Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Secret Garden

I'm back in Findlay, but I would still like to talk about my time in Europe. So, right before it was time for me to go home I took a spontaneous trip, by myself, to Spain for four days. First I went to Barcelona and then I took a six-hour train ride to Seville. I didn't know anything about Seville, but my friend Hannah went and she said how amazing it was so I decided to go too.

Seville was kind of a fairytale. I got to my hostel late at night and sat down to check my computer in the lobby and before I knew it there was an Australian guy serenading everyone, which continued for a few wonderful hours. What a beautiful welcome to Seville!

So I went to this place called Metropol Parasol, which is the world's largest wooden structure. You can walk around the top and it has a great view of the city. Below the structure is a really cool museum full of Roman ruins.

Seville is covered in parks. There was a park that led up to the Plaza de Espana, which is now a government building. It has a river around the front where you can row boats!

I went to a house called Casa de Pilatos which is basically just a private palace with Andalusian architecture. Just walking through the house and the well-kept gardens, it was so peaceful and beautiful.

Last but not least, I wanted to share my favorite place in Seville, los Reales Alcázares de Sevilla. The Alcazar was a Spanish palace. It is now more than a thousand years old and has been declared a world heritage sight. I can't express enough how beautiful it was. The palace just keeps going, room to room, with stunning tiles floor to ceiling, and no detail left untouched. I kept going from room to room thinking, "this has got to stop soon, there's no way this place keeps going!" 

And then I stepped outside. The gardens just extend so far back, it's amazing. And every section is beautiful in it's own way. They had rose gardens, peacocks, walls of flowers, painters, countless fountains... And again, it just kept going. I kept saying to myself, "there's gotta be a fence here, there's no way they let us walk around the ENTIRE gardens!" But they do! They really do! It's so peaceful and serene and there are stairs to different levels, you can find little hidden spaces in the gardens and just sit and enjoy the sun. It was one of my happiest moments the whole time I was in Europe. Seville took me by surprise. I think it's one of Europe's best kept secrets. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Draw

So I wanted to show a little bit of what I worked on while studying abroad. My main love is drawing, so I took a fashion illustration class here, even though I've already taken several at the University of Cincinnati (with Randy!). Here in Italy I had a teacher named Franca. She only speaks about 10 words of English but you learn so much by just watching her. She really wanted me to loosen up my drawings because I always try to make things perfectly realistic. But fashion drawing is a lot looser than that, so she gave me great advice. Hope y'all enjoy.

I did both of those two before I came to Italy, but they're the type of thing I love doing. They're just pictures from magazines that I illustrated. 

Franca would assign us different collections every week. My two favorites were childrenswear and wedding. I never get sick of it!

These two were designs that I actually made for my sewing class. I like the illustrations better than the actual clothes though! 

By the way- These are all my original designs, please don't steal them. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Water Lilies

Claude Monet was an Impressionist painter popular in the 1910s-1920s and ever after. When I was in Paris, I went to the Musee de l'Orangerie by myself, because Joel had already gone by this point. I wish he could have come, because I think he would have loved it. Stage one of the museum was designed by Monet himself. Monet donated The Water Lilies to France right after the first World War, because he wanted to give Parisians a peaceful haven by inviting them to contemplate the infinite before painted nature. The first room is completely white; its purpose is to allow visitors to "decompress" before entering Monet's work.

The first room was designed from 1914 until Monet's death in 1926 and are inspired by the water garden at his property Giverny. Monet focuses his attention on the rhythm of light variations. There is little outside perspective, the elements of water, air, sky and earth gives "the illusion of an endless whole, of a horizonless and shoreless wave."

The second room is distinguished by the presence of weeping willow trees. I found this room to be noticeably more moody, which I loved. I think when you look at a Monet painting up close it becomes very apparent how the artist was feeling at the time. Some brushstrokes are broad and thick, while others are fine and meticulously placed. I admire Monet's ability to take such a massive canvas and just start. I think starting a new work can be the most daunting task, but Monet didn't seem to care. He's also not afraid of color, I think because he understands it so well. All of the observations he did of different times of day and different weather conditions are really amazing and teach you so much about color theory. Smart man! If you're ever in Paris, I HIGHLY recommend going to the Musee de l'Orangerie. It's got Monet's rooms, but it has so much more than just that. Amazing museum right next to the Jardin des Tuileries.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cappella Sistina

I have seen the Sistine Chapel twice now. When you go in, you're pushed around by all the tourists around you, and all you hear are the guards yelling, "No photo!" But if you ignore all the other people and just look up, what you see is really quite astounding.

I don't know all the stories or people depicted on the ceiling, but I'm learning, and here's what I've got so far. Michelangelo was called to Rome in 1508, commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel by the pope. Some of the lower portions had already been painted by other various artists. The subject itself is not only an evolution, the art is as well. Michelangelo tells the story of Genesis backwards, beginning with the Drunkenness of Noah. The final scene, God making light in the darkness, is located over the altar. Phophets, Sibyls, and ancestors of Christ line the walls. Michelangelo produced hundreds of preliminary drawings and then set to work on scaffolding, standing with his head leaning back, not laying down as some believed. After Michelangelo had finished the first section, he stepped down from the scaffolding to view his work from the ground. After that look, he immediately began to increase the scale of his figures. This happens twice. The scale of the God in the Separation of Light From Darkness is massive compared to the scale of Noah in the Drunkenness. 

Of all the Genesis paintings, the most well-known is the Creation of Adam. God's full strength shows through his tunic. Michelangelo's precise hand marks every vein and wrinkle on God's body, marking his power as he calmly looks down to Adam. Adam looks longingly to God. Their hands nearly touch as they reach out to one another. The electricity between the two figures as God pours his love into Adam pulses through their hands, and the weight of the world is held in that moment of reaching. 

There are a few other figures that I find very beautiful. Michelangelo is known for making figures that encapsulate beauty and power through their massive, muscular bodies. An example is the Libyan Sibyl, about to step down from her thone. Michelangelo used a male model for all of his figures, including the females, so the sibyls are extremely strong. The Libyan sibyl's back displays a powerful body, colorful and beautiful. 

The same goes for the Delphic Sibyl. Look at her body, how beautiful she is, and the colors Michelangelo uses. Breathtaking. Sibyls, like prophets, understood how Old Testament events predicted the New Testament coming of Christ. They are the ancestors of Christ who understand humanity's spiritual destiny. 

There are twenty nude youths seated around the Genesis stories that encapsulate beauty and power. They all pose and demonstrate beautiful proportions. I had to point out this one. I don't know who it is, but when you see him in person it's hard to look away. 

Nothing but the real thing will do it justice. The Vatican truly is a remarkable place, and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel is a wonder. I encourage everyone to go there if you ever get the opportunity. 

Monday, February 27, 2012


Hello hello! It's midterm week! Today was art history, which I love. I think it went well. Anyways, enough of the boring stuff. Pausa primavera (spring break) starts Thursday and I still don't have a plan. I am going to tour around Italy and then fly to Spain and spend a few days there. I am doing this on my own. YES, you heard me. Hopefully I don't get rolled when I'm walking in the street by myself... 

Well I went to Austria a couple weeks ago. First was Vienna, which was a blast! It's a beautiful city for sure. And they have this amazing museum called the Belvedere that I had never heard of. If you ever go to Vienna, hit up the Belvedere! I only wish I had more time there. I saw this there...

Anybody know what it is? The artist's Austrian. Oh and they day before I went to a museum in Florence and saw this...

Good weekend, good weekend. Pretty solid. 

I went on the trip with other students through a tour business called Bus2Alps. I was nervous about going without knowing anyone, but I made friends super fast and I'm so glad I went. The weekend was so full of STUFF, it was crazy. I loved it. Here are some of the pictures I took:

 Vienna, Hapsburg Palace

 Vienna, St Stephen's

the famous Sacher Torte

 we went on a Schnaps tour... =)

 The whole group outside Schonbrunn Palace

Salzburg, St. Sebastian. I always think it's interesting to see how artists portray St. Sebastian, who was tied to a post and shot with arrows, and has been depicted that way ever since. 


 We went on a Sound of Music tour! Me in the beautiful, foggy mountains of Salzburg

 The cathedral where Maria and Captain von Trapp were married in the movie, The Sound of Music.

 The back of the house with the frozen-over lake where the kids tipped the boat. 

 Where Maria sang, "I Have Confidence!"

 Some of us in front of the gazebo where all the magic happens =)

And we went to an Austrian beer hall with amazing food and beer. It was probably my favorite part of the trip! 

While on my trip to Austria, I found out that my Aunt Jane, one of my mom's sisters, died. It's really hard for me to grasp the situation being so far away. I've been having so much fun in Europe and to have something like this happen just doesn't seem to fit into my list of possibilities. But it did happen. And I'm not there to comfort my mom or my cousins or my grandma or my siblings or anyone. If any of my family is reading this, know that I think about you guys all the time and I miss you a ton. I will miss Jane always laughing and playing with her grandkids, or whipping up something awesome in the kitchen. 

I decided a long time ago that as long as I'm here, I'm going to make the most of every single second and have as many experiences and as much fun as I can. It's my way of making my family proud and accomplishing something for myself. After learning about Jane's death, I'm not going to take anything for granted here. Maybe I'm crazy for going off on my own and spending a ton of money on travel, but I'm not scared, and I'm going to live it up.