Melissa Harris will be returning to Orvieto to teach September 15-21, 2019.  Read on to learn more about Melissa and her workshop, Art and Spirit in Italy…

What are you most excited about in returning to Orvieto?

I love being amidst the charm of this ancient town.  All one needs to do is walk out the door and with a look in any direction your gaze will fall upon something ancient and something beautiful. There is a small town feeling of coziness and safety that allows one to relax and be able to simply “take in”.  Often being in another country creates a need to be on guard, but not in Orvieto.  I can lose myself in composing paintings in my head and enjoy the flavor of the old architecture and color of the place.

What’s your fondest memory of your last trip here?

Because I love plein air painting, I treasured the time I spent painting the amazing view from the roof of our convent.  I also enjoyed ALL of the well planned activities outside of our art time.

What do you hope your students will take away from your class?

I would like my students to be able to soak up the essence of Orvieto and take it with them in the form of a drawing or painting that will remind them of their time there.  I’d like them to feel good with their ability to capture something of a place that speaks to them in a way that fulfills them.

What is it about teaching in Orvieto that’s so special?

Wow, it’s so full of visual oohhhs and ahhhhs everywhere you turn  which makes it easy to find visual inspiration. 

How do you incorporate Orvieto/Italy in your teaching this week?

We incorporate Orvieto simply by living in the atmosphere.  Some of our time is spent in meditation so we are better connected to our inner worlds.  As we walk through the city experiencing it’s sights, smells and sounds this is automatically reflected in our art without even intentionally attempting to make that happen.

What cultural experience do you enjoy most?

I enjoy visiting the Duomo and the food and wine.  It would be difficult to say which is most enjoyable!

What are you most excited to share with your students?

Just being with them in that ambiance!  I love seeing how environments get reflected in my students’ art.  I’m picturing myself sitting with them in one of the old atmospheric cafes with a meal and a glass of wine, savoring the day.

Do you have a favorite spot to people watch?

Any cafe in the town works for me.

What’s your favorite flavor of gelato?

Hazelnut of course!

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