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Calls to Artists for October 2017 and Beyond

Calls to Artists for October 2017 and Beyond

This collection of artist opportunities includes international shows, juried exhibitions, calls for proposals, a call for elementary students’ art, an art festival in Indian Wells, and a writer’s retreat in Iceland. Themes include botanicals, animals, endangered species, photography, taste & smell,  teachers against prejudice, art inspired by the novel Frankenstein, portraits (this one is for members of the Portrait Society only). They have been briefly reviewed to ensure eligibility of Oregon artists. Deadlines start at October 8, 2017 and extend through March 16, 2018


Contemporary Art Gallery Online announces their 4th Annual International 2017 “ALL Abstractions” Art Competition. Competition opens September 10, 2017 and closes October 7, 2017. Contemporary Art Gallery Online encourages entries from all medium artists regardless of their experience or education in the art field. A group exhibition will be held. Awards will be given. Entry Fee. Details: 844-210-7722 OR OR [email protected]


The international jury is looking for snapshots in black and white, without any topical restrictions, that capture the essence of monochromatic moments. Black and white photographs require the viewer to use the power of creative imagination and interpret compositions individually. Relying upon pure emotions and constructions, the organizing committee believes in the essence of monochrome. Application Fee. Details: OR [email protected]


artspace is taking proposals for exhibitions in the 2nd half of 2018 & 1st first month of 2019. Submit proposals Sept. 1 thru Oct. 8, 2017. Submissions thru online form only accepted until 11:59 pm, 10/8/2017. $25 proposal fee required. Proposals may be made for individual, group or joint shows. Selected Exhibitors will be notified by December 15, 2017. Entry Fee. Details: 804-232-6464 OR OR [email protected]

October 08, 2017 – 2017 BOTANIK

THEME: Plants, Flowers, Herbs, Trees Las Laguna Gallery presents BotaniK. For this artist opportunity the gallery is seeking works that explore plants. Works that show flowers, plants, trees, leaves, cactus, succulents, etc. to be considered All local, national and international artists, professional and amateur and multiple art mediums will be considered in this call for art. Entry Fee. Details: 949-667-1803 OR OR [email protected]


Online, juried contest. $7,000 prize money. Miami exhibition Art Week, Dec 6-9. Entry donations go to Center for Great Apes, a sanctuary for orangutans & chimpanzees. Interpret ENDANGERED through: • Celebration of the beauty of endangered/threatened species/habitats OR • Illustration of the threats facing endangered species/habitats. Young Artists category, birthdays on/after Oct 1 ’98. Entry Fee. Details: OR [email protected]

October 10, 2017 – TASTE & SMELL

Taste and Smell are two sensory impressions, which are represented in art in a low level. What is good or bad taste? How do we realize smell? What about taste in cooking, art, choosing opportunities, … and the smell of danger, joy, flowers, the sea, …? VOS #7 is now calling for digital artworks who give these two tastemakers an appearance. No Entry Fee. Details:


Open to students in grades 1-4 in any country. Submit artwork on the theme of “Cooperation and Understanding” in jpeg format by e-mail or on disk. First and second prizes ($100-$150) awarded in two categories. No Entry Fee. Details:


THEME- According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of animal is: “any living thing that is not a plant.” PAY IT FORWARD- We will be donating 10% of all entry fees from this show to the Humane Society. ELIGIBILITY- All artists 18 and over may enter. ENTRY FEE- $20 for 1 or 2 pieces AWARDS- Cash prizes will be given. Please see prospectus for more information. Entry Fee. Details: OR [email protected]


In this exhibition we celebrate the creative process in making photographs. We seek photographs that reflect the photographer’s careful and conscious choices in making the image. Any subject, any genre, and any capture or process are welcome. The exhibition will be curated by Kat Kiernan, the publisher of the print magazine Don’t Take Pictures. Entry Fee. Details: 802-388-4500 OR OR [email protected]


Exhibition is Nov 19 – Dec 31, 2017; The Monmouth Museum’s intent is to offer artists’ views of a positive future for their lives, our lives and our shared world. For this juried exhibition all visual arts media applications will be considered. All artists age 18+ Must be the artist’s original creations completed within the last 5 years. Entry Fee. Details: 732-224-1989 OR OR [email protected]


We’re excited to open this year’s Emerging Talent Awards, our search for the world’s best emerging photographers! We’re seeking entries from the global photography community who have yet to receive exposure on the world stage, our aim is to discover fresh and inspiring visions from the next great image makers. Our international jury will select and showcase the work of 50 outstanding talents. Entry Fee. Details:


Theme | illuminate Join The Center for Fine Art Photography for this exciting event by submitting your photographs to our ILLUMINATE call for entry and exhibition. All subject matter, genres, capture types, post production processes and sizes are eligible for selection for the Illuminate exhibition. Entry Fee. Details: OR [email protected]


200 artists selected by jury, primary deadline Oct. 20, 2017. 60 places held for the second deadline Jan. 8, 2018. Open to all media artists, 15 mediums and categories are judged for awards in painting, drawing, 2D and 3D mixed-media, printmaking, photography, and other 2-dimensional, sculpture, jewelry, hand-woven textile or fiber, non-functional, utilitarian, wearable-art, and found art Application Fee. Details: 760-346-0042 OR [email protected] OR


The Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery hosts six exhibits each academic year. Artists are exhibited in pairs, groups and solo. MPC Art Gallery is reviewing exhibition proposals for exhibits in the 2018 – 2019 academic year. Open to U.S. residency. All media. Limit 10 images. $25. entry fee. Deadline October 31, 2017 Email for prospectus. Information (831) 646-3060. Entry Fee. Details: 831-646-3060 OR OR [email protected]


The Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award offers talented writers in need of financial support an opportunity to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat in Reykjavík, Iceland in April, 2018. Anyone who is aged 18 or over on April 11, 2018 is eligible to apply. No Entry Fee. Details:


The Portrait Society of America’s Members Only Competition is held annually and open to all Portrait Society members. This fall we are offering five unique categories in which to enter: Commissioned Portrait, Non-Commissioned Portrait, Out of the Box, Self-Portrait, and Still Life. Award winners will be chosen for each category and will receive recognition in print and online publications. Entry Fee. Details: 877-772-4321 OR OR [email protected]


A juried selection of images inspired by the classic novel will be published in a newly designed layout for its 200th anniversary. Open to artists working in any media. Selected works compensated. Entry Fee. Details:


International Photographer of the Year creates new opportunities to showcase the best photographic work and introduce leading talents to the world of contemporary photography. IPOTY celebrates creativity, ambition and supports artists to develop and present their work through competition. Entry Fee. Details:


Open juried National competition and exhibition. Over $5000 in cash prizes. Categories are: Acrylic, Oil, Water Media, Mixed Media & Graphics, Sculpture, Pastel $25 first entry, $20 each additional up to five (5) Entry Fee. Details: OR [email protected]

Anna Elkins – Goodness: Past, Present and Future

Anna Elkins

Goodness: Past, Present & Future

Autumn is about to officially begin. I look forward to it—not just because it’s my favorite season, but because this has been a summer full of opportunities to remind myself that joy transcends circumstance. My season started with getting a gum graft along all of my lower teeth in June, and it ended with most of my home state of Oregon covered in hazardous smoke from raging forest fires that are finally being doused with rain. But my joy was not in my gums or the air quality, thank goodness! I was grateful when I could chew again, and I looked for a way to support Oregon’s valiant firefighters.

Gratitude and action are my solutions to such seasons. So I thought I’d share a bit of both—celebrating a few points of goodness: past, present, and future.

Past: La Via Poetica 

Two years ago, I traveled to Chile to visit the three former homes of poet Pablo Neruda. I wrote about how a poem was born on that pilgrimage. In August, I was delighted to have the essay published in Hidden Compass. Thanks again to the wonderful editors!

A few lines from activist-poet Neruda himself:

We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience

The Honeylicker Angel by Anna Elkins

The Honeylicker Angel: Second Edition

Today, I’m happy to announce the second edition of my novel, The Honeylicker Angel—spiffy new cover and all. As Kirkus Reviews wrote, it is “the nuanced story of a woman who finally sets out to face her fears and maybe—just maybe—reach for her dreams, too.” And since so many people’s dreams were affected by the wildfires this year, I’m donating profits from the book’s sales this first month of its second edition to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.


And in addition to gratitude and action, there is anticipation. Want something to look forward to? Deep Travel Workshops is thrilled to announce writing retreats to Mexico, Spain, and Morocco in the winter/spring lineup for 2018:

The Art of Tranquilo
January 2-7: Tim Cahill in Yelapa, Mexico
January 11-17: Dot Fisher-Smith in Yelapa, Mexico
Enjoy this car-free paradiso on the Bay of Banderas where you stay in open-air casitas…

In Search of Duende
March 11-17: Erin Byrne in Granada Spain
Practice flamenco, savor paella, and dive into Lorca’s theory of duende while staying in swanky caves…

The Art of Adventure
March 22-29: Larry Habegger in Fez & Moulay Idriss, Morocco
Explore both the lively byways of ancient medinas and the centered peace of a zellij fountain in the courtyard of your riad

Want more info on any of the trips? Visit
Want to register? Email [email protected].

Good things are in store!

I’ll close with another line from Neruda: “Every day you play with the light of the universe.”

Here’s to playing with light,



Here are some events & workshops on the horizon (more info for each on the events page of my website):

Vignettes in the Vineyard: A writing workshop, 13 October 2017, 2-4 pm at Red Lily Vineyards (Jacksonville, OR) Limited spots…email me to register:[email protected]

The Pilgrimage of Poetry at the Writer’s Forum, 21 October 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm (Redding, CA) More info here.

Eyes of the Heart: Prophetic Art Workshop at CCFC (Crescent City, CA). Register here.

Winter Blessings: Paintings by Anna Elkins at Weisinger’s Family Winery (Ashland, OR) Reception on First Friday, 3 November 2017, 5-7 pm. Enter a drawing to win a free painting! Paintings will be up through December 28.

Copyright © 2017 Anna Elkins, All rights reserved.
*ae newsletter*

My mailing address is:
PO Box 509, Jacksonville, OR 97530

Women’s Retreats

Women’s Retreats

Alpine Celebration

Our August Women’s Alpine Celebration this year was beyond my wildest dream of success. Our cozy group was dazzled by a new chef (“Bear”, by name, in photo), sparked creatively making “everyday a surprise” (to quote one participant) and swooned by personal time enough to even practice one’s mandoline (honest, “I swear”)! And I won’t even go into what happened after the retreat!


Dates for next year’s retreat will be between August 5-16th! Mark your calendars to be included in this limited space sweet Lake Alpine Resort experience.

Early Bird Bonus for 2017 Alpine Art Retreat EXTENDED to July 15!!

Early Bird Bonus for 2017 Alpine Art Retreat EXTENDED to July 15!!

We have extended our Early Bird bonus (2 additonal free nights) if you register before July 15th. We have only 2 remaining spaces, so we just need two more amazing women! Call Elaine Frenett at: 541-944-2196 to register

2017 Alpine Art Retreat Objectives and Summary

dscn5363A guided exploration for wonder-filled women.

Following last year’s “full to over-flowing” attendance, we have reshaped our intentions. Jean and I would like to direct our energies to more quiet moments allowing more personal discovery. With that purpose in mind, we have limited retreat participation to just eight (including two instructors), and is all inclusive of lodging, meals and workshops. With this experience, unique in its quiet reflection and playful interaction…you will discover how to combine eyes and mind with heart!

To explore how images and words and spirit stir together within us as creatives and take time to understand and direct those urges.

In this cradle of deep connecting, inquisitive women, nature’s still wonder, and expanded self-awareness, you will explore journaling and how it relates to the art of watercolor.

For a select number of curious women who feel invigorated in the rustic beauty of a mountain setting!

Each year our format is reinvented to inspire both leaders and participants. This intimate venue encourages individual introspection and shared connection while nature’s quiet insists upon acknowledgement and wonder.

  • Held at the Lake Alpine Resort in Bear Valley, California. Map of location: 300wlakesshore2
  • Begins Tuesday evening (August 22, 2017)
  • Ends Sunday afternoon (August 27, 2017)
  • Everyday (six days) includes programs in painting, journaling and writing – all
    processes of discovery.
  • There are two instructors for the full program time (Elaine Frenett and Jean Warren)
  • Location is at the wonderful Lake Alpine Resort.
  • The cabins include full kitchen & bathroom facilities, plus a sunny deck with a sparkling lake view.
  • Our playful gathering is held in two rustic, spacious and fully stocked cabins, lovingly named the “Ponderosa” and “Sequoia.”
  • In keeping with our back-to-camp playfulness (yes, there could be s’mores!), the300wbobbiedemo
    sleeping arrangements are bunkhouse style (e.g., shared rooms where each person has their own bed). We love how this fits in with the spirit of the retreat. Yet at the same time there are two private rooms available too. All share bathroom.
  • Meals are included. We may dine at our cabin or at the Resort dining area or deck. We’ll begin with light breakfast fare accompanied by tea, coffee and juice, and later we partake of a relaxed and refreshing lunch. Evening meals will find us embracing our chef’s creativity – perhaps on our private deck.
  • Participants with special menu needs are welcome to bring along their preferences. We make every effort to accommodate special diets, within resources. With two fully equipped kitchens you can attend to your personal pleasure too.Luscious, Refreshing Lunch
  • Amidst the formal instruction and programs you have ample time for hiking and private reflection.
  • One day we will hike or travel to a new sketching destination. Immersing ourselves in the wonder of the outdoors and fresh territory.
  • This all inclusive retreat is $1,750.00 for shared rooms, which includes lodging, food, activities, and instruction.
  • If you want to upgrade to a private room (shared bath), add $600.00. You can keep
    private as you like.
  • 300wsequoiaprvtroomIn addition to your personal items, bring your favorite paint brushes, paint and
    stretched or mounted water media paper, canvas and/or your journal/sketchbook. If you have questions about materials, please call or write.

The days are summer warmed, while cooling evenings are cozy and thoughts turn to introspection.

Add 2 Free Nights!

300wbobbiechipmunkSign up by June 15, 2017 (as space remains, remember there are only 6 slots) and will be treated to 2 nights added for free.

The Alpine Art Women’s Retreat with lodging, meals and workshops is a wonderful value at $300.00 per day.

Yet, sign up now and with the added bonus of two free nights your retreat is only $219.00 per day.jeansmosquiteprwpainting300

Staying two more days makes a perfect stay. These two free days are a great way to practice what you’ve learned, to get out and explore, and to savor the friendships made. Here is how one of our creatives explored our free day at Mosquito Lake, near Ebbets Pass.

Just imagine, a full five days of workshops and then the treat of two more joyful days of exploration.

If you like the idea of lingering until Tuesday (instead of leaving around noon Sunday), then sign up today to reserve your space by calling Elaine at: 541-944-2196.

Women’s “Art Discoveries” Retreat

Women’s “Art Discoveries” Retreat

Women's "Art Discoveries" Retreat with Elaine Frenett announcement
TITLE: Women’s “Art Discoveries” Retreat
DATE: September 13-18, 2015
TIME: Six day, ALL-inclusive (meals, lodging and instruction) retreat
PRICE: Two prices available, depending upon chosen lodging (see website)
LOCATION: Lake Alpine Resort, California Sierras (between Ebbets Pass and Bear Valley)

Dreaming of an artist’s escape? Envision the air autumn-crisp, with golden leaves reflected in the sparkling lake, pine scent weaving through the trees and thoughts turning to introspection. Such is the setting for the sixth annual Women’s “Art Discoveries” Retreat, September 13-18 at Lake Alpine Resort near Bear Valley California. These experienced professionals, Jean Warren and Elaine Frenett, have reshaped this year’s format to weave paints, mixed media and words together to expand our creativity using collaboration, abstraction and exploration. This all-inclusive (meals, lodging and workshop) retreat is for the spirited woman who loves painting, journaling and the energy of other women (2 scholarships available). For more information: feel free to contact Elaine Frenett your retreat leader at 541-944-2196.

Women’s “Cross Train Your Creativity” Retreat

Elaine Frenett promo image composite

Women’s “Cross Train Your Creativity” Retreat

Elaine Frenett promo image - art journal entry for Joseph, Oregon ALL inclusive retreat in NE Oregon, near Joseph, June 7 – 12. The tandem teacher has had an emergency, allowing this first-year Women’s “Cross Train Your Creativity” retreat to be ALL about watercolor!!
Looking for a unique retreat experience? Come, be guided by the gentle, playful direction of diverse watercolorist Elaine Frenett. We will dance between fine art design, visual journaling invention and plein air quickness (and some silliness in there too). Savor the beauty of sweeping open country, mystical quiet of ghost towns, historic depth of Nez Perce people and majesty of the Eagle Cap mountain range. You can sleep in a tepee or the Rim Rock Inn’s modern apartment. Personal attention and plenty of individual creative time.

Elaine Frenett promo image




Details:, “Wallowa Retreat”

Questions: Elaine, 541/944-2196.

Dreaming of the Upcoming “Women’s Art Discoveries” Retreat

Jean and I have dug deeper into our life and creative experiences to re-fashion this year’s retreat. Last year we used the time up in the Sierras for recharging, doing a local presentation for Journaling and re-shaping a retreat that will delve more into who we are as individual artists and why we create – using journaling, painting, mixed media and words. We hope you will consider joining us September 13 – 18, 2015. To …

Drink in the Alpine Beauty …


Experience the Mystical Solitude of Deep Creating …

and … Savor the Richness of Creative Women!!


Filed under: 2015 Retreat, Retreat, Trusting, Uncategorized Tagged: alpine beauty, creative women, mystic solitude, retreats, why we create

SOAR Welcomes John Dodero of Dodero Studio Ceramics!

Dodero Studio Ceramics logo

Exhibit of Dodero Studio Ceramics at Art Presence Art Center in Jacksonville

Exhibit of Dodero Studio Ceramics at Art Presence Art Center in Jacksonville

The Southern Oregon Artists Resource is proud to welcome John Dodero and his popular raku pottery to the Visual Artists directory! A friend of SOAR and fellow board member of the Art Presence Art Center in Jacksonville, his works sell across the country and around the world, so it’s a special pleasure to see his work represented in the context of the southern Oregon arts community. You can see his work in person at Art Presence nearly every month.

When starting pottery in 1970, most potters were following the Asian or European tradition of design, but John’s inspiration came from the many fine examples of Native American ceramic design: Mimbres, Sikyatki and Pre Columbian were his primary departure points. His focus has been to combine, distill and contemporize these styles and to define the archetypes from which they evolved. John has spent the last 25 years exploring Asian motifs and finding a fusion/commonality with the West, developing techniques and materials employed for surface decoration to achieve a classic yet natural appearance. The hope is to produce works that will not be clichés and thus withstand the test of time. The archetypes and designs in the works are meaningful to him, but he feels the viewer should derive their own meaning. “I feel each piece is made for someone; I just have to wait for him or her to claim it.”

John Dodero has developed a simple and powerful design style to complement any décor. The strong ceremonial style and natural gourd shapes developed over many years of Native American-inspired work have been blended with a distinctly Asian look. The fusion of Asian and Native American design has proven to be traditional, yet contemporary. The calm presence satisfies practical décor needs without being cliché or appearing as ethno kitsch.

Dodero’s many choices of pottery styles include Raku Cachepots and planters for orchids, Raku decorative ceramic urns, urns for cremation ashes, and decorative pieces. His Raku urns were developed in the late 80s and are available in a variety of colors and sizes. Raku Cachepots are intended to be used a decorative container for a potted plant. They are sized to fit standard planter sizes and are the perfect home for orchids or indoor plants. These Raku planters can also be referred to as Jardinières.

Red Cremation Urn by John Dodero

Red Cremation Urn by John Dodero

The Raku process was brought to the West coast from Japan in the late 1960s, and over the years it has diverged quite a bit from its Japanese origin. The U.S. approach has revolved around a post fire reduction, as opposed to the Japanese style of plunging the ware in water after being removed from the kiln. This difference in firing technique gives the Western style a distinctive crackle pattern when carbon is trapped in the crazing, giving the bare clay a carbon luster.

The approach taken by Dodero Studio is the use of thick or fat glazes, striving for a random crazing pattern over a simple refined form. A wide range of coloring oxides are used in the glazes to meet the many décor needs. “We want to match your couch.” As odd as this might sound, he understands you have to live with his pots and wants to produce ware to complement your décor and create a harmonious environment.

John also offers workshops for those interested in learning from his decades of experience. Two recent hands-on workshops, one on raku pottery creation and another on slipcasting, were presented at his Jacksonville studio, but all is not lost! He will be sharing his knowledge on these topics again in a retreat setting in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in February! Click here to learn more and register to attend – what a great call for a winter break!

Please visit the Dodero Studio Ceramics listing at the Southern Oregon Artists Resource to find a complete set of links and contact information so you can learn why John’s work is popular the world over! Or take a shortcut straight to his website, Dodero Studio Ceramics at

The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Upper level of Basilica with Equestrian statue of St FrancisThe Basilica di San Francesco is a distinctive landmark that can be seen from miles away as you approach Assisi.  As you draw nearer you can appreciate the huge supporting arcades.  The Basilica of St. Francis is considered one of the artistic highlights of medieval Europe, as well as one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in the world.  It is definitely a ‘must see’ while visiting or on pilgrimage as it continues to be a powerful place both for believers and art-lovers alike.  The basilica is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor more commonly known as the Franciscan Order.The Basilica of St Francis, early dawn

Brother Francis died in October of 1226 and less than two years later his disciple and fellow-worker Brother Elias (of Cortona) had plans underway for construction of a church in his honor.  The Friars Minor, Pope Gregory IX (who, as a cardinal, enjoyed a close friendship with Francis), and the people of Assisi were all involved in supporting the early construction of what became an incongruously grandiose and beautifully embellished memorial to a profoundly converse man who preached and lived a simple life of poverty, abstinence, and renunciation of worldly goods in search of a greater spirituality.

It is believed that Brother Elias, although devout, was more worldly that Francis, and the popularity of the Franciscan order through the ages owes a great deal to Elias’ marketing skills.Side-hill view of Basilica St Francis, Assisi

Construction began in 1228.  The basilica was built into the side of a hill and actually consists of two churches known as the Upper Church and Lower Church, and the saint’s tomb which is yet below the Lower Church.  A site for the church was donated to Pope Gregory by Simone di Pucciarello on the western tip of Asio hill outside the Assisi city walls on what was known as the “Hill of Hell” where criminals were put to death.  It is now called the “Hill of Paradise”.

Francis was declared a saint on July 16, 1228 and the following day the pope laid the first stone of the Church of St. Francis.  The Lower Church was quickly finished by 1230, and on Pentecost May 25, 1230 the body of St. Francis was taken from its temporary burial place St. George, now the Basilica of Saint Clare of Assisi, to the Lower Church (or Lower Basilica).  The actual burial place was hidden in the earth beneath the high alter and sealed up with stone to protect St. Francis’ remains.  It was not till 1818 that the tomb of St. Francis was rediscovered beneath the high altar.  After being hidden for nearly 600 years the coffin was opened and Francis’ skeleton was found completely intact.  A new crypt was built first in neo-Classical style then later in a simpler neo-Romanesque style.  Thus modern pilgrims are able to approach the very tomb of St. Francis, which no medieval pilgrims were ever able to do.  (Notes from Sacred Destinations)

Construction was begun on the Upper Church in 1239 and completed in 1253.  Both churches were consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1253 and designated a Major Basilica in 1288.  On September 26, 1997 two earthquakes hit this region of Italy damaging many ancient buildings.  The Lower Church walls are nearly nine feet thick and were unscathed while the Upper Church with larger windows and walls only three feet thick were damaged.  An aftershock killed two Franciscan friars and two specialists while they were inspecting the damage to the Basilica.   Many of the frescoes of the life of St. Francis by Giotto in the Upper Church were destroyed in the collapse.  The basilica was closed for two years for restoration.The Basilica of St Francis and lower piazza, early morning


The photo above shows the lower piazza and the side entrance to the Lower Church in the early morning before the activity of the day.  The alternating striped colors of the street almost seem like an escalator drawing you toward the grand side entrance.The lower piazza of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi before the days activity

Below, a pilgrim is enjoying a time of reflection in the quiet of the early morning under the arched colonnade lining the sides of the Piazza Inferiore.  The colonnades were added in the 15th century.Under the colonade of the lower piazza of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

An example of more recent artwork under the colonnade of the lower piazza.Metal art by Silvio Amelio under the colonade of lower piazza of Basilica of St Francis of Assisi


By mid day the piazza becomes a hub of activity with tourists and pilgrims.  Here are a couple of young art students on an “art venture”.Young artists on the piazza of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

The side entrance to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi from the lower piazza

This is the grand side entrance to the Lower Church showing the stairway to the Upper Piazza and Upper Church and the benediction loggia on the left side of the facade and supporting curtain wall which was added in 1754.Side tower, Basilica St Francis of Assisi

the pediment over the side entrance to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

Above the doors is an ornate pediment containing a large rose window, flanked by two smaller ones, called by some “the eye of the most beautiful church in the world.”rose-detail-side-entrance-basilica


Wooden decorations on the doors by Ugolinuccio da Gubbio done circa 1550.wood-panel-door-basilica-sr-francis-assisiThe upper piazza joining the lower of the Basilica of St FrancisThe Umbian view from the upper piazza of the Basilica of St Francis

Since the Basilica is located on the far western end of the hill it offers wonderful views overlooking the valley below.The view from upper entrance of the Basilica of St Francis

This is the view from the portico of the Upper Church showing the Franciscan Tau, PAX, and the equestrian statue of St. Francis.Front entrance to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

The Upper Church has white-washed brick facade and a Gothic doorway with a Romanesque rose window.Detail of front Rose to Basilica St FrancisSt Francis-Equestrian statue; b&wBell tower  Campanile of Basilica St Francis of Assisibasilica-tower-w-valley-view

This equestrian statue is one of my favorites showing Francis with his head hung low as he slinks back home after God has told him to “let go” of his dream of becoming a heroic “knight in shining armor” and to instead follow the way of Jesus.As much as the outside architecture of the basilica is interesting and beautiful, the inside of the basilica is even more so.  It is frescoed from top to bottom by the leading artists of the day with works from Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti.  Unfortunately photography was not permitted inside.  But taking time to experience the inside will convince you that it is as spectacular as the Vatican or St. Peter’s Cathedral in a simpler beauty.  Discovery Venture Tours has scheduled another Spirit Venture – “Chasing Francis” next year from March 19th to the 29th.  We will be spending 6 nights in Assisi and 4 nights in Rome.  Below is the brochure.    It was such an amazing experience many of us are going back.  Let us know if you are interested in joining us.2014-9x12-assisi-broch-inside-prophotorgb-8-bit-350dpi-edit2014-9x12-assisi-brochure-outer


(Notes from Rick Steves, Sacred Destinations, and Wikipedia)

Sierra Retreat ~ Welcoming Day

Our Women’s Journaling Sierra Retreat unfolds it’s wings this 9th day of September. The starting threesome, Jean (my tandem-teacher), Izzy (our amazing gourmet chef) and I, are up early.

Jean and I have a teeny window of time to take a mornin’ walk around the lake . . . and just drink in the soothing lake energy and the subtle, rustic beauty we begin to taste as we slow down.

Back at the cabin, Izzy takes her place dancing amongst the food and stove top while Jean and I vigilantly watch the second cabin, the Sequoia, to be vacated. We hope to get at least the living room space tended to by the cleaning staff first, so we can begin setting up our work stations for everyone, settle in our library and spread out shared materials. At 2pm Izzy finally corrals us into taking a break for lunch and we breathe, watching the “makings” of our retreat come together.

Shortly, retreat participants begin arriving. We skitter around touring everyone of the various bedroom possibilities and nesting spots get claimed. Unpacking pursues. With a bit of sun still shimmering on the lake several of us opt for a tour of east end of Lake Alpine. Personally, it’s my favorite because of the Miwok Indian holes carved into the granite. See them there in the lake photo, lower right corner of the granite? I can just sense what it must have been to summer there, sitting cross-legged in the afternoon breeze, grinding seeds or grains in the small granite cups there. Anyway, I digress.

We beat feet back to the Ponderosa cabin, the one designated our formal dining area, ready for our first gathering. With the day’s warmth still hovering on the deck, we set up the tables there for dining and immerse ourselves in fabulous food, warming wine and stimulating conversation. As the evening cool takes over our outdoor space, we migrate inward.

Our agenda is to craft a collective statement, and loving common energy and we spend giggling hours with this as our culmination. Pretty rich, eh? It will sit amongst us for all our evening gatherings, reminding us all of our individual uniqueness as well, as common bond. A dandy start to the retreat I’d say!!