Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Work

I was relieved that I had left several pieces unfinished before we left for Italy in October.  It was easier to step into the studio and complete some work, gradually getting back into a routine.

Amusement - Oil/Cold Wax, on canvas, 11"x14"
  "Amusement", above is hanging in the November Show at the Belleville Art Association Gallery, 392 Front Street, Belleville, ON.

"Joyful" and "Fragments", below, are two smaller pieces hanging in the Christmas Show at Gallery121, 48 Bridge Street E., Belleville, ON

These galleries are co-operative ventures that keep the art scene in Belleville lively, and I am so proud to be a member in both.

Joyful, Oil/Cold Wax, on panel, 16" X 16"

Fragments, Oil/Cold Wax on canvas, 11" X 14"

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Gallery Hop in Florence

The artwork in small contemporary galleries is a contrast to the ancient, medieval and renaissance art that abounds in Florence. This is a small gallery that we enjoyed visiting regularly on our walks in the neighbourhood. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Heavy Metal, Italian Style

I've thrown coins into fountains for good luck, or with a promise to return, but this is the first time I've come across locks attached to railings.  We noticed this jumble of metal at the corner of the Ponte Vecchio - it was a tourist magnet (rivalling even the Duomo).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In the Uffizi's Courtyard

  October is still a busy time in Florence, and there is ample opportunity to hear some beautiful classical music performed by buskers.   This fellow was part of a 3-person team that entertained visitors almost non-stop.  Every day when we strolled by, either he or one of his team would be playing their instruments, with full orchestration - karaoke style.

Street performers attract the tourist crowds, dressed as angels, or...

...dressed as golden Pharaohs.

We met a charming artist, Carlo Piagentini, hard at work like many others, outside the Uffizi, in the shelter of the courtyard.  The weather was showing signs, to him, that winter would soon be approaching , so by the end of the month he was planning to leave Florence to spend the winter in Argentina.  We just smiled, and strolled away in the warm sunshine with two small artworks that he had wrapped up for us.  You can visit his website at www.carlopiagentini.com to see his lovely watercolours and acrylics.

Looking across the galeria, I noticed a small, tawny-coloured, furry critter laying on the stone step, with a large sign propped against the nearby pillar.  I feared the worst, but as we aproached, we couldn't help but smile.

This little guy was sound asleep, oblivious to the comings and goings of the tourist hordes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Tender, Thoughtful Moment

Wherever we travel, we always encounter brief instants that demonstrate the spontaneous kindness of humans.  Grand gestures may be important for media attention, but it's the small,  gentle, thoughtful moments that happen daily that have the greatest impact.  I love the slogan on this young woman's t-shirt, and she certainly lived up to the sentiment.  This scene unfolds at the Galleria degli Uffizi.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Florence Morning, Day 2, Oct. 5

Driving a car in Florence would be insane, but driving a scooter would be great fun!  Bonus: parking spots for scooters and motor cycles are free. Parking for cars is restricted.  Glad we have bikes, but for the next few days our mode of transport will be our feet.

 Love and art: what a great combination!

 Happy crowds on the Ponte Vecchio.

 Time for lunch already?  Caruso's Jazz Cafe was inviting, so we rested our feet, quaffed wine, and ate a hearty snack to fortify us for the afternoon.  The glass floor over the river rocks was intriguing, and little sculptures of jazz musicians and singers were tucked everywhere.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Arriving in Italy-Oct.4

Evening rowers on the Arno River.
 We've been back from Italy for more than a week. Getting settled into our regular routine has been a challenge: I'm still mentally in Italy, and plan to remain in that delightful state of mind for quite some time.  Several people have asked: Why Italy?  The answers are many: amazing art, breath-taking architecture, welcoming, friendly people, delectable food, glorious wines, vast landscapes, and hopefully, weather that is kind to two older cyclists.  We experienced all that we could ever have hoped for - and much more.

An example of original artwork adorning the walls of our Trattoria.
 We landed in Florence in the early afternoon, and slowly found our way to our lodgings in a palazzo in the Oltrarno, south of the Arno River.  We planned to stash our bikes for a few days, unwind, relax and enjoy this wonderful city on foot before heading south on our bikes.  The early evening light on the river is truly mesmerizing, and we never got tired of photographing the bridges. More than one person we've spoken to had the same feeling: that the river views were constantly changing, and more beautiful at each turn.  Whenever we got lost, we always headed for the river and inevitably found our bearings.  I can't think of any other place where getting lost was such a joy. 

A piece of artwork that has just sold to an American couple.

Nightfall arrives earlier in the autumn, so we found our way to a busy trattoria near the Ponte Vecchio, and sleepily devoured a pizza.  We couldn't help notice the Tuscan artwork on the walls, and soon realized a young American couple seated next to us were in the process of selecting one of the paintings to purchase.  It is quite common for artists to exhibit, and sell, their work in alternative venues in Italy, and it's encouraging to see an actual sale happen.

The happy art-buyers (foreground) after a satisfying dinner.
Strolling "home".
After eating the last crumbs of pizza, and drinking the last drops of Chianti, we walked the streets for another hour, unwilling to admit that we were completely jet-lagged, and that we should head for the comfort of our bed.  But the evening was too beautiful and balmy for that.  Besides, a gelato is mandatory on your first night in Italy, so we had to follow the good folks of Florence to the nearest outdoor gelateria to sample the creamy delight. 
The decorative ceiling of our 400 year old palazzo, our home in Florence.
Yes, we got lost with our melting gelatos in the narrow streets of the Oltrarno, but we eventually found our home-away-from-home, near the Ponte alla Carraia.  Tomorrow, our first full day in Florence.  For now: restful sleep.