Sunday, November 27, 2011

Paris and Rocky Promo Video

We ended our program at the Villa Pieve yesterday and all took off to our perspective adventures. Me and a few girls headed to Paris. We had a couple issues with pick-pockets in Roma which was very unfortunate but we made it to Paris safe and sound. 
Today we slept in after getting 30 minutes of sleep yesterday. It was nice to sleep in and relax just a bit. We all got ready and headed out. We found a nice little restaurant to eat some appetizers for a light snack before we met up with our friend who was also in Paris with her family. The restaurant was kind of a sports bar and we had a waiter from Canada. It was so very nice. We ate and then headed out and found the Eiffel Tower. It was sparkling and beautiful at night. I'll post pictures later. We found our friend and then headed out to eat and we had a great dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. After dinner we went back to the tower and took many pictures. 
Now we are back at our apartment and getting ready for bed so we can hit the Lourve tomorrow. :) 
Also here is a promotional video that I put together for the art department to use to show future students who might want to embark on this trip. It was really fun to put together and I think i'll probably work more with video in the future... 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Italia Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving here at the villa way amazing... but first I have some photos from earlier this week then i'll share the wonderful tale of our Thanksgiving con illustration. 


Double rainbow that came over Migiana one day at the villa



One of the cats at Antonella's house


Giant Aloe vera cactus 


To celebrate the end of our semester here in Italy we had an art show and gala with some of Rosella Vasta's friends from the community. Since we were having this party anyway we also celebrated Thanksgiving at the same time. The first shots are of us getting ready for the big night. It had been quite a while since we got all dressed up and used our resources to look well groomed. One of the outcomes of community living is really getting to see everyone without masks, be it make-up, face wash, brushing the hair, etc. The past few weeks our group has just been living, no cover. I hope that makes sense. 
Anyway, we got done up for the event... 


We pulled out the clothes that we brought for going out on the town or going to the churches in Roma and Fierenze. The clothes haven't gotten much use :) 


At the gala all of our favorite italian friends and their families came to share the meal. 


Following Italian customs we had our appetizers first. These included cheese puffs, chips, fried mashed potato stick things... they look like mozzarella sticks. There were also little pizza bite things and other backed breads with tuna or spicy cheese in the middle. All of which were spectacular...


The second course was penne with red sauce and fresh parmesan cheese. It was wonderful! 


For the second course we had turkey... but we did not just have any turkey... we had a 15 kilo turkey. Which I believe is equivalent to about a 33lb turkey. This was a beast! Below is one of our wonderful cooks Ivan and Rosella Vasta. Rosella was posing with the turkey for us :) 


Our other most wonderful cook Rosa was the main carver of the giant turkey. She did a great job! 


Though we had already had two courses prior to the actual turkey and fixins I filled my plate to try everything. I could not have been more happy with my decision. There was eggplant, green beans, potatoes with some herb, turkey of course, flavored artichoke hearts, and last but certainly not least was a stuffing made with chestnuts, sausage, and bread! It was the absolute best stuffing I have ever tasted in my entire life! My mouth waters just talking about this stuffing. We are in process of getting the recipe for this wonderful concoction! 


Before dessert some of Rosella's art historian friends went around, observed the art and came up to talk to our group about what they thought. They said that they could see great depth in each work and wonderful creativity. It was good to hear an outsiders perspective about all of it. We have been surrounded by these pieces for months so we have begun to get callused to their greatness. 


Following dinner and a dessert of a white cake with chocolate mouse layers we all took photos with everyone and some of the art. 


Later we had a few people perform. Then we handed out our thank you gifts to the family and employees. We also were blessed to be able to hear Paula's poetry. Hopefully i'll get video up of her reading her poems soon :) The evening finished up with Michele popping bottles of prosecco and making his rounds as the party host. A few wonderful people in our group put together a slide show of pictures from the trip and we watched that as well. It was a long night and we didn't end up getting to bed until the wee hours of the morning. 
Overall, Thanksgiving in Italy was quite the experience. It is a dinner that I will always remember. 
Today (actual Thanksgiving in America) we cleaned up the studio areas and relaxed. Some of us headed into town to pick up some last minute gifts, then we had lunch and Italian class. We went for a long run today and then had a relaxing evening. Dinner was a rice dish, great rolls, potatoes with herbs, green beans, fried artichoke heart (sooo good!), sliced ham with some type of pesto flavoring, to top it all off Michele brought out his homemade sangria and we were given fried apple slices. I will definitely have to make them when I get home. They were so good! 
We leave on Saturday morning to new adventures. It has all flown by so quickly... such is life

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Italian Cinema, Deruda Photos, and Critique Week

This past weekend was full of great events. On Friday night we had a great dinner and sang songs to the cooks Rossa and Paula. Later the Orange Caffe had a grand re-opening party complete with DJs. There was a huge crowd of locals there and our favorite owners were both there. The group of us went up and had a great time shamelessly dancing and conversing as best we could with new local friends as well as old. It was great practice for our Italian test. 
On Saturday we slept in again and a few of us went into Ellera to get some shopping done. We found some gifts had some caffe lattes at the kiss kiss bar and walked around. We met Michele at the Kiss Kiss as we were waiting for the bus to come and he offered us a ride back to the villa so we headed out. It was a great drive, in which we learned that Michele had seen Joan Baez when she was first doing her music in New York. 
That night we had dinner and great conversation, then we went back to our room thinking that the evening was going to just be a movie night. But to our surprise our good Italian friend Roberto said he did want to go see Breaking Dawn with us in the Cinema. So we got picked up and went to the cinema. We met more new Italian friends and practiced our Italian again. It was quite exciting. We eventually found a theatre that had seats left for Breaking Dawn. It was awesome! It was dubbed over in Italian which made it super special. Then halfway through the movie there was an intermission. Most of the theatre emptied to go out and have a smoke. It was hilarious. Oh also for the movie we had purchased chocolate popcorn, because they have that here in Italy! :) 
Following the movie we sang happy birthday to Melissa in Italian, then we headed back home to the villa. 
Sunday was a day of rest and meditation. I spent a while reading, writing, and thinking out in the woods. Then I took a run around the villa and got some stuff done on my paper. It was refreshing and so very nice. That evening for dinner we had penne con pomodoro sauce and then they brought out torte and prosecco for Melissa's birthday! It was a great celebration! 
On Monday we had the start of our printmaking critique which was really great. There were some good criticisms and praises. Everyone put in quite a bit of time on all of their pieces. 
In the afternoon we went up to Corciano to visit Antonella's printmaking studio. She does engravings which are really great. She also had 15 cats so we were able to spend some time holding animals, which is something I always miss when away from home. 
Tuesday was spent critiquing and taking our Italian test. The rest of the week is going to go pretty fast. We have our gala to close up the semester and then Thanksgiving dinner. On Saturday we all take off and head to Roma to either head out or continue our travels. It's weird to think it's almost over. 
Oh we have also had some great food this week. We had what we like to call breakfast pasta dish... this includes crazy pasta with very small scrambled eggs and bacon type meat. We had some great cheese breads and traditional Umbrian sandwhiches. Yesterday we had tortellini soup, they were the best tortellini I have ever had! Today we had  mushroom pasta dish which was very very delectable. In addition our Italian teacher brought us torte to celebrate the end of class. The torte was white cake with chocolate chips and a glaze frosting with more chocolate on top. I believe there was something to the degree of bananas in the batter because it was  a great moist cake, but we'll never know. 


Deruda- Grazia Majolica workshop. It was fredda and we were huddling. 


Our tour guide. 



The products drying


Great vines and doors that tell a story. 


Yes the Beatles were in Deruda at this same workshop in September of 1964... and yes we found their names in the guest book! Awesome!


We rode the man bus that day. 


Our great new friend Marina made us pancakes this weekend to keep us from getting too homesick! 


Sharing the love. 


The cook. 


Caffe Latte from Corciano always a good idea on a Monday afternoon.


The view of Migiana from the hill up to Corciano. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photos from the Past Week

Here are some photos that I just edited from this past week of adventures. Most of them are from Perugia and Corciano. I'll get the photos up from Deruda soon. 
Today is a day of relaxation. We slept in, ate lunch, and are now working on papers, photos, and artist statements. So much to do and so little time left! 


Here is a shot from Assisi at night 


The bus stop that we got to in order to get into Perugia. It is one with nature and the highway. 


Waiting for the bus to Perugia. 


Perugia from the top.


Jesus satellite dish 


Walking down the hill to see some sites in Perugia. 


Local backyard. I was quite fond of the dirt basketball court and colorful lawn furniture. 


The vineyards behind the villa.


Printmaking


Inking up the prints


My print and linoleum cut.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Printmaking and Villa Pieve

This week has been a wonderful time at the villa. 
The week has been spent making prints, working on our papers, and trying to organize life. 
The food this week has been wonderful. Today for lunch we had beans and pasta soup. It is one of the best soups I have ever had. When we asked Rossa the cook how to make it, she told us that you just throw in beans, noodles and some herbs. Easy enough right? I will have to see when I get back home. 
Some of the other great foods of the week include parsley seasoned pasta, fish, chicken with some type of red sauce (it kind of tasted similar to quesadilla meat), a delectable dessert of marble cake sprinkled with coco, breaded fried chicken con funghi, zeppoli (a type of fried dough with sugar), and a cheesy meat bread that is common for the Umbria region. 
Today we had a field trip to Deruda to tour the famous Deruda Grazia Majolica factory. It was a really great tour. We learned that they have been non-stop producing hand painted pottery since 1200. The factory was quaint and authentic. Deruda has run into some economical problems in the last few years due to the decline in the United States economy. 
Following our tour of Grazia factory we went to a chapel that had votive plaques made in the majolica fashion. The plaques were there in order to show miracles that had occurred due to the grace of Mary. When I figure out the name of the chapel I can describe this in more detail :) 
Here's an HDR shot that I took of Corciano one of the first nights. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back at the villa... back to work

After returning to the villa from our relaxing vacation, it was quite the shock to the system to get back into an intense amount of work. 
On Monday we began printmaking. Each day of the week most people were up until at least 2am working on ideas, drawing the ideas, planning, and cutting linoleum in order to make trial prints this coming Monday. 
In addition, those that went to Sardegna with me were trying to catch back up with family and friends. It was quite the week. 
The weekend was much looked forward to as the week progressed. At the villa Belly Fusion Festival was getting underway and most of the class space and convention rooms were taken over by setup. We were all given tickets to attend the evening events of Belly Fusion. 
On Friday a group of us got up, ate lunch, and then headed to the bus to head into Perugia and do a bit of shopping. It was a bit chilly but quite relaxing to get out and walk around. 
We made it back for dinner and the more contemporary portion of Belly Fusion. There were some very talented women dancing. The show started at least forty minutes late so most of our group took off before the show was halfway done in order to get some sleep. 
Today another smaller group of us got up, went to lunch and headed back into Perugia to show our visiting friend around. The weather was a bit colder and pretty windy up in the city center. The group of us took a small trip to historical sites and did some more shopping. 
We headed back for dinner and then the second round of Belly Fusion. It was another late start and long night of belly dancing. It was all very very good, but yet again I could not last it out so I took off early to have a bit of relaxation time. 
The remainder of this weekend will be spent doing homework and trying to get some pages of the 20 page paper written. 
On a lighter note, here are some photos from our vacation in Sardegna on Porta Paglia:

Sunset from our beach


The beginning hill of our 3 mile walk to town


Colorful vines of fall in Sardegna


The view from our front door


Our night of grilling out over beach wood


Night shots on the beach


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Break in Sardegna

We have just arrived back from Sardinia, Italy. Nine of my friends and I traveled to Sardegna and spent the 9 days of vacation on the sandy shores of the island. Most days we were able to get out and hike around, run the beach, swim and sun bathe. It was a wonderful experience and full of relaxation and contemplation. 
We had wonderful conversation due to the lack of technology. Yet, it was still hard because the lack of technology made me miss everyone from home. 
We were able to make our own meals. When we first got there we got a bunch of food thinking it would take us through the next day until we got food. After we heard that the walk was over 3 hours and everything was closed, my house did not get into town that day. The next day everything was closed for Dominica/ Sunday. So me and the 5 other people in my house rationed our food and made it until Monday where we made the shopping trip of a lifetime into the small town of Gonesa, Italy. 
When we got into town we went to every grocery store to pick up food for the remainder of our days. It was so funny. Walking with our group I felt like we were a gang going to take over the city. Everyone stared and moved out of our way. When we got to the grocery store we cleaned them out of most of their supplies. There were about 7 marcatos in the entire town and the most we could find was pomadora sauce (tomato) and pasta. We ate lunch in town, picked up some post cards and then headed back to the apartments. On the way back we stopped at a local lady's house and picked up some fresh tomatoes and basilico (basil), she also threw in some hot peppers that she had from her garden. She was so wonderful. We had some broken conversation with her and got spoiled by her generosity. 
Our family dinners at our house were some of the greatest times of life. We had great conversations and bonding moments. Most of our dinners consisted of pasta and pomadora sauch with some basil. A couple of nights we had great American dinners. Josh made us some bbq wings and hobo packets of potatoes, onions, and carrots. It was so good! We all ate without much talking and devoured the greatness. The other different dinner that we had was grilled cheese and tomato soup. The grilled cheese was with mystery cheese that we randomly asked for in one of the marcatos. It was so good! All of the cheese we randomly picked up was so very good and fresh. The tomato soup that we made was out of red pasta sauce, water, hot pepper from the local lady, basilico, and other spices that we had acquired from our bbq night. I shall have to make it for some of you that will be home for Christmas. 
Overall, it was an awesome week of seashell gathering and adventuring around an island. We didn't do much, apart from relaxing and enjoying living on a beach for nine days. 
Pictures to come for sure!