Sketches from Italy

SketchMonteriggioni

Sketch from Monteriggioni,Tuscany 4″x 6″

What a wonderful adventure in Italy!  I just returned from Tuscany and the Cinque Terre where I traveled with a group of artists and photographers.  We spent most of our time exploring, sketching, and painting the hill towns of the Cinque Terre and Tuscany.

I was able to sketch this scene of the grapevines which acted as an awning across the piazza from my table at a cafe. Monteriggioni is located in Siena province of Tuscany. It is noted for its architecture, piazzas, and was mentioned in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

I was drawn to the shadow patterns created by the grapevines on the wall. It is certainly true that when one takes the time to sketch on site, the details of the scene are set in our minds more than a quick snapshot. Enjoying a cup of cappuccino and then a lunch of prosciutto and melon with a glass of sparkling water or “fizzante” helped me to slow down and notice the details.

Earlier on the trip I sketched in Vernazza which is one of the villages of the Cinque Terre. The pastel colored houses surround a small marina.  Due to rough seas, the boats were stored along the narrow street that leads down to the water.  I sketched from a bench which was behind the boats, so I felt comfortable and able to work away from the stream of tourists. The next afternoon was rainy which allowed for time to add the watercolor to the inked sketch.  A glass of local wine helped to make a relaxing afternoon  back in the hotel garden room sheltered from the weather.

ASketchwithWine.jpg

Sketch in Progress

SketchVernazza

Sketch from Cinque Terra, Italy  4″x 6″

Technical Notes: Stillman and Birn Beta Series sketchbook, Micron Archival Pen,
Watercolors by Daniel Smith, Winsor Newon, Mameri Blu in New Gamboge, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine, Raw Sienna, Sap Green, and Dragon’s Blood

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Americana

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5x7, pen and wash

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5×7, pen and wash

Recently I visited family in Massachusetts and we stopped by the Marshfield Hills General Store which is now owned by actor and comedian, Steve Carrell. In a Boston Globe interview Steve, a native of Massachusetts,  explained that he saw this as an opportunity to preserve a little piece of history. He felt that the gathering places of general stores give people a sense of community. The Carrells have owned the store since 2009.

I remember going to this store in the early 60’s with my friend who lived nearby.  She and I rode horses, stopped and tied them outside on a post, and entered the store for a snack.   When I visited the store with my parents last week, it was a snowy afternoon filled with memories of the town where my father was once a high school  science teacher. How wonderful that Steve Carrell appreciates the importance of preserving this general store!  The Marshfield Hills General Store and Post Office is located at 165 Prospect Street in the Marshfield Hills Historic District.

Technical notes: Studio sketch from a photo of the Georgian Colonial General Store in a Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, Micron pen and Watercolors by Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhine River Sketches

I just returned from a river cruise down the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. At each port a local guide took us on a walking tour on the city. On the third day after the tour of Strasbourg, France in the Alsace region, I found time to get in some sketching. I was able to enjoy a café au lait at a café across from the half-timbered Tanners Building from 1572 in La Petite France section of the city. I sketched most of the details on location with a Micron .005 archival pen and later add watercolor wash using a photo for reference. I loved the charm of this section of the city and hope that shows. Here is the sketch:

Petite France Strasbourg

Petite France
Strasbourg


The next time that I was able to sketch was in Cologne, Germany. After touring the Cologne Cathedral we stopped for lunch at the Kolsch Brauhaus. Generally, I prefer a glass of wine to beer, but decided that I should sample the local speciality. Kolsch is an all barley pale ale which went well with my shrimp salad. I didn’t try the huge sausages that were served on huge wooden planks. My sketch is my view from the outdoor table of the ornate Rathaus framed by the awning and flanked by other buildings. Again, I sketched with my Micron pen and later added the watercolor. The intricate detail of the Rathaus was more than I could attempt during lunch. But, I think I was able to get the essence of the scene. Here is the sketch from Cologne: Prost!
Sion Kolsch Brauhaus Cologne, Germany

Sion Kolsch Brauhaus
Cologne, Germany