Interview of Carol Fairlie

Ms. Carol Fairlie is a professor at Sul Ross State University, where she teaches watercolor, oil painting, drawing, figure drawing, and printmaking. She studied painting for four years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and later received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Women’s University and her Master of Fine Arts at the University of North Texas, School of Visual Arts. She will be the lead faculty member on the France and Italy trip this coming summer.

Interviewer: What are you feeling going into this trip?

Mrs. Fairlie: This is going to be my first time on a tour by myself so I’m excited about it. We will leave campus about six in the morning and drive to El Paso, where we will board a plane in Atlanta, then switch in Atlanta and fly directly to Rome. We will arrive early in the morning in Rome. I have a free afternoon in Rome as I see it. First thing I did was memorize “where’s my hotel?” in Italian. I walk out the font door of my hotel and the Trevi Fountain is two blocks away. The Vatican is straight to my left and over the river, and there’s a museum for contemporary art and a museum of medieval art right by the Trevi Fountain. So I’m ready.

Interviewer: What is planned for your students who are taking this trip?

Mrs. Fairlie: All my students who are taking the trip for a class are required to fill six pages in their travel journals each day. Everyone can have a page filled with words in Italian, a page or two of watercolor sketches or pen and ink of where we are, a page for notes on what we learned during the tour, a page for photographs, and a page for when you get home to add information: six different pages for six different ideas. They will decorate the pages and make then creative.

Interviewer: The trip has an emphasis on Art. So what places do you plan on taking them?

Mrs. Fairlie: We are doing art and architecture. We will start in Rome by visiting architecture. Obviously, the coliseum is really important, the roman ruins are really important, the Trevi Fountain, the basic architecture in the city. There’s so much in Rome, you could trip over artifacts.

Then the next day we will go to Vatican City and see the Sistine Chapel the Vatican collection of art. That day we will tour the entire Vatican. I’m hoping that we will have some free time every evening, so we can sit down and draw as a group.

After three days in Rome, we will leave in the morning and go by bus to the city of Assisi, which will show the change of art from the medieval times to the renaissance. We will spend the night in Florence. Florence is absolutely breathtaking and very important in the history of Baroque art. The students will tour the architecture of Florence and the following day we’ll go to the Uffizi, which is one of the most famous museums in the world for early oil paintings.

Originally, we were going to take a train to Paris, but last I heard the train was not working, so we’ll take a quick flight into Paris. In Paris we will do architecture and the Louvre. We were supposed to do Notre Dame, but, of course, there was a fire there. Thankfully, we will do a boat tour on the water around it and get close enough to see the structure, the carvings, and gargoyles. After those three days my students will board a plane back to El Paso and I and my husband will be going to a music festival.

Interviewer: What are you most excited for in France and Italy?

Mrs. Fairlie: It’s been years since I’ve been to Italy. I love the landscape, the hills, the greenery, the architecture, and the food. I’m just excited about the experience. I’ve been to Paris two times and my favorite thing about going to Europe is exposing my students who have never been. Europe teaches you about America and travel teaches you about America. I really look forward to just the appreciation of new experiences.

Interviewer: What do you want your students to get out of the experience? 

Mrs. Fairlie: Exposure. Exposure to culture. It’s a fun group of students I have. Two are from China. Three are graduate students, one of whom is bringing her husband. And there are two undergraduates, one is bringing her sister and one is an EMS firefighter from Alpine. I think its going to be fun.

Interviewed by Autumn McFadden