What is Quartz Inversion?
No, it’s not a quart of milk standing on its head. It’s the point at which silica crystals in clay change their molecular structure during the rise and fall of temperatures in the kiln. Heat serves as a catalyst for permanent change. Very cool idea. I think of it as a metaphor for most things in life. The transformational power of art can change us at the very core. Our actions change the earth every day, for better or worse. The choices we make, the thoughts we have, and the words we say change us in every way at every moment--from the inside out. I like to think that I go through a quartz inversion on a regular basis....and once quartz inversion occurs, there is no going back.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Italian hours.......

So what was the most amazing thing about spending three weeks in Italy?....The fact that I came home more inspired creatively than I have been in a very long time. First let me qualify that by saying it was not the ONLY amazing thing. Seeing new places, like the incredibly fantastically wonderful Bologna, was also great. But even the most wonderful thing about Bologna was the way it inspired me creatively and how much I couldn't wait to come home and start incorporating those warm colors, the shapes of the arched porticos, and images of graffiti into my artwork. The whole city is like a living collage; layers and shapes seem to overlap one another in the most natural way--like the city was always meant to be seen that way. The barrage of graffiti-covered walls and scraps of peeling advertisements and posters do not take away from the burst of deliciousness that assaults the eyes on every street. It actually enhances everything about the city.

I was only there one day and two half days, but I made the most of every minute. I visited the Morandi Museum, the Casa Morandi (Morandi's former home and studio), MAMBO (Bologna's modern art museum which houses one of the most wonderful Sean Scully's I've ever seen in person), and the mind-blowing Santo Stefano church (known as Sette Chiese because it is a series of chapels, courtyards, naves, and rooms all inter-joining one another in a heavenly maze of connected-ness). But I digress......sort of.

Let me step back to my first two weeks in Tuscany. The first couple of days were almost, dare I say, a disappointment. The teacher, Julian, a wonderful English art teacher with an undying penchant for all things Renaissance, was a virtual Bernini's Fountain of Knowledge! Unfortunately, it was a subject that could not be less interesting to me. But I stuck it out through the first few days of basic water-color lessons, visits to churches filled with Fresco's, and mini lectures on god-knows-which-Renaissance painter, and waited for an opening to start my own work in the studio independently of the other dilettante participants. Then one day, Julian showed me a new technique which he called 'monoprinting' and the flood gates opened. I spent the rest of the week cranking these things out on cheap newsprint paper, one after another. By the end of the week I was so wound up I decided to extend my stay for another 4 days. It was heaven on earth! Waking up every day with nothing else to do but work in the studio, eat the three delicious meals prepared by Julian's lovely wife Amanda, and at night drink all the yummy wine my liver could handle. E' stato stupendo!

I'd like to recommend this place to anyone who wants to take some time away and spend some unstructured time working in a light-filled studio one hour away from Florence, Arezzo and Rome, perched on a sun-drenched Tuscan hill on the border of Umbria. The website is www.artistinitaly.com. Tell Julian and Amanda that Jo the New Yorker sent you....Buon divertimento!

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