Sunday, 1 March 2015

Seriously Posh Sketchng

Yesterday I went sketching with the Urban Sketchers.  We had permission to sketch inside the beautiful 17th century Palazzo Mirto.  I only managed one sketch as I spent a lot of time just looking...and there is so much to see.  I sketched looking into the Pompadour sitting has decadently elegant silk walls embroidered with flowers. 

Walking through the Palazzo is like a journey through the past.  It was inhabited until 1982 and the furnishings and decorations have remained mostly intact. I loved the beautiful (and enormous) Murano chandeliers.

There wasn't time to sketch the stables, kitchens or bedrooms so we have asked to be allowed back in later this week. Although Palazzo Mirto is open to the public...painting and photographs are normally not allowed. I can't wait to go again!


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Place in the Sun

oil on wood panel 20x20cms

This is one of my cats napping in his favourite sunny spot outside the kitchen door.  Purrrrfect!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Sketchbook Sunday

I sketched these little fishing boats for a 'sketch swap' with the Italian urban sketchers.  I've sent it off to it's secret (for now) new owner and all I have to do now is wait for the postman to bring mine (hopefully) from an unknown person somewhere in Italy.

I have still been continuing with my look at black and have had a go at drawing in's not easy to do without smudging!

I also compared black watercolour paint to mixing my own darks.

On the left are my Schminke watercolours
Permanent carmine + phtalo green (didn't work too well)
Ultramarine + sepia brown
Indigo + burnt sienna

On the right are Maimeri watercolours, which I use a lot more and know which work well.
Red magenta + phtalo green
ultramarine + sepia
Indigo + burnt umber

As you can see none were as dark as the black paint.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sketchbook Sunday

Last Saturday was the 46° Urban sketchers sketch crawl, although it was absolutely pouring with rain a few keen sketchers turned out.  We originally planned to sketch outside but due to the terrible weather we took refuge in the Gallery of Modern art and sat on some steps to sketch the inner courtyard of the antique Palazzo St. Anna.
Most museums and galleries in Palermo are in historical buildings, this one used to be a convent and originally dates right back from 1480.
I managed three sketches  but the third was binned as the subject moved, well I'll paint over it anyway.

Here we are sitting on very cold steps but at least we were dry.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hot Soup, Cold Day

Oil on board 20x20 cms

I have little backlog of paintings to photograph and upload, which doesn't happen very often.
I get immersed in the painting part and forget the rest !
This little oil painting is from a freezing day in the UK and we stopped for something hot to eat in a little cafè  but many other people had the same idea.
It was chock-a-block with coats, bags and bodies and I tried to capture the atmosphere.  This woman was enjoying some hot soup.....I had a sausage sandwich.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sketchbook Sunday

My first sketch is from last week before the rain set in.  I spent a lovely hour sitting in the 17th century garden belonging to a local villa.  The 'corner' I sketched was of a garden seat with obelisks on either side and lemon trees behind. There is one of these garden seats on each corner of a crossroads in the typical layout of an old Italian garden. When I'm sketching somewhere like this I always imagine how it once was, with ladies in big dresses and children in knickerbockers.  

This is a cafè front in Oxford. It was a freezing day and I was drawn to the bright spots of warm colours in the windows. In this sketch from my photograph, I did an under painting in black to see if I could get the darks really dark.
This month I am exploring what I can do with black, a colour that I rarely use.

The colour was painted in over the top and then more black using a coloured pencil.  I still didn't get the darks desired, I think I'm still too hesitant about black.  I need to try harder!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sketchbooks on Show

 I was lucky to catch the last day of an exhibition of sketchbooks organised by the Urban Sketchers group in Palermo.
'Carnet di Viaggio' at the contemporary art museum was based on the annual festivities for Santa Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo. 

Anna Cottone who organised the exhibition called it 'an experience and journey that moves between fantasy and reality at the same time'

All the sketchbooks were all the Japanese accordian style, which were displayed opened out along the shelves all around the room.  They looked fantastic together, I'm so glad I didn't miss it!


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