Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category


June 13th, 2014
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Italy is an idea, an image, a lifestyle.  Italy is art and Italy is architecture…innovations and experiments.  It has also been defined by conflict and by plague.  Italy is a sum of its past and its present, of its conquests and its defeats…of dreams that span millennia.  People are drawn to Italy for its monuments, for the achievements of human endeavor. But what strikes me year after year as I return to il bel paese, is something that seems so small in comparison to the


A Summer of Sadness and Beauty

September 15th, 2013
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As many of you are aware Enza Quargnali, founder of La Romita School, has been absent from La Romita this year in body, while fighting a battle with an illness that she calls the beast.  But she is winning this battle and her spirit has been present every day in this beautiful old monastery that is, perhaps most of all, a monument to her determination and her love of art.  She is in the prayers of all who love this place…and in daily phone conversations


“Serendipity” – A Visit to La Romita

April 11th, 2013

Webster’s defines serendipity as a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”.  Obviously accidents can’t be predicted and surprises lose their punch if you know they’re coming, so we can’t really promise serendipity as part of the program at La Romita, but we can try.  We can say with confidence that no one knows this area the way we do…the history of the artists and patrons, the foods and wines, the hidden architectural gems, and the culture that holds it all together.  We are Italian; the family


Ken O’Connell: Sketchbooks and La Romita

October 23rd, 2012

[Editor’s Note: Kenneth O’Connell has taught at La Romita four times in the last 8 years, and this year led the workshop Sketchbooks in Italy in early September.  He is a Professor Emeritus from the University of Oregon, and is also President Emeritus of Imagination International, Inc. which imports Copic Markers into the USA. He is working in Sketchbook number 74.] Italy is a wonderful country to visit and La Romita a very special place to be. The combination of housing, amazing meals, quiet studio,


A Harvest Moon – by Katherine Brimberry

October 25th, 2011
Brimberry 2011 Group

Last week in Austin, Texas when the Hunter’s Moon lit up my backyard, I was reminded of the previous full moon, twenty-eight days before, seen from the courtyard of La Romita, an artists’ retreat and school located near Terni, Italy in the heart of Umbria.  It was a glorious, Italian “Harvest Moon” and it kept me awake with its brightness lighting the olive grove around the quiet studio that night. It was a beautiful place to be and to make art.  For two weeks, La


Glimpses of Umbria

July 18th, 2011

A note from Holly Quan (2011 Participant) For the past two weeks, we’ve been living in a paint box. Think about it. Everywhere you look, there is color, juicy color. Gelato in jewel tones, pottery, brilliant flowers, everywhere your eye settles there is color. Whether your native palette is the black and white of a prairie winter, the monochrome of the high desert, or the concrete and glass of a big city, I think it’s safe to say that most of us are unaccustomed to


La Romita and June Festivals in Umbria

June 16th, 2011
Spello artist at work

June is the time of wildflowers in Italy; the colors are often breathtaking.  To paraphrase our native Francis of Assisi, the supreme beauty of nature attracts souls as well as bees.  Here are a couple of photos I took the other day of a nearby field: After Barry Thomas and his Arkansas travelers, the young artists of Ball State University’s Fine Arts Department brought their energy and talent to this old monastery.  Professors Scott Anderson and David Hannon, both accomplished artists, helped their charges decorate


On Patrons and Babies

April 18th, 2011

If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you’ve noticed that in the winter time, while in the States, I’ve been giving presentations on La Romita and the art of the Umbrian hill towns. The beauty of the paintings available to us in Umbria is sometimes breathtaking.  Just walking into the various chambers of a church like the Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi or Orvieto’s Cathedral can be transformative.  The fresco painting is on a massive scale.  The walls and ceilings are literally covered

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