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I returned Tuesday from Italy, arriving home 16 or 17 hours after leaving my hotel in Florence, to land on a flight from Frankfurt, on a plane of mostly German tourists, excited and charmed by the New England and Boston scenes outside the window of the massive jumbo jet plane, on a mild summer day.

My trip to Italy was extraordinary. There were challenges, by and large the intense European heat wave named "Lucifer", and a slow adjustment to the time zone, but apart from that, It was more than I hoped for.

Florence was a whirlwind visit, half a day arriving and before departing, first in a haze of jet lag and high heat, and last after a few days of being run down, probably due to a combination of eating inflammatory foods (a little cheese and wine) and over working. I managed to get in a visit to the Uffizi gallery, where I last visited at the age of 19, and while I lasted with good energy, I soaked in with awe so many iconic Italian masterpieces, this time after decades of studying and doing art. I was overwhelmed by the mastery and beauty of the work. Interestingly as well I was reminded of crossfit looking at magnificent figure sculpture by both Italian and Greek artists. I imagined and wondered what the ancient athletes did to perfect such stunning form, and considered the contrast of athletes today. I felt a deeper response and emotions to the artwork than I recall in my youth. I felt tremendous respect and admiration for so much beauty and the mastery and dedication involved to create it.

Assisi I had visited too so long ago, but that time only a few hours, on a bus tour through Europe. The city and the country where I stayed were awe inspiring. The city of Assisi raised up on a mountain has incredible views all around, and is so beautifully maintained. It is fair to say I was out of my mind with beauty. About 20 minutes from the city in the mountain side was my art residency, Arte Studio Ginestrelle, in a renovated beautiful old farmhouse. Out my window were hills and mountain vistas, magnificent pure green forests. Despite the heat, I experienced a constant flow of creation, something I am occasionally lucky to have. I met two artists one of which I worked days together, learning much about her, her background and experience as an artist and teacher. Mornings we were given a beautiful local breakfast by the director and her mother, including tomatoes, fruits, bread, cheese, and espresso, among other things. We shopped at a store in Assisi for our food for lunch and dinner. I had wondered what it would be like to be free to create art on my own schedule, and worked beyond what I thought were my limits. I produced more work than expected and covered a number of themes, some planned, and some spontaneous.

I am still recovering from jet lag and will probably take a few more days to recover. I feel like the time alone and spent exchanging with others have helped me to restore my objectives and aspirations for my art. One of my artworks will be exhibited in the international group show in Assisi in December.

I will write more as a settle back into my routines...