Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My Favorite Tree

Mio Albero

It has been in this Giardina a very long time
The seasons recorded in growth and sleep.

Planted by a man who would never
Enjoy in its full shade on a hot day.

Generations of children ran around its feet,
Birds born in its arms return home each spring.

This year I fell in love with a special tree,
My lines stroking and caressing its contours,

I was dazzled by its size, its presence, its nobility
Towering above the activity on an October afternoon.

I came back in winter, amazed at its naked structure
I drew to stay warm while it dozed in the low sun.

In spring, I returned to a familiar face in the park
Not drawing for detail but looking for essense.

When I return to Firenze, I will visit my old friend
Patiently waiting for me just like it was yesterday.

William Padgett, Oct. 2004

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Back to Basics

I chose to go to art school because I always loved to draw. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BFA in Illustration. However, as years went by I found that I was asked to design more than I was asked to illustrate. I, over time, became a designer. Now I teach design. During the last ten or fifteen years I found that I was drawing less and less. I sketched out conceptual thumbnails for design projects but drew little from direct observation. I got rusty.

As it always happens, things change. I was asked along with my wife, Mary, to teach in the Studio Arts program at Syracuse University in Florence. My wife, myself and my son, Jon, packed up, rented our house and planned to live in Italy for a year. During the fall and spring semesters 2004-5 in Florence I taught Figure Drawing and Advanced and Intermediate Drawing, in the summer I held an Italian Journal class which combined writing and drawing.

Needless to say, the year was extremely inspirational. I started drawing again, I started writing poetry. This blog will be about writing and drawing again; not a how-to-do-it website, but celebrating the act of observing our surroundings and then responding to them. It will be about images and words together, starting with the time we spent in Florence to the present.

The attached drawing is of the rooftop across the way out our Via Verdi livingroom window in Firenze. I also wrote this poem about the cat that lived there.

Across the narrow via

Their feline eyes meet
Across the narrow via

Like every night before.

Separated by only ten meters
Across the narrow via
But it could be a thousand.

They only have their far images
Across the narrow via

Never to lay together on the warm tiles.

If he could sprout wings to fly
Across the narrow via
Just once to feel her gentle purr.

With a long running start
Across the narrow via
He could reach his dream.

As his paws left the clay tiles
Across the narrow via
He felt the cool air brush his fur.

William Padgett, June 2005