Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Where Mr and Mrs Duck live

Mr and Mrs Duck sharing a special day(birthday?) on the river.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A Wintery Walk and Christmas Greetings

Snowy fields
Coloured pencil

Merry Christmas!

This is my Christmas card for this year. 

One morning in the UK last year, I woke early  to find that there had been a light fall of snow during the night.  I was nice and warm inside so I sketched the scene from the window sitting in my pyjama's.
This scene was taken from that morning and my imagination.  I first I thought of  a single walker, maybe a famer checking his fields, but that seemed too lonely.  So  I added another set of footprints on the final version printed, and it became two people sharing a snowy walk.

The green/yellow haze in the sky is just my scanner mis-behaving and not some strange weather conditions.

I'm off to the UK tomorrow for Christmas, hopefully their snow will ease off and the airports will be open.  I'll be back in time to make some New Year's resolutions!
A Peaceful and Happy Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Finally finished, Autumn Leaves painting

Autumn Leaves
Oil painting 50x60cms

My favourite season is autumn, I love the colours and the falling leaves.
This painting is just about finished.  There are a few tweaks still to do,
 but I will put it away for a while. It seems to have taken ages to do and is
 the biggest I've done so far. 

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Do not read if you're hungry

Today is Santa Lucia,  a  day when traditionally Sicilians don't eat anything made from flour.

Like most saints there is always more than one legend around, but generally Saint Lucia is known for saving the population from famine in 1636.    So no bread or pasta is eaten to mark the day.  A real sacrifice for Sicilians!

Instead they eat Arancine - balls of rice stuffed then breadcrumbed and fried.    In the photo you can see the pointed ones, they are stuffed with mozzerella and ham and the round ones stuffed with rag├╣ meat sauce, but they can be stuffed with anything ..even chocolate!
Other dishes include chickpea fritters called Panelle and 'La Cuccia'
a sweet pudding made from boiled wheat.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Monstrous Villa

The second of my 'monster' sketches from Villa Palagonia in
coloured pencil.

This is the other statue at the entrance of the Villa.  They are not really frightening and you can see much worse things on tv today,  but they were a creepy spectacle when the villa was built in 1705.
I would like to draw more of these and will make it a project for 2010, but I don't think I will be able to do all 62 of the remaining stone sculptures.

This is what the two statues look like at the entrance to Villa Palagonia.
See my sketch of the the other statue here


Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Monthly Sketch Project - December

A sketch of a 'water fountain' for The Monthly Sketch Project
I did this one with Derwent Graphitint pencils, sketching it first then wetting the drawing with water.
Once its all wet you can push the graphite around with your paintbrush, the more you use the more dense the colour.
I did find that it was quite difficult to get some dark darks, but possibly a better quality paper might hold more graphite layers.
This was a good subject to do as it fits nicely in with my previous post about the statues in an old villa.  I think this is some kind of fish?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Villa dei Mostri

A sketch of one of the first 'monsters' that you meet when you visit Villa Palagonia.  A most intresting place if not a little eccentric.
This one is at the entrance.  Villa Palagonia is a 17c Baroque Villa in the town of Bagheria.  The villa's garden is full of 'monsters', that is to say many statues and caricatures of man-beasts, dwarfs, beggars, ladies and knights.

The story is that the villa was built as the summer residence of the 7th Prince of Palagonia.  He had the statues installed as vengenance towards his pretty but unfaithful wife.  They are supposed to depict her lovers and insult her.

The gardens are very strange, but the villa is also beautiful inside.  This view from what is now the back is one that I have sketched as there is a convienent quiet road leading to the gate.  Sketching all the monsters would make an interesting sketch book.....I can feel an idea coming on!


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