Tuesday, 25 January 2011

First Bargue drawing finished





















I’ve finished the first of 3 Bargue drawings that we’ll be doing this term and into the next. They are painstaking and exacting, teaching the eye to ‘see’ better. Each one will be more difficult than the last. We work on these drawings in the morning session and in the afternoons we are life drawing. It’s so great to be drawing from the model 3 hours a day, I should be improving quickly at this rate...

I feel like I’ve been here for months, not mere weeks. The weather has turned quite cold so I’m appreciating even more that my little flat has good heating. The Florentines on the whole are not very friendly or the slightest bit interested in knowing anything about me as I flounder in my basic Italian. I’m told Italians are much friendlier in other parts. I can understand that they are tired of tourists here and that many party-hard students (from certain countries) have given foreigners a bad reputation, but the Italians in Florence just generally don’t seem very happy… there’s not a lot of smiling going on and my theory is that they are suffering from Lack of Sun. The buildings have been erected too close together so that even when the sky is clear there’s not a ray of sun to be had walking down the average street. It was so wonderful to finally get to the Boboli Gardens with Dianna (from school) yesterday and sit in the sun for a while, soaking up its weak, but never-the-less warming, rays. The garden paths are steep and at the peak you can look back down on the Pitti Palace with the west part of Florence behind it and beyond that the snow-capped mountains in the far distance. It’s a spectacular vista and made me hungry to explore the country-side beyond the stony shadows of the city centre.

Dianna came to my place for lunch on Sunday for her birthday, before we went to the gardens, after which we went for a cuppa at a small bookshop/café around the corner from my place. I’ve been eyeing it since I got here but reluctant to go in by myself with my meager language skills. Success! It was cosy and relaxed and they stock a great selection of herbal teas. Unfortunately they charge 3 euro a cup (which might just be the tourist price) so it won’t be my ‘local’ but it’s nice to have taken the plunge and I’m full of courage now to try a few other cafes in my area until I find the one I like best.

They are certainly enthusiastic about their art in Florence. I went to an exhibition of works by Bronzino (poet and artist to the Medici, 1500’s) at 10am on Saturday, thinking that no-one would be there at that time of day. WRONG. Everyone was there, aside from those who hadn’t arrived yet to join the growing queue to get in. Unbelievable. Thankfully Heidi gave me a spare ticket so I was able to go straight in. It was slow getting through all the rooms because of the people. Granted, it was the last weekend of the show, but I’m even more determined now to do all my sightseeing during the winter before the masses arrive in earnest.

I’m picking up Italian words every day by having the TV on constantly. Every non-Italian show is dubbed, so we have people like The Fonze speaking Italian in Happy Days, Samantha in Bewitched, Opera is also fluent, etc etc… I saw on the program that there’s even Skippy il Canguro if you’re up early enough for it. My Italian Church is also great for language learning. Andrew (who knows my church leaders at home) speaks fluent Italian and is helping me to understand what’s going on and translating the sermon for me. It’s so great to have him and his family here – I’m really looking forward to getting to know them better. Australia seems like a LONG way away, so it’s nice to meet other people from way down under.
È tutto per oggi!

(You can check out my latest photos here).

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