Monthly Archives: October 2014

UmbriArt hits the Gallery

Points on the Horizon

Points on the Horizon

Well after a month of preparation, the “Points on the Horizon ” art show is underway.  We’ve filled the 15th century church of San Fedele in Montone with 20 paintings and lots of nibbles for those who attended.

It was a great opportunity to see so many paintings gathered together in one spot but also provided a fabulous change to talk to people before many drift off to warmer climes for the winter.

DSCN3463Exhibitions perform a number of functions. Promotion of your work, an opportunity for networking, closing a chapter on a particular project. Or my personal favourite, meeting those loyal people who have supported you over the recent years and laying on some food and wine in their honour. This show was very much in the vein of “Grazie tutti”.

This is a fabulous little venue, both the town and the church. And with the famous Festa delle Bosco starting later in the week, it should go on to be a very successful show. Well at the very least well visited and supported one, hopefully with a few sales thrown in.

Panel One

Panel One

If you’re in the area between the 28th October and 2nd November pop in to see us, we’ve still lots of sandwiches and wine left.

Fun Trip Painting the Tiberina Valley

Umbrian valley

Valtiberina

The completion of this painting means, artworkwise we’re ready for the “Points on the Horizon”exhibition in Montone next week. Nothing left to do bar the panicking.

Driving down the valley

The Valtiberina stretches from the heights of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina (MSMT), perched on the top of a hill, right down to the main valley at the confluence of Monterchi and Citerna. At this point the two ancient Umbrian and Tuscan towns continue their time honoured face-off.

View from Monte Santa Maria Tiberina

View from Monte Santa Maria Tiberina

The beauty of the trip are the four villages, MSMT, Lippiano, Monterchi and Citerna. Each different but all typically Italian. Caffe bars and breathtaking views are what you should expect here, this is not a trip of designer shopping. Although Monterchi does have a Piero della Francesca painting and Citerna a Donatello sculpture.

Autumnal fields

Valtiberina

Valtiberina

Along with the towns, the painting shows the diversity of vegetation and crops you’ll encounter as you travel down the valley. Initially the slopes are densely wooded but this gradually thins out to reveal olive groves, grape vines and fields of sunflowers. Although when I made the trip the sunflowers had long since gone and all that remained were their sad, short cropped stalks.

Again the painting features tall stylised trees, that pay homage to the early Renaissance and High Gothic masters Giotto, Lorenzetti and Gozzoli who all pioneered landscape painting and often featured strangely alien trees.  But this was a time of experimentation and their efforts led the way to more formal renditions of fields, gardens and parklands.

The apartment looks towards MSMT and like the painting, when the sky in that direction starts to bruise, within a couple of hours, we can normally expect rain. At this time the sky can be lit up with bursts of lightening and the clatter of thunder rattles around the hills.

 

Online Shop Now Live

After some consideration and with the arrival of the art postcard prints, I’ve decided to set up an Etsy Shop to make it easier for those interested in buying top quality reproductions of my work and some original artwork too.

Why not pay us a visit?

EtsyLogoThe Etsy Shop – UmbriArt Prints – will carry an increasing range of postcards and has a direct link to Paypal to make for easy payment. We will also be featuring a number of discount offers and special deals in the future, so keep an eye out.

Click Here to go straight to UmbriArt Print Shop

Giro around the Valtiberina

Monterchi study

Monterchi study

The next painting is a trip down the Valtiberina Valley, a pure delight, especially if you approach it from the Aggia Valley side. Drive up to the stoic walled town of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina (MSMT) and follow the winding, narrow road down to where Monterchi and Citerna stand staring each other out, as they have for centuries.

Lippiano Castle

Castle at Lippiano

Halfway down you’ll see the hill top village of Lippiano in front of you. Its strange tower dominates the horizon as you get closer.  This is a lovely, quiet little place with an elaborate fountain and a supposed, Templar church as well. The views from here are gorgeous and you can make out MSMT in the distance, amongst the wooded skyline.

Monterchi

Monterchi

Crossing from Tuscany, back into Umbria and rounding the hills you get your first close up of Monterchi. Famous for its Piero della Francesca painting, “Madonna del Parto“. Not to be out done in their rivalry, Citerna recently discovered a long lost Donatello sculpture, “Madonna col Bimbo”.

The landscape also takes a turn, instead of rough woodland and rocky fields, there is more agriculture and you’ll pass vineyards, olive groves and fields of bright yellow sunflowers (at the right time of year).

Stormy sky at dawn

Stormy sky at dawn

A change in the weather as autumn sets in has brought us some dramatic skies, with leadened clouds, heavy with rain. These swirling masses with the pale yellow peaking through will make a great backdrop on which to paint the four towns, once again bathed in all shades of green, with maybe a little seasonal orange, red and ochre for good measure.

Hot off the Press!

They’re here!

For those who keep asking me to make art prints of my paintings I’ve had a run of four pictures produced that are for sale. If you are interested email me with your postal details. They are 110 x 150 mm and printed on a good quality, 270 gms watercolour paper.

Prices for these great Italian mementos are £4/ €5 or $6.50 each, plus postage and packing.

Email me if you are interested or why not check out our online UmbriArt Print Shop.  Keep an eye out, more due in a couple of weeks 🙂

Canoscio

Canoscio

Citta di Castello

Castello

Niccone

Niccone Valley

Umbertide

Umbertide

Reaching Sanctuary

Badie Monte Corona

Points on the Horizon – Monte Corona

The completed painting of Monte Corona initially looks like a large green hill but as with the real thing, with careful examination, you can see how it is made up of lots of little bumps and lumps, each decorated with different arrangements of trees, crops and bushes.

Buildings on the hill

Abbey warehouse

Monastery warehouse

The main points of focus are from (left to right), the Abbey of Monte Corona, with a closed order in residence in the monastery on the hill behind. The are also many brightly, ochre coloured warehouses that can be found throughout the area. Each with beautifully made name-plates indicating their original purpose. Podesta di Miele, pesce and tori (honey, peaches and bulls) can be found here, on the fringes of the tobacco fields.

Monte Corona Abbey

Badie Monte Corona

Sanctuary on top

Sitting on the peak of Monte Corona, at 503 metres is the hermitage of San Salvatore. This is a closed order and you can only get as far as the main gate. Although glimpses of life inside can be gained through a hole in the woodwork.

A little further along and down the hill are the villas of Prato di Sopre and Sotto. These stand above the enigmatic, medieval walled village of San Giuliana, from where you can follow the road down to the Torre San Giuliana, which once acted as a watch tower for the valley and is now a luxury B&B.

Medieval walled village

Borgo di Santa Giuliana

The winding path

Weaving its way through this landscape of olive groves, oak trees and pines, is the white road that leads up to the sanctuary and on, over the hill, to Pierantonio. While the tarmac road from the abbey eventually brings you out at Pantana, passing the quarry on the way.

The mountain presents a beautiful place to explore and it is no wonder that three places of religious sanctuary have established themselves on its wooded slopes. The tracks, glades and white roads that criss-cross Monte Corona are well worth the hike.

The Trials of Arranging an Exhibition

Chiesa san fedele

San Fedele Church, Montone

Well it’s finally happened, I’ve got a venue, title and date to exhibit my work. “Points on the Horizon” will open in the gorgeous town of Montone, Umbria, where they will be holding their Festa della Bosco (Festival of the Forest), between the 30th October and 2nd November. They have agreed to let me exhibit my work in the little Chiesa San Fedele during this festival.

Setting up an exhibition

Tuscan hermitage

St Francis’ Convent at La Verna

The big question now is what do I show, how should I display them and what else do I need?  I’ve experience of showing work previously but never on my own so this is a little bit of a step into the unknown.

I figure that you should have confidence in your work and just go ahead with it. So that’s one worry out of the way. I think it’s a good idea to offer prints of some of the paintings to those who visit and there is the chance for those who are interested to buy the originals.

Including notes that acknowledge those who’ve lent you back your work and describe the meaning behind paintings (people love the story of a picture). Sometimes quirky styles need that backup, it saves letting viewers read things into the work that wasn’t there.

What to take

Interior space

Interior space

A great venue (tick), nice lighting (tick) and good display boards (under review) are all essential components. Eye-catching posters and publicity material will encourage foot traffic and it is important to build the buzz over the internet. If you can get the local press or radio involved then there is no harm. A P.T. Barnum said “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” and it is important to spread the word.

Opening events are a good time to celebrate and recognise your supporters and backers. These are the ones that have carried you through the hard times and it’s only fair to let them join in your good times. It also gives you a chance to invite possible future collectors and gallery owners who might provide your next opportunity.

Marketing future events

Last of all keep records comments books and build contact lists. This is afterall a marketing event, designed to raise your profile and build your brand. But I think best of all its a happy time of reflection and contemplation. A good time to review your work and decide where to take things next.

So that’s my plan for the next three weeks, any thoughts, advice or suggestions most welcome. Hopefully see you there. 🙂