We had a great weekend at Artisti al Monte. I set my artwork up on the loggia at Valerie’s house in the beautiful Umbrian countryside. There were lovely views of the Aggia Valley all around, down to Sansecondo and the Upper Tiber Valley and on up towards Gioiello and Monte Santa Maria Tiberina.
In total there were 29 artists dotted around the wonderful landscape where visitors could follow the trail to various sculptors, painters and craftspeople from the area. The largest collection was in Monte’s castle vaults but more could be found in the restaurants, guest houses and local studios.
I spent the weekend sketching on the airy loggia, chatting with our guests, while Valerie sat below making a ladybird mosaic and telling people all about the process. Everyone was really interested, especially the kids.
Fun for the kids
The committee had come up with the great idea of awarding a prize to the child who collected the most signatures. We had an endless stream of enthusiastic artist hunters coming through our doors. The serious side was to help raise funds for this little school to help with trips and equipment, it was fabulous to see the little ones joining in.
Successful art event
This is a wonderful way of bringing the community together and showing off the talents in the area. It proved to be a popular event with picnics arranged, family trips out and lots of people happily chatting in the spring sun. Now in it’s 5th year the Artisti al Monte continues to help the local school, show off its artists and bring people together. What more can you ask from a weekend?
Niccone Valley Castles – Watercolour and ink 38 cm x 58 cm (Sold)
The Niccone Valley watercolor painting features the Umbrian and Tuscan castles that have stared out at each other for centuries. This trip takes you past the bar at Sorbello and below its castle, then across the fields and over the border into Umbria, passed Reschio Castle and on up into the hills.
The area around the Castles and Altabella
Houses on the hill
The drive ends in the wooded clearing at the top of the hills where you come to the houses of Altabella, La Quercia with its monolithic sculpture and the villas of Pietra and Casa Piccolo with their beautiful views of the valley below.
The olive tree in the foreground is where Paul and Anne, who commissioned the painting, placed a plaque dedicated to Grace their dog.
The rays of the rising sun converge on the house at La Quercia, drawing the eye to where Paul and Anne spend their winters.
Colours of central Italy
The area is a luscious green, full of woodlands and trees, fields of sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards. Peeking out among the trees you can make out the occasional farm or villa in its distinctive yellow ocher or cream coloured walls.
I decided to paint the castles in the colours that represented their origins. Therefore, Sorbello’s Tuscan stone walls are in raw sienna and the Umbrian castle of Reschio is a rich burnt umber. The trees vary from a sap green foreground to a dark blue/green wooded background giving the painting a nice sense of depth. 🙂
Posted in landscape, Painting, Uncategorized
Tagged castle, green, Italia, Italy, landscape, sunrise, watercolor, watercolour, woods
Garden View from Montone – Watercolour and ink 53 cm x 31 cm
This wedding present features the Italian garden where the happy couple got married. It is next door to the ex-San Francesco Church in Montone. A beautiful location with lots of trees to shade the guests and a spectacular view behind.
Views from Montone
From this lofty position you can see across the Val Tiberina towards Trestina, Fabbrecce and the hill top monastery of Canoscio. In the distance is the little village of Lugnano and on the horizon the omnipresent Monte Santa Maria Tiberina.
Painting the landscape
The garden itself features three distinctive trees, two birch and a large palm tree. Between these is a bench. I liked this as a metaphor for married life, two becoming one and looking out on the bright new future with the sun raining down. Corny of course but I think it makes for a nice composition too.
If you’d like your special place captured in watercolour or think it would make a perfect wedding gift, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Castiglione del Lago
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.
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.
Posted in landscape, Painting, watercolour
Tagged art, castle, island, Italy, lake, landscape, monastery, original, painting, watercolor, watercolour
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.
Painting 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.
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? … 🙂
Posted in landscape, Painting
Tagged art, Citta di Castello, cityscape, clouds, ink, Italy, storm, sunshine, town, Umbria, watercolor, watercolour
ENEL Cover Monte Santa Maria Tiberina – Watercolour and ink 58 x 54cm (For Sale)
I was recently asked, by the Circolo di Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, to take part in a project to decorate the utility meter doors scattered throughout the ancient town. The remit said that it needed to fit the panel, be relevant to the medieval town and take into account the lock on the door.
Designing door covers
In total thirteen artists were asked to join the group and one Sunday a couple of weeks ago we all met up to choose our doors. Mine is the ENEL cover at the top of the stone stairs leading to the Palazzo and the main piazza.
Naturally I decided that I’d do a landscape of the area but I needed to disguise the black plastic door lock. I thought the best way to do this was to give the painting a harvest theme and hide the lock inside a strange, black, fantastical plant. Continuing the Fruita di Bosco the scene with a nectarine and more flowers in a vase, the meaning behind the books remains a mystery.
Urban art project
The access panel is quite large, some 58 x 54 cm and I felt that a landscape just plonked in the middle of the street would seem strange. So I included a terracotta tile window sill, on which the books, vase and nectarine stand, giving the impression you are looking through a window or archway.
View of Monte
The town is drawn from the same angle at which you look at the panel, so it has the effect of creating a world within a world. A fairground hall or mirrors, with infinite repeated views of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina stretching off into the distance.
The paintings will be printed onto film and the doors covered and hopefully remain in place for a couple of years. If you are interested in seeing them they will be ready for the town’s festa, which runs on the 8,9 and 10th October.
I hope to see you there. 🙂
Posted in landscape, Painting, Project
Tagged ENEL, Italy, landscape, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, painting, project, public art, streetart, Umbria, watercolor, watercolour
Orvieto – The wine of the Popes
Orvieto is a fabulous place, sitting on a volcanic plug jutting out of the earth. The angle featured here shows the sight from the northwest, up in the hills beyond the town walls where the views are spectacular.
Map of Orvieto
There are a number of towers, steeples and domes littering the skyline but the crowning glory has to be the marble striped cathedral, which dominates the horizon. With the Luca Signorelli frescoes inside this place is well worth a visit.
Although it’s the middle of summer now, we are experiencing some pretty spectacular stormy skies. So I decided that the painting should echo the weather of the day and have gone for a brilliant pink, purple and orange combination. You’ve never lived if you haven’t seen a colourblind person’s stormy sky, grey day indeed.
I thought it would be fun to really play around with the colours in the cliff face. At times, when shaded, it has a steely blue look but when the sun strikes it, there are all manner of reds, oranges and yellows. Then I decided to work my way around the colour wheel from one to the other, filling in the centre with some green trees.
The hills around Orvieto are populated with olive groves and vineyards, all contributing to the town’s famous pale, yellow wine and peppery oil, which was once favoured by Rome’s popes and princes.
Posted in landscape, Painting, watercolour
Tagged art, duomo, Italy, Orvieto, painting, Signorelli, Umbria, watercolor, watercolour, wine