Last week, I returned from spending an amazing week in Firenze, Italy. I guess one could say it was the ultimate Artist Retreat. I joined 13 women Artists including the beautiful, heart-centered Intentional Creativity Artist, Shiloh Sophia McCloud who coordinated this absolutely lovely journey on the Artist's Path. The experience was beyond my wildest expectations and there are no words that could truly describe the abundance of beauty surrounding us. What I can say is that this experience lit a fire in my Artist's Heart and opened my eyes to being and living as the Artist I am.
As an Artist, this experience was one of THE most momentous times in my life. Observing the community, taking in the beautiful art in churches, museums, galleries and architecture, shopping in the markets and experiencing the culinary fare--oh so yummy!!!--yes, including the wine, especially at the wineries in Tuscany was literally 'food' for the Artist's eye and heart. So many inspired thoughts to apply color to on paper with my magic wands (brushes)! And, I did. Usually during the wee hours in the still, quiet mornings.
The best part of my experience was painting Plein Air outside the magnificent Duomo. Right there in the photo above! Sitting at an outside table, sipping a "Spritz", a lovely refreshing drink of Prosecco and Aperitif, in the warm sunshine, my eyes caught the eyes of the Blessed Mother and Child, who are sitting center above one of the entrances overlooking the courtyard. Her gaze follows one wherever they choose to stand. Her gaze was mesmerizing as well as loving. She commanded from a place of respected being. I just HAD to paint her!
Truth be told, I was moved to seek out the Blessed Mother wherever I went. And, I found her everywhere. From an inlet within a building on a street corner, to above doorways, paintings within Uffizi and Pitti Palace and, of course, the numerous and beautiful, sacred churches. I went to 8 different churches and was in awe of the beauty painted within on the walls and ceilings. Admittedly, I was moved to tears feeling the Blessed Mother's loving presence wherever I went. I was in awe and humbled beyond words. As I lit candles, my prayers were for peace in our world and healing for my sister and friend. During my time in Florence, I experienced a shift in how I felt and understood myself as an Artist as well as a palpable Spiritual shift. I will never be the same or look at my surroundings with the same eyes. The vision is so much clearer of where I am to BE and how I can best serve in this world.
Indeed, this experience is the ultimate Artist's dream and I could share so much more. I cherish these memories and feel blessed to have experienced such beauty. Admittedly, I thought about not returning to the States. I felt a deep connection in Florence on so many levels and plan on returning to Italy. It is an adventure worth taking again and perhaps for the rest of my life. I will leave you with the Blessed Mother and Child from the Duomo.....
Blessings to you and embracing you with love and light,