Beautiful Tuscany – exciting painting, May sunshine and pools warm enough to swim in! This year I travelled to Peralta and Cotto within the same fortnight, thus saving me a trip back home to London in-between. The plan worked beautifully and allowed me to stay on for a couple of days to indulge in more painting, lounging by the pool and visiting my Italian friends.
The week at Peralta started with my painting demonstration of an old clay pot surrounded by lush greenery, a good subject for beginners and advanced alike. Later on we painted the intimate corners around the old mountain village of Torchigliano, with a rather sumptuous meal at the local restaurant. Apart from capturing the many stunning views around Peralta itself, we also had the chance to paint in the town square in sculpture adorned Pietrasanta, where the renaissance artist Michelangelo was the first to recognise the beauty of the nearby marble.
Much less grand but nevertheless a joy to paint was the fountain in the square of the Medici town Fivizzano, during the second week in Cotto. The impressive castle Veruccula not far from Cotto makes for an excellent days painting, especially when a leisurely lunch in the small Pizzeria at the foot of the castle walls breaks up the hard day's work. At other times we were busy capturing the vistas towards the Apuan Alps and around Cotto, with its massive church peering down from almost every corner. As in the previous week at Peralta we also visited the historic town of Lucca, famous not only for its double sided town walls (great for a stroll & to gaze from) and amphitheatre, but also for its cathedrals, café and restaurant culture and last but not least, shopping.
Both painting weeks finished with special last dinners and enjoyable viewings of everybody's work. We all agreed that that this year the beginners made remarkable progress. A most satisfactory way to finish a creative and pleasurable time in Tuscany.
With many creative wishes for the summer,
Dear Painters and Friends,
After a late arrival in Sicily the night before, we woke up to a brilliant blue sky, the smell of wild flowers and a glorious day of painting at the Fattoria Mose. As usual on the first day of the painting week, the task of choosing one of the many subjects is tricky. Should it be the rather elegant olive vessel in the shade of the palm trees, could the old tractor in the courtyard be an interesting object, or might not the ancient, gnarled olive trees surrounded by a sea of yellow blossoms be better? A leisurely walk around the gardens and old buildings followed by a painting demonstration soon sorted out any doubts and in the end everybody found a suitable corner and happily set to work.
The next day we ventured further to the coast near Agrigento, where we painted the rocky shoreline accompanied by the sound of lapping waves and a blue sky above. Some of us indulged in a delicious lunch at restaurants conveniently close by in favour of a packed lunch. Of course a proper Italian lunch means a bit more time away from your painting, but then again it's a holiday and the paintings did get finished after all.
Our second day at the Fattoria had the additional excitement of a Television crew filming our host Chiara Agnello and her sister Simonetta cooking special Sicilian meals on the terrace. This gave us an extra subject to paint and it was also interesting to watch the crew at work. Fortunately we were not expected to paint in front of the camera, which might have had a somewhat adverse effect on our paintings.
As the week neared its end, we spent a wonderful day painting at the ancient Greek temples, set on a hill between Agrigento and the sea, with gorgeous views peeping through the temple columns. We had seen the temples in the distance the previous day on our visit to the town of Agrigento, where you can get a glance of their massive structures through gaps of tall buildings. I always enjoy spending a day in the old part of town with its ornate baroque churches, narrow streets and pleasant squares.
We finished the course with a another day painting in the grounds of the Fattoria, cherishing every last moment. For the big finale we had a wonderful show of everybody's work, made the more pleasurable by a glass of wine or two. After a delicious dinner we all relaxed and spent the rest of the evening talking shop, reminiscing about the weeks achievements and making plans for future forays into the world of painting.
With best wishes for the summer painting season,