The latest from Siena

Greetings!!

I have a ton of energy at the moment and plan to capitalize on it by sending out a little update. The beginning of this week marked 'phase 3' of my trip. Originally I was planning on taking the Italian course for four weeks and then traveling south to Palermo or over to France. I decided instead to remain in Siena where I spent another week in school (but with private lessons). Then, this past week I began painting as I thought I would rather spend my time and energy working than traveling...plus I have already seen so many new cities and art and have a ton of photos collected and ready to become paintings. 
The latest news is that I am having a little (little being operative word here!!!) art show at the school of all the small paintings I am currently working on. This is very exciting, as it gives me a clear and fast approaching deadline to create about 10-15 small pieces. It is a bit much to do in a total of 14 days;) but I am determined to go all out here. I have spent the last four days painting all day and I feel full of energy and focus, the likes of which I cannot say I have experienced in a long time. Part of the reason I needed to leave Portland was that I was exhausted of doing both work and art. I felt fatigued and spent so much of the time. Having even four days to completely give myself to the artwork has been illuminating. 
Here is a picture of one that is almost done. My goal is to not go as detailed as usual:)

Catching up!

The following was written two weeks ago!  Time is flying over here...

I am into my fourth and final week of class here in Siena.  We are in the middle of a very intense thunder and lighting storm at the moment, a break from the almost non-stop string of sunny days. I can feel the electricity and it is simultaneously exciting and disconcerting.  I am finding it a perfect moment to catch up on my posts, which serve the purpose of getting me to sift through all my photos and organize them now, while it is all still fresh.  

I visited Pisa and Arezzo last week and enjoyed both cities very much! In Arezzo I was lucky enough to go to a provo for La Giostra, which is a yearly medieval event there.  It is essentially a jousting competition among four competing contradas.  I highly recommend you 'Google' it to see what I am talking about! Here is a photo I took of a gentleman practicing during the day.  

I loved Pisa.  The architecture and ornamentation astounded me and I felt deep appreciation for their beauty and presence.  I went up the tower as well as visited the baptistry, basilica, cemetery and museum in the vicinity of the tower.  

In the Camposanto in Pisa

In the Camposanto in Pisa

Inside the cathedral in Pisa.  

Inside the cathedral in Pisa.  

View of Pisa from the leaning tower

View of Pisa from the leaning tower

PALIO fever

Hello! It has been well over a week since I last posted on this page as it has been a very busy one filled with one extraordinary experience after another, yet sprinkled with moments of absolute frustration at not understanding what I am doing in Italian class;) 
On August 16th,  I went with my classmates to the Palio and OH MY GOD it is hands down one of the most exciting events I have ever attended. The whole week leading up to it was filled with event after event, all in anticipation for a horse race lasting 90 seconds or less. The pageantry blew my mind. For instance, on Saturday there was a parade through the city and into the duomo that I thought was a big deal...but little did I know that yesterday for three hours before Palio started an even bigger parade would march through the city and into the Piazza del Campo. Only men participate in the parade, dressed in medieval costumes carrying (and throwing) flags, playing drums, wearing suits of armor, etc etc. This is serious business. The finale is four large cows pulling a medieval cart with the banner that is awarded to the winner of the Palio. 
The night preceding the parade, each contrada set up rows of tables throughout the city and they ate dinner together while singing, clapping and making merry. The energy was infectious. I walked around town that night absorbing the excitement and taking photos when I could. Even the kids were running around playing games after 11pm! 
After having our bags checked by the Polizia (the security was very tight and we could not bring water bottles into the piazza) we walked with a very tight crowd into the center of the Piazza del Campo where we stood for the next two hours watching the parade finish, and then of course the main event, the race. I had never been to a horse race before this and I was enthralled. There were two false starts, but when it began I was amazed with how fast they went...three laps around and it was finished. One of the jockeys was thrown off his horse...ouch. The winner was the contrada Lupa, and the people from that contrada ran screaming toward the winning horse and jockey in celebration. Then they did not stop singing and celebrating the rest of the night and are still going at this afternoon across the street from my window. They paraded through the piazza last night, then again this morning, dressed up in costume, playing drums and carrying their flags. The men put pacifiers in their mouths (I kid you not) as a sign of their victory, and wear them while marching through the city. It is a symbol of rebirth or something;) I do wish I could have captured these photos on a better camera, but these images give you an idea of the experience.

A provo (trial race) a few days before the Palio

A provo (trial race) a few days before the Palio

SO MUCH good stuff!

Holy Mary.  Since I last posted so much has happened, but I am not going to go into the MIND BLOWING time I had at the Palio today...that needs its own post tomorrow.

In the last week, I have visited two stunning Tuscan cities, seen the inspiring remains of a 12th century cathedral, and to top it all off saw my first practice race for the Palio.  On Sunday morning, I saw the horses and jockeys doing a provo (practice run), and it was so exciting.  It is especially interesting considering the education I received about the history of the event, which dates back to Medieval times.  

On Saturday I happened to be out walking when a parade of all the contradas began.  This one consisted mostly of kids dressed up in medieval costumes carrying flowers and candles, followed by drummers and flag bearers.  It finished at the duomo with four giant cows pulling a medieval cart.  This is not something one sees everyday!

Contrada dinner on Via San Marco, August 15, the night before Palio.  This is the street where I am currently living.

Contrada dinner on Via San Marco, August 15, the night before Palio.  This is the street where I am currently living.

The starting line of the prova (a test run) for the Palio. 

The starting line of the prova (a test run) for the Palio. 

Piazza del Campo at night. Dirt covers the ground and the restaurants set their tables on it.  I love walking on the dirt for some reason...I find it comforting.

Piazza del Campo at night. Dirt covers the ground and the restaurants set their tables on it.  I love walking on the dirt for some reason...I find it comforting.

From a parade a few days ago...one of the many Palio events of the week.

From a parade a few days ago...one of the many Palio events of the week.

The view from a tower in San Gimignano, a beautiful Tuscan town I highly recommend visiting. I took a tour of the duomo which is covered in frescos depicting highlights of the Old and New Testaments.  The audio guide enriched my experience in the church.  Then I climbed up a tower and took this photo, followed by a visit to a museum with paintings dating from 1200-1600.  Most of these were icon paintings done in egg tempera and gold leaf.  Stunning work.

The view from a tower in San Gimignano, a beautiful Tuscan town I highly recommend visiting. I took a tour of the duomo which is covered in frescos depicting highlights of the Old and New Testaments.  The audio guide enriched my experience in the church.  Then I climbed up a tower and took this photo, followed by a visit to a museum with paintings dating from 1200-1600.  Most of these were icon paintings done in egg tempera and gold leaf.  Stunning work.

A San Gimignano piazza.

A San Gimignano piazza.

Fresco in a San Gimignano museum. 

Fresco in a San Gimignano museum. 

Wednesday afternoon

First off, let me confess that I am quite buzzed at the moment. After Italian class today, I took myself out to lunch for tortellini and red wine to celebrate completing actual phrases in class for the first time.  Yesterday was a rough one, with all my triggers up around being in school, feeling stupid, and like I was totally full of s?$&t, thank you very much.  Thankfully, today has felt like redemption from those wretched voices and I can feel brightness emerging within me again.  

For the first time since I arrived on Saturday it rained.  Not just rain, but dramatic thunder as well and the cool air feels refreshing after four days of heat.  During lunch it stormed suddenly and forced all the people from the outside tables to come inside.  As a result, I met a solo traveler from Germany, as they needed us to consolidate the tables inside to accommodate the displaced diners.   Thankfully she spoke english and we had an unexpected and lovely conversation that we would not have had if the storm had not come.  

Now, I am settling in to study my homework for the day, which will be followed by a nap.

Here are a few more pictures I have taken in the last few days.  

Gelato!

Gelato!

At home in Siena...

SHOOT!! I just deleted the post I spent the last hour working on. GRR.

To sum up: I spent the last two weeks with family in both Flathead, Montana and Santa Fe, New Mexico and it was medicine for my soul.  I miss them all so much and to be able to BE with each of them did my heart much good. 

Now, I have landed in Siena after two days of planes, trains, buses and automobiles.  Yikes and thank heaven that part is over.  I am living with a host family that speaks very little English and I start my Italian classes first thing tomorrow. 

Today I walked around Siena, often in circles, just to get a feel for it and find restaurants I want to eat in and cafe's with wifi and espresso.  There are plenty of both!  I drew a little, wrote in my journal and was taken with all the details around me.  

Now, as promised, pictures of a few moments.  

Siena's Duomo.  This picture does not do it justice! It is stunning and massive. 

Siena's Duomo.  This picture does not do it justice! It is stunning and massive. 

Palio is starting...men in these blue outfits and tights with flags and drums marched around the city all day long with people following them through town.  It was a festive first day in town for me.

Palio is starting...men in these blue outfits and tights with flags and drums marched around the city all day long with people following them through town.  It was a festive first day in town for me.

A confessional in a church around the corner from my home.   I want to paint this of course. 

A confessional in a church around the corner from my home.   I want to paint this of course. 

Italian charm oozes from the streets.

Italian charm oozes from the streets.

The view from my room.  This knocked my socks off.

The view from my room.  This knocked my socks off.

Wine and water. Two of my favorite things.

Wine and water. Two of my favorite things.

The journey begins...

I am at PDX waiting to board my flight to Kalispell where I will meet one half of my family for vacation at Flathead lake. I am so relieved to have made it through the move, the last 22 days of work, boarding the kitties, and the tying up of loose ends.  It was a challenge to say the least, but the sweetness of being at this end is completely worth it.  Somehow I whittled down my 'stuff' to two bags, one of which I will need to ditch before flying to Italy August 4th.  I will take one backpack, as I do not want to be weighted down unnecessarily.  

Friends have helped me out generously along the way the last two months with storage space, art purchases, loans, gifts, lifts, burritos, and beds to sleep in. To all of you, OH MY GOD, thank you.  Even though I freaked out a little this week at the idea of not working and having steady income, I know at this moment it is necessary.   The release of the old...jobs, apartment, city, way of life....is absolutely necessary to allow the change I have felt coming for years.  But timing really IS everything, and to be at the place where all the elements converged to push me out of where I was and into this seat at PDX feels quite right.

 

THANK YOU for the mind-blowing support on Sunday!

To those of you who came out on Sunday, June 12th to my moving art sale and reception, THANK YOU.  I was astounded by the generous support and encouragement from you as I get ready for this move.   And to those who could not make it, the work is still up and for sale at Genie's Cafe 1101 SE Division St in Portland through July 11!  Cards, prints, and originals discounted (*only exception is new Night Falling over Portland Limited Edition Print).  All available originals are marked under their picture on my website, and are 30% off or more.  If there is one you MUST have, I am willing to work with your budget or set up a payment plan to make it yours.  

If you have any questions or want to arrange a viewing, please contact me at my new email address: suzanne.elizabeth@suzanneelizabeth.net. THANK YOU!

Portland Urban Landscape Prints at Beard's Frame Shops and Frame Central in PDX!

I am quite excited because these Portland urban landscape prints were recently purchased by NW Art+Framing and are available framed and for sale at four of their local stores! (to purchase these unframed, visit my Etsy shop, Suzanne Elizabeth Art.)

Beard’s Framing Lloyd Center
Beard’s Framing  West Hills
Frame Central Pearl
Frame Central Macadam

Tilikum Crossing

Tilikum Crossing

Marriot Residence Inn Commission

Marriot Residence Inn Commission

Night Falling Over Portland 

Night Falling Over Portland 

Lounge Lizard III

Lounge Lizard III

SE Portland Cityscape

SE Portland Cityscape

View

View

Buckman Art Show and Sell March 12-13

I will be selling my wares Saturday March 12, 10-6 and Sunday March 13, 10-4 at Buckman Elementary School for their annual Art Show and Sell fundraiser.  140 artists and vendors present, with 30% of the proceeds going toward the PTA.  I did this event two years ago and am excited to go back and be part of the festivities again.  I will bring my mini-prints, gift cards, gift card boxes, prints and small originals.  Here is the link to the website for the event!:

http://buckmanartshow.weebly.com/

Latest commission FINISHED!!!

View from Burnside Bridge, oil on canvas, 32x62.    This painting was quite the challenge for me, and I am pretty thrilled to call it done.  Yes, I could have done a few more tweaks, but decided to let it go as it is.  This past week I have been focused on it non-stop, outside of my jobs I do for rent and such, to the total neglect of my home surroundings!  I can now put up my feet for a while and maybe get a Christmas tree and decorate it and make rolled cookies with frosting and sprinkles.  Night paintings such as these look much better in person I have discovered, but this photo by Dan Kvitka is fantastic and I will most likely make large prints out of this at some point.  

View from Burnside Bridge, oil on canvas, 32x62.  

This painting was quite the challenge for me, and I am pretty thrilled to call it done.  Yes, I could have done a few more tweaks, but decided to let it go as it is.  This past week I have been focused on it non-stop, outside of my jobs I do for rent and such, to the total neglect of my home surroundings!  I can now put up my feet for a while and maybe get a Christmas tree and decorate it and make rolled cookies with frosting and sprinkles.

Night paintings such as these look much better in person I have discovered, but this photo by Dan Kvitka is fantastic and I will most likely make large prints out of this at some point.  

Art show follow-up and Siren Nation Art+Craft Sale Nov. 15 10am-4pm

Greetings! Well, first off a big thank you goes out to those of you who came out the the Red E opening reception last month.  It was perfect and I am so freaking thankful to all who made it happen. Jeffrey Howard, Jessica Jeffery, Mbrascatu, Base Camp Brewing Co., Josi (my dear friend who flew from FLORIDA to help me, you are a gem), to mention a few.  Ahhh, seriously, THANK YOU. So much time and energy went into each painting and it felt good to honor that with a celebration.  I still have work available, so if there was a painting you really want and you are still thinking about it, contact me. Payment plans can be worked out if necessary. 

Now, I am ordering stationary and craft boxes to gear up for this years holiday season and the annual Siren Nation Art+Craft Sale at the McMenamins Kennedy School.  I did this event two years ago, and just knew I needed to be part of it again.  I will bring a slew of prints as per usual, but will have more handmade gift card boxes available, as well as singe cards and mini-prints.  I will include cards of the new Italy series and I am excited about these!  I have a passion for making these boxes and cards, so I am following that.  I use archival quality mini-prints called Aceos of my paintings that my friend and artist Nicolas Hall prints and cuts out for me. Then,  I glue-dot each image onto stationary from the Paper Source and hand stamp my logo on the back.  I have always loved really good paper and an old-fashioned hand written card, and though I could save money and time having the images printed directly on paper, I like that each card has a frame-worthy archival print on the front.  And the sacred part of my putting each together is what makes this fun.  Pictured below, examples of the gift box sets of 8 assorted cards and envelopes. $25 each.  


September 10th Art Opening at the Red E Cafe

At long last, the Italy series of paintings is almost complete, and there will be a festive opening reception at the Red E Cafe (1006 N. Killingsworth St. Portland) on Thursday, September 10th from 7-10pm.  Artist Jessica Jeffery will be showing her Italian-inspired paintings next to mine, and live music from local Italian band Mbrascatu will shake up the reception.  I heard them play a few months before my trip to Italy and thought them a perfect fit for this celebration.  The show runs from September 10th-October 7th, so if you cannot come that evening there will be plenty of other days to stop by the cafe for espresso and take a look.

 

New Paintings up at Caffe Mingo through August 5th!

Just a reminder that there is still time to go out for a glass of wine or a meal at Caffe Mingo (807 NW 21st Ave.) where I have five paintings from my new Italy series on display.  I sat at the bar with a friend a week ago sipping sangiovese and savoring bread and cheese.  The service was excellent.  The only warning I have is that it is expensive!!  But if you have a few extra dollars to burn it is quite the lovely place to do so.  

 

GREEN BEANS COFFEE 40% off PRINT SALE

40% off!!  Now until the end of the month, I am reducing prices on all framed prints (and select framed originals) PLUS an array of loose prints at Green Beans Coffee  (2327 E. Burnside St., Portland).  This is at or below cost in most cases.  I want very much to move these, and I encourage you to take advantage of the bargains.  This sale is only at Green Beans, so you must go there to get the deal. Cash and Carry.  Below are three of the many prints available.  

Caffe Mingo June 4-August 5th

At long last I have completed five of the 20 total pieces of the Italy series that will be shown all together in September at the Red E Cafe. These five paintings will be on display at Caffe Mingo in Portland June 4th-August 5th.  They serve simple Italian fare that I look forward to eating with a glass of red wine soon:) Pictured below, Piazza San Marco Chairs, oil on canvas, 28x48.