Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3rd

A Four Plum Bunch and other things...

Rising again mighty early, the artists met at a favorite place on the grounds of La Palazzina. The view of the olive grove and the beautiful hills beyond. Laura and Nancy took on the expansive view and Christy focused on a plum tree, four plums in particular.

One of the great things about being here is the chance to meet people from different countries and cultures. Sandy and Lauren came to La Palazzina from South Africa for a 4 day course in the cooking arts. Eliana taught and Silvano translated and chauffered the mother and daughter to a vineyard, cheese factory, olive oil mill and local areas of interest. We bid them a fond farewell and hoped to see them again next year.

Evening of July 1: The Facade of La Palazzina

The following covers the afternoon of July 1 and the day of July 3, which was a turning point day!
Thursday, July 2, was our free day: Laura went to Siena with her family to take in some of the pre-Pallio pagentry; Nancy, Christy and I first went to a local spa for a mud treatment, then lunched simply but amply at Eraldo's in Lucignano d'Asso, and then we skirted a mean thunderstorm by visiting Montalcino, Castiglione d'Orcia and Montichiello, before landing again at La Palazzina.
July 3 was the day when both Nancy and Christy really got a handle on using pastels, so it was definitely a good day. In the afternoon, there was a critique of all work done to date. Twas interesting to see the gradual improvement curve of our work.

The facade of La Palazzina turned out to be an extreme challenge to paint.

Here Nancy sits by the pool and paints in familiar acrylics, to restore her artistic confidence. It worked. The next full painting day was her breakthrough day.

Christy did a marvelous drawing of the steps to the pool area; I don't yet have a photo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Now I just want to give you a taste of La Palazzina, its family and activities through some photos.

Girasole, Monte Amiata e Campi (Sunflowers, Mount Amiata and Fields

This morning we drove to the outskirts of Contignano, a very small town about 19 km from La Palazzina. There is the only nearby, accessible field of sunflowers we have seen, which is unusual, because there are usually many waving fields of green and yellow in this area during the summer months. In the fall, they just turn brown and aren't too attractive. We spent about 3 hours at the edge of this field, sketching and then painting. The results proved different than yesterday: Christy was very happy with her painting; Nancy wasn't. Yesterday it was the opposite.
Monte Amiata is the outstanding geographical mark in southern Tuscany; it has lots of ski runs, chestnut trees and also quite of few plants used in pharmacological agents.
Again, I'll try to do a bit of time-lapsed photography of the different paintings.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - our afternoon in Pienza

We learned about Pienza through Roberta, our guide, whom Laura had met a few years ago.
She guided us through the history of this first planned Renaissance town and Pope Pius' involvement throughout the ages. It is a very beautiful town, not only in its present quaint grandeur, but also in its location overlooking the Val d'Orcia.

Day 2, Tuesday, June 30, 2009. Pictures from the Goat Field

We rise ever so early (around 6:30am) to capture the wonderful sunrise light of Val d'Orcia. This morning Laura led us to the goat field which is across the road from La Palazzina. The view of the hills, Celle sul Rigo, San Casciano dei Bagni and La Palazzina were fairly purply picturesque in the morning light. But, we were to be challenged with an olive tree or two in the midst of the muddy goat field. Why is it the goat field? Silvano's neighbor has both herds of sheep and goat who pasture in a rotating fashion in the nearby fields. On Monday, we were going to paint from this field, but the goats beat us to it. So we waited until today and weren't forced to make a run for it.
Laura and Nancy painted the view of La Palazzina; Christy painted an olive tree, and I, a complete non-painter, took a stab at sketching and then painting another olive tree. Here are time-lapsed photos of our progress!

Market in Chuisi, a walk through Cetona et al

I'm just getting used to this blog posting: tis challenging for me. But I'll do my best and hopefully improve. We've been having lots of afternoon thunderstorms, which disconnect the internet service here, which isn't at all unusual, but it's certainly frustrating.

These photos are still from Monday, when we went to the market in Chuisi, to get a taste of a market here. We also went to the art store and stocked up on some more supplies. Then Nancy, Christy and I had a very delicious lunch of ravioli with a grape tomato sauce under an arbor in a restaurant in Cetona. After we all convened at La Palazzina again, we did still life painting inside, while it poured and thundered outside. Theresa and Ilenia, two girls who work here joined us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Photos from Day 1, June 29, 2009.
Subject places: La Palazzina, Radicofani
Visited places: Chuisi, Cetona