Friday, February 1, 2013

newish year, new chapter

A new year is upon us again, only 11 months left.  For the last couple of years, the dawn of this time of year couldn't come quicker because the new year is symbolic of a new start.  Time is absolutely telling and healing.  I knew this, but never more affirming than living through it.  Whether I am prepared or not, it always seems to fly by.  This time, this year, FINALLY, I am grateful that I no longer have to confront the same intense toxic emotions.  Of course,  it is too bad for incidental encounters as local establishments are to have such unfortunate staff.  But, that is beyond my control.

One of the most rewarding experiences this summer was the three weeks spent in one of my most favorite and beautiful countries, Italy.  More than 7000 images was not enough to capture the enormity and the most magical of places.  The sheer volume of pictures are overwhelming, even now the task of choosing a few representative photos are too daunting.  I have modest mini paintings in pastel, my first attempt ever at painting anything.  The first week of the trip was spent in a villa in Umbria, workshop with Linda Richichi, an amazing pastel artist, and photography with Mary Ann Glass.
dusk at the Villa
The pastel paintings were meant to be five minute quick sketches as they were done plein air, value studies for bigger paintings later if one should feel so inclined.  Except, I can't work fast and large scale is intimidating.  In my case, these were "multiple hour mini paintings".  All are 2.5" x 3.5", except the two bigger next to mini is 4" x 6".
view from Villa, this mini study is my favorite

top right was my first one at the Villa.  The other two are at a sunflower field close by
 (the gray blobs are supposed to be olive trees)

this photo is a better visual 
this was where we were situated for painting session

another view from Villa

more from the Villa, the bottom was the sky, mostly fudged,
but i'm sure at some point at dusk that evening, it was close
these are the photos to prove it

this one was just as the sun was setting
this was my only quick sketch of the Villa on the day of arrival

these two are at Borghese Gardens in Rome

these are in Menaggio on Lake Como

this was the inspirational view

one more

There are infinite images, some more of which may make it's way over for.  For now, this glimpse is enough.

these I purchased from the master, Linda Richichi
one can see why I hardly qualify as "student"

I approached this trip with an open mind and I wanted the opportunity to have real time away from my environment.  As for personal insight, I don't know that there will ever be "absolute clarity", as there is rarely anything so definitive, but I returned with the notion and the ability to feel that I can start a new chapter in my life.

There were a lot of knitting UFOs' for the holidays.  As always, I reprimand myself for not starting my crafty projects earlier.  But I managed to squeeze in a couple of enameled ornaments.  So, next year this year when I vow to start earlier, more may be made.

stocking, there were a whole lot personalized

"family tree" for my sisters

The tradition of making and decorating Christmas cookies prevails.  Of course, this year there was an enthusiastic recruit.

niece so proud of her decorated by self snowman

Gratitude, that is prominent on my mind.  I am grateful for the persistent family and friends, for the new friends,  stronger bonds, new experiences,  and for the personal growth.  Life is a collection of changes, and they are not always bad.  As long as I can validate with my own standards that this "change" has meaning to my sense of reality, then I can't go wrong.