Category Archives: photograph

Sketching Trip to the Lake

Lake Trasimeno

Island of Polvese

I took a nice sketching trip out to Lake Trasimeno yesterday to get some drawings and photographs for my next painting. Early autumn can be a great time for packing up your tools and going into the wilds to draw.


Lago Trasimeno Rocca

Polvese Castle ruins

Autumn art trip

It was a warm day with that particular bright, piercing sunlight you get in September. The subject for this picture is Polvese, the largest of Trasimeno’s islands and the least inhabited.

Once a thriving fishing community lived here and its ruined castle and abandoned monastery attest to the fact that it used to be home to many more people than it is today.

Isole Polvese

Water logged trees

Walking tour

The island is a lovely place to walk, the gradients aren’t too steep and there are plenty of interesting corners to photograph or paint and a little cafe bar to pick up a snack.

Like the neighbouring island of Isole Maggiore there is a regular ferry,

Monestario Polvese

Polvese Monastery ruins

running almost every hour (except lunchtimes) and it doesn’t cost a fortune. Alternatively you can cruise around the lake capturing the towns along the shoreline and the olive grove strewn hills behind.

If you should find yourself on an art holiday in Umbria, then a day on the lake is a rewarding way to fill up a sketch pad. Happy drawing 🙂

How to Paint the Sky Purple

The Niccone, so far

The Niccone, so far

Finishing off the painting of the Niccone Valley was proving difficult  but then mother nature intervened with an art show of her own. I had an idea to continue the dark blue, purple sky from the previous painting. To echo the composition of Lorenzetti and the previous picture of the Morra Valley.

The approaching storm

Gathering Clouds

Gathering Clouds

Tonight the sky lit up. Orange, green, yellow, white, pale blue, sky blue, ultramarine and purple. The distant lighting and rumbles of thunder added to the occasion and painting in such a setting was magical. Painting though with a limited palette and poor paper leaves you searching for better techniques to record the moment. Enter the digital camera.


Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds

These are beautiful photos of the stormy sky at dusk. They are not meant to be classical photographic  studies of the sky at the day’s end but a recording of the event for further use. Close up a sky like this has a definite watercolour quality to it, with swirling patterns, bold shapes and bright exclamations of colour. Luckily the neighbours are used to my moments of artistic investigation and put it down to me being a foreigner, rather than insanity.

Using the colours

Storm Approaching

Storm Approaching

How to use them is the question as even a display like tonight still doesn’t resolve in my mind the best way to complete the sky. Probably purple and blue will do the trick, too much fussing may over complicate the background.  They are lovely studies though.

Early Morning Walks

Italian track

Morning Mist

Every morning, nice and early, I take to two dogs out for walk. Along the damp white road we stroll, shrouded in mist with a pale sun poking through the cloud. Past the crumbling farmhouse, the delapidated barn and the swirling ford. At present this is a torrent of muddy water, after the recent spell of rain.

Wood shed

Wood shed

Beneath the rusting, iron bridge, we turn and continue along the railway line.  Where you can just making out the rickety wood shed and then we are out amongst, the now empty tobacco fields and the knarled old grape vines.

grape vines

Ancient Vine

Late winter at this time of day is lovely. There’s normally a light mist and a slight bite to the chill morning air. It wakes you up nicely, focusing the mind and helping to set out the day ahead.

Italian train

Rural Grafitti

Occasionally the muted landscape is cut by the noise of a grafitti decorated, train, In the morning light it is loud, bright and brash against the subtle green of the Umbrian countryside. And just as suddenly as the clattering of the train arrives, it is gone, leaving a calm, tranquility for the three of us to walk.

Damp Tobacco

Damp Tobacco

All photographs are available to buy as greeting cards here