Tag Archives: art

Steve McKenzie’s Abstract Painting Workshop at La Fortezza + Artist in residence announcement.

567F7AB6-8841-48B2-B15C-B6FE204B368F IMG_2712 IMG_2788 Ciao all!  by now you know we have been trying out a few different workshops and retreats here at La Fortezza. A few weeks ago, I had my dear friend and amazing artist Steve McKenzie here with students painting all over the place. Of course like with all workshops, we served local food and our own wine. It was 5 days of pure creative bliss. Our newly renovated out building, known as the “dependence,” worked perfectly and all guests were comfy and cozy.

Our farewell pizza party was a huge hit and visiting a local castle owned by artists was a big thrill. Thank you to Steve for making every minute count and every lesson so valuable. I even stopped my duties here to paint one morning, and it was divine. Steve is an amazing teacher. Oh and we picked a few grapes with our handsome vintner Manolo since our grape harvest was in full swing! The looks on their faces tells the story. They were all so happy!

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We also had a cooking lesson, as we do with every workshop, with retreat chef, Teri. Homemade pasta was so fun to make.

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This season we have been thinking about how to come up with a way to offer a more flexible workshop experience to folks. I have people that email us all the time asking if they can come during a visit to Italy, but we were bound to our workshop calendar. I think we have come up with the perfect solution. We have a new and exciting addition to our 2019 summer retreat roster. We will be starting a new creatives program, an “Artist in Residence” program here at La Fortezza the entire month of July.

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Steve will be the very first artist to spend a month here creating under the Tuscan sun. He will be starting here the 1st of July. If you are in Italy during the month of July, or planning a trip here in July, here’s how it will work:

You will be able to book as many days as you like based availability to assist or create art with Steve. He will be working on a collection that will be hung here end of July. He will have an opening exhibition party here at La Fortezza which will be another opportunity for you to come join us at his opening the last weekend of July. More details about Steve’s art opening to come.

Your stay at La Fortezza will include:

  • Accommodations
  • All Breakfasts
  • Some Lunches
  • Some Dinners
  • Aperitivo-( Italian Cocktail hour) with me, author of Cocktail Italiano
  • Excursions with Steve
  • Lessons with Steve
  • All Art Supplies

If you’re not a painter but want a creative experience, you will be able to assist and apprentice with Steve. This retreat is open to all levels. The rate will be $500 per day. We have 5 rooms available, so if you are coming to Italy in July, please sign up early as this experience will be first come, first serve.

There will be more information on the website mid-November when we plan to announce all the spring and summer creative workshops. So if you’ve always wanted to live in the Italian countryside, paint and co create with other artists, this opportunity might just be for you. As always feel free to email me at annette@annettejosephstyle.com for more information about July’s Artist in Residence Program with Steve McKenzie.

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Have a peek at Steve’s instagram to see the whole story of his week here teaching abstract painting to our great group!

xx Annette

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The artists that live in a Castle

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When you live in Italy in an ancient place, you never know what is around the corner. There are always surprises. However, quite honestly, sometimes the surprises are not that hot. Like your kitchen is flooded because of a faulty part, or bees have decided to build their nest on your window sill (twice).

But sometimes something magical happens that makes up for all the mishaps and unfortunate situations. Last week I had some darling visitors. Full disclosure we have a rating system at La Fortezza: 1-5 (yes, just like Uber, we figure if you’re rating us, we get to rate you). These guests were a 5. Why you might ask? They are pleasant, funny, flexible, and non-complaining. Plus, the reason for a 5 rating is that they were very helpful putting last touches on the new guest rooms. As a special treat, I drove them to a nearby village that features a local specialty restaurant and a beautiful quaint village with a big ass castle perched on top. After a lovely lunch, we decided a stroll was in order. I vaguely remembered that the castle was inhabited, but I did not fully remember by whom, until we swung around the corner after ascending to the top of the village wall.

There stood a middle aged man in a red sweater with droopy shorts and cascading curls on his forehead. He looked a little like a middle aged Little Lord Fauntleroy. He smiled, and then I remembered him: we had met at a local pizzeria. He was with a friend, and my friend Forrest had introduced us. “I remember you,” I said. “You do?” he replied. “Yes, we have met before do you know my friend Forrest,”I responded. “No”, he said. After a rather confusing exchange, I did remember that he lived in the castle; he was an artist, and he lived with his mother. His name was Jacabo. That’s about all I was told. So it did not seem odd when he asked, “Do you want a tour of the castle?” Without hesitation I said “YES”. My friends and I looked at each other, and all said yes again in unison.

We headed through a gate. Off to the right, there was another gate with a barking puppy, and off to the left his Cordelia von den Steinen (his ,other’s) art studio, a sturdy, a low stone building with windows all around. We walked past her studio and up a small ramp to the giant castle doors. Inside the vaulted room seemed to climb up up up. With our mouths agape, we looked all around to find stone sculptures everywhere. It was massive and impressive. We all looked and asked questions. There were studies of what would become huge important sculptures, commissioned from all over the world. Jacabo’s parents were very important artists, highly regarded, and very successful, as was his grandfather. He and his family grew up in the castle. His father had bought is from a wealthy American who had bought it and painstakingly renovated it. They had moved there in the 60s, so this place was his childhood home. We could not get over the ground floor with all the gorgeous pieces displayed. We followed Jacabo, up the massive stone stairs to the 1st floor living space. When we entered the space, it impressed me how massive it was, decorated with modern low slung sofas, draped with Moroccan textiles with all the family artwork on display. It took my breath away, I felt like I had stepped into the pages of World of Interiors magazine. All I could say was “Wow.”

We strolled through the living area like it was a museum – which it was in a way. Jacabo casually told us about his parents and his siblings that lived in Rome. He was the only one living with his mother. He too was an artist, a painter. His work was surreal and impeccably detailed. I must admit, he is quite a character, a little eccentric and little disheveled, his shorts kept falling down to reveal his plumber’s crack. His English was all over the place even though I said to speak in Italian, he continued in his own form of English. The castle was spectacular, impeccable, a dream.

Jacabo was sweet, and he was so pleased we loved his place. After about an hour, the tour was finished. We found out a few things, but Google did a much better job of explaining the history than Jacabo. We thanked him and he asked for a small donation for upkeep etc. When he pocketed the cash I gave him, he stuffed it into his wallet that was literally filled to capacity which made me laugh to myself. As we were walking back to the car, we were struck by how wild it must be to have living in castle be your reality. A fun surprise tour, something that could only happen in Italy. It’s why I love it here so much. People just living and creating in the family castle as they say in Italy “Normale”. x

Read about Jacabo’s Father here

Read about his Mother here

Read about the castle in Veruccola here

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Noah’s Park Joshua Tree

I had an opportunity to visit one of my good friends Mikel at his Joshua Tree weekend retreat while I was in Palm Springs, so I skipped out on Atl Summit and headed to the desert. Joshua Tree has always been on my bucket list, so I got in my rental car and drove an hour out into the middle of nowhere. A dirt road and lots of Joshua trees later, I arrived at Mikel’s amazing home.

After a tour of his house, we headed into town for lunch, but first Mikel wanted to show me Noah’s Park. It’s an outdoor museum: an installation completely constructed of up-cycled materials. Noah Purifoy was truly a visionary man; Noah poured his entire soul into this art installation. I was blown away, and we walked for an hour among each piece of art, exploring interactive displays. Many works fuse architecture and art as the structures are towering.

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The theater is full scale and has a working stage. Many sculptures have messages. It’s an epic experience, full scale and moving, which was the artist’s intention. It’s obvious that Noah had a point of view, and it’s why the experience of walking the installation is so moving. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. In fact, I highly recommend a visit to Joshua Tree. It’s a national treasure, and there is nothing like it. I was not disappointed with the landscape and was happy I opted to skip out on the conference. After all, there’s nothing more fun than playing hooky, especially to enjoy a fantasy afternoon in Noah’s Park with a good friend. Plus I found my new hero, Noah Purifoy!

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I do not wish to be an artist, I only wish that art enables me to be.

– Noah Purifoy, 1963

Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his 40th birthday, Purifoy earned a BFA degree from Chouinard, now CalArts.

His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi. For the 20 years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change.

In the late 1980s, after 11 years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions, which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.

 

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Biennale in Venice, Italy 2015

bienalle 2015 Bienalle 2015 One of the things on my bucket list was Biennale in Venice.

Biennale is an extraordinary art exhibition held in the most awesome locations in Venice. In fact, part of it is held in the Sale d’ Armi, an expansive building where ships were built for the Navy. The compound was a well-kept secret, and all employees lived and worked at this super guarded location. Cool, right?

I can’t even describe how huge the space is, and it goes on for many kilometers. It is the perfect venue for this worldwide exhibition. Biennale is held every 2 years (odd years), and the exhibit is titled All the World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor; it will be up until November 22, 2015.

I had the pleasure of visiting with my dear friend Forrest Spears who is the owner and operator of Your Italian Concierge, a custom travel service that I have recommended to fans and friends for years (I will be doing an interview with Forrest in upcoming weeks, stay tuned). Forrest organized the entire trip. Despite sweltering, heart stopping heat, he managed to pull off an wonderful trip, including the Cipriani pool one day that was very appreciated indeed.

We soldiered the heatwave in Italy to glide through the amazing artwork at the Sale d’ Armi.

Below are a few of my highlights. I highly suggest that you go if you can, and I would definitely hit up Forrest to plan your adventure. He knows his way around Venice and will include a few unexpected secret haunts along the way. I am a lucky girl having Forrest as my tour guide, and I feel very lucky to have checked this off my bucket list…

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Thought provoking, textural, meaningful, and inspiring are words that come to mind. Art with a message with the entire world lending their voice, All the World’s Future took on many incarnations.

Some of the installations were depressing while some were hopeful and some were more than captivating.

It was amazing to see all the world’s creatives point of view in one place.

The exhibit contained performance art, along with photography, sculpture and paintings. Videos and grand installations were abundant. Vitrines with amazingly detailed crafts and interesting objects were sprinkled along the way. Visually, it was delicious.

 

Photo Credit : Me

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nothing like a still life

One of the coolest things about pinterest is that I can collect still life photographs to my heart’s content.

I had a very artistic childhood, my Dad Laszlo, was an artist, an oil painter. When I was little I lived in his art studio. He taught me the art of styling a still life. He taught me composition, light and balance when I was around 5. That’s when we started our lessons. We shopped every weekend and pointed out all the finer things as we trolled art galleries and flea markets for props to use in his paintings. So I started early in my love of beautiful objects thanks to him. He was a man of elegance and amazing taste. My teacher and mentor of all things style.

My Dad Laszlo: img723 img730 I am pretty sure that his love for still life is why I am so passionate about them to this day and probably why I became a photo stylist. My early lessons from my Dad made me hone my eye for composition. Painterly still life photography makes me swoon. Here are a couple of picks from my still life pinterest collection. Enjoy xx 3f32e7d6ab350f444188ee422339fefa 742fe603459731f7ad7701d37e6538ad 803534c4cf498ca32ebe5195ba73bbd9 bae585f9ccdc12bdf485a6a4ac4179e5 e3da277a188835625053cd137d33afb6 f8f58d9a9eaf633512eeeea87fe1f147 Since I wrote about composition in our last styling lesson, I wanted to point out that it would be a great idea to study still lives and then set up some still lives to photograph. Still lives are my favorite type of photography to style and buy props for. Have fun with it and with your new found knowledge of composition. This should be a great way to practice styling and photography!

Let me know how you do, take lots of photos and have fun!

If you’re in or near Seattle make sure to check out this fabulous workshop i’m teaching that will be hosted by the lovely Cassandra Lavelle of coco + kelley!

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