Sketching in Italy, Fall 2016, Part 3

Let me begin with apology to my blog. I haven’t posted since October of 2017, and so much has happened in the last 15 months! We travelled to Viet Nam in late fall of 2017, and to  Piemonte and Lake Como in September 2018. We’ve spent two weeks of February every year in Key West, and will be leaving for this year’s Key West adventure in a week!

Back to September of 2016, we left San Marino, and drove through Urbino, to Ascoli Piceno; day trips around Abruzzo,  on to Sulmona, more day trips, and then on to the coast to Termoli and to our first stop in Puglia – Vieste.”’

 

Leaving Ascoli Piceno after a relaxed morning and lunch in the Cafe Meletti on the Piazza del Popolo, we set out on a long drive to Sulmona, our home base for our explorations in Abruzzo. Our first day began with a walk through the weekly market in Piazza Garibaldi. Very cool. Tom and I are huge fans of public markets. We left mid morning for adventures in Cascio, Castel del Monte, Villa Lago, Scanno, and Introdaqua.

One of the many friendly vendors at the Sulmona market

Ilio DiPaolo’s hometown – Introdacqua!

The man-made lake at Scanno

Villa Lago, L’Aquila

A road trip of beautiful views

View from Via del Municipo, Castel del Monte

The next leg of our trip will begin with Part 4 of Sketching in Italy, Fall 2016.

Sketching in Italy, Fall 2016, Part 2

After a relatively relaxing week in Venice we took the train to Bologna and enjoyed five pretty full days. I did have time for one painting while Tom took his cooking class. I have learned, I should say continue to learn, that if I get to paint, that’s cool, if not, that’s ok too. Keeping my expectations manageable, and happily subject to change is the best way for me to have a good time, one that I can enjoy looking back.

This is the plein air painting, ink and watercolor, that I did in Bologna in the busy square near the University. Bologna, a busy square near the university

A lovely couple from Germany took some photos of me painting. We had a great conversation about Bologna and traveling (no talk about politics!) I am certainly concentrating!

carol in Bologna

What I really love to do is sketch and fill up my sketchbook with all types of memorabilia to go back to and relive our days.  Today, October 6th, I can go back to September 22, 2016 and remember so much about our visit.

Here are two pages, September 25 and 22, and a sketch of via Augusto Righi from Bologna. Fun.

From Bologna we rented a car, and drove to the Adriatic coast and back up into the mountains for a short star in the Repubblica di San Marino. What a treat, just enough out of the tourist season to be able to wander without bumping. Great views from our hotel room complete with a very large patio up in the air above the valley below.

It was a beautiful 2 days of wandering though the streets and around the wall and up and down b between the towers

It was just right for us, a comfortable stay in a pretty cool hotel, resting up for the rest of our very full month in Italy.

I am making a promise to myself to post more often as a bit of time has passed, and I haven’t been completely inactive. So, I will finish our 2016 Italy trip, and fill you in on what the last 12 months have been like for me. Til the next post.

IMG_4224

 

 

Sketching in Italy, Fall 2016

Our Trip began in Venice…..

This past September and October, 2016, Tom and I undertook a very intense Italian road trip.  It began gently enough with nine days in Venice and five in Bologna. From Bologna we rented a car and drove down the east coast of Italy with side trips inland, ending in Lecce in Puglia. We have debriefed and have promised each other that we will remember how tired we were before setting out again.  That being said, we saw wonderful places, and met some terrific people.  Having had better than a month to recover…..we are talking about another trip next November 2017….with driving!

Our nine days in Venice were perfect, including the must do gondola ride, tcvenice

14354982_10154452576164774_6639457294403054607_n

and a side trip to Burano and Murano. I loved drawing the colorful houses of Burano.fullsizerender3

We lived in a great neighborhood in San Polo in Venice, looking out on the Scuolo Grande di San Rocco and the Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Venice provided countless opportunities for sketching. Each time we stopped for coffee we tried to select a view for me.  Here are a few:

I’m going to save my sketches from Bologna, San Marino, Ascoli Piceno, Abbruzzo, and Puglia for future blog posts, promising not to take so long between posts in the future!

fullsizerender2

It’s Been Too Long

What have I been doing?

I haven’t posted since April 11th. So much has happened and painting and sketching have not played much of a part. I think we are through this period which was filled with family health concerns and effects, too many volunteer tasks for the watercolor society I love (my own doing), and last but not least, taking on the joys and responsibilities of a new puppy and kitten!

My dear husband Tom has come through nine weeks of radiation in good spirits and ready to travel. The Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society’s 13th National Exhibition of Transparent Watercolor 2016 is pretty organized and ready to go, opening on October 16, 2016. I got to work with one of my heroes of watercolor, Thomas W. Schaller, the juror and also our Fall 2016 NFWS Workshop Artist. The NFWS Website is up and running and a huge improvement over our outdated site. I’m the webmaster, so-called. Our NFWS Facebook page is also in good shape. I’m the administrator, and that is pretty easy and mostly fun.

The puppy, our now almost 5 month old Golden Retriever, Bessie, and our tabby kitten, 6 month old Diego, are not wrestling with quite as much abandon as they were in the first 4 months, but they are still a handful, mostly joyful.

I haven’t done much painting, though when I look back through the spring and summer months, I am surprised at what I did produce!

On May 13th, I began a watercolor painting as a demo for the Evans Art Guild.  I finished it at home and entered it in the Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit at the Kenan Center, juried by Gerald Mead, and won an Honorable Mention Award. It’s of one favorite views, from my morning walk, “Sunrise Over the Rose Garden” at Delaware Park here in my neighborhood in Buffalo, NY.

Sunrise over the Rose Garden

From Mid-May until today, I’ve taken part in a drawing fundraiser for Hallwalls, our very cool contemporary regional gallery. Buffalo RiverYou draw for 45 minutes together with 15 other artists, and then the drawings are bid on in a silent auction.There are two sets of 16 artists each. Fun. I also donated a pen and ink and watercolor painting for their gala fundraiser. It’s Allentown on a First Friday Open Gallery night in early spring.

First Friday.Allentown

During the Buffalo Gardens Buffalo Niagara, I painted one night in Gordon Ballard’s and Brian Olinski’s garden. Gordon and Brian'sI love their home, and concentrated on it, being the retired architect that I am.

The Garden Walk took a lot of my energy. We love opening our yard to the hundreds of garden enthusiasts that come through the last weekend in July, but it is a lot of work, work I love. Gardening definitely trumps painting for June and July. I do a bit, though. These two paintings inspired by our gardens were in two shows in Western New York this summer. The one on the left was in the Garden Mystique Show at Artsphere, and the one on the right in the Buffalo Society of Artists Matchbox Show at Miebohm Gallery in East Aurora, NY.

New Pieces

I am painting a bit again.  Have three new paintings, two of which are I’m submitting for juried selection into the Buffalo Society of Artists Fall Exhibition 2016. On the left is “Tom’s Shop”, and the right is “Keep Alley”. We’ll see if they make the cut. You absolutely can never tell!

My most recent painting, finished last week, is watercolor on yupo paper. I love this paper because it’s impossible to control what you are doing! As an inveterate control freak, this is a great freer! This is a night view across the street from the end of our street, called “Penhurst Park.”
Penhurst Park

Before I finish this long blog post, I am going to promise that I will post in mid October after our one month trip to Italy.  I sketch every day, post every day on my Facebook page, but won’t be posting here til we get home.

My last image is my favorite. In July my daughter Liz and my wonderful granddaughters Savannah and Eliza came up from North Carolina for a brief visit. Savannah and I painted together. She entitles this beauty, “The Ballerinas.” I love it. Savannah's Ballerinas

Bye for now.

Captured Travels

These past months of January and February 2016 have been so intense! My solo show, Captured Travels opened with a beautiful, well-attended reception at Betty’s Restaurant, 370 Virginia Street in Buffalo, on Monday night, January 25, 2016, and will be on view through March 20th. I collected brand new and some older paintings, both studio and plein air, and sketches, and put them all together. Kathleen Sherin did a marvelous job curating and hanging the show, and I sold 10 of the 23 pieces on opening night!

Palermo's Finest.web

This is a very recent painting that graced the publicity for the show, Palermo’s Finest. I could have sold it several times!

Isle du Saint Louis.Paris.web

This is a plein air painting, watercolor and ink, from our trip this past fall to Paris. The painting of the Pont de la Tournelle below is from a photo Tom took of me painting the Isle du Saint Louis above!

Painter.Pont de la Tournelle.Paris.web

Two more ink and watercolor paintings are of the Paris Backyards and Cimitiere du Pere-LaChaise, Paris.

Detail.PalaisGarnier.Paris.web

My architectural background and love for detail comes out in this ink sketch of a Detail from the Palais Garnier in Paris.

These two plein air ink and watercolor paintings from Varenna on Lake Como “capture”

 

I have painted many views of the towns and landscape around Lake Como.

Perledo above Varenna, with the “hand of God light”, and the Villa Monastero, one of two beautiful villas open to the public along Lake Como in Varenna.

Carol sketching.Varenna.web

Here I am painting in Varenna.

The first year that I started to sketch when we travelled was 2010 when we spent some time in Cinque Terre, Italy. These two ink sketches are from there.

We also visited Bologna where we were fascinated by the medieval timber frame architecture.

MedievalTimberframe.Bologna.web

In Tuscany it was all about the views.

Tuscan View.Italy.web

Then there’s our time in Istria in Croatia,

Istrian Town.web

LanguedocView.web

the province of Languedoc in FranceIstrian View.Croatia.web

 

and Scotland, Portree near the Isle of Skye and the Duart Castle.

Portree.IsleofSkye.Scotland.web

Duart Castle.Scotland.web

We will continue to travel as long as we can and I will continue to capture our travels in sketchbooks, plein air paintings, and studio paintings. Such a rewarding time.

What have I been doing since we got back from Paris?

I last posted in October when we returned from a month in Paris. My heart is still there, bleeding for the Parisiens we met, we watched and enjoyed. But life has gone on here in Western New York. I entered two juried shows, the first being Buffalo Society of Artists 119th Catalogue Show, juried by Antonio F. Petracca. My two paintings were accepted, and I won the Gold Medal for my watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper, entitled Hertel Avenue Sunset. I found out by text from my wonderful friend and watercolor mentor, Sally Treanor.  2:30 am Paris Time – “You Won!”

CSiracuse_Hertel Ave Sunset01.web

The other entry, Sunset on the Black Rock Canal, is much more traditional transparent watercolor. I am drawn to high contrast, strong values and light. These two paintings work with all three.

CSiracuse_SunsetBlackRockCanal01.web

 

The other juried show I entered was the Fall 2015 Niagara Frontier Water Media Show juried by Barbara Nechis. NFWS is close to my heart. I’m in my second and last year as it’s president.  It is the only Watercolor Society west of the Central New York Watercolor Society in New York State. My two paintings were accepted. Both florals, both with ink and watercolor, therefore considered to be “water media”. One, entitled “Spring Amarylis” is painted on rice paper.  I love rice paper! The other, “Hosta No. 1”, is on watercolor paper, and has been selected as the poster image for this year’s Garden Walk, Buffalo, an honor for me as I am an energetic gardener, and our city garden has been on the Garden Walk, missing one year for construction, since 2002.

CSiracuse_SpringAmaryllis01.web     CSiracuse_Hosta101.web

There are many wonderful galleries in Western New York, and they all put on holiday shows, encouraging art lovers to support our artists community. I’m in two shows, one at TGW Gallery at 497 Franklin Street in the Allentown District of Buffalo.  The openings for this show, and the other I’m in at Artsphere at 447 Amherst Street, as well as a lovely handful of other downtown galleries, are scheduled for the First Friday of the month, in this case December. It was a great evening of conversation, food and art. These shows will all be on til the end of the month.

At TGW, I have four paintings, “City of Night Light”, “Canalside 2”, “Bullseye” and “Darwin Martin House.”  Darwin Martin sold on opening night. The artwork at TGW for this show is a wonderful representation of the talent in WNY. All work is “economically accessible”, my phrase. Everyone should be able to own original artwork!

CarolSiracuse.City of Night Light.web. CarolSiracuse.Canalside.web CarolSiracuse_Bullseye.web CarolSiracuse_DRMartin.web

At Artsphere I have three paintings, “Roadtrip Sunrise,” “This Year’s Pears,” and “Red Twig”. This is a special show of paintings from Sally Treanor’s students. We meet with Sally every Monday morning, September – June. I’ve been painting in Sally’s studio since 2002.  She’s been a wonderful encouraging teacher.

Carol_Siracuse.Roadtrip Morning.web Carol_Siracuse.This Year's Pears.web Carol_SiracuseRed Twig.web

Since the push to create for these shows is over, and Christmas is fast approaching, I am finishing some paintings I started this summer, and trying some new ideas, but I’m going to have to switch gears and attack some of the commissions I have patiently waiting. Time is short! Here are some of the paintings I’ve been working on. I am challenged to paint trees by our proximity to Delaware Park, an Olmsted beauty, and by my fascination with the work of Charles Burchfield. I used to be a docent at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and during that time I became enamored with Burchfield’s early work in watercolor.  These two paintings are greatly influenced by his work, especially the first. I dare to title it “Yet Another Homage to Burchfield”, though that title may change. The second is “Night and Day.”

Delaware Park Fall 2015.web Night and Day 12.09.web

The painting I just finished, called “Sonia!”, is a solution to the pear and apple painting exercises we were doing in Sally Treanor’s class. Since rediscovering Sonia Delaunay in the Pompidou in Paris, I have been dreaming Delaunay, hence the title, an obvious homage.

Sonia!.web

So, on to the commissions and holiday preparations. My goal is to post more often.

Til then, enjoy your holidays, one and all!

An Amazing Amarylis

Every Christmas Holiday my wonderful friend Judy Shanley gives me an amaryllis bulb to watch grow.  This years lay dormant for some time, and finally started to show green in February.  It didn’t bloom until just before Easter, and then it was amazing!  Not red, but crimson-tinged white with green centers, eight flowers on its two stalks at first, and then, when they were done and I was about to put it in the cool back hall, four more! Definitely worth photographing and drawing, it sat in my kitchen window next to the sink so that I could enjoy it all the time.

Here’s the photo, taken at night, with the window blinds on the left and the kitchen cabinet doors on the right.  I liked the contrast the dark window and door made.

amarylis photo.webBefore I tried any painting, I sketched the beauty in my moleskin sketchbook with pigma micron pens. It obviously begamarylissketch2.webged for color.  In Sally Treanor’s Watercolor Salon on Mondays we were trying our hands at ink and watercolor on rice paper.  What better subject, I thought.  I had forgotten a lot about painting on rice paper, especially how you really have to be patient and let it dry in between layers.

amarylis drwg.web
I began the drawing with an 03 pigma micron pen, very light, knowing that I would want to darken it, accentuating the places where lines began and shapes met, at a later sitting.

Starting to paint, using hansa yellow, pthalo blue, permanent rose and quin gold.  Let it dry. This is when the lines begged me to be brought to life, so I added some defining with an 05 pigma micron, and added some more color, still not much of the darker colors, though my dark reds were a bit worrisome.  Must have included some brown madder at this point.

.amaryllis 1.web amaryllis3.web

When I started to add the background, the painting took on new life for me, but then in the next sitting I began to lose the light from the darker blossom.  Not good.amarylis4.webamaryllis5.web

I resorted to chinese white to rescue the light in the darker blossom, and felt pretty good about the results. Now to finish the blossom on the left, very sparingly though that is tough for me, and to to complete the background.

amarylis6.webamarylis8.web

And for the final touches on the lighter blossom, and the background, darkening here, lightening there, and I can call it finished! I am proud of myself for taking the time to do it right! Hope you like it. amarylis final.web