I sat painting in the shade. It’s exactly as an artist residency should be. Inspired by the other artists working around me, I sipped my coffee, and painted little sketches that I had done throughout the week.
There was to be an exhibition that night, and as the people started to come, so did many children. Like almost all children, they were instantly drawn to the painting. They stood around me quietly watching me paint and whispering que bella.
I asked them if they to wanted to paint and they said yes with eager smiles. I took small canvas boards I had packed in my bag and set them up with my paints around the table. We couldn’t communicate well because of the language barrier, however, they taught me the Italian words for the colors, and I taught them how to blend colors.
They made me paintings, and wanted so badly to be able to communicate with me. In turn, I made them quick two minute paintings. They spent the rest of the evening following me around, playing with my hair, and calling me Bellissima.
If I could’ve brought them home I most definitely would have. If the trip taught me anything, it was that art is it’s own language and continually breaks down barriers.