Monday, April 21, 2014

Trip To Assisi

Assisi, photograph copyright Jill Banks 2014
Saturday we traveled to Assisi, Italy … a long, scenic bus trip from Florence. The forecast called for rain and there were sprinklings on and off en route and as we arrived.

After several posts about this trip to Florence, one message sent to me related that I “may just be stuck in Paradise.”  Could be true …  Paradise does include though sore feet (because there is so much to be seen), sore shoulders (because art supplies, cameras to capture Paradise must be carried to the destination) and an occasional need for an umbrella (because this grass had to get green somehow).

Assisi is beautiful, clean, stunning with unusual architecture, great shops (as seen from the doorway), incredible vistas at every turn, fountains, flowers, churches, an ornate carousel, celebratory atmosphere.

We saw frescos by Giotto at the Basilica di San Francesco … a visual narrative of the life of St. Francis. My only art-making on Saturday was a fairly quick sketch of a sculpture of St. Francis in the nave of the church.

Suddenly it was after 2pm with a bus departure of 3 – and a long uphill climb to get to the front gates. I don’t remember ever walking up a steep hill while consuming a sandwich before. It brings new meaning to “to go.”

Student to Teacher
As a traveler with the group as an attendee, I keep thinking about my own painting workshop in Italy ahead. (Nice thought. When I say “arrivederci” to this trip, the next beckons shortly.)

Each fellow traveler has their own agenda, own hopes, energy level. Some try to fill every moment – take advantage of every opportunity. Others follow the beat of their own drum … bowing out of a day’s activity if it doesn’t suit or some other  destination’s call is stronger. 

Taking care of all those wishes reminds me … though distantly … of my parents’ entertaining during family reunions … chatting with the early risers and being there, too, with the night owls.

I’ll set some friendly boundaries … giving it my all  for a large bit of the day with some leftover to rejuvenate for the next. At least, that’s the plan for now.

What I do know is that this country awaits a great adventure that I am so looking forward to co-leading (with Mary Beth Gaiarin as host, me as instructor). I’m  getting my Italian painting muscles in awfully great shape.

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March 5 - December: Richeson75 Still Life and Floral 2014  Two of my paintings: "Honey Bunny" and "Garden Girl" were chosen as finalists in this online competition and exhibition. 75 total works were selected for this exhibition from entries/artists worldwide. See the exhibit at

April 5 - April 27: Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia at Delaplaine, Frederick, MD  Reception on Saturday, April 5, 3 to 5pm at the Delaplaine Art Center, 40 Carroll Street, Frederick, MD. On exhibit: "Main Street USA," "Tony" and "Ice Cold Lemonade."

May 3 & 4: Fairfax Fine Art Festival  I'll be under a tent in Fairfax Corners ... surrounded by artwork. Come visit/shop for original art. More details to come on my web site's Events page.

May 27-May 31: Mountain Maryland Plein Air I join 29 other artists juried from 
around the country to capture Cumberland MD and surrounding areas in this plein air competition and exhibition. Second time around.

May 31 & June 1: Fairfax Great Falls Studios Spring Outdoor Art Festival  Two days with my work under a tent in the Great Falls Village Centre, corner of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road,  Great Falls, VA. Husband Randy will hold down “the Fort” on Saturday while I finish up at Mountain Maryland and then I hope to see you on Sunday, June !!
Paint with Me in Italy: August 3 to 10, 2014.
For more info, itinerary and links to register, see the
classes page on my web site. Great folks are signing up to join me on this wonderful adventure. I hope you can, too!

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