Tag Archives: island

Watercolor on the Lake – Isola Polvese



Isola Polvese – watercolor and ink, 52 cm x 21 cm (Sold)

Here’s the finished watercolor of the third island on Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italy. The picture captures the lusciousness of the place, covered in oak woodlands and olive groves. Dotted around the island are a collection of buildings,a cafe bar by the dock, a ruined castle and an abandoned monastery. The island also has its own oil press where they produce their olive oil.

Tuscan umbria castle towns

Castiglione del Lago 

Travel painting

As it’s perpetually shaded, even on a hot day, it’s a cool place to walk around. The island is now an unspoilt nature reserve with thousands of birds flocking to its shores each year to take advantage of the lovely natural habitat.

Lago Trasimeno, Umbria

Isola Maggiore

Island joy

The painting is part of a threesome, with the Isola Maggiore and a study of the town of Castiglione del Lago completing the set. Lined up together you get an idea of the large expanse of water that makes up Lake Trasimeno and the wooded hills that surround it. However, most of all, you can feel the tranquility of the water as it laps along the shoreline and the serenity that can be found all over the islands.


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 🙂

Watercolour of the Castle on the Lake – Castiglione del Lago

Tuscan umbria castle towns

Castiglione del Lago – Lake Trasimeno
Watercolour and ink, 35 cm x 21 cm (For Sale)

The study of Castiglione del Lago is part of a series which includes the Isole Maggiore watercolour painting. The idea is to eventually have a large painting featuring both of these sites and some others around the lake.

Lake Trasimeno is Umbria’s largest body of water and due to the provinces lack of coastline, it has been a constant provider of fish for local people for centuries. And Castiglione del Lago has  been a sentinel on the lake for an equally a long time.

The unique feature about the town, which was once on an island, is the pentagonal castle that sits at the head of the promontory. And while its slopes are now filled with olive groves, there would once have been a clear view down to the waters edge.  On the right-hand side is the Church of Maddalena, the town’s patron saint and halfway along the south-western part of the town wall is the elaborate Ducal Palace.

I love the sheer number of trees that cloak the town. Leafy boulevards flank the two sides, Three large palm trees stand outside it’s main entrance and a massive oak tree sits in the middle of the castle grounds. It is a well shaded and cool place to sit, even at the height of summer.

Now all we need to do it link the town, with the three islands and the rest of the mainland to complete the painting. No small task.

Watercolour Painting on the Lake – Isole Maggiore

Lago Trasimeno, Umbria

Isole Maggiore – Lake Trasimeno
Watercolour and ink 35 cm x 21 cm (For Sale)

I’m now working on  a series of paintings around Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, the largest body of water on the peninsula and it’s very own little piece of sandy heaven.

Visiting the Isole Maggiore

Isole Maggiore

Map of the island

The Isole Maggiore, the middle-sized of the three islands, was once heavily populated and a fishing and lace making centre for the area. In it’s heyday there were over 1,200 inhabitants, now though, there are about 16 people who live there permanently.

It is a fascinating place to visit with several restaurants and bars, a museum to the fishing and lace industries that once flourished and the Captain’s House, that tells the story of this fascinating island. You can follow the trails around the islands and visit the cave where St Francis spent some time, there are the ruins of the old mills, and a derelict castle too. Although at the time of writing, this is under repair and inaccessible.

Around Lake Tresimeno

The smallest island, Isole Minore, is privately owned and not open to visitors but the largest, Polvese, is a nature sanctuary. Here you’ll find a couple of old churches, a medieval castle and the remains of a monastery. This is an island on which you can relax, walk around and enjoy the Umbrian countryside and its nature.

Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago

The area as a whole is full of interesting places to stop off at. The gorgeous town of Castiglione del Lago, the well presented glass museum at Piegaro and the Fishing Museum at San Feliciano provide plenty to see. For a real sense of the history around Lago Trasimeno then the informative Etruscan Museum at Chiusi is worth a visit.

Next up I think the fortifications and churches of Castiglione del Lago.