Day 18, 19 and 20 [Stockholm Syndrome – or please leave the residence and go outside]

The last few days have been production production production for the students. We’re into the final stretch now – this is the last day before reviews tomorrow; Andrea Ponsi is traveling here from Florence for reviews, Ross Altheimer is going to join us as well as some of the wonderful motley crew we’ve encountered in our time here. Over the past three days we’ve been talking (and drawing) about and on their drawings, polishing techniques, answering questions, rendering, rendering, rendering.

Great work ethic aside – and despite some great progress on the drawings – some serious action needed to be taken yesterday. They were mandated to take a break from their work (Keara had eye-strain from looking at her drawings too intensely, Satavee was trying to draw Mussolini with a giant head, shaking an angry fist into Piazza Venezia, Fatemeh was projecting 244 columns up into perspectival space… the list goes on).

It was like walking into a hostage situation. So, I asked them to leave their residences, for an hour or two, to go to some of their favorite sites, to enjoy the city, to re-charge and come back to their work with more energy, more focus. I requested that they photograph themselves in situ at these sights, holding up a newspaper with the date as proof of their day-pass leave from priso…the residences. I’m waiting for those mugshots.

It was a good day to get out. And I felt yesterday that Rome herself was conspiring in very obvious ways to try to keep us here. The sun was beautiful, there were crowds in piazzas, cardinals and priests were on they way to important meetings, accordion music (hokey, but true) and St. Peter’s was absolutely luminous. It’s felt like it all along, really – but it struck me (and the students) – how much we’ve been drawn-in (and been drawing in) the Eternal City.

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