I Dream Of Paris…

…because some of my fondest memories were born there.

Because if I try hard enough, I can still smell the flowers in the park and the lily of the valley perfume I tried on in the perfumery.

Flowers in Paris

Flowers in Paris

Because I can still taste the crisp Sancerre on my tongue and smell the savory rabbit on my plate.

Lapin A La Cocotte

Lapin A La Cocotte

Because I miss the cool morning walks to the local café for breakfast.

Breakfast Cafe Style

Breakfast Cafe Style

And the scowl of the gargoyle…

Gargoyle

Gargoyle

And the towering Eiffel…

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

 

And the sculpture gardens…

Paris!

Paris!

 

And the chocolate! Oo-la-la!

Chocolate!

Chocolate!

And the style!

Paris fashion

Paris fashion

Ah Paris! It has been much too long! But I will always see you in my dreams!

 

Artistic in the District: Part Seven, A Strong Second Act!

"Sunflowers" by Lisa Deiranieh

“Sunflowers” by Lisa Deiranieh

 

If you have ever dreamed of becoming an artist, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing. Creating art is a wonderful hobby even if it never consumes your life, it can enhance your daily existence.

As a former account executive, turned stay-at-home mom, turned writer, I know all about second acts and third acts. Actually, I’m still juggling all three, but this is the female dilemma. We pick up new jobs but never put any down.

A woman with a gift for juggling:

As I often ‘struggle with the juggle’ and drop the pins more often than I care to admit, I am forever in awe of my girlfriends who make ‘doing it all’ look so effortless, like my dear friend, Lisa Deiranieh. Lisa, a native of Southern California often says “God put us on opposite sides of the country because he feared what would happen if we ever got together.” Well, God must have averted his eyes long enough for us to simultaneously end up in Naples, Italy, at least for a spell. We had some good times, struggling to speak Italian (only me!) and some amazing day trip adventures where we literally stuck a pin in the map and went off in search of what was there.

On the ferry to Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples, Italy.

On the ferry to Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples, Italy.

Heading home with heavy heart:

I caught Lisa in the process of packing out to leave Naples, but she was gracious enough to fit in a quick interview first. Lisa, a Senior Staff Sonographer at US Navy Hospital Naples, Italy and full-time wife and mother of two is also an artist. Three years ago, Lisa’s husband, Dave, gave her the gift of lifetime, painting lessons with “Gigi”, Luigi Wanvestraut, a well-known Neapolitan artist.

The lessons were only supposed to last a few weeks, but as we spoke, Lisa was fixing dinner and preparing to go paint at the studio, still under Gigi’s guidance. Over the past three years Lisa has painted almost a dozen paintings. Which is amazing considering each one takes between thirty and forty hours to create. She paints with oil, which requires a longer curing time and a process involving layers of paint often applied with a spatula. Planning out your design is necessary but the result is a three-dimensional work of art.

Painting by Lisa Deiranieh

Painting by Lisa Deiranieh

 

“I want to learn the physical properties of how to make something look real,” Lisa says. Although very different from her day job, Lisa’s background working with patients in the hospital and sonographic imagery may help her to see things differently and in way that she is able to translate beautifully onto the canvas.

Image From: printsofgrace.blogspot.com

 

“I think…how can I do this?” she says. Learning Gigi’s painting technique, Lisa studies how objects appear in space as circles or squares as well as the spaces around them. “It begins with a sketch and then you layer in, dark and light and then hone in on your subject,” she says.

Inspiration:

As if living in Italy is not inspiration enough! Next to painting, Lisa, Dave and their two children have traveled as much and as often as possible throughout Europe and the Middle East. Inspired by a poster she saw in Ronda, Spain, Lisa created this painting of a bull and bullfighter.

Painting by Lisa Deiranieh

Painting by Lisa Deiranieh

 

She especially admires artists from the 1930’s and the work of the Italian masters seen at the Capodimonte Museum. Lisa’s other passions are cooking and wine! She has taken cooking classes in Tuscany with friends on multiple occasions and loves to share what she has learned.

"Stefania with Wine Glass" by Lisa Deiranieh

“Stefania with Wine Glass” by Lisa Deiranieh

 

Together we enjoyed many meals and glasses of exceptional Italian wine. I look forward to the return of family Deiranieh, when we will at least be on the same continent and in a slightly nearer timezone.

At present Lisa’s artwork is not for sale, but she is considering selling prints or giclées, a process of digitally scanning original paintings and printing them onto canvas. “I can’t sell them. I’m too attached to them,” Lisa says. “They’re my babies!”

I thank you for reading and wish you all the best of luck in discovering your own second acts!

Links: Capodimonte Museum

 

Farm Stand Fresh
www.eileenslovak.com

Farm Stand Fresh is Best

If you look carefully, you’ll see signs of summertime, as local farm stands and farmers markets begin a new season. This year, I’ve decided to buy local more often and enjoy fresh, seasonal favorites. The first stop, a quaint little place I’ve driven by countless times on my way to the soccer fields: Spider Hall Farm. I even love the name!

Here are some of the bountiful, delicious treats discovered and sampled: organic meats, all natural ice cream, fresh salad greens, produce, baked goods, butter, yogurt, jams, breads, rolls, cheeses, salad dressings and craft items.

Among the large assortment of natural ice cream by Prigel Family Creamery in Glen Arm, MD, available, I can personally vouch for the cookies & cream and the caramel pretzel.

This weekend, our family will enjoy free range eggs with natural Pork Sausage from Fairfield Farm, Park Hall, MD; just one of the many organic meats from the Spider Hall freezer.

And for a special decadent treat, handmade chocolates by Schafer’s Candy, Meyersdale, PA.

Oh, yes, they are every bit as good as they look. Off you go then, find yourself a local farm and take a stand, or at least sit awhile.

Fresh summer all!

Assisi, www.eileenslovak.com

Holy Places: Assisi

Of all of the places I traveled during a three year expanse living in Italy, Assisi stands out as one of the most holy.  I expected to feel this way about Rome and I did up to a point, but tourism, vendors and the overall commercialization of Vatican City left me feeling a bit deflated, which is not to say I didn’t appreciate the wonders of it all. 

Assisi on the other hand, remains unspoiled, perhaps because you need to work harder to get there and those seeking out this serene, peaceful place, generally go for holy reasons.  I am thrilled to have been blessed with the opportunity to visit some of the lesser traveled cities and towns in this exquisite country and was never disappointed by the beauty I found. 

This is a photographic journey.  Since I rarely sleep, I was able to capture the silence of dawn. 

I hope you enjoy it!    

summer and fall 2010 457

Red Scooter, Assisi, http://www.eileenslovak.com