Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trip to Italy 2012

I took a solo trip to Italy this summer, for the purpose of painting plein air, sketching the art of Renaissance masters, and just enjoying a new culture. (I also got to squeeze in a visit to Amsterdam and the Van Gogh Museum, since I had a long layover.) 

Paintings and drawings I did on location in Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome:

Cinque Terre is a series of five coastal villages in Italy. From south to north, they are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterroso. In this painting, Riomaggiore is behind me, and the other four are on each of the four large outcroppings.
8x10 - oil
Painting along the hiking trail between Manarola and Conniglia. The lump on the far hillside is Manarola.
8x10 - oil
The beach at Riomaggiore
6x8 - oil
Riomaggiore - 9x12 - oil
Manarola - 8x10 - oil
Riomaggiore - 9x12 - oil
Rome, Piazza del Popolo - 9x12 - oil
Sketch of "David" at the Accademia Gallery in Florence
6x8, pencil
"The Pieta" in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
6x8 - pencil
Statue in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
6x8 (cropped) - pencil
Cinque Terre coast at night
6x8 - pencil and ink
Cinque Terre coast at twilight
6x8 - pencil
Rome, near Piazza Venezia
6x8 - pencil

Photos of me in the process, taken by fellow tourists:

At the Accademia Gallery in Florence
Painting in Cinque Terre
Painting in Cinque Terre, same evening

Photos I took in Cinque Terre and Rome
(except for photos of myself)
This is the village of Riomaggiore, where I stayed for 9 nights. This is one of the five villages of Cinque Terre.

Church bells in Riomaggiore

Painting on the coastal trail, along with a Croatian artist who lives in Cinque Terre part of the year.

Meet Chico, who is an artist publicity manager. He actually does a good job, acting silly and attracting onlookers to where we're painting.

"Va, va, va, va, va" 
Please note: If you don't want to hear the f-word, stop the video at about 15 seconds.

The harbor in Riomaggiore.
A musician along the trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola.

Here he is playing some tranquil tunes, suiting the Mediterranean atmosphere, but the train butts in at an inopportune moment. The thundering, squealing train was just part of the soundscape of Cinque Terre, along with the seagulls and church bells.
I didn't take deliberate close-ups of people without their permission. However, when I was trying to photograph this cafe, a woman walked in front of my poised camera, and I felt she was then fair game.
I was painting the coastal sunset, when this young tourist climbed on the rocks and became the subject of this photo.
Then he was joined by his girlfriend, and they started stretching together. I later told them I had taken the photos, and then they took my photo.
A picturesque woman walking along the Via Dell Amore.

Riomaggiore, with flowers and lemons in the foreground.

Mmmm, must be a lot of cooking going on here…

I'm hiking from Manarola to Corniglia, via the trails that go though the mountain vineyards and forest. This is  the steep ascent to Volastra, a little hill village I passed through along the way.
Hiking the vineyard trail between Manarola and Corniglia.
You can see Corniglia in the middle left of the photo, along the coast.

This is what it looked and sounded like up here.
Another steep part of the hike. You can see the pine forest up ahead.
About halfway between Manarola and Corniglia, I stopped to paint Manarola, which can been seen in the upper left distance. You can see my paint gear in the lower right.

This is what it sounded like where I was painting.
Back in my "hometown" of Riomaggiore.

Morning sounds in the hostel.  You can hear the sounds of nature loud and clear, because the terrace doors were left open all night. (Most places in Italy don't have air conditioning) I loved waking up to these sounds every morning.

A kitty at the harbor in Riomaggiore
I mailed my paintings and souvenirs back to the US, using this post office.
Hanging laundry out to dry.
Good night Cinque Terre!
Good morning Rome!
Welcome to Classical Rome.
In the Roman Forum, an ancient era still lingers on.
The Pantheon stands in the mists of antiquity, while the city around it has modernized. Built in 126 AD, it was originally a temple to all Roman gods. It was converted to a Christian church in the 5th century, but it still has an otherworldly presence about it. 

The interior of the Pantheon. This is OLD,  and in eerily good condition. You're looking at what worshippers were looking at nearly 2,000 years ago.
The imposing columns outside the Pantheon. When Michelangelo first saw this temple, he said it was of "angelic and not human design."
St. Peter's Basilica, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. I don't see how this was humanly possible, especially given that it was built about 500 years ago.

I was very fortunate to visit St. Peter's during a mass. The choral singing and organ music added to the ethereal atmosphere of this cathedral.

The best part of this video is at 40 seconds, where a gorgeous male solo voice starts. Too bad it only lasts 10 seconds!
The Pieta, in St. Peter's Basilica. Sculpted by Michelangelo at age 24. 
St. Peter's Basilica has some disturbing imagery on its massive metal doors. Throughout Rome, most of the art depicts divine beauty and human dignity—but when you look closely, you can also find depictions of the bizarre and grotesque.
Staircase ascending from the Vatican museum to a complex of chapels, including the Sistine Chapel.
Back to modern times… The Euro 2012 Soccer Championship was going on during my travels (in other parts of the world you call it football).
Just a fun candid photo.

A priest having fun with a glowstick, at the Piazza del Popolo. You can hear a street musician in the background belting out American tunes on a saxophone.
Good night Rome!

Meanwhile in Amsterdam…