Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sketching in Rome

Ponte Fabricio 62BC

We live two hours from Rome, this week I was there for the first time in two years! Shame on me. But what a treat. Dear friends, Jim and Philippa invited me to stay in their apartment near the Pantheon - what bliss. They totally indulged me with food, walks, art, wine, Bellini cocktails and precious time to sketch.

Bernini's delightful little Elephant balancing an Egyptian obelisk was just around the corner. It's a favourite of Philippa's, so while they went off to their Italian class, I attempted to sketch it for her.

The Piazza was deserted when I arrived and next to a pile of rubbish I found a cardboard carton full of junk to sit on. Bliss. Half an hour later the rubbish men arrived in their truck, grinned at me, examined my sketch, loaded the bags of rubbish and then did a double take. They had spotted my 'seat'. I bashfully stood up but they showed no pity. Off it went in the truck. I continued as long as I could sitting on the cobblestones. Ouch!

Pulcin della Minerva
7"x10" HP watercolour paper - ready to paint

Alas, HWEM was at home with the dogs so I headed off for a nostalgic cup of coffee at a favourite spot of ours in the square opposite the Pantheon.

Time,I decided, to attack the Mt. Everest of sketches - Benini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi . When I arrived in the Piazza Navona I found it covered in scaffolding. I wasn't really up to the task anyway. Besides it was blazing hot and there wasn't a scrap of shade, so I stood for a couple of minutes beside the Fontana del Moro and tried to capture a couple of details.

Fontana del Moro

Jim and Philippa also introduced me to what must be the best art shop in Rome (Ditta M. Poggi, via Pie' di Marmo 39). So, armed with my new Pitt artist pens, I headed back to the apartment to sketch a portion of the view from my bedroom.

Watercolour Moleskine

I took lots of photos in order to do a larger painting of the entire cluster of charming little Roman apartments.

It was a fantastic two days. The highlight? Standing in front of Caravaggio's Saint Matthew Cycle in San Luigi dei Francesi to see, for the first time, his Calling of Saint Matthew.


Laureline said...

How lucky you are, Ms Snowy! I want fountains, I want Rome, I want gelato, but that's beside the point.
Glad you had such a great time.

Robyn said...

Laura - Thank you Laura, I do know I'm lucky. I left out the bit where Jim declared 'It's after 4pm, so we can have a gelato!' Mine was coconut.

Casey Klahn said...

Love these sketches. Very nice focus on subject, esp. with the building sketches.

Anonymous said...

Imagine have the piazza all to yourself! I'm sure that's going to make a lovely painting. The other sketches are great too.

Lin said...


Stacy said...

Oh Robyn, I am green with envy, just green!! But also very happy for you. You just lived two days of every artists dream. Your sketches are great and I loved the story about the rubbish men. :)

mARTa said...

I must take notes! I can't believe I will be in Rome in 4 months! For 5 whole days!!! Then onto to Florence where I'm hoping you and I will get together. I just love Italy and so enjoy your view of it...and like the envious!

caseytoussaint said...

Beautiful work, Robyn! I'm amazed at how much detail you are able to record, even in all that heat - and sitting on rubbish! You are truly an intrepid artist.

Joan said...

I'm glad I had time to view your blog today. Sorry you lost your "seat"...but what a wonderful opportuntity to be in Rome and sketch!!! When I was there last year I was so pressed for time and there was so much to see tha I never got to sketch in Rome at all. Wonderful job on the elephant statue sketch. LOVE the qicks sketches of the Fontana del Moro...I loved that spot. Lovely sketch of the view from your bedroom. Is it all pen, or some wc too? Ciao!

Robyn said...

Casey K - Thank you! I'm always so encouraged by your comments.

Dave - Thanks. I only had the piazza to myself in the beginning but it was enough time to gain confidence.

Lin - Thank you :)

Stacy - Thanks. It was a bit of a dream. I've been wondering what the garbage men would have done if I'd refused to give up my 'seat'.

Marta - You'll love it! I look forward to a sketch crawl in Florence.

Casey - It wasn't as difficult as I imagine it would have been to stop and sketch in HK. Your Star Ferry sketches brought back great memories for me.

Casey - Glad I could refresh your holiday memories. There's no watercolour - those are Pitt Brush Artist Pens. A bit wild for me!

Lin said...

OH MY GOSH! GORGEOUS sketches, Robyn!! WOW!

Katherine said...

Bella Bella! (Have I got the right language?)

Wonderful tales of your trip and great efforts on the sketching front too.

Italy looks very tempting! ;)

Africantapestry said...

Great sketches, great photos, great time...what more can we ask of life!

Robyn said...

Katherine - Absolutely the right language. I hope Italy continues to tempt you ;)

Ann said...

Oh, I LOVED your sketches from Rome (and other parts of Italy)! Thank you so much for these gifts!

Robyn said...

Ann - Thank you for commenting. I'm so pleased you enjoyed my sketches from Rome - I wish I could do her justice.

dinahmow said...

First Tara breeched my Wall of Memory, now you have cracked it wide open with this nostalgia trip.But for this I thank you.La bella Italia!
Now, I'm going to load my own holiday pics;fingers too cold to draw today!

Robyn said...

Dinah - My pleasure. I'm now trying to get my eye back there to finish a watercolour.
I can't ever remember having cold fingers in Queensland, except maybe when fishing for an icecube in the bottom of a Gin & Tonic ;)
Looking forward to your tropical paradise photos.

Sunnispace said...

You are a fantastic artist and I love the sketches along with the pictures. What fun to sketch in Rome - it must be bliss!

Robyn said...

Jen - You are way too generous but I'm glad you found my blog and enjoy it.

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