Last month when I was still in Naples, Italy, Steven Doherty, the editor of Plein Air Magazine contacted me about doing an article on my trip to Rome. Unfortunately it was only published in the subscription – only digital edition, but I’m very pleased with the article. They graciously allowed me to repost the article. Too see it full screen click on the square to the right of the number “6” at the bottom of this window.
I’m back from Italy, alas. I had a wonderful time and even visited France and Paris, where I liberally sampled the wine and enjoyed some wonderful meals! And I’m plotting my Italian return! Also there are still many paintings, photos, and memories to post from Naples and Sicily and I’m busy finishing those and documenting them.
In the meantime I have embarked on a daily painting auction project. If you are not familiar with the movement this is the practice of doing a small painting on a daily basis and posting them on your blog. It has become quite popular in the last few years. It’s a great way for me to continue my art-practice and offer small, unframed paintings directly. The paintings at the top of this email are all small works I did this past week. And they are available at an auction with a starting bid of only $25-35. The auctions end August 19th.
So here is the first batch. If you enjoy my work, and want to support my project, please pass my website and/or e-mailing list along to your friends.
Right now I am visiting my family in Tryon, North Carolina. It’s a beautiful area in the foothills of the Appalachians about an hour south of Asheville. It’s claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of singer Nina Simone. There is a statue of Simone in the town Center and loads of friendly people.
And here is how they could look if you framed them. At this time the work does not come framed.
Here is a sketch I did for my friends who I visited in SW France in July 2013.
I did this cityscape painting over two days at the Piazza della Minerva in Rome, Italy, one block behind the Pantheon, which you see in the background.
This is one of the most curious monuments of Rome, the so-called Pulcino della Minerva. It is a statue designed by the Baroque era sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini of an elephant as the supporting base for the Egyptian obelisk found in the Dominicans’ garden. The obelisk was brought to Rome by Diocletian, during his reign as emperor from 284 to 305, for placement at the Temple of Isis, which stood nearby.
The inspiration for the unusual composition came from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (“Poliphilo’s Dream of the Strife of Love”), an unusual 15th century novel probably by Francesco Colonna. The novel’s main character meets an elephant made of stone carrying an obelisk, and the accompanying woodcut illustration in the book is quite similar to Bernini’s design for the base for the obelisk. The curious placement of the obelisk through the body of the elephant is identical.
The name for the structure, Pulcino, is the Italian for a small or little “chick”. This may have been a reference to the comparatively short height of the obelisk or, an obscure reference to the major charity of the Dominicans ( whose church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, is in the piazza) to assist young women needing dowries, who made a procession in the courtyard every year.
This painting was done on a cool March night on the Piazza Farnese. My biggest audience were the waiters running back and forth to their storeroom and murmuring words of encouragement: “bella, bella!”
This is the Chiesa di Santa Brigida, a small Swedish church dedicated to Saint Bridget of Sweden, who travelled to Rome in 1350 where she started a new order. The Farnese Palace would be to my left.
By far the best part of my trip to Italy to paint and learn about the culture, has been the local painters and fellow artists I met here.
How did I find them? Continue reading