Thursday, May 28, 2009


In lieu of keeping a sketchbook, which I am absolutely terrible at, I have been doing little sketch paintings on gessoed watercolor paper.  Just people I have met, quick studies.  Thought I would post a couple.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today I got up at 5 to watch the sunrise.  I have never done that before, and seeing that I have only a week left of being in this gorgeous landscape, I thought I should take it all it.  
I guess it was like reading a book for the second time, or rewatching a movie.  You already know what is going to happen, even the sequence of events.  I knew what was going to happen, the sun was bound to come up.  But in the instant it rose to the horizon, it took my breath away.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

African Party

On Friday night, we attended the 50th birthday party of our friend Alberto.  Alberto, a carbon copy of Tony Shaloub, decided he wanted to make his festa African themed.  He has spent a lot of time in Africa and has started a foundation to help African children. 
He had indicated to me weeks ago that to come to the African party, we must dress in African attire.  Well, first I thought that this was the most politically incorrect party I will have ever attended.  And then worried that I didn't have anything African.
Meema, the woman that I am living with, hooked Michelle and I up with awesome outfits.  We both wore big African necklaces and African cloth as shawls.  She even had this hat with beaded braids that I wore.  Meema wore an African dress, jingly huge jewelry and a turban.  I even corn-rowed Michelle's hair.  All this time, I felt that we would be shot on the way to this party.  A bunch of whities dressed up like Africans--not a good plan.
But as we approached the party (which by the way was held in their home, a beautiful villa in Impruneta, right outside of Florence) we saw huge canopies made with African drapery.  We were told where to park by someone in a galabiyya.  There were turbans and hijabs galore, and beaded headwear and jewelry.  If you were not in an outfit (about 5 out of 200 people), you definitely stood out.
In the canopies were silken pillows and cushions to sit on.  Belly dancers performed every hour.  Unlimited wine and food.  The Italians can't help being Italian when it comes to the food so there was Tuscan bread, salami and cheese.  Yet they did manage to fix some Morrocan food like meat with prunes and arabic rice with peppers.  
There was a couple of women singers that sang songs like "It's Raining Men".  Italians, even the ones that speak zero english, somehow sing with perfect pronunciation.  They also break out in line dancing at times, no matter what song is playing.  It was a blast.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Painting

This painting is of this old man I saw in Panzano, which is a neighboring village of Greve.  Here, basket-weaving is a skill that is primarily done by men.  I think what attracted me to paint him was his extremely yellow apron.  He was surrounded by the beige of the reed and the table was covered in burlap.  But that yellow really jumped.  I talked to him a couple days ago when I saw him at a market in Greve, and told him I painted him.  He didn't seem to understand, and I figured it was my terrible Italian.  So Mimma, the woman I am staying with, helped out with the explanation and he kissed my cheeks.  
His first name is Fagioli, which is Bean in Italian.  I think that will become the title--Bean.  Anyway, this gallery owner from Greve came by and wants it in her gallery!!  So in the next couple days once it dries, I will move it there.  Exciting!!
Sorry about the glare, that is the reason for the two angles. . . 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Progression pt. 5

So, today blocked in some background and underpainted the hair.  I still have to work taking the blue out of the face but that can wait.  Also have started a new painting, 100 x 150 cm.  Hopefully that one will come together as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progression pt. 4

So as the face dries a little, I block in some hair and shirt.  This, in total, has taken about 2 and a 1/2 hours.  Also testing some color for the background. . . 

Progression pt. 3

Okay, so from that point I lost a lot of the initial darks and some of the drawing.  So going back in and redarkening eyes, and so forth.  I also have to consciously blend more.  I have found in doing commissions of young children, parents don't seem to like it when they have random blotches on their skin.  Who'd have thought? So, to appease them, I HAVE TO BLEND!  At least a little.  I also notice that I got way to blue, so once this dries, I will have to work on covering some of the blue.  Parents don't like when their child is half smurf either.  They are worst than brides.

Progression pt.2

Then on to the half tones, trying to lighten it up, and introduce actual 'skin tones'.  Hopefully it looks less like a sea monster and more like a girl.  


So, upon Kyler's suggestion, I am going to post a painting from start to finish.  This is a commission painting that I am completing here for an Italian I met in a neighboring village.  I am really excited because I will be able to make a contact in Italy by leaving a painting here and I get paid!!!  So anyway, here is the first step.  When I start the painting, after the initial sketch, I begin putting the shadow colors.  I tend to hyper-saturate the hues.  If it looks diseased, I know I am off to a good start.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Painting Finito

Okay so here is the finished painting.  I am going to live with it a while, before I really call it finished, because there are some things that still bother me. . . but for now, it is finished because I need to move on!!