Tag Archives: monastery

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.



The Idea Behind Painting La Verna – Part One

Stigmata St Francis

Ghirlandaio’s La Verna 1483 – 1485

The idea for the La Verna painting came after realising how close it was to where I live and a quick visit there one Sunday afternoon. I’ve always loved the idea of painting St Francis’ sanctuary at La Verna ever since I saw Ghirlandiao’s interpretation at art college, many years ago.

The rocky outcrop lends itself perfectly to the current series of pictures I am working on so I decided to give the image my own spin. The references for this were Ghirlandaio’s format as the starting point and Gozzoli’s style for drawing the cliffs and distinctive trees and bushes.

Medici Parade

Gozzoli’s Procession Magi Chapel 1459 – 1461

Gozzoli’s cliffs look like great wooden blocks with chunks chiseled out of them. This gives the painting a real sculptural quality. His trees and vegetation also have a monumental quality to them.

These tall, straight trunked trees covering the slopes of the mountain were favoured by the Genoan ship builders who prized them for masts. Their size and height were perfect and today you can still see why they travelled so far to acquire these pieces of wood.

St Francesco hermitage

St Francis’ sanctuary at La Verna

The surrounding hillside is now a dedicated park and visitors can walk around the site, visiting the hermitage and the summit of the mountain appreciating natures beauty. Weaving your way through the trees, you get the feeling that St Francis is still out there watching and enjoying the tranquility of the woods.

Follow Part Two – The Idea Behind Painting La Verna, the design.

Fabbrecce – The Village beneath the Monastery


Umbrian village

Fabbrecce and Canoscio
Watercolour and ink
22cm x 33cm (Sold)

The little village of Fabbrecce sits below Sanctuario Canoscio, a lovely hill top monastery with commanding views of the Tiber Valley. A great way to reach it is to park your car in the village and follow the “Monks Walk” through the woods. The root is dotted with little shrines along the way and has lots of benches where you can take a break or have a picnic.

LongViewAlong with the church you can see the massive, day-glow blue crucifix, which, at night,  stands out for miles around. There is also a grotto and holy spring, here locals regularly go to collect bottles of refreshing water and light a candle.

The painting is a watercolour and ink picture, measuring 22cm x 33cm on heavy duty paper.

If you would like to buy an art poster of this  painting please click here.