February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
The past couple of days have pretty much consisted of me being a hermit and splattering colors onto paper and trying to come up with some character sketches…
, and headshots:
, and full body:
, and concept ideas for Lucia di Lammermoor:
, and still trying to come up with both a style and theme to start giving this theater portfolio some continuity.
Any awesome suggestions welcome.
February 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
This Sunday had a little bit of everything: a convent, stormy skies, exotic animals, and cous cous. What more can you want from a day off (not that I have days on, but still)?
Woke up to sunny skies (this is treat after the past couple of months), so Mr. Italian and I drove over to abbadia di Fiastra, a monastery/natural reserve around Tolentino. The grass was green and the skies were blue, and life was good:
At the end of the stroll, we ended up at an old farmhouse:
Then, the plan was to grab a bite to eat somewhere… which sounds like the most reasonable thing on earth, especially in Italy, right? But not on a Sunday afternoon, because everything is closed. Shoulda taken warning from the dark silhouette of the hilltop city (Macerata) from afar:
We then embarked upon a very roundabout country road back home, tummies growling and clouds starting to sprinkle. Hope would have been lost, had it not been for a creepy circus sign that we saw from the road:
Which isn’t too appealing… but, behind, there was a pasture with all sorts of animals that were frolicking around. And while, as a rule, I am opposed to circus animals, these guys didn’t seem too miserable. So, we chilled with the zebras for a bit:
Tummies full and creative juices flowing, the perfect way to tie up such a day was go see La grande bellezza, which an alternative theatre put back on the screen for this week. Can’t believe that it took me so long to finally see this movie- I loved it, every single second of it! Beautiful and inspirational- though to do what, I’m not quite sure. Get back to writing that book?
February 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
As my house is getting completely remodeled (the stories never stop, but I will save them all for the Unveiling The New House post) this week, I am spending my time in Ancona. Compared to the Milano metropolitan area, it’s practically summer here! Jackets and sunshine, what a pleasure.
And, to make it feel even more spring-ish, Mr. Italian came home with a bouquet of flowers the other evening:
It’s been a while. It makes me think of this time last year; when I was living in Austin and zooming around on my creaky, red bicycle (or pale yellow scooter) with bunches of flowers stuffed (carefully) into the woven basket, and I would give them out to friends and strangers– because it’s very difficult not to smile when offered a flower. Also, it always makes me feel, an eensy-teensy bit, like Cecilia from Atonement as she puts together flowers at the beginning of the movie. Especially when I am barefoot. Not sure why.
Anyways, this presence of flowers and sunny weather inspired my first character sketch:
Looks like I have started the whole process of applying to Brera this year… which means that I need to come up with a design portfolio (as well as study the heck out of ‘general culture’ knowledge). And, seeing as I just bought a three-month ticket to Argentina next month… I’m gonna whip out a lot of these costume sketches in the next few weeks, before I leave. At least that’s the plan, fingers crossed.
Here is today’s head shot sketch:
Not sure how to theme them up yet… I was thinking of a book adaptation, but all of my favorite gothic novels have already been musical-ized. So I’ll twiddle my thumbs a bit more and, until inspiration strikes, just keep doodling.
And now it’s time to grab a bottle of wine (or vodka, seeing as we are in Russia?) and enjoy these Olympic opening ceremonies. Pure love!!
February 4, 2014 § 1 Comment
This has been a rather full weekend: open days at Brera Academy, moving into a new house (or, at least moving my stuff into a new house, I follow in a couple of days), finding Indian restaurants, and driving back to Ancona like a couple of blind snails because it was raining and we were without the windshield wiper on the driver’s side because someone decided to break it off and then use it to break into the car and steal all of my housewarming presents. Even duct tape had its limits in this case.
But, this post will be dedicated to out pit stop in Reggio nell’Emilia- commonly referred to as Reggio Emilia, but today I will remain formal and follow the full spelling indicated on our road atlas.
Being a rainy Sunday evening, everything was closed and deserted:
But, somehow, it was still its own sort of cozy:
Probably because of all of the lighting in the city; warm and plentiful:
(present even on doorway directories:)
And then there were also a lot of pretty buildings with pretty architecture, so that helped too:
So we strolled around for a bit, with feet soaked and tummies empty, marveling at the glistening cobblestones:
and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the duomo:
, and then it was time to shuffle back to the car and continue our difficult drive down the autrostrada del Sole (hah!). Upon arrival, we celebrated with special creations out of our favorite kitchen, an off-the-menu dessert of deliciousness, and a bottle of wine. And then it was time to collapse into bed and curl up under several dozen layers of covers.
January 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
Today’s splatter of watercolors and scribbles of ink inspired by la Scala’s 2013 production of L’histoire de Manon:
Except that I have a couple other ideas for a couple other scenes of this ballet. So… stay tuned! To be continued as soon as I lug all of my stuff across town and settle down into my new studio this upcoming week. Whoo, excitement!
January 28, 2014 § 1 Comment
Today happened something that made me fall in love with Italy all over again, and made me proud to be in the middle of this crazy country.
Today, Milano paid tribute to Claudio Abbado, who passed away last week after a long fight with his illness. At 18:oo, the doors of the Scala were opened and the Filarmonica della Scala (dir. Daniel Barenboim) played la Marcia Funebre from Beethoven’s Eroica to an empty theatre. Speakers were set up on the balcony of the opera house and live streamings were available online and on the television for those who could not personally participate.
I arrived at 5 o’clock and perched myself on a bench, observing the crowd for an hour and eavesdropping on all of the conversations about the maestro. After half an hour, the crowd seemed to double… and then double again. By the time that the concert started, there were close to eight thousand people in the Piazza della Scala; mostly elderly couples, but also some students and kids perched on their parents shoulders. It was a very strong and positive feeling, to be in the middle of these people that have come together to bid a final addieu to an Italian icon. Uplifting and beautiful, this sign of respect to the things that this nation continues to hold close to its heart: culture and music and the past.
As for the transmission itself, I cannot find adequate words. The dynamics blew me away- 20 minutes of uninterrupted goosebumps (although maybe that had something to do with the freezing temperatures?), and a heart that was soaring high above me. Definitely a memory that I will carry with me for a very long time.
After the performance, I noticed the olive tree that someone left in front of the theatre in honour of Abbado’s wish for a greener Milano. Attached was a note that said «Piantiamo questo olivo, chiedendo che il sindaco di Milano realizzi il sogno del maestro di piantarne altri 89.999». This was in reference to what Abbado said in 2010, promising that he would return to the Scala to direct a couple of concerts after his departure from the theatre. Last time, there were funds missing. This time, the maestro is missing.
But maybe we can all go plant a tree in Milano anyways?
Either way, thank you, Abbado, and thank you, Italy.
(if you want more photos, here is a link to the Corriere della Sera, who had access to better angles and equipment than me)
January 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
After a week of negotiating life over long dinners, catching up with everyone that I have been neglecting lately, attempting to talk to people that I shouldn’t be talking to, and trying to come up with relatively-creative lesson plans for the 27 classes they crammed into the last two weeks of my teaching position… I needed a breather today.
It was a beautiful day: sunshine, blue skies, green grass, ice cream stands, and little kiddos zooming around on their little wooden bikes while dogs in jackets ran after them.
I tried to take a peaceful stroll through the park of Monza, but between the sounds of the F1 races in the background and the restless mind, it didn’t last long. So… I came back home and holed myself up with a few cups of coffee, a few glasses of trebbiano, and a box of soy ice creams. Put on some music and opened up the watercolors.
Still on the La Traviata streak, although this time, the sketch is inspired by the 2007 Fleming/Villazon/Bruson production.
Duet between Germont and Violetta:
Conosca il sacrifizio
Ch’io consumai d’amor
Che sarà suo fin l’ultimo
Sospiro del mio cor.
Premiato il sacrifizio
Sarà del vostro amor;
D’un opra così nobile
Sarete fiera allor.
I’m trying not to take the words personally.
Just kidding. I’m over this heartbreak, but… I need another couple of dramatic verses to numb everything down completely. Next sunny day though, I’ll be frolicking around outside too… unless the art inspiration calls, then it’s back to the chocolate and watercolors.