Monthly Archives: May 2014

May in Italy, first few days…

Last weekend I returned from 12 days in Italy, walking, researching,drawing and being quiet (if not still!).

We flew to Rome, then train and bus to Norcia through an almighty thunderstorm, which became more powerful as we climbed through the passes to Norcia.

The next morning was cool but sunny and after taking in the lovely Piazza, with many breaths of gratitude, we went into the Church built over the birthplace of St Benedict, where I spent several hours tuning into the strong and holy sense of place, and listening to the beautiful Gregorian plainchant sung by the monks. Hearing that Castelluccio was having a second winter, we bought warm jumpers; we had only brought summer clothes…!

Having bought strong dark chocolate from the wonderful chocolate shop, we caught the weekly bus to Castelluccio. On the  the little bus we were the only two passengers. It climbed slowly up through the switchbacks until we reached the pass where you glimpse the glorious wide opening Pian Grande and the ribs of Monte Vettore, topped with fresh snow; and little Castelluccio perched upon a hill in the middle of the plain. I gasped at the spectacle of beauty and wilderness which was opening in front of us.

We reached the village at lunch time. It was cold. We were several hundreds of metres higher than in Norcia. So we headed straight to the little  hotel (Locanda di Senari), put all our clothes on, and headed out for a walk and a picnic.

We turned behind the village, where I felt it would be more sheltered, and we followed a wide gravel track around the bend; the little hillocks at the edge of the forest were covered in tiny brilliant blue gentians, just opening for the coming sun. It was wonderful to be back.

In the Piazza in Norcia.

In the Piazza in Norcia.           

Gentians, holding the sky

Gentians, holding the sky

Following a farm track  up a sheltered valley we saw ahead of us a sheep dog (of which I am wary). Then we heard incredible loud happy tuneless singing… and leaning against the only sheltered spot, was a shepherd, with a little transistor radio clamped to his ear, yelling along to the songs. It was great.

We walked around him, giving his dogs a wide berth, and found a sunny spot against a ban,k up a second valley, to sit and have our first picnic lunch. Opposite us on the great flank of the hill was a herd of about fifty sheep with a few young. Around them were stationed about 6 large white long-haired sheep dogs, who were looking after the flock, apparently without any instructions from their singing shepherd.

Mountains in snow

Mountains in snow

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Last weekend I returned from 12 days in Italy, walking, researching,drawing and being quiet (if not still!). We flew to Rome, then train and bus to Norcia through an almighty thunderstorm, which became more powerful as we climbed through the passes to Norcia. The next morning was cool but sunny and after taking in the… Read more »

Teaching Life Drawing at Newlyn School of Art

I’ve spent two lovely evenings the last two Wednesdays teaching a life class at Newlyn School of Art. Before I go to teach I focus on asking what the focus for the evening should be. For the first evening the word’ fluidity’ came to me strongly, so we worked with wet paper, using mediums which were well received by this. We asked the model for poses which emphasised fluidity in the human form, and the drawings which were made were very exciting, and the evening was very productive and rewarding. Here are some of the works made:

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Last night the word which came was’connections’ so I spoke out how we can feel connected to our drawings, to the model; through an enhanced sense of empathy, for example, as one draws the model’s hand one becomes more aware of one’s own hand…I also suggested that phenomena might be seen around the model, connected to her visually, in a subtle way, made evident through the process of drawing, but this was not developed. I would need more time to introduce this properly. We also did an awareness/perception developing technique, bringing our focus to ourselves in an intense way, and then to the model, but without being penetrating or being intrusive in any way. Afterwards there was a strong lovely quiet sense in the room.

The drawings made were really great, I was very pleased. I will be one of the tutors on the new year long life drawing course which Henry Garfit is going to introduce in October 2014.

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I’ve spent two lovely evenings the last two Wednesdays teaching a life class at Newlyn School of Art. Before I go to teach I focus on asking what the focus for the evening should be. For the first evening the word’ fluidity’ came to me strongly, so we worked with wet paper, using mediums which… Read more »