Thursday, 29 October 2015

Saying goodbye to Le Pianore

This image is a painting of the main buildings of Le pioneer. It's not quite done, and I will have to re-photo the finished product, and re-insert it at another date. I did this as a demo for my students, choosing a medium call, sienna colour. This supports the stone of the building nicely, and see it more prominently in the sky. This was a good example of how to simplify your images, yet still be able to make a pleasing composition.

This is Elena Basile, our host at Le Pianore. Doesn't she look the epitome of classy Italian women? That she was. We so enjoyed her very good English in an endearing Italian accent. She has great historic knowledge of the area, as well as appreciation for culture and great stories to tell. Thank you so much Elena for your wonderful hospitality.

Sorry fell Canadiana, but we enjoyed sunny warm temps for ten days in a row at Le Pianore. Here we are enjoying lunch outdoors amidst fabulous mountain vistas, chirping birds, and the odd wild boar.

This is the view from our mountain top home, overlooking many, many Olive groves, a vineyard and many many Cypress Trees.

This bend in the road, accentuated by Cypress trees and their shadows provided some strong compositional elements for painting.

The sun is about to set on the hilltop across the way from us. This was out view every morning. The crest of a mountaintop that you see at the right upper corner is the volcano that we drove to to watch the sunrise (if you have been following that on Facebook- I have many photos of it there)

Our last event on our last evening at Le Pianore was our art Show, but I think I will do a separate blog post just about that. So much to write about!

After 10 glorious days of getting to know this area and painting here,we must say goodbye to Le Pianore, Elena, her daughter Enrica, and son Phillipe. Thank you all so much for making us so welcome in your home!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Day in Sunny Sienna

After painting on a street that tourists thought was a great view and blocked me from painting,...I found a quiet street where I could paint in peace. Note the weird shadow on the right side of the building, created by the buildings on the left. 

The famous medieval Duomo de Sienna, built 1262

Continuation of the massive cathedral, just at the back of the square, Piazza del Campo 

The crew, enjoying the sun and warmth in a cafe lined square.

Narrow streets, angled roofs galore, a harmony of cool and warm. 

You can tell the teach is not present. Art students goofing off in downtown sunny Sienna.

Stately architecture, typical homes, and one Cypress!

I think Tania Capuletti has a thing for inanimate objects with faces (?)......Our day in Sienna started with a 2 hour tour. Instead, I got to painting, and got two paintings done. My students enjoyed the tour, talking about the famous historic horse race in Sienna, eating Gelato, enjoying espresso, and taking in the atmosphere of this city. Could have spent a few more days there, at the very least. 

Future blog topics will be sunrise on top of a volcano,....and talking about our wonderful hosts at Le Pianore.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Daniel Spoerri sculpture park, pastel plein air

The Daniel Spoerri sculpture park, is off the beaten track, but fairly close to the organic farm where we are staying. We started our day off here, and it was very different, amazing really. Daniel Spoerri is a well known sculpter in his own right, very well known in his native Germany. Many of the sculptures here are made by Daniel, but he has commissioned over 100 sculptures, all installed in a rural and very natural setting. Many are macawb, disturbing,..but all are interesting. 

This was titled the kiss

 These heads, one for each sign of the zodiac

Acrobatic Frogs, have to cross a field before they all become clear

a sound installation, can be heard very far away when my students are running through them.

throw back style of the 60's

Believe it or not, this is a pastel of a sculpture.The tea cup is about 6' across. I liked the reds/rusts of fall set behind the beautiful tones of green/aqua of the cup. We were on schedule, so I had about one hour to set this up and do it. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Tuscan vineyard: Literally Touring, tasting and painting

On our second day in Tuscany, we were treated to a tour of a local vineyard owned and operated by the Basile family. Jean Battista Basiles' knowledge of winemaking, and ability to articulate his art in such an informative manner made our afternoon there very educational. Especially the part where we actually tasted the vino. 

A typical view of the area, where farmers are re-sowing fields in the foreground, more mountainous geometry beyond. 

Jean Battista explaining his process, types of wine he makes, and all the rules in winemaking in Italy!! Huge casks, metal and Oak, to store the wine for fermentation. This vineyard produces 35,000 bottles a year. 

Another view of our gorgeous scenery, huge vistas everywhere you go just beyond the vineyard!

After the tour was done, we had some time to make artwork. Get out those pastels!

There's Janet getting to work,........

Here's most of our gang out for a good time! After artwork, we were treated to samples of all the wines made here. Very nice, and many purchased!
Next: Daniel Spoerri sculpture Garden. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Our first day, a quiet day (?!) at Le Pianore

We made it,we all met in Rome, had breakfast and off to Tuscany, in 2 vans and a car. It took us about a half hour to leave Rome behind and started immediately seeing interesting and varied countryside. Another 2 hours later, we were landing at Le Pianore, our home in Tuscany for the next 10 days. It's always exciting, that first glimpse of where you will be. Nothing could have prepared us for the absolutely spectacular scenery in every direction from here.
Of course we're quite busy just being together, taking eh place in, the Canadian federal election, and many things about Tuscany, food, our hosts, much to talk about! But I will start,..with ART.

                                          Our first full day in Tuscany started with some review of basic lessons for plein air, but also talking about planning for this plein air trip, working in series, building up a body of work, hoot stay motivated (always a big part of my classes). Once we had our first lessons in hand, we were straight out scouting out varied subject matter to paint. I noticed this building on our drive up to Le pioneer. It's perfect for a first day attempt at a building. After a couple of demos, everyone settled down to draw this building in at lest two different perspectives. What was great about it, is that other than the tree, there was nothing else near it, thereby negating the urger to add detail! 

 Same building, more dynamic and different viewpoint. The first on was looking up to the building. I like the shadow under the eave, and will accentuate that. Notice the width of one wall to the other, Quite different, on this eye level view.

 Here we are looking down on the same building. You don't have to move very much o get a different viewpoint. 

 Some of my students, starting off right away, getting handle on perspective and buildings. 

 Too busy with drawing and composition, my students were busy, But not so busy that they didn't turn to their heads just a bit, to see this breathtaking scene. BTW, this type os scene, EVERYWHERE. You never get tired of this breathtaking scenery. Fabulous! 

 After our perspective lesson, we scouted out several nearby spots for possible painting. I like the shadows to anchor my composition. 3 pm. seems to do it just perfect here. Lots of sun and nice temps. No complaining going on here!

 The local church. I love drawing these towers with their complexity of light, shadow,a nd the form of the tower. 

 Mother nature, giving us lavish gifts. Thank you. Grateful.

A brain that is wired up for patterns in landscape. This is definitely a painting. Maybe in the next 2 or three days. Our days are packed!!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Just Rome-ing around

Starting my next art trip, being picked up by Michael Austin in style. We zoomed out the of Rome Airport, and buzzed into town care free. 
 This car remind me of a friends car from High School- A Bricklyn. Don't even know if I'm spelling it right. The doors opened like the wings of a Teradactyl. Man, I am tired and laughing at the way I just spelt Teradactyl. You know what I mean.
And here is sweet Mike. Just a great, easy going fun loving guy. I've known Mike since he was born. Though born in Canada, he moved to Rome at the age of 13, and I haven't seen him for 14 years! So we gabbed our heads off and had a stimulating but too short of a visit. Thank YOU Mike!
Silvana, you should be proud of what a nice guy you eldest is!!!
Next on the agenda,...a few of my crowd were seeing the sites in downtown Rome today,.. 


                                                                      Trevi Fountain

The Pyramid,...the tomb of Cestius, built 18-12 B.C. He actually built two pyramids, but one was destroyed by the Catholic Church at some point, and only one remains. He's still is the tomb, where his remains, remaining,...

This was a weird sculpture just outside of the Ostiense train station, just on my way to current hotel, with my group. The mirrored surface behind each figure must be significant, but I didn't see any explanations, each his own,....
In the cosy kitchen with my outstanding airbnb host, Sergio. Turns out, he is a comedic actor of sorts,  and works for an acrobatic tour group! So Solange!! Attention! Master classes available!! Sergio was a warm and wonderful host, We talked non-stop. I find when I meet other creatives, it's often like that. Sergio is originally from Sicily, and he is enticing me to start dreaming again, before I've even begun this trip!
If anyone out there wants to go to Rome, please contact me for surges co-ordinates, as he is a great host!
Rome is one classy City. Last night I climbed a street near Sergios, and had an outstanding view of the city from there. But what I'll take away, is the breeze, the incredible tall and manicured trees, the dusk, the priests walking in their long robes, and a general feel of timelessness. 
We are Alive!
We are all in at the Hotel now, and tomorrow, we take off on the incredible journey of Rome to Grosseto, in the centre of Tuscano, so stay tuned for more intrigue............Ciao! M

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Chirripo Mountains: Weather, Water, and Mountains

           Our next stop is the Chirripo Mountains of central Costa Rica. This is where the temperatures are lovely and cool (like a late summer night for Canadians) in the morning and evenings, but get hot during the middle of the day. I don't tolerate extreme heat well. If you situate yourself in the shade to paint during the mid-day, and get moving at the beginning and end go the day, I find you can easily avoid the worst heat, and quite enjoy the climate. The air in Costa Rica makes your skin feel wonderful. Full of moisture, but not clammy humid like Canadian summers.
           One of the things that draws me to Costa Rica is my love of nature, it's randomness, and the wildness of the central Chirp area. There's so much to talk about, for this post, I'll narrow it down to water and Mountains. Growing up in Ontario, where it's relatively flat, I find mountains enthralling, especially here where it seems untouched by pollution or modern day anything. Yes, there are cars and houses, but Nature seems to have a prevailing presence.
           Last year I spent a month in this area before my class began, so have a feel for the area. The Mountains are breathtaking. My house was situated between a large waterfall and a small waterfall. It never stopped rushing by, 24 hours a day, heavy stream. Where does all this water come from? Every morning, the light would come across the top of the mountains around 8 am., making the temps go up about 10 degrees in just a few minutes. In the afternoon, clouds move in from the ocean, and often fill the sky and move up the side of the mountain range, cutting off views in a beautiful foggy misty way. Canada isn't the only place that identifies with Weather, Water and Mountains.
One morning I got up very early and hiked to an amazing lookout for the sunrise. It's very close to where we'll be this year, within walking distance of our resort!


I walked from first light, to this spot,...

taking many similar photos the fog burning off as the light come on.

Seeing layer upon layer of mountain, layer upon layer light and fog.

Morning light coming in over the tops of the Chirripo Mountains. Gorgeous scenery! Definitely worth the early start to the day.
But there is so much more in Chirripo,.....

There are so many waterfalls here. Small charming ones, and large ones too. Fast flowing water and huge, huge rocks, sculpted by years of water erosion. Like sculptures in water. Standing in one of these after a hike is very refreshing. 

 Waterfalls: tops and bottoms, rivers, lakes, and oceans,...


                                                                   spectacular rocks

dramatic and beautiful.
This is a spectacular place for photographers and painters alike. Something around every corner to turn into your interpretation.