Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sometimes a plan just comes together. Last October a wonderful group of artists of all levels and from all corners of the world gathered to paint and sketch our little hill town. They took the city by storm!

 

Sketch tour at Comune.

And their work was simply wonderful…

Margaret Wheaton, Florida, U.S.A.

MWheaton Orvieto

“Lovely bells ringing, but then the rain returned!”

Yvonne Fay, Manchester, UK

YFay

Alistair Duffield, Singapore

ADuffield

“I had a great time in Orvieto. It is a wonderful, friendly Italian hilltop town and the week is not only about sketching and painting, but the town, its people, great restaurants and food. Well organised by Toni and on top of that sketching/painting every day was a joy – guided by Kelly. “

 

Erin Lee Gafill & Tom Birmingham, Big Sur, U.S.A.

ELeeTbirmingam

“Kelly is a simply great teacher and Orvieto is the ideal place to learn. I absolutely loved the experience and can’t wait to come back and do it again! Kelly’s lessons are invaluable and serve me well every day in my own painting practice.”

 

Valéria Salgueiro, Brazil

V. Salgerio

“The whole week period, from Monday to Sunday, was very well organized in every respect – accommodation, special activities with local people and, obviously, the thematic painting workshops. In a word or two, everything run as planned and informed to all participants, and the results were well above our expectations. Kelly is an excellent artist and a lovely person, and each day she explored different aspects involved in painting such as composition, sense of space, light and shadow, color, texture asw. All this occurred in a very friendly and respectful climate, so that I left Orvieto with that great feeling I did the right choice. I would not hesitate to strongly recommend Kelly Medford’s workshop to whoever wishes to put together a traveling, painting and making friends experience in unforgettable Orvieto.”

 

Jane Stephenson Bumar, Florida, U.S.A

JBumar 2

“Every day was beautifully structured to present completely different experiences and lessons carefully guided by Kelly Medford who is such a genius at working with all levels of artist from beginning to professional. Such an enriching, magical and supportive experience all around.”

 

Jane Driscoll, South Carolina, U.S.A.

APeterson

“Sketching Orvieto” with Kelly Medford was a wonderful experience. Everything was perfect – the magical location, local culture, delicious food and, of course, Kelly’s excellent instruction.”

 

We would love to have you at Kelly’s next Sketching Orvieto Workshop. Find out more below…

 

https://www.kellymedford.com/workshop/sketching-orvieto-capture-a-magnificent-italian-hill-town-in-watercolor/

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m so thrilled to announce that my good friend, Kelly Medford (of Kelly Medford Art and Sketching Tours Rome) and I are collaborating to bring her famous Watercolor Sketching workshop to Orvieto this October. It’s open to anyone who wants to spend a week painting and experiencing Orvieto, one brush stroke at a time. To register or find out more, go to Kelly’s website, as spaces are limited. Share with anyone who might want to join us. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. PAINTING ORVIETO, KELLY STYLE!

http://www.kellymedford.com/workshop/exploring-orvieto-watercolor-sketching-in-the-perfect-italian-hill-town/

kelly paint orvieto

 

Read Full Post »

It’s a message I’ve been attempting to get across to travellers for years. It’s become my own, personal mantra. I’ve recently made it an Instagram hashtag. I’ll shout it from the rooftops, if I have to…

One day is not enough to fully experience all the wonders that Orvieto has to offer!”

the food.

IMG_3938

Pretty cauliflower

 

umbrichelli tartufo

Umbrichelli al tartufo nero

gelato-3.jpg

gelato on the steps of the Duomo di Orvieto

the wine.

foresco

Barberani Foresco red

vino

white wines anyone?

febo wine

a little Prosecco to take the edge off

the art and culture.

Luca 2

Luca Signorelli’s Masterpiece

 

IMG_0076

Famous rooster ceramic pitchers

IMG_1584

Christmas magic

the lifestyle.

 

IMG_1019

Ahhh, life is good.

IMG_0995

Transport

IMG_0422

Parades

and the people.

IMG_3635

Cheese, please.

IMG_0666

Keeping up with the news.

IMG_1038

Friends with boots.

Repeat after me! Orvieto is NOT just a day trip from Rome!

Come. Stay. Enjoy!

 

Read Full Post »

*** Note: This post has nothing to do with Italy, other than I’m writing it from Orvieto.

 

My personal list of the eleven things we should stop doing on social media right now:

1.  #instagramming “foot shots” by the pool or at the beach.

Feet are ugly.

2.  Posting photos of your medical procedures.

Self-explanatory.

3.  Sharing bogus news stories and urban myths.

Two words: Snopes.com people.

4.  Arguing with trolls.

You’re feeding the beast.

5.  Food styling your dinner rather than eating it.

Chefs and food writers excepted.

6.  Sending chain letters.

Your friends don’t want them. Trust me.

7.  Giving daily updates of your new love affair.

It’s nice that you’re blissfully happy, but when and if the romance ends your heartbreak will be in Facebook’s memory forever.

8.  Posting seductive selfies.

Smile normally and drop the fish face.

9.  Asking advice about sensitive things on behalf of other people.

“Does anyone know a good gynecologist for my 11-year old daughter? She just got her period.” Um, Noooooooooo!

10.  Using Facebook Live.

Unless you’re the host on of a History or Travel Channel show, don’t narrate yourself doing stuff.  

11.  Writing “what not to do” pieces on your blog.

 

Read Full Post »

Photograph by Wendy Dreary

I could start a series about the hundreds of things I’ve walked past, wondered about, and then just kept going.

One of those things is the enormous golden statue of Christ perched above Roma Termini. For years I’ve exited the station on the Via Marsala side, looked up in awe at that glistening Jesus in the sky but, I’m sorry to say, never bothered to take a closer look. That is, until today.

The golden boy…

  • The statue is entitled “Christ The Redeemer.”

  • It’s made of gilded bronze and was sculpted in Milan by artist Enrico Canaanite.

  • In 1931, the effigy was transported to Rome where it was added to the Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio’s bell tower.

About the basilica itself…

Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio (considered a minor basilica) is quite modern as Roman churches go. Designed in the neo-Renaissance style, it was conceived at the urging of priest-turned-saint Giovanni Bosco. A rockstar clergy of his time, “Don Bosco” applied a little pressure on his friends at the Vatican and hooked up the architect Conte Francesco Vespignani to oversee the church’s construction. The basilica was finally completed in 1887—a year before Don Bosco’s death. A relic of the popular saint (a cotton swab soaked in the blood) is exhibited in a glass display case inside.

Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio, Via Marsala 42, Rome.

 PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Dreary and Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

 

img_2755

Photograph by Toni DeBella

One of the advantages of living in Europe is its proximity to exotic places like…Marrakesh, Morocco. Marrakesh is one of the hippest, cultured, atmospheric, friendly, delicious, and surprising places I’ve ever been.

img_2792

Watercolor by Kelly Medford

In preparation for my first journey to Morocco (and the continent of Africa, for that matter), I made a conscious decision not to “Google” the hell out my upcoming trip, but experience it with fresh, unfiltered eyes. I didn’t have low expectations. I had no expectations. Surprise, Marrakesh!

Astonishing Thing #1: Sparkling Streets

img_2803

Photograph by Kelly Medford

I had no idea that the city of Marrakesh would be so clean! From the modern and architecturally stunning airport to the palm tree-lined (and pothole-free) roads, to the un-graffitied walls, to the dusty ancient streets of the Medina…all are absolutely pristine.

img_2811

Photograph by Toni DeBella

 Astonishing Thing #2: It’s Organized

img_2793

Photograph by Kelly Medford

The people of Marrakesh have rules and they actually follow them (hint, hint Italy)! In the Medina, motorcycles, bikes, and donkey carts travel on the left—pedestrians walk on the right. I didn’t see one collision (or even a close call) while I was visiting. Moroccans do traffic flow really well. I would call it organized chaos.

Astonishing Thing #3: It’s Safe

img_2806

Photograph by Kelly Medford

You’ve probably heard stories about how unsafe it is to walk around The Medina without a local guide at your side. Bunk. Yes, a lot of people stop to ask if you need help finding something or they may offer to take you to their uncle’s/cousin’s/father’s spice shop; a simple “No Merci” easily discourages them. I walked all over the city unescorted and, truth be told, I worry more about having my pockets picked in Rome.

Astonishing Thing #4: Everything is Negotiable

 

img_2797

Photograph by Christine Cantow Smith

It’s not normal for Americans to haggle over every single purchase we make, but in Morocco negotiating price is a huge part of the culture (and one I didn’t particularly enjoy). If you want to buy stuff in the Souks (outdoor markets), you’re going to have to play the game. After my third transaction, I hung up my shopping boots and went for a coffee (which is great, by the way). I just didn’t have any more fight left in me. 

img_2814

Photograph by Christine Cantow Smith

Astonishing Thing #5: A Built-in Wake Up Call

Five times-a-day mosques deliver “a call to prayer” by loudspeaker; the first goes off at dawn. If you’re an early riser, no need to set your alarm clock. If you’re someone who likes to sleep in, I don’t know what to tell you. Nazir, a communications director for three museums who moonlights at Riad Dombaraka, explains that the call isn’t necessarily an obligation to pray, but rather a reminder for those who want to pray. (Watch the Video above).

Our bellhop

Our bellhop

From the first moment I arrived, I fell in love with Marrakesh and its super-cool vibe. I can’t wait to come back and see what other surprises this wonderful city has in store for me. ‘Arak qariba!

A big shout-out and bigger “shukraan” (thank you in Arabic) to my pal and artist Kelly Medford for inviting me to join her group during her watercolor workshop. For more information about upcoming painting workshops with Kelly click here.

 

img_2777

Watercolor by Birgit Dreesen

 

Watercolor by Lisa Fedich

Watercolor by Lisa Fedich

 

Joe Painting

Joe Altwer

Photo credits: Toni DeBella, Kelly Medford & Christine Cantow Smith

Read Full Post »

hrc-tru

This post isn’t about the results of today’s US election. It’s not about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It’s not about conservatism vs. liberalism, right vs. left, republican vs. democrat.

It’s about how I’ve come to the shocking realization that I’ve just spent the last year of my life lulled in a Facebook cradle. I let a social media vacuum swaddle me in a gigantic ‘preaching to the choir’ sense of security. I believed everyone was exactly like me when actually I’d just surrounded myself with like-minded people. You can “unfriend” someone, but that doesn’t make them disappear.

I wasn’t paying enough attention to the other side of the aisle. I didn’t engage in any meaningful discussions with people who saw things differently than I did. That’s how I got blindsided.

I was living in a blue bubble.

The wake-up call is quite jarring, but I accept the results of the election and I continue to believe in our system of democracy. I don’t particularly like it right now, but I still believe in it.

Some soul searching is now in order.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: