Sunday, 16 August 2015

Something Fishy

Oil on mdf board 20x20cms

I prefer to have my fish cooked for me in a restaurant( I don't like the lingering fishy smell in my house), but I do love to see the fish stalls at the open air markets.  The fish look so shiny and colourful it tempts you to buy even if you don't  know your sardines from your shellfish!
These fish are  called Luveri, no idea what that translates to in English. I didn't buy any but they looked good enough to paint.

I love food markets at anytime, this little one is in the old part of Siracusa.

If you're on holiday it's the ideal place to get a bag of fruit to take to the beach or some tomatoes for a quick lunch, just add some fresh crusty bread and a lump of cheese.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Old, Old House


Sitting in the shade of a tree on a very hot day, I sketched a corner of this beautiful 18th century villa. Several years ago I sketched and photographed the same villa from outside on the road..   I could just about see over the walls and I wished  could get inside to have a look around.
This summer I got my wish. 


Villa Sant Isidoro de Cordova was opened to the public for the first time this month.  The inside is like a museum as everything is intact and as the Cordova family left it. The walls, ceilings and doors are decorated and painted in gold leaf, one room leading onto another in the French 'enfilade' style.
The family hoarded and kept objects and personal items through the years and there are collections of toys, books and clothes, looking as if the owner has just popped out and will soon be back.
(Very slightly creepy)

The gardens have been returned to their former glory and out houses are full of agricultural items, including olive presses and hunting gear.
The young man who gave me a guided tour told me I could sketch from the gardens whenever I want... so I will thank you very much!


Monday, 13 July 2015

Mr Sardine

20x20cms oil on mdf board
I've been down on the seafront again, sneakily observing the fishermen sorting out their nets.They check and and pile them up on the boat ready to be thrown swiftly overboard.

I was halfway through this painting when a tv show about Italian coastal life was dedicated to our nearby fishing villages.  One of the stars of the show was none other than my fisherman and his nets, now I know his name is 'Mr Sardine'....really it's kidding!

Here he is if you want to see him on film  Ignore the adverts and go to the 3rd part at 19:25 mins

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Fresh Flowers

Oil on mdf wood 20x20cms 
Here's one of my latest small paintings available on Etsy.
Once a week a group of friends meet up at Gabriella's to paint. In the summer we paint outside in her garden.  This little jar of yellow crocuses looked so pretty and fresh I had to paint them.  I took the jar outside and included the beautiful shadows in the painting too.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Peace and Quiet

A lot to catch up on as I've had a little blog/fb/art break, just enough to recharge my batteries!
Starting from the most recent, yesterday was a sketchcrawl day for the Palermo Urban sketchers.  We went to S.Giovanni degli Eremiti (St. John of the Hermits church), a ruined monastery and church in beautiful peaceful gardens.
My first sketch was from halfway up a bell tower, I quickly sketched while my companions climbed to the top....the rickety spiral staircase was just one step too far for me.  I should have smelt danger when we were given crash hats at the entrance!   Colour added later.

The view was great across the city looking towards the cathedral.

The cloisters inside the garden were my favorite, slim delicate columns and arches among the trees.


The church originally from 6th century became a mosque during the Arab domination of Sicily and is in an Islamic architectural style. It was returned to a Christian chuch by the Normans 1130-1148.

 It is built of simple geometric shapes, five cubes (earth) with  domes (the sky) on top.
The red domes are symbol of the city.

Even with tourists milling about it was still a quiet, special place in the middle of a bustling city, well worth a visit!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The postman bought me some goodies!

Here is my new Koi pocket field sketch box by Sakura.  This is the middle size with 18 colours, it comes complete with a Koi waterbrush and dinky sponges to wipe the brush on.
What I like about this set is the detachable mixing palette that can be attached to either side of the box and the possibility to use the lid as a mini easel for a small sketchbook or postcard sized watercolour paper. It can all be held on one hand using the thumb ring underneath.
The colours are bright and mix well although I did read that the orangey colour is fugitive. 

It wasn't expensive and is well made apart from the plastic insert that contains the paint, which is flimsy.
You can see how I tested it out in my previous post, but it was fun and comfortable to use.

This week my book arrived from the sketchbook project.. I had to have a copy seeing as one of my sketches was included. Page 137 for the record!

It's an interesting book, very creative and inspiring full of so many different styles and ideas, so I'm glad I bought it!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hidden Away

Yesterday  was another day out with the Urban Sketchers group in Palermo and a chance to try out my new  pocket field sketch box.

The appointment was at the Castello di Maredolce, a place I had only heard about but never visited. Not so strange as even people who live in the area don't even know it exists.
Maredolce is what is left of a 9th century Arab palace, subsequently taken by the Normans.
It originally stood in its own parkland with a large lake and island, hence the name Maredolce (sweet sea), and is hidden away in one of the poorest and most difficult parts of  the city, behind ugly urbanisation, rather like an oasis in the desert.

It was quite hot so I chose my first view from under the shade of a tree, with my back to what is left of the lake.

The castle has only recently been renovated and they are constantly digging up relics, the man with the keys showed us the little room where they are stored.

Part of the building had been used as a church and I sketched looking up into the tower or what was once a minaret.

Then it was back outside for one last sketch.

I was trying to imagine what the original arab palace looked like and I found this illustration of King FedericoII in a later period.


...and my new field box? I'll save that for another post!


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