Traveling through.

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.

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This guy had the same idea as me sleeping at the airport.

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.

Last week Plein-air Painting in Florence, Italy.

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Me painting outdoors in Fiesole with curious little onlookers!

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.

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Before I got a dark tan!

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Rome in 3 days, Part 3 The Colosseum.

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.

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Inside the Colosseum.

Rome in 3 days, Part 2 Villa Borghese and other sightseeing.

The second day of our Rome trip was exhausting! We saw and did too many things! The first thing we all did was a class field trip to Villa Borghese! Which by the way you have to make an appointment before you go there! This park is Rome’s largest, this villa was built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1615 for the purpose of showcasing his fabulous and amazing antiquities collection. Among them are Bernini’s famous sculptures of Apollo and Daphne, David, and the Rape of Proserpine. They also house some of Caravaggio’s paintings including his famous “David and Goliath” which was actually a present to the Pope of Rome begging him to pardon his exile for killing a man. Caravaggio was 37 when he passed away in exile, before the news could reach him that he was allowed to come back to Rome.

Other things we did and saw:

1) The Pantheon – One of Rome’s ancient buildings and best preserved monuments, it was built by Hadrian in 120 AD.

2) The Capuchin Crypt – beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione on the Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini. Be advised: You need to cover your shoulders and knees, dress code is enforced as it is considered a holy place.

3) Giolitti – By far the best Gelato I’ve tasted in all of Italy! Very famous indeed! I tried the Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor, so delicious.

4) Piazza de Barberini – The 17th century Palazzo Barberini is here and was the residence of Rome’s leading art patron, Pope Urban VIII. A great place for local art being displayed by artists, as well as some restaurants etc. The Fontana del Tritone is also located in this area.

5) Open Baladin – Where we ate for dinner, American style food and craft beer! I ordered the Chicken burger, a must try with their house beer!

6) Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna – Houses neoclassical and romantic paintings, their collection is worth seeing as there are tons of landscapes and cityscape paintings as well.

7) Fontana di Trevi – Famous fountain with sculptures of mythical sea creatures and cascades of splashing water. The fountain is the world’s most spectacular wishing well, make a wish for fun! I’d suggest going at night when it’s lit up, it’s kind of amazing! But be prepared for the hundreds of tourists also standing around near the area. Keep your belongings close to you!

Other noteworthy eats in Rome (list from one of our instructors who’ve visited Rome several times before.)

  • Sora Margherita – Jewish ghetto, great lunch, try the fried artichoke.
  • Ristaurante Vecchia Roma – Jewish ghetto, romantic dinner, great outdoor seating but expensive!
  • Bartaruga – Jewish ghetto, undiscovered wine bar, turns into a party spot in the late hours.
  • Trattoria Da Lucia – In Trastevere, cheap eats, try the spaghettie all gricia.
  • Bir and Fud – Trastevere, best mushroom pizza.
  • Piperno – Jewish ghetto, Highly recommended.
  • La Nova Cappanina – Restaurant near Pantheon in a quiet alley, great mom and pop restaurant for lunch.
  • II Portico restuarant – Near Piazza Della Cinque Scola, good spaghetti alla pecorino e pepper.
  • Sabatini – On piazza Santa Maria Trastevere, more expensive and fancy.

Other Places we didn’t get to see that are worth seeing:

The Spanish Steps, Sant’ Ignazio Church, Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Palazzo Doria Pamphili, Sant’ Andrea della Valle, San Clemente, Piazza della Republica.

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Villa Borghese

Rome in 3 days, Part 1 Vatican City.

My class and I went on a three day trip to Rome last weekend. I have to say that I don’t think we had enough time to explore everything but we did end up seeing quite a bit of the main attractions that Rome has to offer. First off, no trip to Rome is ever complete without a visit to Vatican City. We stayed at a hotel called Residence Candia on Via Candia which is just a few blocks outside of the Vatican walls. We ended up touring the Vatican for three hours!  Vatican City is literally a tiny walled city inside of Rome, an independent city-state. That blows my mind.

The Vatican is ruled by the Popes, it is the seat of the world’s Catholicism. It has some of the greatest architectural achievements of the Renaissance. A word to the wise: You must wear appropriate clothing that covers the shoulders and knees upon entering, dresscode is strictly enforced. The Sistine chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica is considered a holy place. That means for ladies wear scarves and long skirts! But boy is it hot!

Main Attractions:

Basilica di San Pietro – The largest church of Christendom, it covers 18,000  square yards, extends 212 yards in length, and carries a dome that rises 435 feet and measures 138 feet across. Inside the chapel is Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion called the Pieta. Emperor Constantine built this church in AD 319 over the site of St. Peter’s tomb. (Shocked that I was getting good signal on my internet data plan on my phone inside the church! A friend made a joke about the cardinals and priests there being addicted to the their social media! Sure enough I tweeted a photo of Vatican City and a cardinal from Rome favorited it! Too funny)

The Grotte Vaticane – in the basilica contains the tombs of John Paul II and St. Peter’s. The Stanzi di Raffaelo – Rooms decorated with biblical scenes by Raphael.

Musei Vaticani – The Vatican palace is the papal residence since 1377, estimated at 1400 rooms, with chapels and galleries. The main attraction here is the Sistine Chapel and the ceiling was painted by Michaelangelo. He worked on the ceilings alone for 4 years, which he stood on scaffolding and painted up! The painted ceiling tell creation stories of Adam and Eve, the temptation and exclusion of paradise, and the stories of Noah and the arc. He was considered a special man during his time since he lived until he was 90 and in those days people died young. The frescoes are also a must see as Raphael’s famous frescoe “The School of Athens” was painted on one of the walls of the Vatican Palace, he was 26 when he painted this and died at 37. The Italians thought it was a miracle that all theses geniuses were born during this time.

Castel Sant’ Angelo – For hundreds of years this fortress guarded the Vatican. According to legend it got its name during the black plague in 590 when Pope Gregory had a vision of an angel sheathing its sword atop the stone ramparts. Originally this was built as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian in AD 135.

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Vatican City
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Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Roadtrippin’ in Montepulciano and Paciano, Italy.

Montepulciano is about 2 hours away by car south of Florence. My painter friends and I decided to get away from the busy touristy city of Florence and explore the Italian countryside last weekend. Which of course included laying out by the infinity pool and wine tasting! We rented a tiny Volkswagen from Europcar, packed a backpack and set off to the Italian countryside for three days!

Montepulciano is a medieval and renaissance hill town, there is evidence that its been in existence since the 4th or 3rd Century B.C. Wrap your head around that for a second. Wow. Its definitely one of the most beautiful ones I’ve been to– I’d have to say this is my favorite! Its a really high hike though, you’ve been forewarned! But it is totally worth it, because once you get to the top the view is strikingly beautiful! If there’s anything important you need to know about this town is that it is known for the best food and wine in all of Italy. Its famous for its wine more than anything, noteably the Vino Nobile- a red wine that is absolutely tasty. I’m not sure if you can get this wine in the states but roughly it costs 20 euros a bottle, which is around 25 USD.

We also had lunch at the Osteria del Borgo restaurant at the very top of the hill, its quite delicious! A must try if you’re visiting Montepulciano!


Pics of  the villa we stayed at in Paciano. If you’re curious about staying here, you can find more info here through their facebook page. Click here.  There are about three different properties you can pick from and the owners were very lovely and accommodating. It was a very peaceful and relaxing time in the Italian countryside.

Cortona, Italy

Cortona, Italy was one of the very first hill towns we visited during my second week studying abroad here. I’ve been meaning to blog and write about each of the towns, but I have been busy being outdoors plein air painting! I get home after a long day of hiking and I am so tired that I’ve been taking naps in the afternoon and then going to the studio at 7-10 to work on my paintings at night! What a hard life! Haha. I wish this was my real life =( But reality awaits me in the next few weeks when I get back to New York and assume my position as a Designer/Marketing Manager.

Anyway, Cortona is a small but fascinating city in the province of Arezzo and its cyclopean walls reveal its Etruscan origins. The architecture is medieval with steep narrow streets as you can see from the photos I took below. What’s interesting is that there a few famous people that were born and lived in Cortona, among them was Brother Elias Coppi, the companion of St. Francis of Assisi. Also. Vicar-General of the Franciscan order- Cardinals Egidio Boni and Silvio Passerini. The painter Luca Signorelli and the architect and painter Pietro Berretini as well.  I was bummed out that my plein air painting group didn’t have much time to explore the city since we had brought our painting equipment and easels, so we spent most of the day painting landscapes just outside of the city walls.

But here is a list of the main sights that we got from our school:

1) Via Jannelli – Medieval houses on a short street are some of the oldest that survive Italy.

2) Museo Diocesano – This museum contains a few masterpieces and among them are Fra Angelico’s Annunciation and a roman sarcophagus featuring lapiths and centaurs which was much admired by Donatello and Brunelleschi.

3) Duomo – The cathedral was designed by Giuliano da Sangallo in the 16th century.

4) Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca – Contains a number of major Etruscan artifacts, including a unique bronze chandelier dating from the 4th century B.C. and a number of Egyptian objects.

5) Palazzo Comunale – Built in the 13th century and enlarged in the 16th century to to incorporate the distinctive tower.

6) San Francesco Church – Built in 1245 Brother Elias native of Cortona who succeeded St. Francis as leader of the Franciscan Order.

7) Piazza Garibaldi – Located at the edge of town, it offers superb views of the landscape and of the beautiful Renaissance church of Santa Maria delle Grazie al Calcinato.

8) Via Crucis and Santa Margherita – The Via Crucis is a long uphill lane with gardens on either side, leading to the 19th century church of Santa Margherita, was laid out as a war memorial in 1947.

9) Fortezza Medici del Girifalco – The fort was built by Gabrio Serbelloni, an excellent example of 16th century military architecture.

Plein-air Painting in Florence, Italy.

Plein-air painting is such a sport!

“Plein-air” is a French term that means quite simply “open air” or used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Where do I even begin to talk about this? I’m taking a summer abroad program where we set up and paint our easels with the class in different locations around Florence. Florence has such beautiful sceneries to paint and there are always amazing things to paint. But, we are lugging around our heavy outdoor easels that weigh anywhere from 10-15 pounds along with our art supplies and hiking up and down Florence! I’ve literally been feeling hunger, feeling like I’m not satisfied by what I’m eating because I’m always walking and moving around!

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Hey its me! No joke! I have to make sure I put on bug spray (I have Deet 100 from REI) and sunblock before I leave in the mornings. A hat is so necessary, we don’t know if we’re going to get a shady spot to paint, or sometimes the lighting changes significantly as the day goes. The easel is called Craftech Plein Air Easel which I bought online for  $101.99 through Madison Art Shop.  I also have oil paints and brushes, a thin board with a handle to carry the wet painting home– as well as all the necessary paint gear like turpenoid, linseed oil, and some 9×12 canvas paper, paper towels,  and I have a disposable palette that I just toss at the end of the day. We do about two paintings a day. Or we can sketch the second one. Its really a great experience being outdoors and drawing what you see.

Sometimes we’re at the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michaelangelo, or at different Piazzas around the city. Every thursday we go on a field trip to different cities and its optional to bring our easel or we can walk around to take photos and sketch. We’ve been to Fiesole, Cortona, San Gimignano, and will still go to Lucca and Siena in the next few weeks. Having the experience walking around the city everyday has given me a sense of space and dimension and I am starting to see things in a different perspective. You have to walk outside to really experience the details in the architecture and buildings, and also being able to tell the difference in lighting at different times of the day. For example in the mornings, the light is lower to the ground. But then after noon it peaks and is much higher and a bit brighter. I usually notice the difference when my shoulders start getting burned! And then at the point its time for lunch or a new afternoon location around the area!

My first week’s paintings weren’t too impressive, but now I’ve noticed I’m starting to compose my background paintings a bit better. There also simple rules and guidelines that we follow when composing a painting. I won’t go into depth but the basics are too have a foreground, middle ground, and background. Then having a focal point or area of interest where the light is and having a contrast between the values. The rule of thirds is also important because of the way you divide up the canvas, the horizon line can’t be too dead center– or it can become boring and uninteresting. Its either better to have a higher or lower horizon.

Here are a few that I was able to remember to photograph! I will need to scan the rest of them soon! But, none o f these pieces are too finished since we are working on a 9×12 sized canvas paper and the goal of plein air painting is to have loose sketch paintings to convey the mood and weather of the location.

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Firenze!

This week has been surreal living and being in Florence. I’m studying abroad for the next seven weeks and taking a plein-air painting class through the Academy of Art University of San Francisco but we are using a Florence campus called the Santa Reparata International School of Art.

It has been quite a stressful week starting last Monday getting to Florence. First I took a plane from Dublin to Rome. Then took the train from Rome to Florence, which was a good 2 hours away. Then I finally arrived around 4:00 pm to check into my school apartment. I seriously got lucky and was able to get my own apartment here through the school for the summer.

Then Tuesday was a whole day of orientation for the school, safety living in Florence, and everything else about learning the Italian culture. Here are a few things I learned about living in Italy for a week:

1)    Coffee after 11:00 am is frowned upon, they’ll look at you funny.

2)    Most of the restaurants are closed between 12-4

3)    Aperitivo is Italian for Happy Hour and they do happy hour between 7-9pm every evening. You buy a drink and get a free buffet of food. Then dinner is 9pm on.

4)    All the stores here close early.

5)    Italian people live much more slowly. (In contrast to the fast paced living in New York.)

6)    Italians don’t get too drunk, they are somewhat classy. They allow themselves to have a drink or two at dinner every night. (They view Americans as drunks, which I think is quite true. Ha.)

7)  If you make noise in your apartment past 10:30pm, your neighbors can call the police and fine you a 1,000 euro. ( I wish they had this law in New York City).

8)  Italian men can never come on to Italian women. Why? Because they are known to ignore and avoid pursuers on the street.

Pics of Florence and Fiesole below.

We’ve been plein-air painting starting last Wednesday and Thursday, first going to a park location nearby the school and then we went to Fiesole on Thursday to paint on top of the hill. It was a magnificent and breath-taking view. There are photos below to give you an idea of where we went. Fiesole is only twenty minutes away by bus from Florence. But it was also a hell of a time lugging all of our art gear and fold up easels up the hill! Plein-air painting really is a sport! You have to be prepared with all of your supplies, packing everything you need to make painting as smooth and comfortable as you can—and having enough sun block and insect repellant on your skin so that you don’t burn and get bug bites! Also having a hat and sunglasses on also helps to keep the sun out of your eyes. I’m going to be buff and dark by the time this summer is over!

I’m still getting used to painting with oils and painting landscapes on the spot. I sort of get a little bit intimidated with oils since I’m not a fine art major and don’t have much practice with oils. But my goal is to get really comfortable and work independently with paints by the time my class is over at the end of this summer. It’s a good way to learn especially since I want to get really good at painting backgrounds in animation and adopt traditional principles that I can carry over to painting digitally in Photoshop.

I’ve learned that in the few trial runs we had as a class this week that I work best by drawing small thumbnails before I begin painting because it somehow forces me to really look at the contrast between the light and dark shadows of a landscape. And also what recedes into the distance and what colors in different areas are much more vibrant when the sun is hitting it. If you have expressed a sense of atmospheric perspective with a foreground, middle ground, and background—then you are expressing the landscape very well. A focal point is also a good element to have in your painting as you are helping the viewer to have something to focus on and having an “S” curve where you lead the eyes through the painting.

If you are curious about what I packed for plein-air painting or what methods we used, let me know! Or if you have similar experiences with plein air painting that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them!

CIAO!

Out of Body

So I’ve set out on this 8 week adventure in Europe last Friday and have been visiting my good friend Kristy who  lives in Dublin. Then I head off to Rome tomorrow morning. This is the first time I’ve ever traveled in Europe. So far so good, everything has been amazing these last two days. I’m having the time of my life! I woke up early this morning from my night out of fun and drinking in Dublin. The first time I really let myself go in a long time, I have been super busy in the last few months with school and work. When I woke up, I was severely dehydrated and had one too many glasses of Guinness last night! It really does taste different from the Guinness in the U.S. I then saw my aunt text me so I called my aunt and then spoke to my grandmother on the phone back in California trying to fix my phone for international travel.

Anyway, I then tried falling back to sleep. Tossing and turning in bed every which way. I thought I was still awake but I was not. My spirit self came out of my body. I was in the astral plane again and I think this happens mostly when I’m tired and feeling really off balance. I’ve had many experiences like this since I was small and many of them when I was in high school coming home from dance practice exhausted. But in this case and all the other times that this has happened in the past was when my body has physically reached its limits and also physically traveling– is quite exhausting especially when there is a lot of time difference involved. Your body is out of wack. I also have been traveling from New York to San Diego to see my family just in the last two weeks and this past week I was so busy packing and getting things ready for my trip that I wasn’t really able to get much sleep.

I read somewhere that Native American Indians in the past would do the spirit dance rituals for days and this helped them to force their spirit out of their bodies to prepare for astral travel. Its a really confusing and interesting phenomenon. Science says its some kind of body paralysis but it really felt like my consciousness was outside of me.

I don’t think I was dreaming. 

I was seeing the room where I am staying as is but I couldn’t move my body. I thought my friend Kristy was awake and coming into the room to talk to me. But she wasn’t! She was sound asleep in the other room. All of a sudden these four people appeared, they looked Asian and they were all wearing white. I didn’t get the vibe that they were going to harm me but more of An energy of protection. Then one of the ladies came up to my bed where I am sleeping and touched my back and said, “Diane, wake up.” And then I was screaming for my friend Kristy. Only nothing came out.

And then there was this moment I think when the room felt like it was spinning and energy buzzing or this weird sensation like electricity around me. And then I slowly started opening my eyes. My real eyes. And then everything was in focus and I was awake. The first thing I thought was again? But wait there was something new this time. There were people there protecting me and I thought this is the first that I’ve seen anybody else there while I’m in the astral plane. Its usually a very lonely and confusing experience. They felt like they were protecting me, there were three women all with black hair and white blouses and skirts and the fourth one was a man wearing a suit, he was the farthest from me. And then I thought they must be my spirit guides looking out for me. I know that in the last day I’ve been hearing or thinking that I should call my guides more often and ask them for help.

Humans have free will, our guides can only merely suggest and communicate to us telepathically and in our dreams. We do have to ask for help, when we think we are alone– we are never alone. There are spirit guides protecting us always to help us carry out our life mission/purpose on earth. Except we forget that they continually give us guidance and reminders– and this is true for me when I feel as though I should do something or even holding back from doing something. Something inside tells me, my intuition takes over. And I feel whether things are right or wrong.

Sometimes there are no words to describe these experiences that I have and the feelings that accompany them. I find myself searching for words that can make some kind of sense but it’s still very hard to communicate exactly what it is. I don’t understand these experiences most of the time and I wish there were some kind of manual or someone like an angel to explain these things to me!

While we live in such a physical world and the constant emphasis on day to day living– we don’t realize that there may be some other places that exist only we can’t see, touch, taste, or smell them. I have come to terms with the part of me that has this very psychic and intuitive nature and made peace with the fact that I am merely just a channel for information and creativity to pass through. My life is my life but what I create comes from outside of me somewhere in this great big universe I am just a piece of a puzzle. Our world still needs constant evidence of these other planes of existence, I know I still do– there is no way to just remember these experiences all the time because as we go on, our recollection of these dreams and outer worldly experiences decreases and all is lost. I always make it a point to try and record them as soon as I wake up.

But I also think and always ask, we dream every night and when we go to bed we are also astral traveling– what makes this out of body experience different from these dreams? Why then does my consciousness come outside of myself? What is the purpose of this in our lives? I think there is a great big secret, a part of our human memory and history that has gotten lost and forgotten. Something we’ve done before many times– only maybe now we are re-discovering these abilities that we’ve always possessed within us.

What do you think of out of body experiences? Have you ever had similar experiences, and how did you feel upon first waking?

 

Love and Light

Diane