We checked out of the apartment this morning to move into a larger one closer to the art studio, which will accommodate more of the students. Before we left, Debra and I peeked into the apartment next door to see the incredible original frescos on the living room wall.
We visited Luigi, a restorer whose small cluttered studio was next door to the apartment we were vacating (we'll be returning to his studio later in the week when everybody is here). Here's a picture of Luigi and Ivano, who chatted in Italian a long time (it seems all the conversations in Italian take a long time)--Ivano is originally from Pisa. That's Debra in the background taking pictures and in the foreground, Federico, the guy who manages the apartment we stayed in last night. The next picture of the baby Jesus is a sculpture Luigi is restoring (I'm assuming it's the baby Jesus because it doesn't have wings...but then maybe I'm wrong...shouldn't it have a halo? Maybe it's just a baby.).
Our home for the next 2 weeks is Via Giocomo Leopardi, 14, a 14th century subdivided home, previously owned by nobility, still owned by their descendants. From my bedroom window I can see on the distant hills what looks like a castle. I'm trying to find out about it.
Today Roza and Beata arrived from Georgia (USA), both originally from Poland.
I have to tell you how I first met Roza (in Polish it's pronounced Roozsha). About 10 years ago, Roza, a Neurologist with a Masters in Fine Art, was flying from Atlanta to Los Angeles on business. She sat next to a man and they fell into conversation throughout the trip. As they talked about art, Roza talked often about an artist whose work she had discovered at an Atlanta gallery; she was thrilled to know there were amazingly good artists in the Atlanta area. Later on in the trip the man handed Roza his business card. "How funny!" Roza said when she saw his name was John Dyer, "The artist I've been talking about has the same name...Margaret Dyer!" "That's my sister," my John said. Roza found me, and we have become friends.
Beata came to the USA 17 years ago to escape the cold weather in Canada. She owns Ici Paris, a spa in Peachtree City, Georgia. She has never picked up a pastel in her life; she has never taken an art class; she has never drawn a live model. Beata has no idea how filthy she will be after a day's work. Roza persuaded her to come to this workshop with her and helped her purchase a brand new set of Rembrandt pastels. I am dying to see what Beata does the next few days. I suspect she is going to do some beautiful work.
Roza's sister Luba gave her some advice for the trip. "You are on vacation. You don't have to do dishes. Eat what you want. Don't diet. Drink a lot of wine. Eat spaghetti every day. Smile a lot. Don't worry about your patients and enjoy it."
I suspect Rosa and Beata will be bad influences on me. Here's what they made me eat before dinner today. And here are Beata and Roza.
Six other artists arrive tomorrow; tomorrow evening we'll have a reception...a wine and cheese get-together before our class begins on Monday. Until then we will explore Florence.