Monday, 21 September 2015

Lemons, lemons, lemons

Oil on mdf wood, 20x 20cms

These are lemons from my garden earlier this year.  They're not perfect, they're uneven shapes but they smell and taste wonderful.  Sicily is famous for its lemon cultivation, although  in recent years it seems to be in decline.  The price of  lemons on the market is so low that it is not worth while growing them.
When we first bought our house the fields around us were golden yellow in the spring with fruit.Wild fires and construction have sadly changed that forever.

This is my original sketch in watercolour, I decided to lose the reflection from the glass dish as it looked odd  and untidy.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

People Watching

Do you like people watching?  I find it fascinating to observe my fellow humans and their habits, even inventing characters and lives for them..
There is an art  to the social science of watching without being noticed and  I like to sketch or even photograph people discreetly.
A nice place to sit with a coffee is ideal, as in this case on the seafront at Siracusa.
These local lads were chatting and watching a friend fishing. it was the beginning of the summer holidays so I could imagine them planning some exciting activities for the coming months and wonder if they'd caught anything.

Later in the day as the sun went down I sat in almost the same place with a pizza, people were very relaxed walking and chatting.  This man and his dog were out for an evening stroll...I couldn't resist!
I enjoy painting my 'unaware' subjects, but I'm never sure if one day they'll come cross their portrait by accident online. I d love to know their reaction and is it allowed anyway? mmmm..

Both are oil paintings are 20x20cms on mdf board.

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!


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