Still taking in Venice and Burano.... a beautiful day

We had a pretty good nights sleep... and a good breakfast.

We were struggling to connect to our convent's Wifi - so we were starting to feel a bit desperate.  But other than that - we were good!!

I didn't have an agenda about Venice - partly because I didn't have any time before I left to research anything about anything - also for me sometimes the best way to take in new place is by exploring and discovering and researching on the go.  And I was delighted at every turn!  However, that being said - it's left me needing to go back to explore some more because there is so much more I need to discover!  And the art museums, enough said - I need to go back!

Today we decided to leave Venice by boat and head to the small Island of Burano, a small fishing village which is famous for it's brightly colored buildings - folklore explains that they are brightly colored so that the fisherman could find their way home after their nightly drunken escapades.  I love that.  Burano is also known for their lace and Venetian glass.

We left via St Marks Square - and I'm so glad we did.

It was breathtaking.


This may be one of my favorite pictures - a tapestry of buildings overlapping each other with completely different textures, styles and colors.  I'm in heaven!


Venice from afar...

We had a long boat trip - about 2 hours.  It was a good time to chat and really get to know about each others lives.  These connecting moments were some of the hightlights of my whole trip!  I love deep connection - it's definitely one of my love languages!  So I was one happy girl!

We were so chilled after taking in this beautiful little village.

We were more than ready to take in a healthy lunch, cuppa and some Wifi - we were in heaven!  I think we sat blissfully for almost 2.5 hours and the most amazing thing is that we were both so happy doing this.  I loved how like-minded we were about travelling.

Because these little house entrances face directly onto the streets - each front door had this shade cloth covering - so they could open their doors for the fresh air to flow through - but also have their privacy from the prying tourists desperate to steal sneak-peaks into their sweet homes.

You can find water fountains through-out Italy... apparently spring water.  Apparently safe to fill your bottles.  Brilliant engineering and foresight from ancient times.

Back in Venice and slowly ambling the streets and alleyways. The thing I love most about being in Italy - is the walking!  This way you discover beautiful gems... and glimpses of this ancient world.

Beautiful finds from the day!  Lace from Burano and a beautiful painting of the village.  And ancient photos and postcards!

On the way home to our Monastery - we came across the sweetest printing press place... a little business tucked away and possibly easily missed - that seems to have been in existences for a very long time, based on the antiques in store and possibly past through the generations.  Printing off business cards and images in an etching style {the cards in the top right corner}.

The owner - a delightful man telling us stories of all the famous people he's made personal cards for... that a character!  I loved this day so much!

It was more than perfect!

Pinch me please... I'm in Venice

My flights were smooth going all the way...  I think it might have been one of the smoothest long-haul trips I have ever done in terms of my connections etc!  Flying over and into Amsterdam was amazing and heading towards Venice, I went over the Alps!  A delightful surprise.  Arriving in Venice and finding Renee there waiting for me - was such a joy and hearing her sweet accent felt so comforting!  I just immediately felt the stress leave my body!  I had a travel buddy and 2 is always better than 1... I have to say Renee was just the best travel companion, I could have asked for!  She was kind, generous and so thoughtful and we were evenly matched in temperament and character!  I can't tell you how grateful I was to have not only had this precious time with such a special person but also that I had someone to travel these ancient cities with!

You know you are in Venice when...This is your view.

We booked a two day pass on the Water Taxi - which was the best advice we were given by Carolyn, who ventured to Venice, just before us... Thanks Caro!  We arrived in Venice and braved the hot crowded streets and eventually found our Monastery... 

I'm already inlove!!!! 

It felt like victory arriving...  Even when greeted by this rather stressful looking lady door knocker!!!

We showered and wasted no time hitting the streets, we both hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we took in an early supper - which was a 5Euro Pizza each!  Fatigue and jet-lag was settling in and we were both starting to feeling a bit floaty!  We were literally floating through the streets of Venice.

We quickly picked up some supplies from the grocer and headed back to the Monastery and climbed into bed... it was almost 9pm and it was still light out and the streets still full of people!

It was instant for sure - I fell hopelessly and completely in love with Venice!  I know I will need to take Digby and the girls back one day!  It felt almost surreal to be here!

We stopped to admire this street artist's pieces... not a bad studio space... painting in the streets of Venice!

Where do I even begin...

Oh my goodness...  Where do I even begin!

My emotions are huge from this trip, this time.  And my inadequate words seem to minimize the whole experience.  I keep going back to look at my pictures... but I'm totally overwhelmed.  Let me first start by saying how deep this trip felt for me this time!

 Maybe because I knew what to expect.

Maybe because my heart was more open to everything.

Maybe - I'm just 2 years older and in a completely different space.

Maybe it was many things but whatever it was, I feel something has changed inside of me.  Deep inside.

I am struggling to share it because I don't want to make it small.  It was interesting for me to see the difference between this time and last time... it made me realize and understand so much about myself, where I was then, where I am now and hopefully where I'm going.

Photo Credit - Misty Mawn Our group felt deeply connected this year - so special!

Photo Credit - Misty Mawn
Our group felt deeply connected this year - so special!

Besides being in this incredible part of the world again... I know for sure, that I have completely fallen in love with Italy!  I was warned that this would happen!  Maybe we will never be finished with each other.

Well there's that!  But it was also these incredible people... painting together again, for some of us and for the first time, others... that demands vulnerability!  And that's always deep.  But I am also sure of this... we have 2 common threads running through all of us that connects us... our love for painting and painting in this incredible setting... but also our complete adoration for Misty Mawn, our teacher and getting to sit along side her for a whole week, while she shares parts of her gifting, her skills and her creative life with us!!

Make no mistake - it's what we have traveled across the world for!

Ready to rock 'n roll...

Eeeck - I'm all packed and all ready to go.

Everything that I wanted to get done, is done and everything that I needed has been received.  The excitement within the class members has been truly tangible... and it just hit me hard this weekend that I'm going... oh my goodness!  It's been two years of dreaming and planning and saving.  It felt like forever away and now it's finally here.   If I'm totally honest with you, I'm not sure if or when I will get this chance again.  And that kind of breaks my heart but it also makes me want to make every moment count and not take a single moment for granted.

Window view from the monastery in Orvieto

2 Weeks left to go...

Are you kidding me... from 45 days to 2 weeks - just like that!

The weeks have literally been flying by!  I'm trying desperately to slam on the brakes but it's been tough going!  I picked up my luggage a week ago and a lite messenger bag for daily outings... nothing heavy for the incredible daily walks.  This year I have decided not to take the big camera with because travelling with that added bag/size camera was quite cumbersome.  I have my cellphone.  I'm thinking I might pick up a small happy snappy at duty free!  But otherwise keeping it as light as possible.  In the meantime my suitcase is open and I'm starting to put things inside as I go.  I will definitely do a trial pack run this weekend.  I'm hoping to have everything that I need done and dusty by this weekend.  Leaving the last week open for necessities only.  And prepping the week as much as I can for Digz and the girls... making sure things run as smoothly for them as possible too.

I love how excited we all are about my trip!

I love that my beautiful people, just get it!

I'm truly blessed!

45 Days to go...

45 days to go... crazy isn't it.

The days are flying by and I've got a seriously hectic month ahead... I picked up some of my art supplies today.  And I'm starting to put some things aside for September.  Hoping to get my luggage soon too so I don't struggle like I did last time.

Market Flowers

Market Flowers

What started in Italy didn't end in Italy...

I started the piece on the left, in the Studio in Orvieto.  I didn't finish her because I was really struggling with the acrylics, it was one of the first times I had ever used them and I was determined to learn.  When I got home I hid her away with my acrylic paints because I was so frustrated.

In the 2nd image I had discovered beautiful neocolors, so I took her a step further.  I was much happier with her but I still packed her away.







 I eventually overcame my fears of Acrylic paints and have been practicing with them for a good year now, together with practicing my faces and working on my proportions etc... And I finally ready to call her finished.  It was a 3 year journey with me and her but she was birthed in Orvieto... I called her my Italian Queen.

2016 - Sold

2016 - Sold

60 more sleeps...

Seriously... 60 more sleeps.

How fast are these days moving... not that I'm wishing they slow down at all...

I remember when it was a year to go... and now the days are running out.  I stumbled across my Italy 2012 pics this morning while I was re-registering for Flickr.  Wow - such beautiful reminders when you aren't looking at them everyday.

Kristi and Bill have been sending us weekly updates about beautiful Orvieto.  And today she shared about the bells, the constant little reminders that you are, in fact, in Italy!  It was seriously one of the highlights of my trip last time... If I remember correctly these were the bells I could see from my humble little room, with the most incredible view.

Another highlight of my trip last time was the walking!  We walked a lot everyday - it was incredible... as you can see.  As I walked, I kept thinking about the history that lay in these cobbles.

I can't wait to see beautiful Lorraine and her hubby Ted.  To share these moments again.

I didn't get to climb this tower last time - but it's on my list for this time.



I have dreamt about this pizza for 2 years now.  I don't eat pizza generally - but I do eat this!

Those are zucchini flowrs on pizza.  We don't get them here (we do get zucchini so why no one stocks the flowrs is a mystery to me still).  But it's the most incredible thing I have ever tasted!

Oh yes and truffle mushrooms - I'm definitely going home with some of that.

It's all official - I got my visa today... 2 months to go!

I didn't want to post here until I had everything officially in place.  And that all happened all at once.  I handed in my visa papers on Thursday afternoon late.  This weekend past, I got my beautiful Welcome Pack from Bill and Kristi from Adventures in Italy.  And first thing this morning, I got a message that my visa was ready!  WHAT!!!! That was record time!!!  But now I can relax into the next two months of waiting... all I have left to do is get my travel card, art supplies, luggage and packing!  Eeeck!

But I am happy to say all the major things are done!  All the big things that make this trip possible or not.

I'm celebrating tonight!!!! 

3 months to go...

Omygoodness - today is 3 months to go, to the day!  We all arrive in Orvieto together.

It's getting so real and it feels like it's coming so fast and I still have so much to do.  I booked my flights yesterday and it was a bit more than I was expecting.  But I'll be okay!  I will be arriving in Venice a day earlier than expected but basically just to sleep.  It's the best I could do with my fights and arrivals.  The door to door travel time is so long.... but I know it's so worth it.

We got our first group correspondence yesterday... getting so excited!

100 days to go...

The days are moving so swiftly and I've been delaying booking my ticket for various reasons.  Last time I went - I did some extra touring... I spent a few days in Roma with Jenny and stayed on a bit in Orvieto so that I could make the most of being in Europe.  It's such a luxury to be there and it's so far, I have to make the most of it.  Who knows when I will be lucky enough to do this again.  I was having fears that I would be just heading straight in and straight out of Orvieto this year.

But in the last week or two there have been some changes, my sweet roomy, Betty decided to withdraw from Italy, mainly for her Mom and being away from her at this time, just isn't viable.  And my sweet friend Renee was coming after all.  And to cut a long story short and in a quick space of time - Renee and I spoke a lot in the past few days and we decided to try match our flight arrivals so we can travel into Orvieto together.  After much too-ing and fro-ing - we booked quickly (thanks to Renee's quickness), we are going to Venice for two days and Florence for a day or two before Orvieto!  In hide-sight, I'm so pleased I delayed on booking my ticket because now I know exactly how to book, when and where and my return too.

I'm still heartsore about my Betty Roomy not coming and my Jenny travel buddy from last time and sweet Sharon, who stayed on with me in 2012.  We are also waiting to hear if beautiful Lorraine will be well enough to travel too... we are trusting for so much on this trip...  but I know too that everything happens how it's meant to be.  Trusting for some miracles.

The Monastery that Renee and I stayed in Venice

The Monastery that Renee and I stayed in Venice


I originally finished this piece when I got back from Italy in 2012 and I named it "Dreaming of Oriveto..." Then I was already dreaming about going back in 2014.

Well... she got a make over this week and again, to me, it's a map of my growth from where I first started to where I am now, and I guess where I'm heading... well I will continue to live in hope!  Never to stagnate or get stuck and to keep pushing myself a little further, to dig a little deeper, in the hope that I will always improve.

I never want to stop doing that but most of all, I never want to stop dreaming!


When I first started entertaining the idea of Italy in 2012 it felt so out of reach and ridiculous and now again for 2014 - that too.  But I'm discovering that dreams do come true, more than once... we just have to remind ourselves to put the guilt aside, the silence the critics and keep pursuing them at all costs!!!

Daily thoughts of Italy...

It's just there... constantly lingering in my mind.

My thoughts about going back...  I feel a little obsessed!  That's okay, isn't it?

So the saving continues and the mini steps have started... I feel like I'm almost there.

In my mind the countdown begins... again!

I believe the class is already full and has been for sometime... I thought I knew everyone that was going but I am not sure I do anymore.  I received a note from an online buddy the other day saying there was a cancellation and that she got a placement - I'm blown away for her and how wonderful it's going to be to meet her in real life!  Like last year, I would like to share about all the wonderful talented people who will be taking this trip together.  I'm really starting to get excited.

1 year ago and 1 year to go...



Can you believe it!

It was a year ago today since I was in Orvieto, Italy!  It still all feels so fresh in my mind and heart!  I love that about memories...



I see Bill and Kristi are back in Orvieto and seeing their beautiful pictures are just such sweet reminders!  It's so full of promise for 2014!!!  

This week I also got a letter from another online buddy, that I met in FacetoFace from Durban, South Africa who will be going to Orvieto 2014!!!

Love it!

It's official... and I can't stop dreaming about it!

This week Orvieto has soooo been on my mind!

I keep remembering my quiet walks on the cobble streets, the silent walks around the convent.  The smells and the ringing bells!  When I work in the city, sometimes the church bells go all day and they are little reminders of my time in Orvieto!  And my new time to come.

I'm happy to say I've paid my deposit for 2014!  So I guess you can say - it's kind of official! and now the saving really starts I'm so excited to say that this time around, I won't be the complete stranger...  I know most of the team that are going, from meeting them in person and some just online!  And that makes my heart so happy!

And in 2014 I will have a roomy!!!  And that's pretty cool!

It's such a wonderful journey!  Almost a pilgrimage!!

A right of passage!!

As we venture into new spacious places in our art, in Italy and with new friends!

And my heart just soars at my thoughts of it!