Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On the Road: Angels and Saints in Civita di Bagnoregio

On our Intuitive Italy Photography/Painting Workshop, we will visit  Civita di Bagnoregio, a unique place in Italy, where an old ancient town, currently populated by only 4-8 people, is built over the top of a flattened hill and is connected to the outside world by just a pedestrian bridge. Civita di Bagnoregio is called also "the dying town" because of the tremendous erosion problems.  It sits atop a tufa plug, which erodes on all sides.  This hamlet is way picturesque.
Civita di Bagnoregio Angel
This beautiful angel is inside the small church -- it's large - 4-5 feet tall. Also inside the church is a 13th century bishop, also about 4-5 feet tall.  I cannot resist these dead bodies in the churches. I find them morbidly fascinating.  He lies below an altar in a side chapel, forever venerated in his glass coffin and silk robes.  The face is plastic, like a doll's face, and the hair is also artificial.

Civita di Bagnoregio
For more information about the workshop -- we have only 5 places left!, feel free to contact me or check out my website, www.maryannglass.com.  The workshop runs June 30 - July 7, we'll be staying at a luxurious villa near Todi: instruction in either or both painting and photography is combined with trips to Orvieto, Perugia, Todi, Spoleto, Assissi, DeRuta, and Civita di Bagnoregio.  The price - $2475, double occupancy -- includes everything but the airfare.  It will be a very special week to savor life and art.  Come join us!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Image of the Day: Flying Angel, Montelfalco, Italy

Flying Angel, Monefalco, Umbria
This has always been one of my favorite images from one of my Italian trips.  For one thing, I can't resist gilded stuff -- bright shiny things always attract me...and of course, it's an angel.  This statue is in a small, not famous for anything, church in Montefalco.  Montefalco is best known for its wine.  The town itself arranges itself around a small piazza, rather run-down when we were there, but there's magic everywhere in Italy.  In addition to wine, the town is best know for a fresco cycle in San Francesco, the main church, by Benozzo Gozzoli, a pupil of Fra Angelica.  When we were there, the fresco was covered with scaffolding, but they had set it up so one could climb the scaffolding and see glimpses of the paintings.  Wonderful.

If you want to spend a fabulous week in Italy this summer, please feel free to contact me or check out information on my website, www.maryannglass.com.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Image of the Day: Moonlit Tower, Italy

Rita and I were noodling around back roads somewhere in Umbria when we saw a tiny hamlet atop a small hill.  The dirt road wound past ancient olive trees up to this crumbling tower, surrounded by a a handful of homes, still being lived in.  As the old women swept their thresholds with twig brooms, we stopped to admire the rising moon and take a few photos.

Moments like these are why we love Italy.

Join Linda Richichi and me this summer in Italy -- June 29 - July 7.  For more information, contact me here or check out my website www.maryannglass.com.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Image of the Day: Olive Tree Daphne

Olive tree in Umbria, Italy
The moment I saw this olive tree, I thought of Daphne.  According to the Greek myth, Daphne is being pursued by Apollo.  Wishing to remain a virgin, she prays for help to the gods and is transformed into a laurel: "a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breasts, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left."   translation by A. S. Kline, 2000]  To be honest, I have no clear idea what a laurel tree looks like, but I maintain this olive tree looks like Daphne.

Some times a "back story" makes an image come alive, and assists the photographer in figuring out the most evocative angle, cropping and color story.  This summer, during our Intuitive Italy Workshop, Linda Richichi and I will be encouraging painters and photographers to find their own back stories, making their images joyous and powerful.  For more information about the workshop, check out my website, www.maryannglass.com.   Or just email me at shotglassphoto@aol.com.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Intuitive Italy: Saints and Angels: Correction!

 I stand corrected:  lapsed Catholic Franc Palaia has pointed out that the lady above is holding a crucifix rather than a stick and that it is a Madonna.  I will have to relabel my file: I have always called her the lady with the stick...And he says cherubs are not angels, they're cherubs. period. (He said you can tell because they have pouches for their arrows.  I have been lumping anything in wings that's not an insect or a bird as an angel.)

This photo was taken in a small local church in Umbria.  As a lapsed Protestant, I'm not up on all the saints, but she drops a broad hint by holding her means of martyrdom -- some sort of stick.    I was drawn by the subject matter and the perfect light hitting the figure, making that fantastic shadow.

The angels here were on a side of a building -- just an example of municipal decor.  I don't know how long they've been there, but the patina is lovely.  My friend, Rita Pignato, a wonderful photographer, came to this small Umbrian town a few years after I did and photographed them as well, at a slightly different angle.

I'm looking forward to adding to my saints/angels/Madonna portfolio this summer, during our Intuitive Italy Workshop -- for painters and photographers.  Linda Richichi, a renowned painter and workshop leader, will be co-leading the workshop with me.  As many painters work from photographs, we believe that they would benefit from photos that better capture the composition and values that have drawn them to the scene.  We also have noticed that painters are often married to photographers, so this workshop will keep both members nicely occupied.  If you are interested in the workshop -- June 30 - July 7 - please feel free to contact me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Angels and Madonnas: Intuitive Italy Workshop

Gabriel up high in Spoleto Duomo, Santa Maria Assunto
When I'm in Italy, I'm always on the lookout for angels, saints and Madonnas.  This angel, high up in the ceiling of the Duomo in Spoleto, was captured due to a good long zoom lens!    I'm not sure who the painter was -- several artists worked on the cathedral over the years.  Filippo Lippi painted a fresco series on the Life of the Virgin, which fills the domed apse.  Lippi died shortly thereafter, perhaps poisoned for seducing the daughter of a local noble family.  His tomb, empty now, still lies in the cathedral.  We'll be visiting Spoleto during our workshop this July -- I'm looking forward to revisiting Gabriel and appreciating anew the Lippi frescoes.

Roadside Madonna
Mary is everywhere, and no matter how obscure or damaged her image might be, she always has fresh flowers.  I photograph her whenever I see her.

If you're interested in spending a week in Italy with me and Linda Richichi, a wonderful painter, please feel free to contact me.  We will be there from June 30 - July 7 -- the price, $2475 double occupancy, includes everything but the airfare.  We're calling the workshop Intuitive Italy because we will be using meditation, journalling, demos, critiques, instruction, painting/sketching/photography to help you explore your personal iconography.  Mine includes angels, saints and Madonnas -- what's yours?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Italian Workshop Preview: Images from Orvieto's Duomo

Our Intuitive Italy Workshop begins this summer in Orvieto, which is about an hour by train from Rome.  We will be staying one night in Orvieto (June 29 - included in the price for early registrants) at the Hotel Duomo, just one block away from the famous cathedral.

Orvieto's Duomo was described by Pope Leo XIII as "the Golden Lily of Italian Cathedrals," adding that on the Day of Judgement it would float to Heaven carried by its own beauty.  I'm not so sure about that, but it is a beautiful building.  It is most famous for its fresco series by Luco Signorelli, The Last Judgement.  But just as extraordinary, to me, were the bas relief sculptures on the facade by Maitani and his pupils.  They depict episodes from the Old and New Testament in stunning detail.

Eve, born from Adam's rib
These aren't large -- the figures are probably 6" to 8" high - and the scenes run into each other and cover the facade.  I find the gestures and the glances particularly lively and lovely -- the look between God and Eve and between the two angels, speak.

Cain slays Abel
Our workshop begins June 30 at 10 a.m. -- we meet for an orientation.  Then we take a tour of the Doumo, followed by a tour of Underground Orvieto, a honeycomb of caves and tunnels used since Etruscan times.  Then lunch, some free time to sketch and photograph, and finally a short trip to our villa for dinner. 

For more information about our photography/painting workshop, contact me at shotglassphoto@aol.com.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Want to go to Italy for a week this summer?

Painting/Photography: Intuitive Italy Workshop
Would you love to travel to the breathtaking region of Umbria in Italy with two artists who know the region well?  Isn’t it time to treat yourself to a week of fun, adventure and inspiration?
I’m teaming up with painter Linda Richichi in a workshop that uses the strengths of our two media to lead you on a quest to find and express the image underlying the image, the idea that gives spirit and animation to your personal vision.
pastel by Linda Richichi
Through meditation, journallling and daily exercises, painters and photographers will be able to enhance their vision and their technique, explore their personal symbolism to inform their images, giving them greater weight and meaning. You can paint, you can photograph, you can do both. 

The workshop runs June 30 - July 7, 2012 starting 10 a.m. in Orvieto on June 30.  The price -- $2475-- is all-inclusive (except airfare), double occupancy.  It covers transportation during the week, lodging, all meals, house wine during dinner, admission fees, instruction, a wine tasting, and a cooking lesson.

We will take our time, slow down and savor life during this special week, exploring the countryside as well as such beautiful Umbrian towns as Orvieto, Todi, Assisi, DeRuta, Perugia, and Spoleto.  We will be staying at the Villa Alla Collina.  Only 8 km from the beautiful hill town of Todi, Alla Collina is bellissima: luxurious but without any stiff formality, offering  every comfort, a glorious swimming pool and fabulous views. The house is private and peaceful with splendid local walks.  
Villa Alla Collina

Add more magic, more depth, more joy to your work.  Contact me at shotglassphoto@aol.com or linda@lindarichichi.com today with any questions, for the complete itinerary and to sign up for the workshop.  The workshop is limited to 10 participants.   Early registrants receive a complimentary stay at Orvieto’s Hotel Duomo June 29.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Image of the Day: Ghost Tree

Another sycamore from yesterday, as viewed from the banks of Wappingers Creek.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Image of the Day: More Sycamore Studies

Fresh off the memory card -- went for a walk this afternoon along Wappingers Creek, which is right below my house -- and spied sycamores on the other bank.  This image shows the trees being kissed by  late afternoon winter sun.

Image of the Day: Wappingers VIII