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?
Monte Santa Maria Tiberina 54 x 56 cm
Monte Santa Maria Tiberina (MSMT) will be hosting the 5th Annual Artisti al Monte event on the 13th and 14th of May, 2017. Neal will be taking part this year and will be based at Valerie Zanotto’s house in Pompeo. The turning for this is just past the village of Croce di Castiglione on the road to MSMT.
In total there will be 29 artists, sculptors and crafts people displaying their talents around the area. There are workshops and studios that are open to the public, there is also an exhibition in the Castello Bourbon in Monte Santa Maria Tiberina itself.
Not only are they increasing the awareness of the skills this part of Umbria has on offer, the event also raises money for the local school. This allows the children to take part in lots of cultural and social experiences.
If you’re in the area it would be nice to see you.
Map of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina area – UmbriArt will be at #2 Pompeo
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
I’m working on a painting of Orvieto in the southern part of Umbria. This ancient town stands on top of a tuff outcrop, which are the remains of a long extinct volcano. This already dramatic sight is made all the more so by the magnificent duomo that proudly highlights the town.
They started erecting the cathedral in 1290 and it features frescoes by Fra Angelica and Luca Signorelli‘s masterpiece, “The Last Judgement”, painted around 1449.
For this Signorelli was paid 800 ducats, lodgings and two measures of wine each month. Now I like that idea, especially as Orvieto is famous for its pale yellow wine, favoured by popes and princes alike.
The soft tuffa rock beneath Orvieto, makes tunnelling easy and along with a 65 metre well there are numerous caverns, rooms and secret passage ways. These are also prone to collapsing and from time to time there are the odd landslides . Lets hope the erosion doesn’t cause the same fate as nearby Civita di Bagnoregio, which these days is all but abandoned.
The painting shows off the town’s sheer cliff face with its ramps and walls with the sprawling collection of woodland, olive groves and of course vineyards around the base. We’ve had a couple of days of impressive, stormy weather recently, so the sky will most likely reflect this. Lots of orange, yellow and pinks with rays of light piercing the scene.
Torgiano – Watercolour and ink, 45cm x 27cm (For Sale)
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to exhibit at the ArtinPiazza show in Collazzone. The Torgiano painting was meant to be a part of the body of work I took along but time conspired against me and I didn’t get it finished in time.
Oh well! it’s ready now. Torgiano is a beautiful little town, perched high up on a hill and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The area is famous for its DOC wine and delicious oil and there are museums dedicated to both in the centro storico.
The beautiful little town is pictured from the valley below with its vineyards in the foreground. As f Simone Martini’s work can be seen, just up the road in the Basillica San Francesco in Assisi, the two large trees are stylised representations of his work.
The two iconic points of the village are its thirteenth century, Torre di Guardia and the Church of St Bartholomew. The luscious, countryside is typically Umbrian with swathes of trees all around, distant villages and towns on the nearby hills. It is also not far from Deruta, famous for Majolica pottery.