Sunday, October 27, 2019

6 Aches, 7 Columns, 8 Clay planters

A good start, day 1
One of my larger paintings in Italy is also the most ambitious. I drew it several times from the lawn before finally choosing to use oil paints on portrait linen taped onto a birch panel. The perspective must be exactly right as well as the arches, interior windows and columns. It was planned to be painted in the morning but the shade disappeared as the sun rose higher so I returned after three o'clock and shade had returned. Three afternoons later, I felt I had it finished. 

I was privileged to have an elegant daily breakfast here which inspired this painting of the lovely Tuscan restaurant, MeoModo.. I was able to observe early preparation of service for late dinners that were served at 8:00. Chargers were polished, tablecloths ironed on the table, silver laid precisely and fresh flowers placed. At the same time, waiters scurried to deliver room service and drinks to guests on huge trays, covered with elaborate basket lids. As the afternoon faded, chandeliers and dozens of white candles were lit, wall sconces burned and Meo Modo turned into a glittering dreamland.
Paint in Tuscany, schifano
Have Breakfast Here, Meo Modo, 18x24” oil on linen

Crazy color geraniums

Flowering plants and lovely trees are on every lane and in every garden, delighting the senses. Giant Lavender hedges line the paths and the fragrance will forever remind me of Borgo Santo Pietro.  Every window with an outside sill had a window box like this, the stunning deep red violet geraniums enjoying the Tuscan sun. Several people commented that they loved the unique color of the geraniums here. Towering tall cypress trees framed this window, and the ever present lavender peeked from the foundation. 

Welcome, 22x16 pastel

Not able to rotate the photo but this is a sample window.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The 13th century In Plein Air pastel

Invited to paint for a month at this lovely estate, farm and restful location, my studio there provided a space to work and think. I was constantly aware that the history of Italy is evident millenniums after buildings and cities were established. Ancient aqueducts remain all through Europe, and the towns and cities I visited were walled against takeover by neighboring cities, the church and warring states. One of the buildings was nearly intact on the Borgo estate and was transformed from a 13th century bakery to a residence for guests. The giant cook oven was transformed into a large fireplace. 

Intrigued by the chimney, this pastel painting shows the building as it exists today. Another part of the ancient monastery and way place for pilgrims was a one story building, broken up into various living spaces. It was salvaged and rebuilt to be utilized as the main entrance, as well as the wine cellar, restaurant and guest rooms.

The Old Bakery, 16x20 pastel, c. 2019

Work in Progress on location

Plein Air in Tuscany.

Step by step, I completed this oil painting sitting in the shade of olive trees while guests arrived and departed through this main entrance to Borgo Santo Pietro. Sitting in the shade at a tea table in the atrium garden and painting is high on my list of favorite places in Italy.

Welcome to Borgo
The final painting captures the warm welcome you will receive upon arrival, the comfort you can expect and the light of the Mediterranean sun. 

Welcome to Borgo, oil on linen 24x16 c. 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019

An Abundance of Vegetables

Residing and painting for a month in the midst of a self sufficient organic farm there were many different flowers, plants and especially vegetables growing. Acres of farmland provided all the food for guests as well as animals, such as llamas, chickens for their eggs, cows for milk and cheeses, and bees for the farm and their honey.

A lovely stone bowl was on my outdoor patio table. It held two yellow apples and would make a lovely still life to paint indoors if it rained. I asked a gardener if I could have a few fresh vegetables for my little bowl. I returned from lunch to find this huge selection of perfect specimens, artfully arranged with accents of yellow dill and straw. It was huge and weighed 15-20 pounds. I made use of the contents for the rest of the month, painting some, eating others and experimenting with drying peppers. Definitely the most delicious painting. Later in the month I painted the stone bowl with some assorted peppers.

painted still life, brown background
Watercolor plan for a large painting 6x8

mixed food, pastel still life

Organic Vegetables, of Course. 18x24 pastel c.2019

Morning on Lake Ontario

August along the Great Lakes is close to heaven. An NFPAP paintout, hosted by Laurene, brought the painters right to the edge of Lake Ontario. I chose a comfortable seat on the deck with a lake view obstructed by glorious pots of flowers. A sailboat emerged from Youngstown and the Niagara River to complete my painting. This was one of those great summer memory making days.

On Claudia’s Lake Patio, 12x9, oil on canvas panel

A Still Life That Needed a Little More

Fresh flowers are abundant on the Tuscany estate and peach and pink multiflora roses surround the Art House. Rose of Sharon in the back appear to be a wall of violet and herbs are grown as shrubs and landscape plants along the paths. My bouquet needed a little support, I added short dense branches to make it stand. They were a soft blue green and scented like sage. Not looking, I titled the flowers with the color name of sage in the title.  It took a day or two before I realized that the plant I had clipped was rosemary, and so the title was changed.

"Put Some Rosemary in it" 24x18 pastel on paper

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Exploring Meo Modo

An exclusive estate has to have amazing foods, and this did. Everything was organic and delicious. The morning views were spectacular as Mist rose from the mountains and farmland. I explored the shapes and moods of Borgo Santo Pietro with pencil and pen, deciding what to paint and how to place it on the surface. I frequently draw scenes to become more familiar and that helps my final painting.
The second photo became my plan for a large painting.

Kath in Italy, paint planning, Schifano
Have breakfast here. 5x7

Farm fields, classic urn