Though there are many stories rolling around my head post Italy, the one that is front and center has to do with the title of the Italy book I'm working on now. GIRO DEL MONDO. In Italian it means Tour of the World.
The narrative painting retreat took place in Cortona, Italy. It was all women and one man who accompanied his wife - a writer and watercolorist from Southern Oregon. He rode his bicycle daily while we worked. I cooked for everyone. One day, I decided to take a break from cooking. I offered to take everyone to lunch at the Plaza.
We went here:
We were met by a very charming Italian waiter. Our languages were all over the map: English, Italian, Dutch, German. It takes a lot of trust to communicate from different languages and know you are understood if only by gesture and intent alone. This is what I love about traveling to new countries. This intimacy. It's precious.
Our waiter (here is he is)...
... asked where we were all from. Germany, USA, Holland.
Oh, "Giro del Mondo" he gestured with emphasis. "Tour of the World" he said as he poured our Rosé. "That's the name of our book" I said. Clear as day.
We had decided that morning that instead of creating individual books of each student's stories and paintings (plus photos I was taking of every experience we had), the book would be one book of all of it. So this title came in a very timely manner.
Here are a few more photos of this delightful lunch. We were so happy with our food, our waiter and our wine. I was blissed out to not cook for a meal.
We went on to paint the streets, people, bicycles, flowers, shops after this meal. But the sketchbooks were out before dessert was over. They were very inspiring.
If you'd like to see a few more pics... go to the updated Tuscany page.
To visit a couple student blogs that cite a bit of their work, here is Corinne Bekker's blog. And Kathrin Werner's colorful world.
Also, we have a FB page, Writing and Painting Italy. I'm posting news and you will find the 4-day practice challenge before the retreat. I'm always so stunned by how the subconscious makes these stories so effortlessly.
I'm busy designing and producing the Italy book to send to students. It's part of their package. As I do so, I'm also considering the next retreat and an online version of the course for 2015-2016. So stay tuned.
It was an amazing experience. Still learning from it. Still inspired by the work and Italy.