How did you choose where to hold the class, and how does it run?
The Villa Borghese Gardens have many spots you can choose from. Eventually, I found this laghetto, which is not far from Via Veneto. It’s beautiful. There’s a lake, there’s a Neo-Greco temple. Lots of trees, flowers. Lots of subject matter you can choose from for a watercolor.
In the beginning, I give a presentation about the materials, what they’re going to be doing, some technique. I show them examples of paintings I’ve done at the lake with the temple, so they can get some kind of idea where to go.
At the end, I tell them to remember that, what they did today, they could apply to anything in their life. All that it really required of them was to be present and to be living in the now, because that’s where everything happens. Not in the future, not in the past. In the present. Stay focused. This is the beginning of consciousness, and that is the gateway to creativity.
Why is it so important for students to see, and make, art firsthand in Italy?
In the sense of a cultural tour, of going to the Uffizi or the Sistine Chapel or looking at Michelangelo’s David, the idea is that they should be absorbing the artistic culture and history of Italy. Being there in person to absorb something that they otherwise would not see.
Italy is a cultural downpour. It’s on you all the time. Everywhere you go: architecture, sculpture, paintings, frescoes. It’s everywhere. That’s what [students] are exposed to in the hope that it would, in some way, expand their cultural understanding of the world that surrounds them.