Oil on Panel
© Kelly Medford, 2011
A big hearfelt THANK YOU to Lavazza and for their ongoing efforts to engage and promote the public in Italian life and culture, something much needed during these times in Italy.
Sometimes I think I’m old fashioned trapped in a modern time. I stalk the streets of Rome on a bicycle and a French box easel, stopping to paint the different neighborhoods in their strange, layered beauty.
In the process everyone stops to talk and I get to learn about Rome firsthand from its inhabitants. I paint what I see, as the light and life unfold in front of me, although my compositions are strangely absent of people in such a bustling city. Somehow I wish the city would stop and I could capture just the light casting across the buildings, fountains, ruins and piazzas.
This was my way of getting to know Rome. I moved here a year ago after living 6 years in Florence where I studied art. After spending many dark days in the studio, one day I had enough and took my easel outside to paint and never went back. My easel on the street has been my induction to Italian life and culture. Painting the scenes and places of a city slowly introduce me and let me see all the layers past and present.
One subject that I painted was Rome’s nasone. This is something truly unique to Rome- the public water fountains that are placed all over the city and surrounding neighborhoods and used to be the center of life in each neighborhood. Still people stop to drink and fill their bottles. While standing and painting one, I must have seen 50 people stop to drink and everyone stops from workers to business men who jump off their scooters to housewives coming to fill jugs for their homes.
Being an American in Italy, I see my compatriots everywhere, wandering the streets lost with their maps, drunken college students trudging the streets at night with their boisterous voices and their signature sneakers and flip flops. And I am not one of them, and neither am I Italian. I rather feel myself a timeless observer suspended in slow moments of time.