Saturday, September 24, 2011

More from the Sketchbook

With the exception of a couple of drawings that I have not finished coloring this is the last of the work from Italy. This is a Fabriano Venezia Sketchbook that I saw in the Danny Gregory video that I mentioned in the last post. Really nice paper, but the book needs to be clipped to stay open flat. I also could not find them in Italy! I asked all over, but no one had ever seen them. They are made in Italy! Check out Diana Trout's posts about her visit to Fabriano.

We visited some family and the streets had a really nice cobblestone pattern, the inspiration for the drawing below.

I purchase some confetti to bring back to friends and drew it on our kitchen table in Italy. Confetti, as most of you know, is what Americans know as Jordan Almonds. It is very popular in the area we go to and stores are devoted to selling confetti as it is used as gifts to guests of many celebrations or parties.

This was the first drawing in the Fabriano sketchbook and I used the Ph. Martin watercolors. Still not used to them. Again, the inspiration was flowers that I photographed the day TOMA was exchanging currency at the bank.

Below I was at the point of no return in boredom at a lunch. Since I am too lazy to learn Italian, I spend many hours at the dining room table after meals sitting while others talk. I seriously am on the verge of going out of my mind so I whip out the sketchbook and throw caution to the wind at the risk of offending anyone. I completed the flowers at the table and then added the background, paint first--which is not the norm for me. I then decided to incorporate the cobblestone pattern I had seen that day on a walk that followed the lunch. This came before the black and white drawing above.

My usual breakfast. Milk and coffee and two cookies. One of the cookies is called cielle piene and is something that the bakeries in the area make at that time of year. They are incredible! They are a flakey cookie dough filled with this grape filling and swirled to create a round pocket of yummy goodness. There is one bakery in a town called Penadomo, about a half hour away that makes the best cielle piene. The day before we left we travelled there on the scooter and purchased 60 cookies to bring home in our carry-on. We just finished the last of them last weekend.

Below is the bakery where we made the final purchase of these treasurers.

At the far right bottom of the photograph is a picture of the cookies at another bakery that makes them. This is where I got them during the trip as this bakery is on the way to many places we travelled to. They make them second best to the bakery above. 
Off to the gym...

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Scanned Sketchbook Pages

Finally I had some time to scan in some of my sketchbook pages. I took this handmade book with me. I purchased it from Diana Trout during a class I took with her and decided to use it rather than save for when I am better at drawing.

Above is a drawing of some flowers that were in a planter where we were invited to celebrate a young woman's 29th birthday.   

Below is a still life I set up with some stuff I found in a kitchen cabinet and tomatoes and peppers that someone gave us from their field. The pitcher is ceramic and the the woman is a brass toothpick holder. I liked her so much I brought her home. There is also a pine cone I picked up from the property. It was my first time using the Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors. I purchased a set of 14 (set A) before I left Philadelphia and took them and a million other art supplies with me. I was inspired to use them because of the Danny Gregory "Art of Breakfast" video and because the Dean of the School where I work had also suggested them to me. They take a little getting used to and I need some practice in mixing. They are radiant!

Below is actually the first drawing I did after arriving. When we arrive, TOMA's uncle sends us home with tomatoes from his field and a bottle of olive oil. The next morning TOMA starts saying hello to people (while I am still sleeping) and they give him fruit and veggies from their fields. So here we have a bowl of tomatoes and potatoes, a basket of grapes, a bag of peaches (peaches not in view) a crazy cucumber, a timer (that we brought from the States for the pasta), a potholder and a glass of water with a sprig of basil. This is all sitting on the wood burning stove in the kitchen. I am not sure whether it works or not, but is connected to a pipe in the ceiling so it is still there.

I posted this drawing before I colored it, so here it is complete.

This is just a finished "doodle." When people see these "doodles", they say I should design fabrics.  I think people think it is so easy to get a job like that--I just give a half-hearted smile and thank them for the compliment.

Below, the left side is a view of the town, Roccascalegna from the picnic area. I got a zillion mosquito bites painting it. On the right is a moth from a photo on the Internet and a flower that I photographed when I was waiting for TOMA to exchange some currency at the bank.

I have not drawn anything since I have returned. I have actually done nothing creative but shop at the Pennsylvania Quilt Show last Saturday. I did buy some nice stuff and spent a nice "chunk of change."

Baci e abbracci

Monday, September 5, 2011

Italy Continued

I have not had the chance to scan any artwork--been busy getting food in the house and I went to the gym for the first time since October. In October I stopped going to the gym, but started walking--lost 10 pounds and had the surgery on my feet and gained almost 20 pounds since. I am really unhappy with my weight and vacation is O-V-E-R! I actually lost a couple of pounds on vacation as I was eating very healthfully the first 2 weeks. The last few days while traveling towards home, not so good, so I expect to gain until I start to loose with the new regimen.

Right before we left for Italy, I photographed  the 2 gifts I gave my mother. The first is a picture of her parents that has been quilted and framed. And the second is the quilt--photo taken outside at night.

One of the first drawings I did in Italy was of this dilapidated building called "Lu Casoine de Mastrofiore." I photographed the drawing while on vacation.

The rooster was one of many in the coup at a picnic lunch we were invited to attend to celebrate a friend's daughter's birthday. As usual the food was abundant and delicious. I had a little bit of homemade red wine. It was so strong that someone poured Coke into it so I could drink it. I usually mix gazosa with red wine when in Italy, but they had none at the table. The Coke was surprisingly good. It made me so drowsy after lunch, I actually fell asleep on a chair.

To be continued...

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back in Philadelphia

We are home... This year I was not as anxious to come home as usual. We always feed the same two dogs and at least one stray cat, but this year, one of the strays was very friendly and we bonded with him. He is just a baby, but so affectionate, I even let him into the house and he sat on our laps. He was very hard to leave behind. I fear he will starve. The part of Italy we go to is farm land: grapes, olives, fruit, etc. They don't neuter or spay, which drives me crazy. There are too many stray cats and they do not have long lives. Some people feed them like we do, but not enough. The dogs run around on their own, even if they have have homes. I named him Orsetto:

I left a note for a neighbor who was in the States when we were in Italy. I am hoping they will look after him and set out food for him. TOMA cooked for him. He ate anything we gave him, including bread. The dogs on the other hand, well fed and picky, would only eat mortadella.

I will post pictures over the next few weeks, including some of the drawings I completed. 

Around the House:

One of the many lizards running around the property

Snails sunning on a tree

One of the two mortadella dogs--a mom and her son

One of the olive trees

Baci e abbracci