Monday, June 12, 2017

en route to teach for the Connecticut Pastel Society

I know it seems crazy, but I arrived home from Italy last evening and I have just enough time to do several loads of laundry, repack my bags, mow the lawn and turn around and fly out tomorrow morning to teach a class in Connecticut.

Last year, when my ex-husband, the father of my two daughters, got sick and died, I cancelled a slew of workshops so I could be near my girls. When scheduling for 2017, I tried compensating for the lost income and said yes to every opportunity that presented itself. It wasn't until I was in the throes of the year and manically trying to catch up that I realized how badly I planned my year. It is a little too much but I'm slowly crossing all the accomplished commitments off my list. So yes, my schedule is a little crazy. I won't do that again. All I keep thinking is...I want to be back home working in my garden.

But back to Connecticut. This coming week I will be teaching a 3-day workshop for the Connecticut Pastel Society. The class is held in conjunction with their "Purely Pastel" juried member exhibition. In addition, they will be exhibiting the 8 pastels of mine below.

Connecticut Pastel Society "Purely Pastel" Juried Member Exhibition
June 15-July 21, 2017
Chauncey Stillman Gallery
Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
84 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, CT 06371

Saturday, June 10, 2017


I've dreamed of being there for a long time. I had two fears: that it was not what I had hoped it would be, and that I would fall in the water climbing aboard a gondola.

It was more than I thought it would be. I did not fall in.

I fly home tomorrow morning. Good bye to Debra and Ivano, Stephanie, Sandy, Ellen, Kathy. Chris, Leta, Diane and Sophie. I hope it was as wonderful for you as it was for me.

Friday, June 9, 2017


Well, I punked out. Last night after class everyone (except me) went to the Academia to see Michelangelo's "David." I went to sleep and slept most of the evening and into the morning. Finally got caught up on my jet lag. Just in time for me to head back home. So I didn't write. Today was the last day of class, tonight Ivano is cooing us dinner. He's been at it for a couple of hours. I'm seeing him slice a gazillion potatoes, I think I saw chicken. Whatever it is, it smells divine. I'm sitting at the table in the kitchen blogging and sipping prosecco. I think I may make a habit of having prosecco in my house.

Tomorrow, some of us will travel to Venice! Some will prefer to go elsewhere. Stephanie and Sandy (see Sandy Wood's sketch book pages below. She travels and sketches and makes the most incredible sketchbooks every trip) will stick around here in Florence, hang out in the Duomo piazza and sip coffee; we haven't had a whole lot of leisurely time. Not sure what everyone else is doing. But I'm going to Venice.

I have never been to Venice and am dying to see it in real life. I'm always jealous when I see other people's travel pictures.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

In the morning, before we left for the studio, we had a short photo session. On Thursday and Friday in the studio we will be working from these photos. We had Diane and her daughter Sophie pose for us. Diane wore the sweet silk lavender nightgown she has not been able to stop talking about since she bought it here in Florence. The light from our living room window is very nice in the morning here and we got some good shots. Sophie posed in her vintage style bathing suit, a two piece similar to the ones worn in the 50's. We had her pose in the bathroom like she was preparing for a bath. We should be making some pretty paintings the next two days.

This evening after class we took a cooking class at the Giglio Cooking School

We made lasagne. We made the pasta, we made the incredible meat sauce, full of tiny chopped onions, celery and carrots. We made the b├ęchamel, which is a cream sauce we poured in between layers of lasagna noodles, and alternated with layers of the meat sauce and grated fresh Parmesan cheese between lasagna noodles. We made Pollo con le Verdure Estive (Chicken with Summer Vegetables). We made Creme Caramel con le Mele, which was a flan over chopped caramelized apples and raisins. And we ate every last bit of it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We catch a bus every morning around 9:00 (here’s a picture of us making our way to the bus stop) to the recently vacated studios of The Florence Academy of Art. I hear the new place is beautiful, but we are thrilled to have use of their old studio. All the walls are painted a dark forrest green. There are black curtains blocking light in strategic places, allowing control of the artificial lighting to be used for lighting your subjects, portrait or still-life. To get to our studio, we walk down a long dark forrest green hall which is lined on both sides with small dark forrest green studios (large enough for probably one artist each) with black curtains covering the windows. Some rooms still have little tables set up for a still-life. Our studio is a large dark forrest green room at the end of the hall, with black curtains. Models, easels, a stand for the model and a spotlight were provided to us by the Academy. We’ll be working from 9:30-3:30 every day.

This afternoon, after working hard in the studio all day, we caught the bus home to our villa and washed the pastels out of our fingernails - or tried to. We went back out onto the streets and caught another bus to the Uffizi Gallery to see paintings and sculpture from the 12th to the 17th centuries—Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffael—to name a few. Previously the private collection of the Medici family, the works were given to Tuscany.

We returned home tired and aching. Ivano and Debra had fresh hot pizza, fresh cheese ravioli with mushrooms, salad and much appreciated prosecco.  We sat around the long rectangular table for a long time and talked and laughed and finished our dinner with a biscotti-type cookie, cantucci, which you dip into a liquor.

One final thing, Kim McKerracher, your name has come up quite often the last couple of days. In your honor we also pulled out a bottle of lemoncello and toasted you!

To Kim!