Thursday, January 26, 2012
I set my borrowed chair among the rows of grapevines to paint this one. I could see how carefully the plants were tended; each one was neatly tied to a stick to keep it upright, and skillfully pruned, presumably by someone who was taught by his grandfather.
As I sketched, I could hear the staff setting up for our dinner under those trees, as the late afternoon sun bathed everything in a beautiful golden pink light. Painting a beautiful scene while someone else cooks my dinner--heaven!
Friday, January 20, 2012
So this is Il Duomo, the centerpiece of Florence, up close. Really, it's up too close; I couldn't get a view of the church and the dome together because the structure is so close to the neighboring buildings. For me, this painting captures the experience of walking in the narrow cobblestone streets of Florence, turning to look down a cross street and seeing this architectural masterpiece so near.
The dome is such a distinctive shape; it was a challenge to get it right, and to get the feel of sunlight and shadow on the buildings. Those Italian flags were really there, too. (OK, I did add one: gotta have an odd number!)
Friday, January 13, 2012
This is a view of one of my favorite sights in Florence, from my favorite place in Florence. The Piazzale Michelangelo is a taxi ride from the center of town, up winding streets lined with green trees and beautiful homes, that ends at a broad plazza on the hillside. I love the spectacular view looking across the Arno river towards the mountains in the distance. You can see the Boboli gardens of the Pitti palace, the Ponte Vechio and of course the star of Florence, Il Duomo, and its beautiful dome by Brunelleschi.
For me, this is definitely a pinch me moment. I just want to bottle this view and take it with me. Creating a painting is the next best thing.
Where is your favorite place in Florence?
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Tuscany! We drove from Venice through lush countryside to a small farm outside of Florence. This type of farm is called an agriturismo, which means they also run a B&B for tourists. The extra income allows them to continue their rural way of life. It's also wonderful for tourists who stay there because they can experience the countryside in an intimate way. At an agriturismo visitors get to meet locals who are passionate about farming and the products they create, which at this farm was a delicious olive oil.
This is the main building, a sturdy Tuscan style villa set on the rolling hillside, surrounded by vineyards. We stayed in a nearby cottage, and I woke to see mist covering the rows of olive trees with blue mountains in the distance.