Monday, September 12, 2011

New Series: "27 Dresses"

Late afternoon on Saturday, I was painting on
High Street in the Short North of Columbus, OH.
I talked to some very nice folks while painting that afternoon. One of these folks was also a photographer. He was polite enough to ask me if he could take some photos,
and I asked if he'd send them to me.
His name is Ronell Jones.
Ron, thanks so much for the great photos of me painting the dresses.

Saturday was one of the dates that was scheduled as a paintout day for the Ohio Plein Air Society's upcoming 10th Year Anniversary Exhibition at the Springfield Museum of Art.
The first time I went out to paint in the Short North for this exhibition, the thing that spoke to me was the wedding dress shop.
"White Wedding" by Debra Joyce Dawson Oil ~ 6" x 12"
"White Wedding", 6" x 12", Oil on Panel
Copyright 2011 Debra Joyce Dawson

That was April 30th, just a few days after the royal wedding took place. Yes, I did watch the entire thing, and I can only think that that was part of the inspiration that day.
But it could have just been that I was tired of painting landscape, and this was like painting people, only they didn't move at all.
Still, at the August paintout in Milford, OH, the trend continued when I painted a jewelry store window because it was the best thing I saw that day! In the window were two child-sized manikins dressed in home-made tutu's.
The green tutu was made of a chartreuse feather boa,
and the pink one was out of a net fabric.
The little hands at the bottom were sporting jewelry.

"Too, Too", 12" x 10", Oil on Museum Board
Copyright 2011 Debra Joyce Dawson
Thanks to Martha Carmody for the
above photo of my painting on the easel.
And thanks to my buddy Edie Dean for the title!
Where would this gal be without her friends?

The colors, shapes and textures of the tutu's were irresistible,
and even though I did try to get away and paint that Miami River,
I just couldn't do it.
This window worked its magic on me.
So after that second painting, I made the decision
to do a series named after the movie
"27 Dresses".
As I painted the third in the series, a man walked by me, saying as he passed me the second time, "Always a bridesmaid, never the bride?", and a dress disappeared from the window and reappeared later, like magic! I never saw it go or come back, I only missed it when I went to define that area of my painting.
The public is delighted with these paintings, and they seem to lead to lots of conversations on the street; five artists stopped at my easel on Saturday to talk, and to tell me what I was doing right or wrong; and one of them decided that she liked that subject so much that she too needed to paint this window. So the cat is out of the bag now.
I was trying to keep my dresses in the closet for a while, but not now.

And what a joy to have friends with cameras and titles!
Thanks again Ron, Martha and Edie.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Porky Day

Yes, that is a roasted pig head in the case.

This man is my hero. He was at the market both of the Tuesdays that I was there. He sold roasted pork! As my Mom used to say, "pork, my favorite meat." Now, if you have reasons for not eating pork, that is your problem, but not mine. My problem was getting close enough to this guy to get a bite. His porchetta stand was always packed. I just stood from afar and took photos. I could never get a good one of him as the bar of the counter was always right in the middle of his face, even when he stopped working for a fraction of a moment so I take get his photo.

The first time I saw him, there was an entire roasted body of a pig around 5 months old, head and legs removed, but skin intact! It was a hugh piece of roast pork that he sliced from. On this second Tuesday, we arrived at the market later in the morning, and he had already sold about 3/4 of this new carcass, sending away might happy customers.

I just took more photos and said to myself, "that must be really good for these folks to line up as they do." 'The Prochetta Man' cut per order, placing the meat on a piece of butcher paper. His customers could also tell him if they wanted some crispy skin, or some of the stuffing that was inside the pig. His assistant weighed the meat and took the money, and Porchetta Man just kept slicing. They also made panini sandwiches.

I just watched, and wondered. I walked away several times, and as I walked away for what i knew would be the last time in my life, I said to myself, "Are you nuts? You LOVE pork, and you are dying to know just how good this is. GO TRY IT!" So I got in line. When I got to about number three in line, I could see the sign on the glass saying what he sold along with the prices. I had no idea, except that they sold a sandwich.

Now next up at bat, he asked me if I wanted a panini. I said "no," made the 'small gesture' with my thumb and index finger and said, "picolo". He understood me, smiled, and sliced a piece of meat, rolled it and placed it in a napkin and handed it to me, free of charge with a big smile.

I walked away with the morsel and popped the entire thing in my mouth all at once. It was truly a little slice of heaven! Succulent, perfectly seasoned, and melted in my mouth. It was worth the wait, and just enough for an exquisite memory.

Later that day, we were off to Orvieto. We went to see the Duomo, but not far from the parking up a narrow street, this is what we came to.
A wild boar head trophy.
I just had to get my photo with it.
If you could see it, you would know that the charm on the necklace I am wearing is a pig, given to me by my granddaughter for Christmas some years ago now. I love pigs, ever since I met the pink pigs that my brother-in-law was keeping. They had such personality, and intelligence, and they stood and posed for me while I recorded my first pig drawings in a sketchbook. Fun stuff!

Below is a photo of this large boar
and the man that took the trophy.
Look at the size of it!!!
It could have killed him I suppose with those tusks.

 Above is the profile shot!
And below, much later I came across this tile sign.
Made me smile, and reminded me of the end of the movie 'Fargo'!
If you've seen it, you know what I mean.
 And on my last day in Italy, in Perugia,
here were images of boars on a very fine and famous fountain.

Who knew there was such a love of pigs and boar in Italy?
Yet more proof that this animal is loved was a comment to me from Diego, at the Civetella Raniera Castle. He saw my necklace and said,
"I like your necklace, because I love that animal."
I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Author Fellow Presentation

Author Fellow, Charles Bock, 9-1-2011.

At last night's 'fellow presentation' at the Civitella Ranieri,
Mr. Bock read from the novel he is currently working on.

Bock's long list of writing credentials is topped by
at least one novel that was on the New York Times bestseller list.

When he began with his 'thank you' section, his voice seemed weak, almost apologetic, but I will in the end call it, shyness. I know the feeling as an artist, when you put your work before the eyes of the public. A sort of dread of the comments.
Bock likened his project to the murals in Assisi, a long process and one that can only be completed by doing the simple things on a daily basis. Do what you need to do that day until it is complete.

But it all worked out fine. The novel is a heavy one of illness and dying, and he got quite emotional while reading some sections. Clearly there is illness happening in his family.
And his section on a diahrea episode of a patience is one that I had experienced myself, and so I can attest to the authenticity of those paragraphs.

It was an intimate time, with an audience of about 20, many of them fellows, and some of the jury that had just completed their job of selecting candidates for this fellowship for the coming year.

A great way to wind down this trip.
Looking inside my Shanghai lunch pail.
Noodles in a cream sauce with pig, and a salad in the next container.

We had painted in the early morning at the castle, and then had lunch served in a lunch pail from Shanghai. Then we made a quick trip to Gubbio, described as the fairytale medieval village, and it was. We had time to climb to the top, and have a gelati and return for the presentation.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Saint of the day - St Crispolto

From the 'Aphrodite Room' in the Museo dei Bettona.
Yesterday morning, I went to the Museo dei Bettona.
There were a couple of photos of the objects that were in that Etruscan tomb that I wrote about previously. The actual objects must be in Perugia. Among those objects, there were
some lovely rings and earrings.

This was one of my favorite things in the museo's acheology section.
I love little amphoras, and I made a drawing of this in my sketchbook.

In the painting section, I found this lovely fresco
of the Madonna and Child.

There were three Periginos in this small museo.
This one is of St Francesco.

Here the Madonna shielding two Saints
under her large mantle.

And here, another madonna with child
and some Saints at her feet.

Below, a detail of one of the Saints,
don't know his name, let's just say that he sseems
to have suffered a little. That IS a saw blade in his head, right?

And so seems to go the bloodly history of Christianity.
And then ___ I came across the story of our
'Saint of the Day':
St Crispolto

Again, I found info on him in several places, but he is so 'early' that there isn't too much written about him. He is first century, and was such a do-goer, performing miracles in Bettona, that the Romans decided they needed to make an example of him.

The long painting was divided into five parts.
I had no idea who Crispolto was at the time, but later read that he is the Parton Saint of Bettona. This first part shows him helping someone.

Next, is one of two paintings of the Saint that seperated
the three story panels.

Below are the Roman soliders arresting the Saint.

Then, the second of the two portraits of the Saint
that separate the story panels.

Certainly not least, but it is the last of the story. I was amazed by this one, as I've never seen anything like this before. It's definitely a different twist on the torture of a Saint. Evidently, the Romans tried to kill Crispolto twice, but he didn't die. So, they tortured him to death.
Below is Dono Doni's depiction of that torture.
Of course Doni is painting in the 1500's, but still, did he make this up, or was this something that was actually going on, or was there more documentation of
how Crispolto died?
Burning questions, and I have no answers.
Let this be a lesson to us all, don't just oooh and ahhh over the large paintings (as lovely as the 'Adorazioni dei pastori' was) we can't forget to find the interesting stuff that is in the small paintings at the bottom.

I went from torture straight to lunch at the pastry shop.
Espresso with what sort of looked like little chocolate-filled croissants.
The inside had chocolate, and more pastry like, but the top had some really crunchy stuff and the combo was wonderful. I took the second one of these to Susie at the fabricca.

But I had a figue gelati first.

Leetle Ricki, Bread, Olive Oil, and more

Leetle Ricki on his owner's head.
 Suzanne tutta panna is so-a sad-a tonight-a.
Her leettle Ricki is-a gone. And she is
a singing 'Arrividerci Roma'
when the truth of the matter is that
she would not-a let me make-a the turn-a for Roma. Not ever!
But-a she deed let me take her to her home-a town-a of Bastardo.

But day after tomorrow, we must make-a the turn-a to Roma.

Here-a below-a, I promise you the ricette for the authetico
delicacy d'Italia, avec des photos.
Now that is what I call multi-lingual. 
Hard as a rock bread from our neighbor!!!

And below the rest of the ingredients. 

Below is the bread sprinkled with H2O,
and soaked in lots of oliva olio.

Sprinkle with sale,
and add hot peppers at your own taste!

DRAT-SI (I make up my own Italiano)
I forget to get the ricette for the bread!

Happy Anniversary and Castle

Me at the market on Tuesday morning. I saw this guy crossing the road, and he was so elegant that I said, "Buongiorno." He responded and I said to Susie that I'd love to have his photo. She encouraged me enough that I asked if he would pose for one photo with me. He was very accommodating and so here is my Italian fellow, 94 years old and looking great.

But not as great as my wonderful husband, who I am wishing a very Happy Anniversary. We have been married 21 years today, after a long distance courtship of nine years! I do hope that he took the day off as he has been working very hard, and don't forget, he survived the earthquake last week! I love you Martin!

Here in Italy, today we are heading north to Civitella Ranieri Castle. It was purchased by one of the Cornings, and has been a foundation for writers, artists and musicians for many years. Susie was invited to go here last year when she met the administrator who was ordering a dinner service from Ubaldo Grazie.
Take a look

The plan was to be there around 10am to paint, and then take an afternoon trip to Gubbio, east of the castle, and back at the castle for a presentation by one of their writer fellows and a glass of wine, possibily dinner there as well. Lunch has been thrown in there, so don't know, we let the day unfold as it comes.
Below, plums at the market. They reminded me of Manet and his plum paintings. He painted every color, and they always looked as good as the real thing.

I have a new, or old, Saint to delight you with, but I haven't downloaded those photos from yesterday's trip to the Bettona Museum. Maybe tonight.