Tuesday, 24 March 2015

What I do know...

In reflection.... what can I say...

I can unequivocally say - I have fallen head over heels in love with Italy.
This old world seeps under your skin and into your bones and it lingers there always inside of you.
I think perhaps me and Italy will never be done with each other.

Travelling again, in my 40's is not by any stretch of the imagination easy.
But I think it's necessary... both trips to Italy impacted me so deeply and changed me so much.
It's deep and nourishing.  But this kind of expanding from the inside out - is never comfortable, growth is never comfortable but I believe growth is imperative to who we are as humans.
For me, it's not a vacation.  It's so intense.  I got home utterly fatigued.
But as I unpacked my bags, my precious treasures and memories - I understood this...
 that it was something I would be unpacking for a while. 

I knew that I didn't want to be left wanting... 
I wanted to know that with the time that I had, I wasn't wasteful.
I maxed out and I totally gave 100 and 10 per cent to everything I did.
When you live at the bottom of the world with a shocking exchange rate -
this is extravagance at it's finest and it's something I will never take for granted.

The most remarkable thing about Italy - is finding preciousness everywhere you look.

When you open your heart and your eyes - you see with your soul.
You find art, beauty and creativity everywhere you look.

Especially in the old.

From architecture, to buildings, to door knockers, to beautiful windows and frescos...
every corner you turn is more breathtaking than the next - I took so many pictures because I was desperate to capture it, remember it and to hold it close, so I will never forget.

This trip, I took time to be quiet and still and at times alone.
I stole early mornings and gaps in between to walk, to seek and find and capture.
To dwell, remember and hold onto.  This time felt so sacred to me.
It felt so deep and spiritual... definitely more than the first time.
I came with an expectant heart and I left with it overflowing.

Now having gone twice - I know I will be back... I'm not sure when or where or how...
But I know we will definitely meet again.... 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sweet gals... I miss you!

Captured by Misty
Wow.  I love these two incredible ladies, as do I this capture.
Both trips I got to sit along side Renee and opposite Lorraine in the art class.
 Not only have they both got a wealth of experience to share in their art but in their beautiful lives, as mothers, wives and mighty women.  Both of which I just adore.

I'm so grateful that I got this time again to be with them.  I only wish I had had more.
I love meeting beautiful people... and these two epitomise that.

Thank you both so much and I miss you both...
I will never forget this.  Ever.

For whom the bells toll....

Hearing the bells all week long through Orvieto is for sure one of the highlights for me.
In fact, it's an incredible trademark of Italy, itself and even now, when I hear the bells in the city in Cape Town... it takes me back to this old world and beautiful place in time.

My place in this time that I will always hold so dear in my heart.

The bells will help me remember... I will never forget.

Last moments... and tender goodbyes...

I woke up early everyday... sleep was not my friend this trip.  I headed down most mornings to have my morning coffee and quiet moments in the monastery's peaceful gardens and when I wasn't there, I spent some quiet moments in the monastery's private chapel.  This final day was no different... I headed out early to go and visit the Duomo, one last time and to grab some last moments of quiet and some beautiful photos... being out in Orvieto so early was one of the most beautiful things I did this trip... I got to see the locals heading to work.  I got to see the students heading to school and college.  It felt like I got a glimpse, not of the picture perfect Orvieto, as a tourist but of LIFE in Orvieto... and I just loved that.

Love the clock tower in the morning mist and the early morning delivery vehicle.
The busy streets of Orvieto...

It's so busy...

I got back in time for breakfast and heard that Misty's flight had been cancelled.  We were both flying Air France but going different routes so I didn't even consider that my flight would be an issue.  Misty's flight was cancelled in the way in but mine wasn't... 
We headed to the BlueBar to check in and book my seat home and we also wanted to book our train ticket to the airport.  I logged on and blow me down... my flight too had been cancelled.
Air France was striking and the airport was in a total mess...  I was shocked.
I quickly got hold of Digz and he got hold of my travel agent - they promptly rerouted my trip but I had to go via Egypt.
And let me just say... I was NOT happy!
From feeling pretty calm about traveling home - I suddenly wasn't anymore.
I parked it.  And headed back to the group.

We were off on our final adventure to hear about the history of paper, paper marbling and printing, the good old fashioned way.  This was really a wonderful highlight from our trip.

He shared so much history with us... incredible stories.
Some of my purchases from his shop... totally in love.
the green box is handmade chocolate to see me home

After this we headed back to the studio to clean up, pack up and wrap up.  Our studio time was officially over.  It's always sad.  But as they say... all good things come to an end.  Except this end just felt heavier though.  Misty was emotional about her flight and her trip home, I was silently stressing about my trip too and plus we had to say goodbye and I think deep inside - we were probably all wondering when will we see each other again.  Who knows what life will bring... next!
Whatever it was, it felt deep.

Going home with beautiful treasures... oh and some new pieces and some to finish.

How incredible is our group... ahhh I love this capture.
I love how we are all intuitively wearing blue.
It was a big group but we were remarkable together.  For most of us having returned for a second and third time and the rest pretty much all knowing each other online from classes and Facebook and Instagram - made the group dynamic together...  We had so many laughs and an easy report with each other.  I think it was pretty unique and was pretty special.

We headed out to have our final meal together and say our goodbyes... Renee and Camilla were leaving before sunrise.  I don't want to say goodbye.

Annie and I got to sit with Misty and John and a few others and we were able to hear about Misty's journey to how this all happened for her... her beautiful story was really touching and the most powerful thing that stood out to me was that... it was a journey.  How one thing led to another and it evolved through time, through showing up and generously sharing.

A beautiful creative testimony of doing something you love and the fruits that come from that.

What an incredible time.  I'm truly blown away.

Birds eye view...

I love this clip... gives you a glimpse of what it was like up there.
I managed to film all the way around and even almost fell down.
(no laughing allowed :-) )  Yikes... but it was worth it.

Orvieto... from above

Some of us decided to skip the vineyard tour because we had been before.  Some stayed in the studio to finish painting but I was avoiding my painting and myself - so I kept walking.  So I decided to head up the Clock Tower because I didn't get to do that last time and I hugely regretted it.  I am sooo grateful I went.  I went alone and it was such a beautiful time - one I won't forget for a long time... it was completely breathtaking.

I did the walk up and it wasn't half bad... by the time I got up there, it had started raining and it was even more beautiful.

And I got to hear and record the bells ringing.

I have to say - it's pretty hard to take bad pictures in Orvieto - each and every shot is more beautiful than the next.

Beautiful frescos...

The last time we were in Italy, this smaller church was closed to the public because they were restoring these frescos... wow - they really are beautiful and the colors took my breath away.  I think I really love frescos and love the stories they tell.

Not everyone came along for this walk about, it was only a few of us that wanted to go... I'm glad I made the effort.  It was so worth it.  The temperature had dropped and it had started raining.

We hadn't gone this side of Orvieto yet, this trip and it was so lovely to head that way again... I love the streets, the side alleyways and building tapestry.  Some of us time took detours on the way home, capturing door knockers and interesting images of the buildings.

I love the history and I love this place.

Love this...

powerful imagery

Standing on a tomb