Tag Archives: Citta di Castello

Painting the Dark Alleyways of Castello

neal_winfield_central_citta_di_castello

The Dark Alleyways – watercolour and ink, 31 cm x 50

The latest painting is of the back streets of Citta di Castello. The brief included a particular doorway, which is down a narrow alleyway, plus three piazzas.

dscn6344Painting the alleyways

The scene needed to take into account the rear of the cathedral, the town’s famous round bell tower, along with three other structures that make up Castello’s memorable skyline.

The tight cobbled streets and strange irregular plan do not give you much room to work with. This area is also quite tall in some respects with high towers, the mass of the cathedral building and the impressive apartment blocks next door. So all in all I think the result is quite pleasing.

storm-009

Stormy purple sky

Colour blind sky

As autumn closes in the weather has turned a little. Gone are the endless blue skies, sun streaked days with scorching afternoons. Instead we’ve been experiencing the odd dramatic thunder storm.

So I decided to answer the question all colour literate people ask. “What colour is the stormy sky in your world?” Well here you have it.  Tell me, who’d swap all of this for a boring, old grey sky? …  🙂

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The Stranger Shows

DSCN1165The visione di uno straniero mostra, (The Foreigner’s Viewpoint Exhibition) was held between the 9th and 24th January 2016, in Citta di Castello, Umbria. It proved to be a great success with a number of works selling, works commissioned and a good quantity of art prints sold.

Show in the snow

What was so very heartening was the sheer number of people who, on a chilly, snowy winter’s evening, made the effort to go out into the town centre. It was estimated that around 80 people come to the cosy surroundings of the ARTe Gallery to eat, drink and amiably talk.

DSCN1158During the week, several events were also arranged to encourage visitors to the show. These included a poetry reading by psychiatrists Tina Lepri and Helen Schick, with a lovely piano arrangement by Alison le Porta. Again there was a good turn out and those who came along had an entertaining evening.

Afternoon tea

Sunday, 17th January, myself and Mrs W hosted an afternoon tea gathering where we explained the history, culture and quirks of tea drinking in Britain. I was rightly assured that Italians are very interested in this strange British behaviour. It ended up as an apt event for a tea room, in which ARTe is established.

DSCN1193My initial skepticism was ill founded as around 30 people came in from the cold to hear me wax lyrical about Britain’s favourite herb and how it came to be so popular. Mrs W had also baked a range of traditional cakes and biscuits beloved by tea drinkers all over the U.K.

Lessons learnt

What I discovered from the exhibiting at ARTe, was that it’s a good idea to arrange other events to coincide with the show. This enables you to get more people through the door, gives additional reasons for promoting the art show and creates further conversations around the art work.

DSCN1202A simple selection of nibbles is guaranteed to bring the public in and something to entertain will keep the interest going. While you hope to sell the paintings, having small reproductions is also a good idea, as not everyone can afford the real thing but would like a memento of your work.

Grazie tutti

I would like to thank to all those who attended the event and especially, Daniela and Nicoletta from ARTe, Roberta from Lingua Piu, as well as Tina, Helen and Alison for their contributions, and Suzanne (Mrs W) for her unwavering support and enthusiasm.

 

Mapping the Town – Painting Castello’s centre

neal-winfield-centro-storico

Castello’s Centro Storico Watercolour & ink, 45 x 25 cm (For Sale)

As the exhibition date draws ever nearer I decided I had time for one last painting. However, what painting would complete the show?

In the end I decided that a street scene around the gallery would be an interesting idea.

Old maps

Jpeg

Old map

I love the way old map makers, in the 15th century, fitted the streets and buildings into town plans, so I used an image of old Citta di Castello as inspiration.

The gallery is off the main thoroughfare and down a little side street that luckily links some of the town’s landmarks. It can easily be reached from the Duomo, the Civic tower and the Podesta, Castello’s old town hall.

Via Apollinare and Via del Popolo are normal Italian streets, lined with small, old churches and restaurants. The entrance to the market and a collection of shops can also be found here. Narrow, cobbled and brightly coloured, it’s similar to a thousand others all over the country but this one has the Tea Shop Gallery where the works will be on display.

Steamy sky

Citta di Castello street

Via del Popolo

The sky went through a number of permutations, fluffy, feathery and speckled, before finally settling on an abstract blue/purple swirl.

As the show is in a tearoom the idea was to create a sky that had the feeling of a boiling kettle or a steaming hot cup of tea. It was initially a pale blue but the tower was lost against it, so I tried a bolder approach.

No greenage

Another difference is the total lack of green. Just for a change I made a conscious decision to leave out any green in this painting. Umbria is known as the green heart of Italy and my paintings are normally full of verdant tones.

If you are in the area between the 9th and 17th January (2016) it will be great to see you. Why not call in for a cuppa? Ciao Neal!

Show can be seen  at:-

ARTe, Sala di Te, Via della Apollinare, Citta di Castello.

Painting the Walls of Citta di Castello

I’ve tackled Citta di Castello’s walls on a couple of occasions but this time I fancied painting a long section of the ancient defences. Previously, the works concentrated on the area around the Duomo but with the encouragement of Pamella, I decided to depict the whole of the west wall.

15th Century German Woodcut

15th Century German Woodcut

German woodcuts of the 15th century have always appealed to me, I love the way they big up the height and importance of their fortresses as if to deter invasion through art. So I thought Castello’s walI should be formidable and prominent in the picture.

Buildings everywhere

This poses a couple of problems, firstly there are a number of buildings opposite the wall, secondly there are lots of trees obscuring the view. So the way around it is to use the Medieval process of painting unimportant things to a smaller scale, therefore the buildings are tiny in comparison.

City Wall

City Wall

The trees likewise needed trimming, as there are great clusters of cropped firs, a stand of palm trees, some shaped garden trees and a lot of empty deciduous trunks.  The best way to take on the trees was to paint one of each group and make them fit around the wall, either painting them taller and thinner or drawing them small and squat. Problem solved.

Google Earth – Useless

Citta di Castello

Town Wall sketch

Next comes the structures behind the wall. With all this foliage, stones and concrete it’s impossible to see what it looks like over the edge. Even driving up into the hills a mile away proved ineffectual. Google Earth was no use as the Google car stupidly decided to drive out on a foggy day when nothing was visible.

The solution to this one was a stroll around the streets drawing the buildings from ground level and imagining them from another view point. I was also lucky to be teaching at the Unicredit Bank, where I discovered they have a marvellous reproduction of a sixteenth century map of Castello. This gave me additional ideas for the buildings around the wall.

Umbrian background

Castello Duomo

Duomo Drawing

The background always sets the theme with the sky providing the drama. Citta di Castello should never be without the beautiful Belvedere Monastery nestled in its wooded slopes. I plan on having the Apennine Mountains on the horizon and some farms, villas and maybe the Cyprus filled cemetery on the edge of town.

As spring is in the air I think a nice blue sky with a blazing sun and the odd fluffy white cloud scattered about. This should set the tone for future paintings as we leave the leaden skies of winter behind. It will mean that there is less distraction from the busy streets of Castello below. Hey, let’s see how it turns out.

Castello wall

Panorama of CdiC Wall