Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last Day of Painting....

Today was our LAST DAY of painting in the field. Craig, our instructor today, took it easy on us. We stayed in town and met in the morning for a last painting, and then he let us go for the afternoon to work on our final project (a studio painting.)

It was a bittersweet day...there were a lot of folks happy to be done, but some others feeling sentimental. I have to say that though I don't exactly enjoy painting in the extreme heat, winds, and fighting flies... I have learned quite a bit from painting from life. I'll be sure to take it with me to the studio...

I felt very lucky today, because I was able to paint a kitty that I had photographed my very first day in Corciano, in the same exact spot I saw him before. It was like he was waiting for me!! I also showed him my painting when it was finished... I think he approves. Too bad he doesn't have a job so he can't buy it.

Blues in Corciano

On Wednesday, Corciano hosted the Transmeno Blues concert, featuring Ana Popovic...a rockin' blues performer.

A bunch of us gathered on the steps of the Piazza for the concert, and it was amazing. The entire square was packed with people, and the poor folks in the Gelatoria had a hard time keeping up with all the drink requests! But they managed... and probably made enough money to last them all year...!

The concert was incredible. I was totally impressed with Ana and her band. Being from Chicago, I'm pretty particular about my blues performers, and these guys left me more than satisfied. At one point, each artist had a solo, and blew the entire audience away. Not one was better than the other.... Incredible.

I also got to meet Ana after the concert, pick up a CD, and get it autographed. Pretty great night...

Another Potluck and Pam

We had another potluck dinner this past weekend, but this one had a bit of an occasion. Jason's second youngest son had his fifth birthday! We celebrated with tons of food and a home-made cake by his mom, Shelly. The best part was the frosting... NUTELLA!! Can't go wrong...

After the dinner, we headed out the bar... where one of our fellow students, Shawn (AKA Play-stay-Shawn) was working on his sketchbook. He did a pretty good rendition of Thomas, but I wonder if Thomas thinks so....??

This is also our last week to grocery shop, and I couldn't let it go by without showing you all the insides of the italian grocery store. Not much different from home, except the pitcher's of NUTELLA... I'm beginning to see a trend here!

Re-visiting Cortona

This is our last week of painting here in Italy, and we luckily got to visit Cortona again! This time I was feeling much better and got to take full advantage...

Sola and I painted watercolor in the morning (I was pretty happy with my vespa painting) and we chose to do some exploring in the afternoon. We shopped until we dropped, and (much like the rest of the student... and our professor) we got an amazing lunch at a great outdoor cafe...caprese salad and pizza with cheese, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and honey! It was probably the best pizza I've had yet....

Sean also made friends at another outdoor cafe, but it seems that he had to do all of the talking!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ferrari vs. Lamborghini

After having such an amazing and memorable week with my honey... it was time for some fun and chilling after I saw him off at the train station in Perugia... it was time to look at some cool cars!

Italy is home to some of the most exotic and saught after "super cars" in the world. A group of us decided to travel quite a ways north to visit the Ferrari Museum and the Lamborghini Museum & Factory.

We first happened up the Lamborghini Factory... what a sight! We were able to go on the Factory tour with a guide, and what we saw was amazing. Custom designed, hand sewn apolstry, carbon fiber, gorgeous cars. My jaw dropped in amazment at not only the craftsmanship of every detail these cars go through... but the racks and racks of gorgeous leathers used to furnish the inside of these cars. Breathtaking!

We also visited the Lamborghini mueseum, and after the thourough tour we were given, I could appreciate these cars so much more. Truly Beautiful Machines.

We were also fortunte enough to witness the new and rare Reventon. These cars are worth 1 million euro (that's around 1.5 million dollars) and they are a limited edition...only TWENTY were made!! One happens to be owned by Nicholas Cage...lucky guy! This machine was truly a work of art... Not many folks are so lucky to see this car in action...but we were.

After the morning at Lamborghini... it was off to the Ferrari Museum! This place was chuck full of amazingly cool race cars dating from the mid 1940's until the present day. The vintage beauties were a sight to see, along with their modern counterparts. Pretty cool stuff.

Unfortunatly, there was no factory or production to be seen at Ferrari, nor any guided tours. So Lamborghini wins in my boat.

We ended the day in Florence! With the intention of having dinner, but all of us were so tired... we took a good look at the Duomo again, did a little shopping, grabbed a slice and headed back to little old Corciano.

Part of the fun of the day, was the car ride! We had a really good group of folks, including Jason's 2 oldest kids, Ben & Isaac. We just laughed, sang, and enjoyed a good fashioned old road trip. A good way to take away the blues of saying goodbye to my boyfriend... er... I mean my FIANCE... Dave. ;-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Best Meal Yet....

So as most of you know, this past Wednesday evening has become not only one of my most memorable evenings in Italy, but the most memorable moment of my life thusfar....

I was dying to take Dave to the local Ristorante, Il Convento... As everyone knows, I have had some of my best meals here. The house wine is great, the food is great, it's a beautiful romantic restaurant with an outdoor garden seating or intimate indoor seating under an ancient vaulted ceiling... nothing can beat it.

We chose to sit outside, and proceeded to have a great meal. We started with a delicious salad, ravioli in a walnut cream sauce, and Dave had (what he calls) Pork wrapped in Bacon. I wanted the chicken, but they were I ordered what I thought was scallops... but it was scalloped veal! I had to send it back (because I don't eat beef...) but I did get a delicious formaggio sampling to top it off.

Before dessert, Dave ordered 2 glasses of Prosecco (which is sparkling white wine-like Champagne)... and he wanted to toast to us... "To my best friend, whom I love..." I was so touched! I almost cried...But it wasn't over yet...

He proceeded to say how we've been together for a long time, and he was wondering (as he reached into his pocket for a little box) if I would marry him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ring on the table...then on my finger....

As everyone knows, I may be a silly lady at times, but I am no fool, and I agreed.

It was perfection....

Dave in Corciano!

After Venezia, Dave travelled with us back to Corciano. Here, he got a taste of every day life in small town italy. When the word got out that he was a soccer coach, The Bowen Boys (Jason's kids) snatched him up! Soccer in the piazza was a must...

He was recruited to go castle hunting with the family during the day (while I was at class) then he went with us on one of our painting days in Todi. He caught me doing my creative thing... and I've discovered that my colors this summer are purple and orange. Looks good to me!

We also went out for an evening drink at the local bar, where we discovered they have started to carry Duff Beer! I've had enough Peroni and Birra Moretti, time for something absolutley American!!

All in all, I think he had a good week here in Corciano... I know I did...