an opportunity to stay for a full academic year and that I shouldn’t be worried about the next seventy to eighty years of my life. Given the longevity of life in my family, I think everyone is hoping I make it to the big 100! I know I am! They told me that I should be taking the courses I want to take, and not necessarily that I felt I had to take to meet my major requirements.  I will never get this opportunity again and that I should not sell myself short because I am worried about how everything will play out as far as credits and majors and graduating is concerned. They told me not to worry; I will get my degree, in whatever subject I choose, in however long it takes. If I come home and change my major they so be it, change it and then we’ll worry about that when we get there. As far as academia was concerned, they told me to take whatever classes I wanted to take while I was here in Italy, that includes photography if I wanted to and anything else that struck my fancy. I felt slightly less anxious after we ended the call but now I had a different swirl of thoughts swimming around in my head.

For the next three days, up until Tuesday night, I was content although still not sold with the thought that I would not be graduating in four years. I had made my decision to stay in Florence for the year. That was an easy one to make. However, I was still having trouble swallowing the consequences. I hadn’t dropped any classes yet but I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I was planning on dropping Early Renaissance Art History, because I really have no interest in the subject matter even though I love Helen and admire her knowledge and I would still have to go back senior year and take Art History one and two if I continued down the studio art path, which I still have to decide. I was also doing to drop Drawing because I have no desire to improve on my drawing ability, but in doing so I would be prolonging my college career with that one drop, because beginning drawing is a perquisite needed to take painting, which as far as progression with my degree is concerned, would set me back at least one semester. In dropping those two classes, I would have the ability to pick up three because Early Renaissance counted as two classes. I was going to add a photo class, I wanted to add Black and White Photo so I could get back into the darkroom but that would conflict with my sculpture class, and I was going to add Italian because I am going to be here for another semester, would like to at least have some knowledge of the language so that maybe I could converse with some local ladies, or at least with people in the market. Drop Drawing and Early Renaissance, that was the plan that seemed to sit well in my head. I skyped again with my parents Tuesday night and they backed me on my decision, again telling me not to worry about time “constraints.” It was finally settled but I still went to bed that night not entirely sold on my decision.

Wednesday morning came straight out of a movie, or so it felt. I woke up and it was pouring, of course. I dressed in all black, and prepared to make my way through the rain to SACI, to attend the murder and funeral of my schedule. “Play Crack The Sky” by Brand New was the first song to come on shuffle as I walked out of the door to my apartment. How fitting I thought, that the song that I shed tears to the day before I left to come to Florence be the song to start the day that I have dreading so much. No tears were shed.  I walked into Elizabeth’s office (the woman at the registrar) and I told her that she would probably hate me. She said she wouldn’t and then she asked if I was there to change my schedule. I told her yes. I sat down and then things happened very quickly. I dropped Drawing, Early Renaissance, and Sculpture. I added Color Photography, Black and White Photography and Italian 1. I breathed a sigh of relief; I had finally made a decision, and thanked Elizabeth for helping me out and she told me that I would have until 4:30 to make any changes. I left SACI and the rain had lightened up a bit and I made my way through the quiet streets back to my apartment. I had made my decision but something in me didn’t feel quite right. I sat in my apartment for roughly 45 minutes and then went back to SACI. I walked back into Elizabeth’s office with the biggest puppy-dog face I could muster. I dropped Black and White Photo, and re-added sculpture. I enjoyed everything about that class too much to drop it for a second photo class of the semester, especially one that I had already taken. I could always take Black and White next semester and I had already started my sculpture project, which was going well and I wanted to finish it. Finally, my decisions were made and as I walked out of SACI, for a second time, “Alright” by Darius Rucker started playing in my ears. I took that as a sign.

I had my first Italian class at noon and so I prepared to be thrown head-over-heels into a language class that had been meeting for two and a half weeks, taking a language that I only knew very select phrases of. I found out that there was a quiz on Thursday. Great, that’s the way to get off on the right foot, I thought. However, I picked up a lot very quickly and the quiz was only going to be on adjective endings, which are incredibly easy because they are so similar in every language it seems. Just look at the noun before the adjective and ninety percent of the time, they will end in the same letter. I left the class very excited to continue pursuing it over the course of the semester. The rest of the day went as planned with sculpture at one, I am very happy that I didn’t drop it, I really do enjoy it, and creative writing at 4:45, where Blair was not happy to hear that I dropped drawing, but she had no choice but to accept.

Unfortunately as the evening progressed, the feelings of uneasiness found their way back into my head, and I couldn’t help but question my motives for dropping drawing. I had felt all day, like I quit on the class when I shouldn’t have. I expressed this to some of the other kids in my sculpture class and Kayee couldn’t help but laugh while she watched me react to John, the drawing professor and also the intermediate and advanced sculpture professor, talk about how he had some of the sculpture kids in his class, “like Chris” he said. He always comes in during the beginning sculpture class because his class meets right after ours. Little did he know, at that moment, I was no longer in his class. I tormented myself all sculpture class long because I love John to death, I enjoy being in his class and when I thought about it, I didn’t really have a good reason for dropping the class. However, it was too late to switch. It was past 4:30 so I would have to live with my decision.

Good thing I had another skype appointment with my parents so that they could hear about what I had done in the morning. During our talk that night I expressed how I was unsure about my decision to drop drawing but how it was past the deadline so there was nothing I could do. I talked about how I thought I quit on the class and how that feeling had eaten away on me all day long and how now I wished I could change my decision. Elizabeth had said during the second time I was in her office, that if I wanted it, drawing would still fit in my new schedule. Unfortunately, at that point I guess I was just being stubborn in the way that I had finally made a decision and didn’t want to analyze it. Well I was wrong, I didn’t want to drop drawing, so while I was talking with my parents I formulated an email to Elizabeth, explaining how I was feeling and asking her if there was anything she could do to put me back in the drawing class. I sent the email at eleven at night so I would have to wait until the morning for a response. I hoped for the best.

The next morning, I had my first color photo class with Romeo, the photo professor who I have heard so much about. There are two of us in the class. The other student, a girl named Arum, had previously worked it out with Romeo that she would not be in class. “That is the nice thing about having such a small class,” Romeo said, “if you need the time for something else, just let me know and we can work around it because we can get so much more done so much faster with just the two of you.” Romeo showed me the ropes and gave me my assignment for the first project, which is what I had already missed, put together ten edited photos of my first impressions of Florence. That’ll be easy, I already had had it done before I was in the class. Then he asked me to put together a small portfolio of my past work, easy again, and finally he gave me my next project, which is to photograph people in crowds and have ten edited photos by class on Tuesday. This is easy again because Florence is constantly filled with tourists so finding crowds is no problem. I know I am going to like this class a lot.

In the five minutes that I have from the end of photo, to walk down the hall to my Italian class, I opened my computer to check to see if Elizabeth had responded and there was her name right at the top of the inbox. Moment of truth I thought as I clicked on the email.  This is what I read, “When students warn me ahead of time, I do make the exception and would normally give you until 10:00AM today to come in and sign the form. However, I noticed that you have Color Photo + Italian. Italian ends at 12:50. If I do not see you by 1:30pm TODAY, you will NO LONGER be able to add Drawing. So please stop by AS SOON AS ITALIAN ENDS.” A wave of relief swept over me immediately, and as soon as my Italian ended I was off to the SACI main building to take care of business. I passed Blair on the way and she flipped me the bird, I couldn’t help but smile back because I knew I had a surprise for her. I walked into Elizabeth’s office AGAIN and as I was signing the form to pick up drawing again, Kathy walked across the hall from the drawing room to tell me that John was talking to the intermediate drawing class about me and how I dropped the class and how he would miss me. I looked across the hall and there was John, standing in the doorway, looking right at me and he waved me over. I quickly thanked Elizabeth and apologized profusely, I’m sure she hates me, and guiltily trudged over to the drawing room.  I looked at John, explained quickly what had been going through my mind and then told him that I had just picked up drawing again. I received a round of applause from the intermediate class. Many of which, if not all of, are friends of mine, including Ben, Jacob, Kayee among others, and they all know that drawing isn’t necessarily my thing but everyone at SACI is so wonderfully supportive of everyone else that they just want to see me improve which is very nice.  I told John that I would see him at four for our field trip to draw the statues underneath the loggia in Palazzo Vecchio, and that I was happy with my decision to come back. He agreed and told me that he would see me at four. As I walked out the door I could feel the urge building and once I got out into the street I let out a resounding “WOO!” that bounced of the buildings down Via Sant’Antonino. I had done the right thing and this time I was sure of it.

Posted in Creative Writing, Drawing, Early Renaissance Art History, Experiences, Italian, Photography, Sculpture | 1 Comment

The Fantastic Four

After the completion of just two weeks, I have already been on four fantastic field trips with the all-knowledgeable Helen. Two have been required class trips, outside of the designated class time, for my Early Renaissance Art History class: Baptistery/San Miniato and Ravenna. One trip occurred during the second time our Early Renaissance class met: a tour of the interior of the Duomo. And yesterday I went on a trip to Vinci and to visit some of the Medici Villas in the greater-Florence area. The trip yesterday was required for students in the High Renaissance Art History class but just as every other field trip for any of the classes, it is open to anyone who wants to go, provided there is still room on the bus. This will be the longest post about field trips because I am going to cover four in this one post. Hopefully I can keep up with every trip from now on and I will be able to post posts about individual trips, as to not bore you to death.

The first trip of the year came on the day before my birthday, September 7th, and on the first friday of the semester as well as the second overall day of class. I don’t have class on fridays, so the only thing I needed to worry about was making it to the Baptistery by 2:45 sharp. I had walked by the Duomo and the Baptistery many times since I had first arrived in Florence but this was the first time that I would be getting to go inside. We had learned in class the day before, that the Baptistery was one of the most significant buildings in Florence. It was built for Florence’s Patron Saint, John the Baptist, and it was constructed in such a way that it reflected the glory of Florence. Many Florentines, including Brunelleschi, the man who constructed the dome of the Duomo, had thought the Baptistery to be an Ancient Roman Temple, modelled after the Temple of Mars. It also is very similar in design to the famous Pantheon in Rome. The architect of the Baptistery is unknown but whoever they were, they were able to put together a very impressive building.

The Baptistery itself is a conglomerate mass of many different styles and ideas. It shows a revival of ancient Roman style hence why people believed it was in fact an Ancient Roman Structure. The Baptistery was built during the Romanesque period, where there was a revival of art across Europe, and many styles were combined forming a sort of “melting pot.”   It was built in the shape of an octagon because the number eight has a very significant in Christianity. The number eight is associated with the eight days between Christ’s death and his resurrection. This makes sense because the actual act of Baptism symbolizes renewal and rebirth. Some of the styles that are visible in the Baptistery are: Ancient Roman (structural),  Classicism (color scheme and decoration), Islamic (floor patterns and corner stripes, similar to Mosques), Pagan (zodiac calendar on the floor), and Byzantine East (in the mosaic roof). I am considering writing my term paper for Helen and my Early Renaissance Art History class on the Baptistery.

The second half of the trip was spent at San Miniato, a Early Christian church situated on a hill top looking over all of Florence. The Church was beautifully decorated both inside and out but what really captivated me was the view. It also had a beautiful cemetery. This portion of the trip can be explained better in pictures…

The next day, my birthday, was our trip to Ravenna. You have already read about my long night entering my birthday, but to reiterate, I had to wake up at 6 am to meet the bus for departure at 7am after only sleeping roughly three hours because I was out celebrating my departure from teenage years. I got on the bus and was out like a light. After my breakfast of champions, chocolate donuts, coke and a mountain dew energy drink thing, I was wired enough to be ready for whatever Helen had to throw at me. Again, as you already know, we arrived at our first stop and I make the depressing discovery that I did not have the battery in my camera, that I had left it in the charger, next to my bed, fully charged. Later in the trip it hit me that I would be coming back here next semester so that not having my camera was not the end of the world. So for a complete trip explanation accompanied by pictures, unfortunately, you will have to wait until next semester. For now you will just have to deal with me highlighting some of the cool things we saw and coming up with your own images in your head. Like I said previously, Ravenna was an incredible birthday present, from the extravagant churches to the city itself to the fantastic gelato, I could not have asked for much more.

In the Museo Arcivescovile, we got to see the throne of Bishop Maximen, which was constructed out of 100% Ivory. It was amazing to see all of the small intricate detail work in the irony. I couldn’t help but think that I would not have been able to fit on the seat of the throne. It just looked too small. The throne was given as a gift to Bishop Maximen by Emperor Justinian in the early sixth century, and it still remains almost as it was then, today. Perhaps the biggest, in size and impressiveness, highlight of the Ravenna trip was San Vitale. Similar in design to the famous Hagia Sophia, San Vitale was filled with some of the most beautiful mosaics that I have ever seen. I recommend looking up San Vitale on google images in order to get an idea of what I am talking about (Unless you’d like to wait and see my pictures in a few months). Next to San Vitale stands the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. We entered through the draped off doors and it was very dark. However, once my eyes began to adjust to the light I realized that what I was looking at were not just dull mosaics but in fact incredibly detailed and beautifully preserved mosaics that had to be protected from the light in order to keep them as pristine as possible. The mosaics that I was casually observing have remained on the ceiling of the mausoleum since they were constructed there in the mid fifth century. After we left the mausoleum, we walked back through Ravenna to see DANTE’S TOMB! We got to see the place where, beneath all that stone, DANTE’S BODY IS ACTUALLY LOCATED!! A born Florentine, Dante was exilled and spent the end of his life in Ravenna. It was very cool! Once we paid our respects to Dante, (Ben kissed his tomb, can someone say devotion!) we went into the church of San Francesco, where there is a crypt “perpetually invaded” by water that has goldfish swimming around in it. After that we were nearing the end of our Ravenna trip but Helen had one more stop for us: Sant’Apollinare in Classe. Everyone was exhausted when we entered te church and there were even a few people who fell asleep while sitting in the pews listening to her explain the, again fantastic and awe inspiring, mosaics that were located all along the interior of the basilica. I recommend looking this up as well. As we left we were glad that we had survived such a long day with helen and were ready to sleep on the bus back to Florence which I was able to do very successfully.

On the second day of class, monday the 10th, we took a class field trip into the interior of the Duomo. My first reaction to the inside was one of slight confusion. I figured that because the outside of the Duomo was so unfathomably beautiful, that the interior must be much the same right? Well, I was wrong. Yes, the interior as far as size goes (The Duomo is the third longest church in the world), was very impressive, but the whitewashed walls and the lack of splendor inside threw me for a loop. The Duomo was built to again show off the glory of Florence and to compete with nearby cities such as Pisa, who Florence was very competitive with. One interesting thing that I learned about the construction of the Duomo was that it was started on my birthday, because it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and she and I happen to share a birthday! How cool is that! The bubonic plague occurred during the building process of the Duomo and even though that caused most cities to cut back on projects, Florence actually enlarged the project. The arches in the interior if the Duomo are so large that during construction, metal tie rods were put in for support. The Duomo is actually the third church to be built on the site and we were able to go underneath the floor to view the ruins of the other churches that were there prior to the Duomo. We saw ruins from the two previous churches dedicated to Saint Reparata and then even some ruins from old Ancient Roman houses that predated the churches! There was a beautiful layout that showed very clearly the locations and the designs of previous churches and I was really able to get a feel of what had been on the site before the Duomo.

Yesterday we travelled to Vinci to visit a museum dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions. There were models of many of his inventions and it was really incredible to think about how far ahead of his time he really was. Models that looked very similar to the cars, boats, tanks and even airplanes that we know so well in today’s world. After the museum we got back on the bus to drive the two kilometers to the house where Leonardo was born. No big deal right? When we got to Leonardo’s house, there was a wedding/vow renewal thing going on in his front yard so we had to wait until that was over before we could walk around the site and actually visit his house. His house, as many were during that time was very plain and simple. We paid our respects and were soon on our way to visit a couple of the Villas owned by the Medici family. Those were not very plain and simple. We visited Poggio a Caiano, the famous Medici Villa built for Lorenzo the Magnificent in the 1480’s. The only comparison I have to these Villas was that it was similar to walking around the mansions in Newport, Rohde Island. Even that comparison though is a longshot. The building was so impressive with its wall covering frescoes and fancy schmancy everything that it was wild to think that this was just a “summer home.” This specific villa was also the first villa to have a terrace but around the outside so that Lorenzo could have a view of the surrounding countryside. Inside the Villa there was the family tree of the Medici family and I was blown away by the number of people there were on it, especially those with little crowns or symbols above their names noting their royalty/political klaut, Popes, Dukes, Grand Dukes, they seemed to have so many of each. I wished I was a Medici family member, but only for a little bit. We arrived at our next Medici Villa, Castello, and there we walked around in the lavish garden, the oldest surviving Medici formal garden. The garden set the president for other gardens including the famous Boboli gardens in Florence. The villa itself belongs to a private institution so therefore we were not able to visit the inside. We then made the walk up a seemingly endless hill, where Helen just motored along leaving us all to eat her dust (I am beginning to think that she is a robot), to the final villa that we would be seeing on the trip, Petraia. From the front garden we were able to get a beautiful overlook of the city of Florence. That Dome stands out above everything! Inside the front door is a huge open area with a glass ceiling that was used as a ballroom. The walls are covered with floor to ceiling frescoes and because the villa was used as a hunting lodge for the Medici’s, there were plenty of heads of animals, mainly deer, on plaques on the walls. We toured the lavish rooms and again all I could think about was the interior of the Newport mansions. We returned back to Florence around seven, but not before we took a group shot of everyone with rolled up pants.

Posted in Early Renaissance Art History | 1 Comment

My First Three Creative Writing Pieces

These are my first pieces for my Creative Writing class. I presented the first two on Wednesday and both seemed to be well received  The third I will be presenting on monday because I wrote it yesterday afternoon. The first is a short piece I wrote while I was travelling in Italy with my mother and my brother, before moving in to my apartment. I wrote it after I watched the people in the city of Perugia react to the first rain they had had in months.

Perugia, August 26th, 2012

And then the rain came. Like a million little arrows, each drop hurtled through the air towards the earth, driving all of the people into the nearest small shop or bit of shelter they could find. There the people waited, uncertain of what to do as the rain came down faster and heavier. It had not rained in months and it was if the people had become afraid of the grey clouds rolling across their previously pristine blue sky. The people quickly abandoned the open streets, and as they frightfully at each other, the clouds connected and the thunder shook the surrounding buildings. Bolts of white lightning streaked across the sky and the families held their children closer and hushed their muffled cries. The rain, which brought life and relief in it’s pockets, had frozen the people. They had become accustomed to the heat and the sticky humid air, which filled their lungs from sunup to sundown. With open arms, only one welcomed the heavy unrelenting rain. The sheltered men, women, and children watched inquisitively, longingly, as one young boy, walked into their view. As his eyes met theirs, he answered their unspoken questions with a smile. He turned up the deserted streets, his clothes wet and heavy, and with his two bare feet, he splashed playfully through the nearest puddle.

Florence, September 12th, 2012

Initial Thoughts

Standing naked in my room

Today is a silk boxer kind of day.

Sliding open the drawer

“Naughty”, “Big Dipper”, “Shamrocks”, No.

Today is a silk boxer kind of day.

There is a sizable rip at the bottom of the crotch

The faces of the two previous owners run through my mind.

I have never been so far, yet so close, to my two best friends.

Today is a silk boxer kind of day.

Florence, September 13th, 2012

Florence, September 13th, 2012

I have grown up with the wind.

A very dear friend

shaping and molding me

as it would the dunes on the beaches

that I call home,

Whipping and tearing at my face,

when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath

on my sandy shores.

Sweeping pine needles from our paths,

as we walk home together.

Barefoot.

Or rushing past us

like a game of tag.

You’re it.

I will never catch this tangible phenomenon

Yet I will

be able to gift it to my children.

The sounds carried by its rolling waves

have been locked inside my head.

And when I lie down

in the darkness.

I am comforted

by its lyricless song.

Feedback is much appreciated seeing as these are all works in progress…. That means you mom!

❤ Ciao!

Posted in Creative Writing | 1 Comment

My Other Two Firsts

I have now had all of my classes that I will be taking each semester at least once. As much as I enjoyed my Early Renaissance Art HIstory class with the lovely Helen, and my drawing foundations class with the entertaining and light-hearted John Taylor, I don’t think they will be any match to my other two classes, sculpture and creative writing.

I had my first sculpture class on Monday and our Professor, Dario, got us started right away. He didn’t seem to care for the syllabus all that much and we breezed through it. He gave us a brief tour of the studio, making sure to point out where the tools we would need for the class were located. He explained that our grade for the semester would be given after the completion of two projects, one additive where we would be working with clay to ultimately make a plaster mold and the second being a subtractive method where we would be carving a soft material. The first project is known as a Bas-relief was to be modelled after a picture of a famous painting. We would were allowed to choose from a large stack of these photographs that Dario had on the table and he told us that we shouldn’t necessarily copy the image directly, but that we should use it as inspiration and change the composition slightly to make it our own. The second project would give us the opportunity to sculpt anything we would like. I already have a few ideas swimming around. We had to start the first project by creating an inch thick sizable slab of clay which for me was very easy.

Next thing we knew, Dario was nowhere to be found. He had told us that the Italian way of teaching is different than the English way of teaching in the way that in the States there is are set steps to follow and the teacher helps the students through each one, while in Italy the teach almost expects the student to get to the finish line by themselves. He told us he would be teaching us with a mixture of the two. I guess this was a glimpse of the Italian portion. I figured that the next step would be then to draw my image on the clay slab so that I could have an idea of where to put the clay and I wouldn’t just casually throw globs of clay onto my base. This is the image I chose:

This image doesn’t give me much to go off of but I plan to have sort of a street setting with the figure peeking out from around the street corner. I only have a window drawn so far but I’ll get there. I may end trashing that idea and sticking more to the image but if I do that I would like to go into more detail on the square portions and make them into more of a rock shape so it looks more like a cave. I need to decide soon though!

Yesterday for class we took a field trip to Michelangelo’s House, no big deal right?, I had already been there during my travels but it was much nicer the second time around listening to Dario talk about how Michelangelo had gone about creating each piece we saw. It gave me a new perspective on the different pieces.

After my first sculpture class concluded, I was itching to find out what my creative writing class would be like. I had only taken one prior creative writing class, during my senior year of high school, so I was anxious to get back into that mindset. Plain and simple, our professor is the man! His name is Lee Foust, and he gave us pretty much every detail of his life story on the first day. I was hooked by the first detail he gave shared with us. He grew up in Walnut Creek, California which is where one of my favorite bands, The Story So Far, is from. He explained that after he finished school he had three thousand dollars worth of travelers checks saved up and that his plan was to move to Europe, write a novel and never come back. He ended up living on the streets of Amsterdam for nine month, oh how plans change. He then returned to the states went to NYU to get his Doctorate and then when they sent him to Europe to write his thesis, that’s when he never came back. He has been teaching in Italy for the last twenty years with assorted programs throughout the country. He teaches classes for Elon, Cal-State schools, and Syracuse to name a few and he commutes to Bologna twice a week to teach composition there as well.

When reviewing the syllabus he explained that the “assignments” for the workshops were simply just suggestions if we could not come up with anything to write about off the top of our head. He said that as long as we brought something to contribute to the workshops then we could write about whatever we wanted in any form we preferred. I thought this was fantastic because I had been hoping to expand on my poetry writing ability over this class/semester, and this open ended style would give me the freedom needed to do that. We went around the circle giving quick introductions about who we were and our past experience with creative writing. Thank you mom for allowing me to say that because of you, my life has basically been one big living breathing creative piece. Then class was over. I am very excited for this progression of this semester because I have four awesome classes accompanied by four fantastic professors. Now it is my job to take advantage of that and perform to the best of my ability in each. Thanks for reading, Ciao!

Coming Soon: Field Trips, First Creative Writing Pieces, and any other worthy adventures…

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Drawings From Class The Next Day: I Started To Figure It Out

Three Poses, One SheetThree Poses, One Sheet

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My First: Gesture (misinterpreted), Contour, and Full Figure Drawings Ever!

First Open Drawing SessionFirst Open Drawing Session

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