Flannel wearing lumberjack hipster with boots! I sketched my coworker today because he’s always so stylish and such a character! People in NYC are definitely a lot more polished and stylish here vs. the West Coast where everyone is always dressed down and wearing a t-shirt. I really appreciate New York fashion with its clean lines and polished looks. I’m not a slave to fashion but I really like it when people look put together, it shows me that they took the time to make themselves presentable and want to make a good impression on the world. After all, sometimes you only get to make one good impression– usually that’s what most people remember anyway.
Last night’s watercolor sketch on a 7 x10 watercolor sketchbook I purchased in Florence. This is a scene from Lucca I painted from one of my many pictures of Italy. I’ve been experimenting with different colors… I loved this view from the tower that we climbed! I can’t go a day without painting a background! I’m hooked.
This is a video of a presentation that I recently made at the Beekman 33 Salon in New York City this last March. It was sort of a Salon to give individuals a chance to showcase themselves, their creativity, or their business. I’ve been meaning to post this but life got so busy! I wanted to post this to give people an idea of who I am and what I do, I now realize that this video really does give others an insight as to who I am. As a story artist as you’ll soon come to find out in the video, I create concept art for the purpose of telling a story. I am grateful that I have found this career path and lucky enough to realize it while I’m still young. The business of telling stories that evoke the imagination and touch the hearts of others is what I enjoy doing the most. I hope you enjoy this video and that it inspires you in your own life. Comments, questions, please tell me what you think!
Its been a week now since I’ve been back to reality in New York City from Italy. No matter how long you travel and where you go is always going to be a life changing experience. An experience that shapes your perspective and view about life and the world around you. Before I left for Italy, I was living a life that was set in routine. Not that anything was wrong with that but I really was busy during the past year, with working full time and going home to study for my two online classes every semester… and not to mention my ten year old son lived with me full time. I had so many responsibilities and juggling so many things at once, its a miracle I didn’t die from exhaustion! You live, you learn, you do what you need to– to survive.
Coming home was a bit stressful to say the least. I had an open ticket, a standby ticket through a companion pass that I purchased from a buddy of mine who works at an airlines. But it was still 70% cheaper than a normal ticket purchased from New York to Florence and so I was willing to gamble! I ended up visiting two other countries in Europe. First I flew from New York City to Dublin, Ireland– I had a very good friend of mine who now lives there and so I was offered a place to stay and was able to reconnect with my friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time. From there I flew from Dublin to Rome, then took a two hour train from Rome to Florence. So upon flying back home on my trip I ended up buying a train ticket from Florence to Frankfurt, Germany. My buddy had suggested this because I would have gotten stuck in Rome if I had tried to fly on Standby on one of the full flights. So on my last day in Florence I took a train at 10:00 am in the morning and switched through 3 different trains to Bologna to Munich and arriving at Frankfurt at 11:00 pm. Luckily I met a girl on the train who spoke English and German, who I sat next to and had the same exact tickets and destination as me! She was a real life angel that helped me navigate through the different trains, and I had made a good friend.
You’re probably wondering, you could have saved yourself the trouble by making sure you had plans set. But I realized something, I just had to let go of control. Most of the time we all have a tendency to control the situation or the outcome that when things don’t go our way, we end up getting upset. Sometimes there is beauty in letting go. I have been planning everything the last few years of my life, planning six months before that to go on this trip of a lifetime and what was a little adventure anyway? Sometimes you have to gamble and take risks in life, and when I do– I open myself up to great and amazing things. I actually ended up making more friends at the airport than I realized, and there were two Starbucks employees that kept me company and talked my ear off the whole night! It impresses me how many languages they spoke, Dutch, English, French, and German. For a European, that is absolutely the norm to know at least 4 languages. Its pretty amazing. I also met and conversed with a Filipino lady that spoke German, Filipino, and English, she kept me up all night with her amazing stories of living in Germany. By the time we finished, it was 5am and I still had another hour to check into my flight at 8 am. I had stayed up all night at the airport and it was eye opening, an experience I always wanted to have. You can’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before. You’d be surprised at how amazing the experience can be.
Being able to live in Florence, Italy for two months has been an unforgettable experience– I have changed mentally and emotionally from my busy go go go life in New York City to really enjoying each day living. I really started to appreciate the moment more and really having the time of my life! I’m not going to go into details– but I really enjoyed myself out there. The Italians especially have a much different outlook in lifestyle, they open and work their businesses in the morning and then advocate a siesta during the afternoons, then only to return in the evening when it cools down for dinner. Life in Italy is much more pleasurable as people really do bond over food and wine, they genuinely make an effort to connect with others in a more human way. It was also sort of a blessing that my internet connection both on my international mobile data plan and my wireless at my apartment didn’t work– because it forced me to really set plans with friends after class during the evenings and really call them on the phone instead of texting or emailing them online. I really bonded with my classmates in and out of class time. I think I was missing the connections I’ve had and made growing up and living in California. I hate to say it but New York doesn’t do this for me, as many friends as I have here and the great connections I’ve made– people are way too busy to meet up and hang out at times. I wish for a much more simpler lifestyle at times.
Living abroad really opened my mind up to so many new things. For one, not taking living in NYC for granted. Although I miss California dearly, there are also many great things that this city has to offer. So much history, culture, and the food is just amazing! One thing that I learned from living in NYC and will always take with me forever is the ambition and commitment to keeping a schedule! And learning to stay focused on goals and seeing projects through.
Life is full of self discovery, just when you think that you are done with learning all you can– it takes another turn and the universe shows you something brand new. There are so many different realities, so many ways of being and living life. We just have to see things outside of our own perspective– and when we do this we are offered a major opportunity for growth. We can live and experience many different places, in hopes of showing us that life is not about having a physical place to call home but learning that home is where your heart is. As cheesy as that sounds, it is a truth. No matter where we travel through in life, its never about the destination but the journey of discovering who we are on the inside.
It’s been almost a week now since I’ve gotten back to New York from Florence, Italy. I spent two months this summer from June to August in Florence and did a summer study abroad program in Pleinair Painting. It was an amazing and life changing experience that I still am having a hard time putting into words. I’ve also been blogging about the places I’ve gone to in Italy, you could read about them here at my other blog www.awakebutstilldreaming.com and you can find posts directly related to my experiences in Pleinair Painting as a sport and My last week Pleinair Painting in Florence, Italy.
Here are some of my few favorite quick studies from this summer that I wanted to share. Most of them were done on location, except for a few that I did inside the studio.
As my study abroad program winds down, I can’t believe its been exactly 7 weeks that I’ve been here in Italy. I’m truly grateful for this experience of being able to experience living and studying abroad for something that I love to do. It’s been “eye opening” and a whole lot of connecting back to my heart center. Painting, especially with oil paints has always intimidated me. And when I was in my early 20s I often found myself going back and forth, my patience was always rocked with oil painting. I didn’t have enough patience with myself back then, but now I have a deeper love and appreciation for painting.
After doing at least two paintings a day, four days a week for the last seven weeks has incredibly improved my technique and understanding of plein-air painting. Plein-air painting requires a person to think on their feet and improvise, composing a scene into a small 9×12 or 5×7 quick study allows the artist to narrow in and focus on the beauty of the environment, in regards to color temperature, weather climate, and composition. The most important thing with Plein-air painting is to do quick studies so you can relate what you see and the mood has to come across quickly, we aren’t painting masterpieces or finished work. From the outside studies you can go back to your studio environment and expand upon it to either make a larger and more finished painting from it.
Plein-air painting allows the “seer” to adjust to the environment and scenery, a moment that you feel present in the here and now.
The impressionists started plein-air painting when tubes of paint were invented and it was easier to transport the paints for use outside. Monet was said to have gotten up at 5 am every morning to paint outside and as the light changed in the morning, he would do 2 or 3 all before noon. The light tends to change every 2 hours and after noon or mid-day you have to stop because that’s when the light is the brightest and its unbearable to paint outdoors! It’s recommended to paint in the early morning to noon or 1 pm. Or pick up again when the light changes at sunset when there is dramatic lighting. The goal of plein-air painting is to pick a scene that looks like a painting, something simple is beautiful. We’re not painting for exactness. We also have to ask ourselves, what are we inspired by to paint? And the colors that we mix should convey the mood– we’re not always going to come out with the same color of the sky or the building that we are painting in, but to express it in a way that the viewer understands what we are trying to convey.
I am truly happy that I got to experience taking this class in the heart of Florence, it was a magical moment in my life. I have changed from what I’ve learned out here both academically and also learning about the rich history of the Italian people. I really did step outside of myself from being a quiet introvert in the comfort of my own home in NYC to really immersing myself in the culture and language of a different country. I really enjoyed myself out here and had the time of my life! You only live once, make it count. La Dolce Vita.
Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.
Our third day in Rome concluded with a visit to the Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum. The Colosseum is a symbol of Rome, more than 70,000 spectators have sat and been here in its hay day and was originally known as the Flavian Ampitheatre. It was said that on opening day in 80 A.D. that 5,000 wild beasts perished and food and entrance was always free to the public. This was a statement from the Roman government that they controlled the masses, a way for them to not rebel – because they can provide and take care of you, it was a way to set some ground rules. Gladiator combat and staged animal hunts ended by the 6th century and later during the Renaissance it served as a quarry. An interesting fact was that any slave could buy their freedom after 5 years of surviving the games, they were sponsored and medically taken care of by some of the wealthiest families of the time, but also they could die within that time. But no Gladiator took part in the games more than 2 or 3 times a year, they didn’t live in constant risk of death. They were also pardoned or saved by the magistrate, he could also be swayed by the crowd whether the Gladiator’s life should be spared.
Anyway, the whole experience of going to the Colosseum was very exhausting! As it was a very hot day close to the high 90s, it was unbearable heat! Even when we got there at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday, the lines were still pretty long and it was crowded. Luckily, we got a combo ticket for 12 euros that admitted us to the other sites like the Roman Forum and etc. It is advisable to buy your tickets before you get there or you can also pay a little bit extra to get a tour and the line is shorter and quicker. The ruins of Imperial Rome is definitely worth seeing as this is one of the most ancient sites.