As I mentioned before I did fit in one last art course, a 2 weeks on portraiture. It was a fantastic course run by Vitaly Shtanko, and incredible realist painter who also teaches at the Florence Academy of Art. His work is stunning and his class was a very interesting mix of the Russian School of Art as well as the Italian Classical approach. I have such respect for portrait painters, to be able to capture someones image so that you can truly see a piece of their soul is no easy feat, and Vitaly does it with such grace. Unfortunately my portraits still look as if the model is made of wax. I learned so much in his course but it will take me months to process it all and years to practice it to the point where I can do the style justice. I plan to start with some self portraits at home before subjugating someone to the difficult task of sitting for a portrait. (it's a lot harder than you'd think)
At the end of the course I was sincerely "workshopped out". My brain can not take in another piece of information until I have time to go home and work through all that I have learned in my own studio. I am exhausted! So I figured the kids and I all deserve a vacation from our vacation! So we headed to Elba Island for 4 days. It is a little gem, a corner of paradise hidden along the Tuscan coast. We hopped the train to the coast and then took a one hour ferryboat arriving in the harbour town of Portoferraio. This is a sleepy little village in the offseason, which is thankfully when we visited!
The town was built in 1540's by Cosimo the 1st Grand Duke of Tuscany. It was built on top of Roman ruins, the town is a medieval fortress built around a natural harbour along craggy cliffs that jut out into crystal clear turquoise water. The town is also famous as being the place of Napoleon's exile in 1814. But for us it was a place to explore beaches, rocky coves, collect stones, chase crabs, go swimming, play in tidal pools and eat ice cream and drink sun-downers over looking the sea. Every day we explored a new beach, and in the early mornings and in the evenings we would wander the narrow streets up and down hills finding great pizza spots and enjoying incredible views. We walked along the harbour watching boats come and go, pirate ships and all!
On the day we left my children had their first serious melt down with huge crocodile tears since we have been in Italy. "We don't want to go!!! We want to live here forever!" Well I felt much the same way, and it was only my adult reservations that prevented my own tears from falling that morning. What a way to end our adventure. So now we begin packing, and saying goodbye to the friends we have made here along the way. But I won't deny in the back of my mind there is a plan brewing... one the entails spending another winter away with my little adventurers, and this time I picture it on a little island in the Mediterranean, painting white cliffs and sparkling seas...
Thanks to all for following our adventures. Your comments along the way have made us feel close to home and brought us encouragement on the cold and rainy days. I hope you were entertained, and perhaps even a little inspired.
Live your dreams!
arrving at Portoferraio...such a cool town!
Beach day 1
Hanging out on the beach day 1
Beach day 2
Rocky Pools day 3
Pirate ship just passing by.... as they do.
top of the town
pirate ship docked....we got to climb a board.. a very handsome "pirate" invited us aboard...didn't keep us captive though....too bad
beach day 4
Leaving Elba...such a cool place!
Everyone is feeling the love! what a great trip.