It's no wonder great artists study in Italy. It's an incredibly inspirational place to be! I can't imagine growing up in a place as beautiful as Venice.

I thought the Venetian glass was beautiful, especially the common use of red. I have recently developed an obsession with dark, rich reds. I want to imitate the Venetian glass with clay. It will be hard to get that much control of the work but I'm going to attempt to get it thin and flowing like the Venetian glass.

I have always loved Monet and would love to produce paintings like his from Venice. His observation of colors is awesome. But I'm not as big a fan of landscapes as he was, so I'm considering doing a series of paintings of people in his style. I love figure studies and really enjoyed some paintings I did last year that focused on skin tones.

Throughout the trip, Brandy Sean and I treated the locals to our lovely singing voices. I would also really like to find a way to incorporate the lyrics/feel of the songs we sang on the trip! Bust a Move, Starships, The Cup Song, etc.

I loved the exhibit in the Beinnale of books. In high school we played with bookmaking but I was never very good at it. I would like to give it another try and include ticket stubs from the trip, photos and various Italian themes. It will be like a very artistic and intense scrapbook!

 
 

This is our last day in Italy! How depressing! Brandy and I opted to sleep in a bit and meet up with the group at the Arsenale Beinnale location... We were a little over confident in our navigation skills, seeing as we spent most of the morning lost! It was fun, despite the anxiety of not meeting up with the group. We made the most of it and saw some beautiful parts of the city we would have otherwise missed!

The Arsenale was interesting and a little too out there for my tastes. There were a lot of videos and digital works that were meant to get a reaction from the viewer. And they definitely did! Unfortunately for me, I was too weirded out to stick around too long in the dark rooms with crazy sounds and lighting.

 
 

Today we visited Padua. It was a train ride from Venice. The ride was longer than I expected and, as usual, I somehow ended up sitting opposite direction of how the train was headed. This did not sit well with my occasional motion sickness. I don't understand how I always always always ended up backwards! I would logically think out where to sit and still end up flying hundreds of miles and hour backwards through the Italian countryside. Ridiculous.

Anyhow, Padua was a simple city that housed the Scrovegni Chapel that Giotto designed. It was a tiny chapel that we were only allowed in for 15 minuets. We had to wait in a detoxing room for 15 min before we were allowed to enter the chapel and see the delicate frescos. It was a beautiful room but I wish there were chairs to sit in so it was easier to look up at the works near the ceiling! I got dizzy and disoriented looking up that high for such a long period of time. It's amazing that the Frescos have stood so long considering how delicate and old they are. What an awesome sight!

Today we visited Padua. It was a train ride from Venice. The ride was longer than I expected and, as usual, I somehow ended up sitting opposite direction of how the train was headed. This did not sit well with my occasional motion sickness. I don't understand how I always always always ended up backwards! I would logically think out where to sit and still end up flying hundreds of miles and hour backwards through the Italian countryside. Ridiculous.

Anyhow, Padua was a simple city that housed the Scrovegni Chapel that Giotto designed. It was a tiny chapel that we were only allowed in for 15 minuets. We had to wait in a detoxing room for 15 min before we were allowed to enter the chapel and see the delicate frescos. It was a beautiful room but I wish there were chairs to sit in so it was easier to look up at the works near the ceiling! I got dizzy and disoriented looking up that high for such a long period of time. It's amazing that the Frescos have stood so long considering how delicate and old they are. What an awesome sight!

After we returned from Padua, some of us took a gondola ride! It was something I just couldn't leave Italy without trying. The guide was friendly enough but I have a funny feeling he was lying about the famous homes we were passing and the extravagant stories he would tell, haha!

 
 

Today we visited the Accedemia and Guggenheim museums. They were drastically different, it was like time traveling between the two. The Accedemia was full of old, renaissance artworks. They were the paintings you see in art books. I appreciate them because they were the stepping stones to art period I'm fond of, such as Impressionism. But I can't say I would like to have any of those paintings in my home.

The Guggenheim was much more my style and in my comfort zone. The artworks were modern. I feel like Peggy Guggenheim and I would have gotten along well. The collection featured Pucasso, Dali, Kandinsky, Pollock, Mondrian and many other awesome artists.

After our museum visits, some of the group went to a beach, Lido and enjoyed some Venetian sand and water. It was a wonderful time!

 
 

Today is the first day in Venice!

We went to see the amazing modern art exhibition, the Beinnale today. It has two locations and represents moder artists from around the world.

This site was so interesting to view, I felt related to the artists and enjoyed seeing all the different mediums and forms of art.

One of my favorites from today was also one of the most simple. It was a "diary" or sorts, of the day. The artist would sit outside all day and observe the sky. He captured the color of the sky hourly with a single brushstroke that was only two to three inches long, about the size of your thumb. I loved the idea behind the artwork as much as I loved the simplicity. The artists name was Brehmer and the piece was named "Himmelfarben" (sky colors). It was very subjective and showed his love of nature.

 
 

Today was a travel day from Florence to Venice. Brandy and I were able to sleep in which was nice considering how early we have been having to get up he past few days. We woke up and packed our bags to check out of the hotel. We were a little late checking out, apparently. But we got all our stuff together and got a cheap lunch before we walked to the Train station with the group. The train ride was long and made me feel a little sick. But Brandy had some Dramamine so I took one of those and it made me feel a little better. Next we got on a water bus to our hotel and settled in.

Brandy and I are convinced our hotel room is haunted. We call it "the ugly stepchild room" because it is a converted attic, with the slanted ceiling and showing beams. We will see how this first nights sleep goes 0.0 eeeek. It is on the third floor with steps that are so steep that you are parallel to the ones ahead of you. One misstep and I would tumble down those stairs without a doubt!

Other than the Harry potter closet, as I like to call it, Venice is beautiful! The streets are small and quaint with stone paths and brick walls. The windows have gorgeous authentic wood shutters and flowers hanging from balconies, just like you see in the movies. I can't wait to ride a gondola!

We got dinner with Ashanta and Emily at a jazz place near the hotel. We didn't want to venture far on our first night. It turned out to be great! The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very homey. I feel like it is a restaurant I would go to regularly back in the states. The quirk about the restaurant is that there were bras hanging all over the ceiling! Lol it was a tradition, the server said. Emily asked what we get if we give them a bra and they said nothing, so we said no bra for you! It was a funny moment. I'm exhausted from the traveling so its time to see how freaked out I get in the Harry potter closet tonight. Wish me luck!

 

Meep :)

07/05/2013

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Oh. My. Gosh. Today was wonderful. So relaxed and gorgeous. We woke up on time again, thank goodness! Ate breakfast which consisted of Nutella on rolls. And walked to The Accedemia to see The David! We sat and sketched at the Accedemia for an hour or so before heading out to the market. Brandy and I got some great leather goods and I practiced my bartering skills! Later we walked and met the group outside the Uffizi Gallery and enjoyed some time catching up. After visiting the Uffizi Gallery Brandy and I walked back to the hotel, and let our feet rest while talking about the trip and looking at photos for hours. We were laughing so hard at the ridiculous candid photos Sean likes to take of us, which usually involve one eye being closed or my tongue sticking out. Haha. After my feet stopped crying in pain we went to go look for notes that one of Brandy's sweet friends had left for her around the city! It sounds like something out of a movie. Hunter (Brandy's friend) sent her clues to where the notes were hidden for her to find. It was a neat idea and kind of reminded me of the "you are beautiful" installments Slagle had told us about earlier. The piazzas were too crowded to properly search for the notes so we decided to head back towards the Uffizi to get dinner overlooking the Arno river. After much walking and scoping out the best restaurant we sat down and enjoyed the breeze and Italian food. I got chicken and mozzarella which was delicious. Oh my goodness. I ate everything on my plate which, if you know me at all, rarely happens. After we got our check paid we walked back over the Ponte Vecchio and watched the sunset over the Arno river. How romantic ;) we enjoyed some gelato and met a nice couple from LA who happened to have relatives in SC. We took turns taking photos of each other and had a nice conversation! There was a wonderful little local band playing on the bridge, they played American songs that reminded me of home and made Brandy and I remember how much we love the states. On the way back from dinner and watching the sunset, we found one of Hunter's notes! It was exciting and sweet to find. Today was a good day. (Ice T reference, anyone?)

 

Meh.

07/04/2013

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This last morning in Rome started out wonderfully! Brandy and I woke up on time, got breakfast and started walking towards the Termini to see the Trevi Fountain! It was a smooth transition getting on and off the metro, and navigating the streets to Piaza Silvestro. We threw our coins into the fountain, then got photos of us pretending to throw the coins (since the photos of us actually tossing them turned out ridiculous looking). After tossing our coins for luck, we passed by some great souvenier shops to peruse the remaining time we had to kill until heading to Florence. We managed to get back to the Metro after some unexpected pit stops (ahem, Caesar) the got us turned around. Everything was going smoothly and we got on and off our stops with no problems!

UNTIL I REALIZED SOMEONE HAD SWIPED MY IPHONE 5. I have to admit, this occurance had my confidence shaken. I was proud of myself for being able to navigate the foreign streets and communicate with the Italians. Somehow, I managed to get pick pocketed, despite the constant warnings and stories I heard for months before take off. How embarassing.

Now, I have little to no contact with family in addition to losing the itenerary I had saved on my phone and hundreds of photos I had taken. What a shame. I'm positive this experience will inspire me somehow, this is a lesson I apparently needed to learn/ an experience that will help me in the future. I'll keep the blog updated as to when I see the silver lining of this stressful experience!

 
 

St. Peter's Basilica is overwhelmingly ornate. Artwork was everywhere. Sculptures were hiding in the walls, elegant moldings and trippy marble designs were constantly catching my eye. Bernini and Michaelangelo are imprinted in my mind.

The Borghese Park was beautiful and open. It was relaxing with water fountains and minimal decoration. The contrast of visiting this low key, scenic landscape was a relief after the sensory overload I experienced at the Basilica.

Experiencing these contrasting surroundings has solidified my draw towards economized, simplistic aspects of life.