Final Travel Journals, final exhibition and Arrivederci Siena!

The final travel journals are beautiful; each one  a  unique visual diary of an amazing shared experience in Siena. They capture, the places, people, travel experiences, the excursions and the food. They will be treasured forever!

The journals were prominently displayed and appreciated at our final exhibition:”Fuori dal Comune- Out of the Ordinary”, at the Spezio UneDue in Siena.

The exhibition was well-attended and the paintings looked beautiful. Bravo all!


Of course the saddest part was saying goodbye at our final dinner after the reception. But we hope it is not good bye, just Arrivederci-until we meet again!


What an amazing place. This ancient city has so much fascinating architecture; the ancient melds with the contemporary. We walked all over city central and enjoyed the beautiful art and  architecture there.Enjoying an outdoor garden breakfast at our lovely hotel,  at the top of the Spanish Steps, not far from the Piazza Navonna,  where Bernini’s  masterpiece fountain is.We got quite good at navigating the subway system.The Vatican Museum was of course, a highlight!

Water Museum and Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a full day in Siena beginning with a visit to the water museum to learn about the  “bottini”, underground aqueduct system that supplied Siena water for centuries. Later that evening we enjoyed a group Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn’t like being home, but the food was amazing. A couple of us also shared a birthday celebration there.

Travel Journals

Yesterday we  spent our class reflecting on cafe life over coffee and treats in a favorite  local cafe. Student’s spent the hour plus time drawing and writing.

Journaling was done in Florence

And all around Siena.

Students also went on a treasure hunt around the city to locate the different animal or symbol in each of the seventeen contradas in Siena; the neighborhoods that divide Siena and compete  against one another at the famous horse race, the Palio during the summer.


The Venice Biennale

A much anticipated visit to Venice and the Venice Biennale, one of the foremost international exhibitions of contemporary art that takes over the city every other year from May through November, did not disappoint.

We began our trip with a tour by a local art historian.

And then shared local snacks  known as “cichetti“on a barge on the canal.

Taking a vaporetto ( water bus) to the Biennale was part of the fun.

Mark Bradford’s moving exhibition Tomorrow is Another Day, at the US Pavillion, was one of the highlights of our first day of the Biennale at the Giardini, as  was Phyllida Barlow’s huge sculptures at the British Pavilion.

The next day at the Arsenale, Sheila Hicks’ installation was one of the stand-outs.

The Russian Pavilion was intense, but the Japanese Pavilion was lighthearted.

Some of us went to see the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Prada Foundation.

The Venice trip was a stimulating and inspiring experience for all!

Critique # 2

Students found a range of creative solutions for  the Insprirata da Arte Senese/Tuscano assignment and presented their work for a group crit.  

Lots of active discussion ensued.

A visit to the “Biccherna” in Siena

From the 12th century till 1682,  every year the city of Siena commissioned the best local artists to paint covers for the  annual city financial records. Known as the “Biccherna”, these hand-painted tablets have been preserved and are displayed in the city archives in glass cabinets  along with rooms filled with shelves snd shelves of the records themselves.

Everyone was awed by the artwork, the records, and the space itself.

One of the original Biccherna intact.

Excursion to beautiful Florence


Waiting for the bus to Florence.
At the Uffitizi Gallery
The art collection was huge but magnificent, the space majestic.
We were fortunate to have art historian Piergiacomo Pietrioli give us the context and backstories for important works.

Tired but happy!

Sharing ideas for the Inspirata Senese/Tuscano assignment.

Students share ideas for a painting assignment that responds to the art and architecture of Siena and Tuscany. They have seen so many extraordinary things and are excited to begin to  to process them into their paintings and to experiment with new  (old!) techniques.

Sharing sketches and ideas with the class.
Gold leaf application demo.

Hard at work…

…painting away.