Local residents enjoy ‘La Dolce Vita’

Additional trips led by Elida Field are set for October and April

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Several local women have fond memories of their trips to various regions of Italy.

Sandy Krahn, of Camas, was among the 12 women who traveled to Rome, Florence, Assisi and a town in the mountains named Cagli, in September 2010.

The adventure was guided by Elida Field, of Washougal, and Fr. Bruno Segatta, of Italy. Prior to the trip, Krahn had taken “Art-Women-Wine” classes in Field’s art studio and gallery in downtown Camas.

Krahn said Segatta was a very informative tour guide.

“He really knows the history of Italy as he was a professor there for years,” she said. “He kept us entertained by sightseeing, eating, drinking, laughing and shopping.

“We did manage to get a few painting classes in along the way,” Krahn added. “His knowledge of history and just the lay of the land made our trip so eventful and meaningful. Every day was designed for us, so we really just had to show up and the fun began. Many evenings we were out and about, but sometimes we just stayed back at our hotel or apartment and cooked and drank fabulous wine. We laughed and told stories for hours and got to know one another quite well.”

Italian inspirations

Susie Jacoby, of Camas, started taking classes from Field almost three years ago. She was also among the women who traveled to Italy in September 2010.

The highlight of the trip for Jacoby was Assisi, described by her as a “beautiful city on a hill with so much meaning.”

She appreciated going overseas with a smaller group.

“The tour was fun, flexible and had a very one-on-one feel,” Jacoby said. “We each had personal time with Bruno and Elida — be it talking while we were cooking or walking on our tours or even the one-on-one time we had during the art sessions. We had the opportunity to go shopping on our own if we so chose to or just have some quite time alone. Elida and Bruno did a fantastic job working together and making every moment count.”

Jacoby’s medium is acrylic on canvas, and she paints abstracts, as well as trees and florals.

She said the trip to Italy was very inspiring artistically and spiritually.

“You don’t need experience in the arts to appreciate and become inspired by Italy and all it has to offer, along with the talents of Elida and Father Bruno to help you see your own gifts and strengths within.”

Dining with the locals

Field’s sister, Danielle Harris, was also part of the September 2010 trip.

Harris said she enjoyed meeting residents of Cagli.

“Two brothers and their families run the bar and cafe in the town, which acts as the gathering spot for everyone in the region,” she said. “We spent the mornings ordering cappuccino and the evenings cheering for soccer over grappa.”

Harris went to Italy to launch her blog, Oregon Pilgrim (www.oregonpilgrim.wordpress.com) and to spend time with her sister.

Harris said she enjoyed being with genuine and interesting people.

“Bruno made a huge difference, helping to bridge the gap between being tourists and locals,” she said. “We visited different eateries, ate dinner with Italians and were invited to dinner at restaurants. This made such a difference.”

Enjoying artistic accomplishments

Field said she enjoys inspiring people.

“I love to show them something new and to push them out of what they know, to help them experience life more fully,” she said. “Italy is the mecca for artists. For me to be able to experience it with others — sometimes for their first time — is such a joy.

“As an artist, I never thought I could feel better than when I finish my own works of art,” Field added. “To create a masterpiece feels amazing. However I have to say I get as much, if not more, joy watching others grow — particularly women — and seeing them transform into amazing, accomplished artists themselves.”

Sharing Italian culture

Segatta said he tries not to emphasize dates or names of artists.

“The cities in Italy, and especially Florence, Rome and Venice, are like a good book to be read and interpreted,” he said. “The different chapters written by thousands of artists can be overwhelming. The tours are about awakening the critical eye and interpreting those realities.”

Segatta spent 23 years in Florence, working as the assistant to the dean of students and teaching in the fine arts program for Gonzaga University.

An unforgettable trip

Bev Kadow and her husband Lloyd, of Vancouver, traveled in April with Field, Segatta and several other individuals — to areas including Rome, the island of Capri, Pompeii, Positano, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. They visited the Sistine Chapel and Trevi Fountain.

Since their trip to Italy in the spring, Bev said she can’t get enough of painting.

“It sparked something in me and inspires me daily,” she said. “Bruno taught a unique class in mixed media, showing us how to use discarded boards and paint to create beautiful, textured works of art. I do the paintings, and Lloyd does the prep and finish work.”

Bev’s pastels, acrylics and mixed media will be on display next month at Field’s art studio and gallery, 421 N.E. Cedar St. A reception is planned for Friday, Oct. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m.