Painting at Peralta is always a joy, especially when the sky is blue and the sun shines on the terraces surrounded by lemon trees and Jasmine blossoms with a glistening turquoise sea in the distance. But on the first day we restrained ourselves and painted something a little less grand to get warmed up. The small, deeply set window in an old stone wall featured a wonderfully round clay pot on its sill - just the thing to try out those Burnt Sienna tones.
On Monday there was no holding back and we made an excursion to the nearby village of Torcigliano. Those of us who choose to walk, sent their painting equipment ahead with the others in the car and were able to enjoy a wonderful walk contouring along the mountainside through an enchanting forest and viewing staggering vistas across the valley to Peralta and the Mediterranean coastline. We were rewarded with the most delicious meal in Torcigliano's restaurant after a short painting session before lunch, which was continued afterwards in a slightly laid back fashion.
Another joy was our visit to the famous town of Pietrasanta. Well-known for it's marble quarry established by Michelangelo and to this day a magnet for contemporary sculptors from all over the world. The town square is of generous proportions with fantastic views for painting and cafes for cappuccino breaks. This outing was followed by an excursions to the medieval Lucca, where painting, sketching and shopping were optional, but sight seeing was a must.
The sunny weather gave way to some rain on our last two days. A great opportunity to do some portrait painting. We were lucky, our hostess Dinah Voison accommodated us in the stunning studio of the late Fiore Henriquez, left almost untouched since her death in 2004. It was an honour to be able to paint in a such a special space, surrounded by Fiore's sculptures. So came the wonderful week at Peralta to a creative conclusion.
I returned back home from Sicily to a very cold Britain last week and wished I could have turn back straight away.
This year there were two painting courses at the beautiful Fattoria Mose. And well, the weather was just brilliant in the first week with non-stop sunshine. Not as quite as much luck the following week - a bit more cloud and one rainy day. But we did enjoyed painting at all our painting locations at the Fattoria, the Valley of the Temples, the coast at San Leone and spent a day leisurely day visiting the town of Agrigento. In the second week we also discovered a new location for painting the sea with more cafes for ice creams or delicious lunches.
With the very best wishes for a sunny May, Bettina
"I came back from holiday, enthusiastic and inspired."
"Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into the holiday. It was a delight."
"I really enjoyed the week in very enjoyable company, and as usual your sense of humour (and style!) made it a memorable week with a strong fun element."
"Thanks for a great holiday Bettina. I really enjoyed it. A bit of Sicilian sparkle, after a long, cold winter!"
"It was a special holiday and such fun I will do my best to come along again next year to one of your trips."
"We had a lovely time at the Fattoria Mose and Chiara really makes you feel at home."
"I really enjoyed the painting and learned so much from you. I have made more attempts now I am home and have been putting some of your advice into practice."
"Thank you for a memorable holiday. I will hope to join you again as I really enjoyed the people I met and all the painting locations. Isn't the Fattoria an ideal place?"