Monthly Archives: October 2015

Art Show in the Ex-Tobacco Building

Art galleries have a long history of recycling old spaces, putting them to new and creative uses. The Ex-Tobacco Building in Umbertide, Italy is no different. After a €5.9m overhaul the old factory unit and surrounding grounds have been transformed into an arts, performance space with children’s play area and sports facilities outside.

Transforming the building

Transforming the building

Exhibition space Umbertide

This large, fresh space provides a perfect void for showing art. High, whitewashed walls, spacious floor area and a mezzanine level for more intimate gatherings.

Inauguration

Inauguration

I was honoured to have been asked to be a part of the inauguration ceremony on the 24th October 2015, with the inclusion of seven of my paintings. Six other talented artists and sculptors displayed their works and the evening was topped off with a delicious buffet and an entertaining musical duet. Those who attended were treated to a cultural as well as a nourishing feast and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces there.

Opening night

By the numbers in attendance the event proved a great success and Umbertide now has an excellent area where its inhabitants can show off their skills and talents in this interesting building.

Umbertide painting

Umbertide painting

While Umbria’s once flourishing tobacco industry is rapidly being replaced, it is nice to see that the architecture of this period is being kept alive and put to new and creative uses.  It would probably be easier just to knock the old factories down and start again but then you lose the history of how the area developed. Hopefully more of these crumbling ruins and derelict buildings, with a little imagination, can be put to good use.

Watercolour of Umbertide Sul Tevere

Umbria towns

Umbertide Sul Tevere  Watercolour and ink, 74cm x 46cm (For Sale)

Painting Umbertide

I wanted to paint this watercolour as I was invited, along with six other artists, to take part in the opening of a new exhibition space in Umbertide. I decided that it would be a good idea to paint a new piece of the town for the show.

Inauguration poster

Inauguration poster

The latest picture of Umbertide was meant as a sister painting to the large one of Citta di Castello

. Taken from a viewpoint of the northern entrance into the town centre, the scene looks across the River Tevere. In the foreground are the road and rail bridges, the old wall and the houses of Piazza San Francesco.

La Rocca

Rising out of this is the old Rocca tower and the strangely shaped Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Reggia to it’s left. Also visible is the bell tower in the main piazza and the curvey facade of Santa Croce, now a museum, which is famous for it’s Luca Signorelli fresco.

The mountains of Acuto and Corona dominate the background with Civitella Ranieri on the third hill. On the tobacco fields behind Umbertide the painting shows the Abbey of Monte Corona and one of the brightly coloured, orange warehouses that litter the landscape around the town.

My sky is normally influenced by the weather at the time of painting and we’ve had some stormy, dark days of late. However, rather than create a grey, somber scene I decided to show the way black, leaden clouds come across as pink and purple to me. Much more dramatic and cheery.

Duccio’s Tree

International Gothic artist

Duccio’s tree

The large tree to the right is a reference to Duccio, whose work I’ve been studying lately in reference to a project on the lost predella of Simone Martini’s picture of Beato Agostino Nouvello, in Siena. I love the way that he realised that there were two elements to depicting trees, the dark green shape of the tree and its lighter leaves.

Umbertide Sul Tevere conveys the feeling of a town situated in a large open plain surrounded by tall mountains and tree covered hills. While linked with the outside world by road, rail and river it is still a busy but tranquil place to live.