Drawings of Florence, Italy

My vacation in Florence was very special to me. Below are sketches and a recount of my memorable trip.

Florence Rooftop Garden Drawing by Nicole Barker

Florence Rooftop Garden Pencil and Paper Drawing by Nicole Barker

After a day of tasting gelato, moving about streets of Florence, and mingling in the shops, my fiance and I retreated to the hotel and walked up to the secluded garden on the rooftop. At midnight the city was almost dead quiet, and I felt inspired to sit and draw in my sketchbook the view I had towards the Piazza Ognissanti. It was beautiful. I sat there for hours drawing what I saw. Then the clock tower chimed, and I decided to head off to bed.
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Above & Beyond Our Pale Blue Dot

“That pale blue dot? That’s us. On it, everyone one you love, everyone you know, anyone you ever heard of” – Carl Sagan. This is our planet, our “pale blue dot”, but what’s around it? How do we find out? Support the pursuit of knowledge. Step into the beyond, the unknown. Look up at the sky in wonder not fear. The beauty of this universe is vast.


Love the above video? Check out Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”
Below are great comic style illustrations that emulate the “Most Astounding Fact” video with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Click to see full comic.

Comic illustrations of "Most Astounding Fact" video with Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Invitation Design

This October I will be traveling to Italy again, but this time it will be for my wedding. We rented a villa in Florence for a day to host the ceremony and reception. We decided a wedding planner would be key between the language barrier and the long distance, but the one thing I knew I wanted to do for the wedding was create my invitations. It would be the piece of paper that would join all our close friends and family together for the most important event in my life, and I wanted the design to be memorable. Something that truly fits with our personalities, the location, and the look and feel of the event. I sketched the villa illustration, created a font-treatment and color scheme, laid out the invitation and response card, chose paper stock, envelopes, and seals, and sent it off to the printer. A few days ago we got back the finished product, and I’m very pleased. They turned out just the way I wanted them to look. Now we’re ready to move forward with the next step in the wedding planning process… menu choices.

Wedding Invitation Design by Nicole Barker

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Woody Allen, will you come to our Wedding?

Florence IMG_5160 Photo by Brian Cleary

My wedding is this October, and my fiance and I thought it would be awesome if Woody Allen would attend. I figured that since Woody Allen and I have similar taste in places we love to visit, maybe he’d enjoy our wedding in Florence. Above is a photo of, the Villa di Maiano, where we are getting married.

I’m sure its a coincidence, but it seems like Woody Allen is following us around. First we visited Paris last year in February. Then a few months later, the Woody Allen movie “Midnight In Paris” was released. Next we visited Florence and Rome, and now there are trailers out for a Woody Allen movie titled “To Rome With Love”. I’m not sure what to think, but I know I’m going to see “To Rome With Love” when it comes out. If my fiance and I show up as extras in the movie, I’ll know this all wasn’t a coincidence.
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Midnight in Paris – My Trip And The Movie

City of Paris, France - Photo by Brian Cleary

Paris from over the river Seine
- Photo by Brian Cleary.

“Midnight in Paris” is an inspiringly different movie. The first five minutes gives a magnificent ode to the city of Paris. It began with a lowly clarinet, sounding a slow, jazz tune. The scene transitions from street to street, monument to monument, from day to night to rain. Paris is beautiful in the rain. It glistens and shines, as if covered by billions of lit diamonds. It is so beautiful that it brought me to tears several times. And I feel that the director and writer, Woody Allen, mirrored that beauty in the film.

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Eiffel Tower – ipad sketch

Eiffel Tower iPad Sketch by Nicole Barker

Eiffel Tower iPad Sketch by Nicole Barker

While I was traveling last year I visited Paris, and the thing that influenced me the most was the Eiffel Tower. In an effort to sketch more in my life, I decided this was the perfect subject matter.
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Everyone Should Travel

River Arno at Twilight, Italy - Photo by Brian Cleary

River Arno at Twilight, Italy
- Photo by Brian Cleary.

Everyone should travel. It expands your horizons, changes your world views, and effects your life choices. Be open to the change. From something small like listening to a new song you heard on your travels, to something large like choosing to get married in Italy because you loved it there that much.

Recently I traveled to Florence. The city of Florence is artistically beautiful, especially for me. I love to draw landscapes, trees, grass, flowers, etc. I was constantly amazed by the gorgeous countryside. It was a feast for the eyes, and all I wanted to do was see more. I traveled there with my fiance Brian. We meant it to be a scouting trip for our wedding coming this fall. I knew I was going to be pretty taken with it, but all my life I never thought I’d get married in Florence. Once I saw it, I knew a wedding there would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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