Art Adventures

A beautiful morning here in Tuscany!

As sheep friends watched, we started painting bright and early.

To paint today, I taught how to discover which watercolor pigments are opaque and which are transparent.

Once everyone knew each of their paint properties, we dug in and began painting using transparent colors with a negative space concept to find flower shapes in a composition.

Aren’t they amazing? I pushed everyone hard to see and paint images behind the subjects and not just the subjects themselves. A difficult concept that they wrangled with, producing very intriguing, beautiful works. Love!!

We spent the afternoon in Lucignano, a medieval city in Tuscany known for its elliptical, concentric layout. The streets and buildings are organized in a ring, with the outer ring being at a lower elevation than the smaller inner ring.

Notice the different color stonework at this window.

Lucignano, a piece of authentic Tuscany, remains strong with traditional activities, handmade items, and agriculture of oil, wine, and honey.

The town has a stunning medieval tower, of which I couldn’t get a good picture, but I did get a cute one of Gina in front of this structure.

And here is most of our group near the entry of the town.

Lovely day.

Until tomorrow my friends.

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A beautifully sunny, warm day here in Tuscany. We drove to locally owned and operated winery, Castello Poggiarello, a castle and estate of serene and magnificent beauty. It’s difficult to describe, but the utter joy and peace we all felt on the grounds was indescribable.

The first traces of documents referring to the castle date back to year 1100 a.d.

At that time, the structure was used to provide military control of the territory to the southwest of the Siena Republic.

Around the 16th century, the property became part of the Chigi family and was transformed into a fortified noble residence. As successors continued to make changes, the establishment eventually became an agricultural producer of wine and olive oil. It’s current owners produce high-quality, award-winning wine and is committed to organic and sustainable wine growing.

Among the organic gardens, wisteria winds atop stone and brick walls of the medieval castle.

Courtyards with doors looking out to the pastoral vineyards, olive trees and forest view were straight from a novel.

We tasted their wonderfully rich, elegantly layered wines.

As a boar watched over us.

After purchasing wine to be shipped back home to the states (who wouldn’t…?), we took photos in the winery gardens.

Our group, below.

Gina and I with Sveva. ❤️

Such a fabulous winery and estate. Before we left, the owner mentioned she had a studio in the tower overlooking the grounds. What!!?? I can imagine painting away the day up in the tower. In fact, hmmm….maybe I’ll propose to be their permanent artist. 😀

We headed home, had a picnic lunch,

And began painting.

We finished textured vases.

Worked on Cyprus trees,

And began a tomato.

An idyllic place to paint, really.

What a day. ❤️

Until tomorrow, my friends. ❤️🍷

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As if our trip could not get any better. We drove to a countryside home away from home today and could not be happier with our new digs.

Look at this beautiful building. Our apartments contain a small kitchen and living room, two bedrooms and private baths. ❤️

We saw horses on the horizon when we arrived!

Even the bathroom windows are gorgeous!

Look at this serene view from the main house:

After we arrived , we bought supplies for a picnic outside. Can’t complain about the weather!!

Once our tummies were happy, we dug into watercolor painting. So amazing to paint outside in Tuscany with birds, sunshine, trees, and a soft breeze!

We painted until early evening, then took a break with a glass of vino and crackers.

Dinner at the farmhouse. Simple, wholesome, fresh ingredients from local gardens and homemade wine topped off our wonderful day. ❤️

Now to settle down for sleep in a luxurious farmhouse bed, with a chorus of frogs and a nightingale to serenade us to sleep. Heaven.

Until tomorrow, my friends.

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Our day in Florence was filled with perspective drawing,

Scarf purchases at Torre D’ Arte,

And a leather school, Scuola del Cuoio.

At the leather school, all products are locally crafted. I purchased a small leather bag for my paints.

To monogram my bag, gold leaf is placed on the leather while letters of my initials are selected and heated in a small fire oven.

Next, the heated letters are forcibly pressed into the leather with hand pressure.

Then the remaining gold leaf is wiped away and recycled, and monogrammed initials remain.

Bella, Bella! And my paints fit! Bonus!

View into the leather school courtyard, below.

Isn’t it beautiful!?

Tomorrow we head to a farmhouse in Tuscany, where I will teach daily painting lessons as we tour the countryside and hill towns.

Until tomorrow, my friends!

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Ahhhhh..,back in Florence. Although my heritage is strictly Scandinavian and Northern European, I feel I’ve arrived home when I land in Tuscany. There is something magical about this city that calls to a distant being who resides inside me.

Oh, and there is this:

The view from my room. That calls to me too. 😄

As part of our tour, today we visited a local goldsmith workshop, Laboratorio Nerdi. Daniela, the goldsmith, shared her process with us.

She uses a very small saw to create intricate patterns into gold.

And a mallet to hammer fine silver or gold rings for bracelets and necklaces.

A few of us purchased much-needed jewelry at the shop as Daniela wonderfully demonstrated her passion and love for her art.

Next, we headed to Zecchi, for drool-inducing art supplies. Drool-inducing, that is, if you are an art nerd like me. 😀 Best art shop!!

After a spritzer, food, and a glass of wine, it’s time to retire to my room, where I’ll fall asleep with the window open, warm Tuscan air on my face, and the echos of Italian conversation floating in on the breeze.

Until tomorrow, my friends.

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Preparing and packing for Paint Tuscany 2018! I had no idea three years ago when Gina and I created Paint Tuscany workshop and tour adventure that we be able to continue to offer the trip annually. It’s a dream come true! Ahhhh…Tuscany. Love! Can’t wait to return next week!

I’ve been compiling new painting lessons this month, all Italian themed, while I dream of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Take off in one week! And I still haven’t packed my clothes. Paints and brushes? Yes. Clothes? Later. 😃

I’ll be posting daily blogs as I’m there. Check in or follow me to get posts on our adventures. Who knows, maybe you join us next year!

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The focus for today’s event was not so much about painting, but more about 2 tours and individual free time in Florence. 

First, a stop at my “official favorite” store in Florence : Zecchi, an art supply store. I place the phrase in parenthesis because I have so many favorite stores in Florence!

Best art supply store!

After visiting about 4 or 5 times this trip, I managed to control my purchases and only bought a pad of watercolor paper. They have the most wonderful sable brushes, with their logo imprinted on the side; a treasured purchase I made on my first day here. The group purchased watercolor paints, paper, brushes, and other items. On our first day in Italy, we all purchased aprons from this store that we used for the entire workshop. You can see the aprons in our photo day seven. 

Afterwards,  we headed across Ponte Vecchio to tour Il Papiro,  a paper shop. But we had to get a pic on the bridge, of course. 

At Il Papiro,  Gina had set up a tour to observe the company’s process in marblizing paper. 

Gianni, illustrating his marbling technique

And then, much to my suprise, Gianni offered to let me try! I couldn’t believe it!

First the apron.

Tap, tap, tap the acrylic pigment into the base.

Drag a tool through the paint to make designs

Another tool, like a comb, makes the floral pattern

Ta-da!

 Wow. Love!!!

Next, we visited an apothecary. 

Santa Maria Novella Farmaceutica

The aroma in the building? Orange, clove, and herbal spices. Gorgeous.  

Late afternoon, we met up in our apartment for one last painting session. The group finished their paintings, and we visited about our experience, summarized our trip  and planned next year!

Final group meeting.

Pictures of everyone’s art by person:

What an amazing  trip. Now, homeward bound to plan next year!

Thanks to all those in group who provided pics to me what my phone camera was full. You know who you are. 

More pics and posts to follow when I get home. 

For now, arrivederci!

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