Monday, April 28, 2014

Europe 2013

Last June, Josh and I went to Europe with some friends. 

It. was. awesome.

I have an embarrassing number of photos, which I'm still deciding how to share. But this post is about my journal.

The first time I went to Europe, I got lazy about my journaling about a month in and that may be my number one regret in life thus far. So this time around, I was determined to keep it up. Like, while everyone else was napping on the green(ish) lawn of the Champs du Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower, I was journaling. 

I also allowed myself to take some time at spots along the way and sketch. Have you guys heard about this study? It basically says that tourists remember art better when they observe it rather than photograph it, but also seems to reinforce something that I've always loved about sketching - it's such an active way to observe what's around you.

A sculpture in the Musee d'Orsay

A particularly chic French girl walking down the Champs Elysees (I only saw her for a brief moment and then did my best to commit every detail to memory. Best part was this silky, billowy brocade coat she had on. Showstopper.)

Eiffel Tower and a layout of our second airbnb in Montmartre.

Sacre Coeur

Nike of Samothrace. Forget the Mona Lisa - this is the Louvre's Piece de Resistance, imho. She's breathtaking. Something the Louvre does exceptionally well is arranging sculptures to best catch the abundant natural light. Makes for great photos and sketches.

Venus de Milo. I feel like she was the go-to model for lots of my freshman and sophomore year art courses. We're intimately familiar.

The page in my sketchbook dedicated to handy and interesting French words and phrases.

The old clocktower in Vernazza, Cinque Terre. I drew this while we were sitting by the sea, waiting for our waiter to come with our pizza and pasta. Cinque Terre was an absolute dream.

Enormous figure sculpted into the cliffs at Monterosso, overlooking the sea.

Fishing boats in the Vernazza Harbor, just before a thunderstorm.


Botticelli's Venus at the Uffizzi in Florence. 

The Rights of Spring, or something? Is that what this painting is called? With Jack Frost Winter Personified, and the orange trees in the background? I should know this.

San Miniato al Monte, Florence.

The Duomo in Florence, from the Cafe Terrazza at the top of Rinascente (spelled totally wrong in my caption). We ran into Mona there, which was just about the happiest surprise we could hope for. Nothing makes you feel more like a local in a strange place than running into someone you know. She was just leaving with some friends and offered us her prime seat and view.

Detail of a window on the Duomo in Florence. It was pouring rain so we were standing under an awning in the Duomo piazza, waiting to meet up with Dave and Laura for dinner (which was lasagna).

A few sketches from the Medici Chapel! I was so excited to squeeze this visit into our last day in Florence. It's such a beautiful, peaceful room - and I learned that Michelangelo, worried about backlash from the Medici family after a political revolution, hid in a small back room connected to it for three months!! While he was there he covered the walls with drawings... undiscovered until the late 70's, I think. (Google it... there are some awesome photos!) I asked if I could buy a ticket to get in, but they said they no longer sell public tickets to that part of the chapel. It's probably just as well. 

Remains of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins in Rome.

Piazza Navona. It was a hot day and we got some gelato and rested behind this fountain. I sort of grimaced at the (back) view of Poseidon, shrugged, and opened up my sketchbook. Turns out this is one of my favorites. That's the great thing about sculpture - it looks good from every angle.

Maybe the most exciting thing to sketch was the Belvedere Torso at the Vatican in Rome. I'd seen it before, and sketched it before, but never both at the same time. Michelangelo sketched from this exact torso. (!!!!!!!!!! Totally still geeking out about it ten months later.)

Michelangelo's Moses at San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. There was a morning mass service going on while we were all gawking at Pope Julius II's tomb. Can you imagine going to church in a place like that?

Flowers and cafe seating in Trastevere.

Some Italian lingo, and the view from the Boboli Gardens out over Rome. Our last night was spent overlooking a concert in the Piazza del Popolo and fireworks over the castle in the distance. 

It was a perfect, perfect trip.

So those were just the sketches... there's more Europe art coming soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


So.... arts and crafts, man. 

Last summer a really old and dear friend of mine was married in Portland. My mom hosted her bridal shower and I hated that I couldn't make it.* The best way I knew to help out was to take care of the invitations:

It's not really "art," exactly, but certainly a creative project that I enjoyed. Just a 50-pack of plain brown cards and envelopes (I sliced each notecard in half and rounded the corners using a corner-cutting stamp) and a few silver paint pens from A.C. Moore. My hand was pretty tired by the end of the night, but I like how they turned out.

*to her shower, I mean. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding and - I'd like to be very clear here - we rocked PDX that weekend.

Next post: 2013 Europe trip!!!!!