Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer Fruit & Todi Sunset

A basket of plums from a neighbour - watercolour.

Todi, Umbria in the late afternoon - watercolour

What a long, hot and largely unproductive summer I've had. If it weren't for the Flying Pictures Sketchbook Exchange, I would have had precious little art to show.

The watercolours above are my contribution to Vivien's sketchbook which has since touched down with Casey in France and is now off to Nina in Sweden. You will see from my previous post how much I loved the opportunity to contribute to Vivien's beautiful book.

Glen's book has now arrived so I really do have to get up and give myself a good shake and start trying to make some art. I'll post some pictures from Glen's book in the next few days. As you would expect it is stunning and challenging.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Feather for Vivian

Wood Grouse Feather - watercolour pencils

Vivien's Flying Pictures Sketchbook contains some beautiful feather sketches by Vivien. She tucked a real one into the book with an invitation for each of us taking part in the Flying Pictures sketchbook exchange to have a go. When Vivien's book arrived here in Tuscany it had already picked up additional feathers by Ronell and Lindsay.

The same week Vivien revealed her feather theme I found myself caught up in a flurry of feathers, one of which (above) landed at my feet. I decided then and there it was a feather for Vivien.

This feather did not come directly from a Wood Grouse (Capercaillie) but from one of the flamboyant hats worn by members of the famous Italian Bersaglieri army corp.

A couple of hundred current members and veterans of the corps were in our little Tuscan town for a reunion.

Our first sight of them was when an officer ran into the piazza where we were enjoying a local concert. He called the concert to an abrupt halt and then gestured to his troops waiting in a side street. A whole militatry brass band, sporting spectacular hats, festooned with Capercaillie feathers, dashed past playing their instruments on the run. I learned later that the Bersaglieri (sharpshooters) are famous for doing everything on the run. An unforgettable and totally delightful sight. Of course I didn't have my camera!

I caught up with them later when they paraded through the town.

After the First World War the Bersaglieri rode bicycles. Today they move in modern army vehicles, but when they're on foot they're still on the run.

Vivien's beautiful sketchbook is now with Casey in France and I'm sure she is already on the track of a feather or two.

It was wonderful to have your book for a while, Vivien and I loved the opportunity to see your beautiful original art.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Fa Caldo

Sorry - this blog is just too hot to do anything! Except studying Italian - that's a bit like the postal service - it has to go on no matter what weather.
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