Tag Archives: project

Designing Assisi

Assis Sketch2

Assisi Sketch

Just how do you go about drawing a famous, 28,000 peopled town with a 3,000 year old history and a number of famous saints and landmarks?

Painting landscape

When drawing an iconic place it is important to identify the patterns, lines and shapes that make up the town. What is in the surrounding landscape and the natural forms that define it?

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Assisi bell towers

What are the key buildings that make up its skyline and how do people remember it? Where are its landmarks and stand out buildings? Once all that has been worked out it’s time to consider the colours and textures of the town. Once all these questions have been answered the town’s shape and essence will form.

 

Sights and shapes

It isn’t important to capture every window or roof tile but you need to draw its likeness. When someone looks over the

Assisi Sketch3

Rocca Maggiore, Assisi

final image, will they recognise it as Assisi or will it be just a confusing collection of buildings, set amongst an undecipherable landscape? If you’ve done your job properly the answer is no.

Defining Assisi

So what are Assisi’s defining characteristics?

It sits on the slopes of Mount Subasio, with it’s gentle curves and distinctive shape. The lower reaches are covered in lines of olive groves and vineyards. Trees also lend a sense of place to an area and the Umbrian countryside is full of Cyprus, Umberlla pine, oak and the occasional palm tree.

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Assisi’s gates

The saints of Assisi

The striking feature of Assisi has to be the Basilica of Saint Francis, rising majestically from the valley floor. It dominates the mountain and can be seen from miles away. The town is also famous for Saint Clare and Saint Rufino, who both have cathedrals here.

 

Bell towers and castles

Perched high above the city’s churches, houses and streets are the ruins of the 12th century castle, the Rocca Maggiore. Long abandoned but still a formidable sight.

Leading off from the defensive fortress are the

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St Francis’ Basilica

remains of the town walls with the eight main gateways. Unlike Spello, which is situated at the other end of Mount Subasio, Assisi’s gate designs are pretty unremarkable but they do add to the town’s overall splendour.

To create a true semblance of Assisi you need to accurately capture these features. Its varied bell towers, the clock tower, the Medieval buildings surrounded by greenery and curvy hillsides. And of course, you can’t ignore the domineering presence of Saint Francis.

 

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On Closed Doors – Monte Urban Art Project

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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

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ENEL panel

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.

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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. 🙂

 

 

The Journey to Sanctuary

Monte Corona Abbey

Badia Monte Corona

The latest landscape painting sounds like it could be  a board game or the next film in a vampire franchise. The reality is that it follows the trip I’d been taking throughout August up Monte Corona, south of Umbertide, where I was staying at Prato di Sotto during the summer months.

The directions are simple and this picture, guiding you, has the feel of an old treasure map seemingly detailing, albeit in a slightly distorted fashion, the landscape of an earlier time.

Medieval village

Borgo di Santa Giuliana

Once you cross the bridge, make sure you avoid the monastery and travel up and around the hill. Continue down the road until you reach the iron bridge and the little cabin. Turn left onto the white road.”

“Follow this rough, stone trail for 4Km, past the houses, the wood piles and over the little bridge until you reach the picturesque medieval village. Do not turn right at the farm and head into the valley but carry on up the hill until you reach the B&B. If you push on further up the hill, you’ll reach the sanctuary of the hermitage of San Salvatore on top of Monte Corona. ”  GAME END!

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Eremo Hermitage San Salvatore

The style still contains the elements taken from the Lorenzetti and Gozzoli frescoes but features more modern houses and bridges. The trees are purely influenced by these early Renaissance artists and copies that exploratory feel that their work possesses.

Drawing Monte Corona

Monte Corona Skecthes

Once again I’m planning on having a dramatic sky, all oranges, pinks and purples but we’ll see how that turns out. At the moment I’m just struggling with how to paint a page full of trees and foliage.  Let’s wait to find out how it ends up shall we?