A fond farewell to 2014, and all of it's ups and downs.
Always a pleasure to look back on the Umbrian adventure, though. It is such a huge priority in our lives. As we start thinking about the next trip, it's a good time to look back.
I have already started to bug Johnny about getting his painting gear together, or at least to start thinking about it, somewhat.
We are so fortunate and grateful to have pals that let us store most of the big items back in Umbria…it certainly makes traveling a lot easier. Of course, the ultimate goal is to have our own place to store stuff! Someday, friends, someday….
In the meantime, and just because it is an all consuming subject around the Apodaca home, I thought I'd step into the not-so-wayback-machine, and take a little art excursion.
|I love Johnny's sketchbooks.|
Every year, there is a new one.
|Someday, I should put them all together to make a book.|
|Early days in the trip, Johnny gets warmed up|
by making little sketches and gouache studies.
I am always so drawn to the palettes, with all the paint colors pushed around. I can't help taking photographs of these. I usually capture each one, throughout the trip.
Now that we are pretty familiar with the area, it's fun to just head out and try to find some new road to drive down, with hopes of finding an outstanding view. In many cases, it will just be within a five to ten kilometer distance from home.
Just when you think you have been down every dirt road and country lane possible, you'll find an entirely new area to explore. It's fantastic.
|It was really windy on this day. I remember.|
We didn't last long outside!
|Johnny painted one of my favorites on this windy day, though.|
By checking out the web, and also just talking to local folks, we've found a few good places to shop for painting supplies. We no longer need to bring much from the States. Nice.
One of our favorite places is MAF, right down the hill from Panicale. So convenient, too!
|Mr. J outside the newly renovated MAF, in Tavernelle.|
|Always one of the first spots to paint, just down the hill.|
This is outside of Casalini. We love this drive.
Sometimes Johnny will just pack up his gear and head out on foot. There is plenty to be inspired by, right from the walls of Panicale.
If it's too long a hike, we'll pack up the car. On a good day, we'll stop several times. I always have my book, and I enjoy the luxury of sitting and reading..especially if the sun is nice and warm.
|One of my favorite houses, just outside of Panicale.|
|The beret serves it's purpose, big time.|
Either the head is being kept warm, or it's being spared a sunburn.
|Not finished yet.|
I sure enjoy driving the road along Lago Trasimeno.
It's a scary road, at times. Way too narrow, big dips and bumps…locals driving like bats outta hell…Oh, and did I mention the giant trucks?
Add into the mix a cold and rainy day, and it's wine-time for me! Poor Johnny-he's the one driving. I just sit and freak out, for the most part. Fortunately, there isn't too much traffic off season. Still, the weekends are nuts.
Anyway, along this road there is a little turnoff at one point that brings you even closer to the shore. We have noticed this old ruin, below, every year, as we drive to a much loved bar. This year, Johnny decided to stop and paint it. I took a long walk and tried to get close to it, but it's off limits. I respect that.
|Very impressionistic take on this old village/castle.|
Wish we knew it's story.
|Not far from the spot above, a painting in it's first moments.|
We were invited on a wonderful day trip with our friends, which took us over into Tuscany for the day, close to the charming hill town, Pienza. Anyone who has been there knows just how lovely the landscape is around that area.
We arrived a little early, so Johnny set up and took full advantage of one of the most beautiful views in the world.
|Wide open spaces.|
|Another day, and much closer to home...|
|Another "palette" moment here.|
|From the outside walls of Panicale, this|
is the view we dream about.
Down the hill from home, there are lots of fields. When we are there, they are planted with either fava beans or rapeseed, both grown as cover crops to add nitrogen into the soil. When the rapeseed is in bloom, it is so outrageously yellow, it seems unreal.
On this past trip, we saw mostly durham wheat, grown for pasta making, and the fava beans. I hope the rapeseed is growing when we return. I love the florescent yellow fields!
We spent many hours in the fields, as Johnny painted lots of the old ruins this time. These old farmhouses are dotted all through the fields surrounding Panicale.
|A typical working scene for Johnny.|
Find a big enough(just) spot to pull the car over, and go!
|A freshly turned field, waiting for sunflowers, most likely.|
A lovely scene in the distance...
|I explored this old ruin, from the previous photo, to the extent I could.|
It's one of the first paintings we sold this year.
|Hip-high durham wheat fields.|
I can't get enough of these colors in spring.
|A view of Panicale from below, in the fields.|
Another yearly excursion for Johnny to do his work, is out on one or more of the islands. There are three on Lago Trasimeno. We go at least once a year to Isola Maggiore, the island which has an actual town on it. It's very tiny, but so charming.
Of course, Johnny has to haul all the gear onto the boat, as well as around the island. There are no cars on the island.
|I know, I know... but there's always a great lunch for you, after work!|
|Johnny going to his "Happy Place".|
|Taking the boat back home, Johnny looks a little sad…|
Don't worry, Babe, we'll be heading back soon.