Sunday, June 24, 2012

Painting On Site In Umbria

  I think it must be every artist's dream to be able to have the opportunity to paint in Italy. I find the light and landscape so inspiring around our favorite areas in Umbria. 
  Having the time to explore the region, to look for different possibilities for small paintings, is half the fun. Some days the weather doesn't cooperate, but I can still find a few hours in the day to set up my easel and give it a try. I have painted in all sorts of weather, but I must admit, a nice day in Umbria is hard to beat, especially in early Spring.
  When I paint in town, or any populated area, I try to find some place to set up that is tucked away, out of the frey. I would rather not have people watch, or come by to ask questions. They always do, and that's fine, but mostly I try to hide away in a corner. For me, painting is private experience.

Painting the piazza in Panicale, off the main drag, sort of.
The artist trying to blend in.

  It's fun to be painting in a town that's hundreds of years old, especially since I love art history. Panicale is known for the early Renaissance painter, Perugino, who was the teacher of young Raphael.        Masolino da Panicale, possibly the first artist to create oil paintings,(?) was also from Panicale.
  Humbly, I feel I am standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Painting in my Italian apron in Piazza Umberto 1
Panicale, Umbria.

  Here's my view of the piazza. I wanted to try to capture the gentle feel of a moment in the piazza. To the left, the shop that sells tabbaco, newspapers, bus tickets and day to day needs of the locals. At the bottom , near the main gate into town, is Bar Gallo, our cafe/bar and home away from home. 
  I remember the day started sunny, and then became overcast. We were picking up a friend at the train station later in the afternoon, so I set up early.

The local scene.

  Janelle caught me painting on her way for groceries, so here is a video from that morning:

  Below are more images of me working throughout the area. Doing some of the work that an artist has to do. Believe it or not, I am actually working at my trade, doing what I love to do, passion.
  People may think that it's easy to paint a good painting, something an art lover may want to spend their hard earned money on, but I have a serious commitment to what I do, whether I'm working in California or Italy, or wherever. 
  History is what binds serious artists together. It is a loving embrace of all the artists, the art and the history that has come before me. I consider it a real privilege.

Working in the shade in La Mura, near Panicale.

I loved painting the small gouaches, above, and below...

  Back at the house in Panicale (below), I am going over the group of gouaches I've done, and preparing paper for more. Here, I am adding a colored pencil line around each piece in this series. 
  I would often work at home at this big table while Janelle was fixing lunch or dinner. It was part of my temporary studio. Also, it gave me a chance to see the works as a whole.

  I also enjoyed taking beautiful hikes in the area to find a spot to paint. The shots below are taken from way above town, about a twenty minute walk. In the distance is Panicale, with Lago Trasimeno  off beyond the hills. What a sky. What a day. What a lucky life.

A bench with a view. Painting at the old cemetary above town.

Easy to soak in the beauty.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Painting in San Casciano dei Bagni

  It's always a pleasure and a joy to have the opportunity to watch Johnny paint while we are in Italy. He takes it seriously, and considers it his job. Me, well I just try to capture what I can without being a bother to him. I like to take the little videos and photos. I have my own blog Live Pronto, which gives me a fabulous creative outlet.
  I bugged him to start this blog, and he has been enjoying it, and enjoying seeing all the "hits" it has been getting. Many from Italy, actually, as well as here in the states. Today, I've decided to write a post on his site. Johnny is busy these days, back in the studio after getting so inspired on our trip. But, hey, I still have photos and videos to share.

  While staying in Umbria, we took a day trip into nearby Tuscany to visit San Casciano dei Bagni, a town we had heard about. My folks stayed there a few years ago, and it sounded beautiful. It was so close, too. We stopped along the way a couple of times, enjoying the countryside. 
  The town itself is small and perfect, like so many of the hill towns in this area seem to be.

San Casciano dei Bagni, from just outside the walls.

Near one of the main entrances into town. Beautiful Spring color.

Banksia Rose in full glory.

  I keep being asked "Janelle, what do you do while Johnny is painting?"
  For the most part, I take walks around the area, enjoying the loveliness...or I find a market and grab a little treat to bring back to Johnny to share. I often bring a book to just sit and read.
  But I really like going out on my own and taking pictures.

I love these light fixtures.

San Casciano has several steep streets. Good for walking off
the wonderful baked goods I found.

    So, before taking off on my little walk-about, I took time to get some shots of Johnny setting up to do one of his gouache paintings. We had found this great little spot away from everything, but with a bench and a view. Perfect!

Getting it together to paint.

Adding color to the palette.

   Before taking off, I shot a short video. The weather was overcast that day, and even sprinkled a little.

  After a visit to the really good bakery, the fruit and veg market and a fantastic little clothing store, I wandered back to see where Johnny was in his painting.

Still working.

A nice view over the hills.

Not done yet.

  Glad he hadn't finished, because I wanted to get another video shot. I'm not certain he enjoys this, but he is always patient with me while I shoot these little videos.

Adding the last touches. 

  I really thought this one turned out nice, and it's fun to have it documented, too. I will pop in here through the next several months, adding more to Johnny's blog. I'm sure he will, too. 
  We'll let everyone know when we are ready to have this year's show of the Italian paintings. Look for it later this summer, I think. We are working on another little book to have of the show, and taking time to get things framed, etc. All worth the wait! 

The inspiration, and the final painting, below.

  I love this series of gouache paintings he has done this year, and we can't wait to see them framed and on the walls here at the gallery. Stay tuned.....