Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Blind Contour Drawing: Learning How to See

In my sketching class, we have had to do several blind contour drawings. This is a basic assignment designed to help one’s eye/hand coordination. Blind contour drawing is accomplished by tracing the outlines of a subject without looking at one’s paper. After sketching ten or more garlic cloves without achieving any satisfactory results, I was frustrated. I knew I could have drawn decent-looking vegetables if I had been able to see.

My homework assignment reminded me of a book I had read several years ago. There was a quote by a famous artist inside the front cover. I have since forgotten the artist’s name as well as the exact wording of the quote. It was something to the effect of, “In order to draw an apple, you must look at the apple as if it were first one you had ever seen.” I mused over this quote as I sat staring at my finished garlic sketches. Obviously, they were not proportionate or even aesthetic. The sketches looked like “impressions” of garlic. However, I had discovered the garlic in a new way. I had realized details about the garlic that I never would have noticed otherwise. When we started sketching statues yesterday, I tried recapturing that new vision and sketch according to sight and not to preconceived conceptions.

Living in Roma is like creating blind contour drawings. Suddenly (or so it seems), I am on a new continent and learning a new language, culture, and lifestyle. I am learning all the basics, outlining the subject. Later on, I can start filling in the contours with shading and details.

Besides this metaphorical and metaphysical musing, I have been keeping busy with other activities. I went on a tour to St. Peter's Basilica last night with my theology class. I learned a lot about all the individual altars and mosaics within the Basilica. There are only two frescos inside all of St. Peter's. The rest of the images are all mosaics! What I love about the Catholic religion is all the symbolism and imagery. St. Peter’s is overflowing with artwork and sacred relics. It is really a storehouse of spiritual and aesthetic wealth. Quite overwhelming, but heartily enjoyable. Afterwards, my friend Amy and I bought gelato, an amazingly addictive habit. I had hazelnut, bacci, and nutella flavored gelato. It was awesome!

Anyways, I must run along and do a little homework. This is after all, study abroad. Not sketch, eat gelato, philosophize and write abroad. Or so they say.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Taking the Time to...

Today my friends and I went to visit the Vatican Museums. We spent several hours going up and down twisting, winding staircases and passageways. Much to Amy's dismay, we were unable to find any secret tunnels or the like. We did find the "School of Athens" fresco by Raphael and a room full of Fra Angelico's frescos. Surprisingly, the Vatican also boasts paintings by Salvador Dali and Diego Rivera. Of course a world-renowned museum should have pieces reflecting the modern art movement, but it was still surprising to find these painters among the Baroque and Renaissance artists.

We stopped on the way home from the museum at the fresh market. We have been told that the market is one of the freshest and best in Rome. I love it. Vendors line the streets every morning with fresh produce, dried herbs, cheese, meats, and, of course, many different wines. My poor pronunciation of the word “funghi” (“mushrooms” in Italian”) made the vendor think I was ordering a kilogram of fuji apples. Today we are making a potluck dinner at our apartment. We are making risotto, chicken, and green beans. I’m looking forward to a feast of delicious food, friends, and fun.

It is customary that all stores are closed for a few hours between the hours of 12 and 4 in the afternoon for siesta. Only touristy stores are open on Sundays. These Italians know how to enjoy life. The only buy the best food from the fresh markets. They take time to relax from daily tasks.

I’ve growing accustomed to the European lifestyle. By only taking 12 credits and not participating in any campus activities, I am left with quite a bit of time. I was just looking back at my calendar from this past semester. I usually had between five to 12 meetings a week besides working part-time and taking a full class load. I’m living in the moment of every day and enjoying it heartily.

To see more pictures from my adventures, visit my Picassa web album.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: 80's

80s copy
Originally uploaded by soulofarose.
Since I was born in the late 80's, I really don't know anything about the culture of this decade. All I could think of was Relient K's "In Love with the '80's" song.

"I am gonna wear a pink tux to the prom/
live without a care/
cause you threw it away to fall in love with the 80's"

This is my first time drawing over a photo with photoshop. I used a lot of different brushes and transparent gradients. The stock photo is from

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bella Roma!

I am studying abroad this semester in Rome. It has been an exciting adventure so far, so much to see and experience. I have had several forays with the Italian language (also an adventure) which were surprisingly fun. People actually understand my Italian. My friend, fellow sojourner, and room-mate, Amy, and I have a nice apartment here along with a couple other girls from our school. I hope to post photos frequently to show some of our adventures! Posted by Picasa