May 2005 - Two Australians moved to Tuscany where they planned to live for two years. Two weeks later their dogs, Snowy and Dermott, arrived. Seven years and a property purchase later, they're still here.
When I set out on my walk this morning I had high hopes for some clouds in the sky. By the time I'd found a shady spot and the subject of my painting, they'd gone and the sky was again a bright desaturated backdrop.
A long walk up the valley this morning, passing and rejecting endless postcard scenes. What is it that makes one reject one subject for another? I suspect a lot of the time, for me anyway, it's because they are too difficult.
I finally reached the beautiful little church, Madonna del Bagno and caught the priest standing outside making his morning prayer. Turning my back on the church (too difficult), I sat down and painted God's Little Olive Grove.
True colour is somewhere between these two images!
thumbnail to assist colour memory
After making a light pencil sketch on my walk this morning I discovered my paints were still on my desk at home - 4900 steps away. I decided to test my 'colour memory' as per Katherine Tyrrell's recent post on Making a Mark. I was surprisingly happy with the result - but not with attempts to photograph the painting.
Here is the fruit of this morning's Sketchercise. The grapes are already growing fat and in the distance is the castle of Montecchio, gifted to the English mercenary, Sir John Hawkwood (1320 - 1394) by the grateful rulers of Florence. I suspect Sir John was a bit of a thug who would change sides between the city states for a few dollars more. He's well worth reading about.
The wonderful thing about Sketchercise is that I'm home again each morning by 9am with a sketch or painting under my belt. Prior to Sketchercise I would still be in bed with my laptop looking at other people's paintings.
I took the high road for the first time today - a return trip of 5.4 Km, half of which was directly up hill! I've been walking every morning this week as usual but not sketching, so I felt I owed a sketch to our Sketchercise Ning.
The little church of Mammi (above) is high in the hills above our town. It was a demanding hike for what should have been my day of rest!
The view was certainly worth the effort though.
Castiglion Fiorentino and surrounding olive groves
Petunias - linoprint image 15cm x 17cm paper 28cm x 28cm
I've just finished a companion linoprint of Petunias to go with my earlier Cyclamen print.
Detail Petunias Print
I planted these magenta petunias last September prior to my daughter coming to visit. They flowered in boxes on our tiny bridge well into the winter. About to throw them away in the early spring, I noticed a tiny leaf amongst the dead brown stems. I chopped them right back and left them in the garden with no great expectations and couldn't have been more delighted when they re-bloomed and now they are just as abundant as there were last year. Maybe I'm finally developing a green thumb - or it could just be a spot of paint!