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Art, a Language Everyone Knows, Part 1

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

I removed my watercolors from my backpack. The month before, July 2021, I was under the professors’ tutelage with Rome Art Program. There I learned about connecting to my surroundings in a new way: painting and drawing while watching the changing light fall on buildings, the scratch of dry grass under my legs and hearing the sounds of everyday life.

Alessandra and I had commuted on the train from Milan to Como. The line for the ferry was long; she encouraged me to look around while she waited. I sat down and took in the hillsides of the lake. I painted boxes with orange roof tops. A quick watercolor resulted from my view of the greenery on the other side of the water.

The incline in Como climbed up to homes surrounded by a green tree-covered hillside. Despite the long line Alessandra moved closer to the ticket booth. It was August; I recognized French, Spanish, and Italian words. I was grateful to hear the richness of languages spoken, the warmth of the afternoon, even the ache in my body from sitting on the stone bench where I painted. In a few days I would be home away from the diversity of languages and perspectives.

With a few teeth missing, a man with many wrinkles on his tanned skin looked at my painting and the hillside with the incline and back again at the painting.

Bellissimo,” he smiled. His arms went up in the air, palms facing up.

“Grazie,” I returned, beaming by the exchange..

People were like that in Italy; it was normal to stop, observe and connect through art.

Alessandra came back. I showed her the painting and received a bene.

She almost scolded me for not walking around. “Como is a beautiful place; there’s much to see here.”

I will,” I promised, knowing this painting would become a series in the watercolors I had created.

We boarded the ferry. Lake-front homes stood against the green hillside below the blue sky, flora along the shore. Como was one day of many that I was reminded about art being an unspoken language.

Written by Amanda L. Mottorn, © 2022, author of Finding Moksha: One Woman’s Path in Uncertain Times and Artist at Modern Moksha Designs & Publishing.

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