Gelato # 7

Who doesn't like gelato?? Honestly, If you find me someone who doesn't like gelato they are probably lacking a heart. In which case you shouldn't be friends with them.... but I digress, while in Rome my family took it upon ourselves to consume a ridiculous amount of gelato. This place was recommended to me by every book I read, every blog I visited and by my good friend Brian. I also read a really favorable New York Time's review of San Crispino.At first I was skeptical that it would live up to my expectations, but it did!!! Even though this specific gelato is well known and near the Trivii fountain it doesn't mean it was easy for me to find. I dragged my family through the streets of Rome and I would not allow them to rest until we found the gelato of my dreams. The whole thing was a magical experience:  The door outside the gelato place is modestly marked with a small sign and the New York Time's review.. Typically the gelato is topped with bits of fruit or candy, depending on the flavor and you can look at the gelato to easily figure out what you want. Not at San Crispino, they keep the gelato covered in metal containers that seem to be refrigerated individually at different temperatures. Being a huge Nutella fan I was always drawn to trying out every version of nocciola. pssttt here's a great homemade Nutella receipe. I haven't tried it yet but I have faith that it will work. Another favorite flavor was banana which mostly tasted like the best parts of banana bread batter. yumm. The other important part to mention is that when they serve it they don't want it exposed to the air for a long period of time so they move very quickly when opening the lids. They also don't serve their gelato in cones as they feel it is unsanitary.
Yum, Yum, Yum! If you find yourself in Rome please visit San Crispino and eat some Nocciola for me!

St. Peter's #8

The Vatican is an amazing place! First of all, there's a large art museum, tons of Swiss guards and a giant stone wall. If that's not enough to keep your attention it's also home to the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's first attempts at Fresco. I was surprised by how beautiful the Fresco's were in person and I especially appreciated being able to see his progress. Next best thing about the Vatican is St. Peter's Basilica. Here's a place where no expense was spared. Gold, marble and lots of blue ceilings. Just check out these weird manhole covers in the marble floor.
All I could see through the manhole was a weird amber glow.
Our guide told us that every single image in the Basilica is a mosaic. It's hard to believe when looking at some of the images which are actually reproductions of famous paintings done in mosaic.

close up of mosaic

I thought this was breathtaking and sparkly. Later I found out that it was another Bernini sculpture. He seemed to have a monopoly on the city and was favored by lots of rich people. I have another collage based on one of his sculptures. I bought a book about him but unfortunately its in Italian. It has some great photos though...

The altar with the appropriate holy light shining in. It is said that St. Peter's tomb is buried underneath the altar. I think the church dug up his tomb but were unable to prove whether or not the remains they found were his. I'd like to find more information about this if anyone knows more about what was found...

Here's the collage I did inspired by the stained glass window and surrounding golden sculpture. Yay golden angels and beams of light! I just threw this in because when I saw this floor it actually made me miss Rhode Island... I don't usually get sentimental when looking at floors.

Next post will be about my favorite gelato place in Rome..... stay tuned

Planes, Trains, Watertaxis and Bones (collages 5+6)

I'm not really happy with this piece as a whole. It ended up being more closely related to the gouache painting I did and less to the collages. Something about it feels off to me. Maybe the composition doesn't really work. I DONT KNOW! The idea was to create an image about traveling around from Venice to Florence to Rome. I wanted it to be fun and have floating angel heads. ARG!!!!

So even though that was kind of a disaster I kept on....

While in Rome I wanted to visit the Capuchin Crypt. I've seen gorgeous photos in National Geographic of much larger bone churches. I was convinced that it might be one of the coolest things I would get to see while in Italy. It ended up being a little different than I expected. On the up side it was very cheap (pay what you want) and it was short! So unlike the Mutter Museum, I didn't feel too squeamish. Not to rag on the Mutter Museum either. The whole thing made me wonder who's job it was to meticulously arrange the bones and clean them. At some point I decided to pay homage to this large amount of work by taking it upon myself to cut all of the skulls out individually for my collage. Why I thought this was important became less clear to me about 3 days into cutting out skulls smaller than my thumbnail.

Voila! Almost a direct representation of a postcard I picked up from the gift store but.. hey whatcha gonna do when you aren't allowed to take your own photo reference? I'm pretty happy with how the collaged elements in this one seem to add to the three dimensionality of the skulls.

Italy Collages 3+4

Yay ! More collages! This time I let myself use some of the materials I had been hording, like this decaf coffee label and gold foil I saved from some chocolate. It only seemed right to use them on this image of the overly decadent St. Marco's Basilica. Once again this is just kind of a fast sketch based on a photo I took. I was pretty happy with how these were starting to turn out.

Next I felt a compulsion to make an image of the floor of the Duomo in Florence, which was also very memorable to me. If you walk up to the top of the dome you get to walk along the inside of the dome and look down at the entire church. You also get a pretty close look at the beautiful mural painted on the interior of the dome. Here's some photos of the interior of the Duomo in Florence. I couldnt find a lot of good postcards of the mural so I'm really glad that I took a few photographs of it. It doesn't do it justice!

Here's a shot looking up at the top of the dome. The mural depicts the last judgement and has characters hanging out in both heaven and hell. I couldn't help but be fascinated by all the crazy hell beasts. I really don't know how anyone can paint like this, you must be very close to your work which makes it hard and your up extremely high. simply amazing. I love the people at the very top dangling their feet over the edge.

I dug the characterization of this skeleton and the old woman with numerous breasts... you just can't get any creepier than that!

This guy peeling back his skin is also a nice touch next to these giant muscular demons.

This is probably my favorite part and one of the best close-ups I have.

Here's a super close up of the skeleton!

Italy Collages 1+2

These are the first two collages I did after returning from Italy. I'm kind of a pack rat and I especially like to save bits of paper whenever I'm traveling. I don't know why foreign tickets, brochures, and bags or more interesting but they are. I started out this series trying to incorporate these bits of saved materials into pieces and also convey a narrative. This piece is about Claire getting pooped on by a pigeon after leaving the Colosseum. She had been harassing pigeons the entire trip and it was just really funny when one got her back.

This is the Roman Forum made of bits of paper and paint. This piece evolved from the last one, as I was cutting out little bits of paper to represent the ruins. After this collage I mostly stuck with using my own photos for reference and also not worrying as much about creating a narrative but more about making the pieces "feel" like the place they are representing. At this point I just wanted these to be quick sketches based on photos and I was focused on combining the materials.

Venice love

Here's me in San Marco Piazza trying to photograph a white pigeon.The pigeons in Venice are all especially fat and content looking; possibly due to all the outdoor cafes.

I'm still thinking about Italy and was so inspired that I feel compelled to post some photos and soon I will start putting up the little collages I've been working on. I decided to make this post about Venice because even though I've heard others say they found it too touristy or crowded it wasn't that way in January. I guess it was a really good time to go but I wish it hadn't been so cold.

Favorite things in Venice: windowsill gardens, faces on buildings, lions statues (in honor of St. Mark), the golden interior of San Marco Basilica, turquoise water, little alleyways, particular shades of yellow and pink and very fat pigeons.
Also the rose colored glass in the lamps next to the pink and white Doge's Palace.
Gouache tribute to Venice featuring bronze horses, the skyline, men selling roses, loads of wine and even a mouth of truth. Mouths of truth were scattered around the city (imagine little mail boxes with faces.) Each box was for a different crime that you could accuse someone of. You had to fill out a form with your name and the person name you were accusing and what they had done. If they were found guilty then they were punished but if they were not guilty you were sentenced to the same punishment for the crime you accused them of.