Saturday, March 30, 2013

Working Away In Panicale...

  Janelle here at the helm.....
  As much as I appreciate the pressure Johnny is under to "perform" while we are here in Panicale, I can't help but enjoy just watching him in action. 
  Back at home, I am rarely around to see him work. I'm at the gallery working, and mostly get to peek at works in progress in his studio. Even these viewings are accompanied by "It's not done...don't judge it yet!"
  So I get a big kick out of being here, watching paintings created on sight, in the moment. Sure, I'll go take a long walk, but I do get the rare opportunity to see a painting worked from start to finish. It's pretty cool.

Johnny scoping out a subject to paint onsight.

  I know my job here is to chronicle his work, and I take it seriously. He may not work every day, but when the sun has been out, it seems like we go all day. We drive around the immediate area, from place to place, trying to capture the perfect moment.

Setting up to work.

  A few days ago we had a day of much needed, and completely appreciated warm sunshine. So nice to have our bones warmed by the sun. We decided to just stay in Panicale to paint. It didn't seem right to get into the car and drive.
  We hiked down to a place we know well, after all the time we've spent here. It's an olive grove that is also full of wildflowers. Perfect for Johnny to paint and for me to walk.

Just outside the walls of Panicale, on a hillside washed in sunshine.

  Johnny had already gone down this path and seen some olive trees that looked promising to paint. He set up his chair and paints, and I snapped a few shots before taking off on my own adventure.
  After checking out if there were any wild tulips blooming yet, and taking a good, long stroll into the wilds, I retuned to find a painting really coming alive.

The start of something good, I think.

Just so nice to have a warm, sunny day.

Not a bad spot to sit and paint.....

Almost finished.

  Later that same day, we worked our way over to the other side of town, to the public park. The park has an incredible view over the valley and Lago Trasimeno. There are benches and pic-nic tables. We rarely see anyone here, but I imagine in summer it rocks.
  Anyway, it was just that magic hour before sunset, when the light goes all golden... Perfect.

Johnny setting up in the public park, outside Panicale.

  I happen to know that Johnny loves this view. He dreams of it when we are back home. We don't have these huge vistas over valleys that span centuries. As a man who loves his history, I think he has an attachment that far exceeds the esthetic's so much more than a "view" to him. It's Hannibal conquering the Romans in 217 B.C. It's castles dating from the 12th century and land of the Etruscans. 
  The history here has a big effect on him. He incorporates it all into the work.

Taking on History

  A sweet scene, our new little friend, Andrea came along with his lovely Grandma. They just happened to be walking the dog in the area, and stayed for the longest time. Young Andrea was fascinated by Johnny painting, and his Grandma expertly explained all that was going on, the mixing of colors, the application of paints.... I asked in my lame Italian if she was an art teacher..."I would love to be, but no...I was a seamstress when I was younger."
  These moments, they are precious to us.

Andrea and Johnny connecting an an all together artful level.
   Andrea was very curious as to why there were no buildings in Johnny's painting. There are many, in reality. But, as at home, Johnny tries to imagine the landscape "senza" man's development.


   Even thopugh the weather has been dicey at best, Johnny has a nice batch of 8X8 inch paintings drying.
  We are happy.

Just some of the finished paintings so far.

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