Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cartoon of a Medieval Village

Medieval Village sketch

Santa Giuliana Gatehouse

Drawing the village

Setting out the composition for the gatehouse at Borgo Santa Giuliana I decided there were four main areas that should draw the eye. The gatehouse itself, the tower, the twin cropped pine trees in the foreground and Janet and Jed’s house.

Santa Giuliana, Umbria

A little more detail

Rather than paint another distant image, this time I wanted to get in the thick of it, paint the walls and windows in more detail and give a real impression  of this magnificent walled village.

Taking a liberty

Santa Giuliana is situated on the steep hillsides of Monte Corona and at this point, is hidden from view by many trees. So I had to take a little liberty with the composition, artistically chop down the woodland. I’ve still left you with a feeling that this is a wooded area but made enough space to see the buildings and gate and bell tower without having to dodge the foliage.

Skething in Umbria

Santa Giuluana Cartoon

The pine trees have moved around a little during the design stage and are now echoed by the clouds on the opposite side. There is also a strong left to right diagonal, which draws the eye to the building in the centre. While the house and the shrine on the left, with the olive grove behind give a sense of the village being a part of the landscape.

Santa Giuliana’s history

Santa Giuliana

The village from below

In it’s heyday the slopes would have been cleared giving the defenders an unobstructed view of approaching armies. In a way this returns the village to its historical past and shows what an imposing  figure it would have been in the landscape.  … Okay! Now for a bit of colour.

Inside Borgo Santa Giuliana

After the excitement of the Niccone Valley project and finally completing the long thoughtout Mount Subasio and Assisi painting, it’s back to Santa Giuliana.

Painting the borgo

Village in the mist

Foggy village

Borgo Santa Giuliana is so unique, I never get tired of painting this little Medieval walled village. And when Janet and Jed told me they’d like a painting of the place I jumped at the chance to get inside the walls.

This is truly an example of how you properly create a gated community. Siege engines struggled to get into this compact village, which consists of some twelve dwellings. In the end the attackers gave up and picked on someone less well prepared instead.

Visiting Santa Giuliana

On a sunny Sunday afternoon I finally got to see what I’d been drawing and painting from afar. It’s a magical spot, fascinating architecture, narrow sunken alleyways, a church and all around breathtaking views of the Umbrian landscape.

Medieval village Umbria

Santa Giuliana sketches

Until now I’d not managed to get a close up view of the gatehouse and its portcullis. So armed with sketches and photos of the main entrance and the fact that you can see Janet and Jed’s house from this angle, this is the view I’m painting this time around.

Also, just like Citerna in the  Valtiberina painting, I’ve decided to create an undisturbed view of the curtain wall and its buildings by raising and lowering the treeline to give a nice, open view but retaining the feel of the surrounding vegetation. Lets get started then. …

Painting Mount Subasio

Umbria, Assisi painting

Mount Subasio, Assisi and Spello
Watercolour and ink, 74cm x 37cm (For Sale)

It has been an idea of mine for quite a while to paint Mount Subasio with its sentinals, Assisi and Spello. These are both ancient towns and in the case of Assisi very famous as the birthplace of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.

Assisi Umbria

Basilica San Francesco, Assisi

The painting is viewed as if travelling along the SS3 between Perugia and Foligno. Out of the distance the curvey shape of Subasio appears and as you approach, the distinctive features of San Francesco’s basilica come into view. It is an awesome sight to drive up to.

Follow the highway

Porta Consolare with olive trees

Porta Consolare with olive trees

The bottom of the page represents the superstrada and if you look carefully as you drive along the foothills of Mount Subasio you’ll see the churches along the roadside. Spello at the other end is moulded around the slopes and has a number of ancient town gates. The most distinctive of these are the twin towered Porta Venere and the Porta Consolare, with olive trees growing on top of it.

The trees in the foreground represent the works of Piero Lorenzetti and Giotto, both worked in the area and have frescoes in the basilica. The palm trees are in the style of Pinturicchio who worked extensively in Spello and it is here you can see his paintings.