Fiji

As a kid I lived for a few years in the Fiji Islands and have always had strong memories of the beauty of the place. Recently I was invited back for a wedding and jumped at the chance. We stayed on the east side of the main island, which wasn’t my old turf, but is probably the more picturesque side (and it is certainly the drier side).

Here are a few from Musket Cove Resort where the wedding party stayed, and Namotu Island Resort where we went for lunch a couple of times. Musket Cove is on a large island with lots of subject matter (well, mostly beaches and palm trees). Namotu is an amazingly beautiful little dot of sand next to some of the best surf breaks in Fiji.

manolo lailai Fiji

From the Point, Manolo Lailai. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

airport beach Fiji

Airport Beach. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

musket boats Fiji

Boats at Musket Cove. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

musket beach Fiji

Beach on Ratu Nemani Island. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

namotu Fiji

The Beach at Namotu. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

jet ski Fiji

Jet Ski at Namotu. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

I hope to get back soon with real equipment and do a focused painting trip (though that 23 hour flight in steerage is quite brutal).

Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Many of the posts on this blog are about my travels, as I find it more interesting. However, I do live in one of the more picturesque places around and paint here quite often. The problem with plein air painting in Tuscany is that the Chianti region, where I usually stay, is actually terrible as far as subject matter goes. The small olive trees are fine if painted up close, but the little blue blobs are really unsightly when seen from afar. And don’t get me started on vineyards… parallel lines from a distance?

That said, Tuscany also has some of the best plein air subjects in the world, especially the rolling hills and wheat fields south of Siena. My other favorite spots are the Mugello, north of Florence, and Maremma, along the coast to the southwest.

Here are couple from a trip to the Val d’Orcia:

banfi Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Vineyards at Poggio alle Mura. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

station at bibbiano Landscape Painting in Tuscany

The Old Station at Bibbiano. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

The Gulf of Baratti has to be one of the more beautiful bays in Tuscany, though it can be a bit too pretty.

chapel at baratti Landscape Painting in Tuscany

The Chapel of San Cerbone at Baratti. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

We stayed with friends on a couple of July weekends and I ended up painting around the house a lot to avoid the crowds.

well and barbeque Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Barbeque and Well at Torrenuova. (Needs to be cut down still).

bridge at torrenuova Landscape Painting in Tuscany

The Bridge at Torrenuova. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

I also painted a bit further north, on the coast near Bolgheri.

road at palone Landscape Painting in Tuscany

White Road at Palone. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

pines at palone Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Stone Pines at Palone. 30 x 40 cm, oil on panel.

palone Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Palone, the Beach. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

And lastly, I painted a bit in the hills above Lucca, which was new to me this summer and is an area I would love to paint more thoroughly.

bagni di luca Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Bagni di Lucca. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

benabbio Landscape Painting in Tuscany

Clothes Hanging at Benabbio. 20 x 25 cm, oil on panel.

Castello di Reschio Paintings

Here are a few plein air paintings from stays on a friend’s estate over the last couple of weeks.

castello di reschio Castello di Reschio Paintings

Castello di Reschio. 20 x 25 cm, oil on panel.

reschio tractor Castello di Reschio Paintings

Fields and White Road. 30 x 40 cm, oil on panel.

road through the woods 507x600 Castello di Reschio Paintings

Road in the Woods. 25 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

There is a tent they use for events which I was quite partial too. Here is a sketches from the north side, trying to get the effect of the light coming through the cloth.

tent2 Castello di Reschio Paintings

The Tent, Reschio #2. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

And a few more from the area:

P1050220 Castello di Reschio Paintings

Reschio. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

cypresses 420x600 Castello di Reschio Paintings

Cypresses. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.

poplar 499x600 Castello di Reschio Paintings

Poplar at Umbertide. 25 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

Levitan Show and Catalog

levitan catalog Levitan Show and Catalog

There is a large exhibition of the work of Isaac Levitan on at the moment in Saint Petersburg to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth. Unfortunately I wont be seeing it as it closes tomorrow. I did manage, however, to pick up the catalog directly from the printer. There are a lot of paintings I had never seen published before and overall the reproductions are quite good, even if the catalog itself is rather petite.

Anyways, if you’re interested, you can contact the printer directly here. It was €38 with shipping to Italy.

Montefalco Plein Air

Here are a few paintings from my trip to Montefalco. Again, one of the more picturesque spots on Earth. I’ve been trying to update my geotagged landscape archive so people can take advantage of all the hours I spend scouting around for views (see my earlier post if you have no idea what I’m talking about).

My painting companions this time were Greg Horwitch, Ebba Heuman, Alex Rooney and Rupert Alexander (if anyone was wondering why it’s been raining in Italy for the last two months, it’s because Rupert has been trying to paint outside since early May).

This time, I was very partial to the Clitunno river which runs north through the valley.

clitunno Montefalco Plein Air

Fig Tree on the Clitunno at Casevecchie. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

clitunno 2 Montefalco Plein Air

Tractor Bridge on the Clitunno. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

clittuno 3 Montefalco Plein Air

Another Tractor Bridge on the Clitunno. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

We were there for wheat field season. Always one of the best times for plein air painting. Here are a couple of larger paintings of the fields.

wheat fields Montefalco Plein Air

Wheat fields below Montefalco. 90 x 110 cm, oil on linen.

trasimeno fields Montefalco Plein Air

Wheat Fields on the Trasimeno. 80 x 100 cm, oil on linen (work in progress).

Our scouting trips took us quite a ways from Montefalco. Here are some sketches from further north.

trasimeno boats Montefalco Plein Air

Sunset, Trasimeno. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

montalera Montefalco Plein Air

Hay Bales at Montalera. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel

poggio delle corti Montefalco Plein Air

Poggio delle Corti and Perugia. 60 x 80 cm, oil on linen (in progress still).

The holy grail of landscape painting is a foreground, middle ground and background which compose together beautifully. The combination of the flat central valley, rolling hills, and mountains in this part of Umbria, combined with wheat fields, poplar trees, and picturesque hilltop towns, makes this one of the best areas to paint in Italy.

Here are some action shots from the trip:

cigar box palette Montefalco Plein Air

Painting meter large canvases with a cigar box.

greg Montefalco Plein Air

Greg at Casevecchie.

ebba Montefalco Plein Air

Ebba on Lake Trasimeno.

alex Montefalco Plein Air

Alex below Montefalco.

rupert Montefalco Plein Air

Rupert scouting the wheat fields.

land rover Montefalco Plein Air

Me getting up over the olive trees near Trevi.

Zecchi’s Antichi Maestri Medium

antichi maestri Zecchis Antichi Maestri Medium

Zecchi is now selling the medium I recommend pre-mixed to save painters the trouble of making their own. The recipe is the usual: 1 part Canada balsam cut with 1 part turpentine, and then that mixture is added to 2 parts Zecchi sun-thickened linseed oil. The item number is 3882 ” Medium Antichi Maestri” and the price is €12 for a 125ml bottle and €22,50 euro for the 250ml bottle. (They ship abroad too, check out their website for more details).

I tried to get them to name it after Theodore de Mayerne or to call it the “Cecilian medium” as Charles Cecil developed a similar version (adding mastic varnish) based on his reading of de Mayerne’s manuscript on 17th century painting techniques Zecchis Antichi Maestri Medium, but no dice.

‘Old Master Medium’ is so trite.

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Trevi Sketches

These are a few of the sketches from my ten day workshop near Trevi, Umbria. Daniela Astone and I would get up at dawn to get a painting in before classes started so most of the paintings are early morning sketches. The dawns go so fast in June though, and we were west of a mountain range so we often had to sit and wait for the sun to come up over the hill.

P1040556 Trevi Sketches

St. Vincenzo Ferreri, Trevi. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

P1040558 Trevi Sketches

Haybales Sketch. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

P1040570 Trevi Sketches

Trevi. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

P1040560 Trevi Sketches

Haybales sketch, Trevi. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Sketches of Shqipëria

This is a somewhat embarrassing post, after the buildup about my trip to Albania. The truth is I was exhausted after all the painting I’ve done so far this year and when I got there I just slept on the beach for a week. I did manage to rouse myself on a couple occasions to paint some beach scenes.

beachstore Sketches of Shqipëria

Beach Cart at Durazzo. Oil on board, 20 x 25 cm.

durazzo Sketches of Shqipëria

Umbrellas at Durazzo. Oil on panel, 20 x 30 cm.

manandthesea Sketches of Shqipëria

Durazzo. Oil on panel, 20 x 30 cm.

sanpietro Sketches of Shqipëria

San Pietro. Oil on panel, 20 x 30 cm.

This was my fourth trip to Albania, but the last three times I’ve traveled exclusively in the south. This trip I did manage to make it up north into the mountains for a scout and painted a couple of sketches.

boga Sketches of Shqipëria

Guesthouse at Boga. Oil on panel, 25 x 20 cm.

utz Sketches of Shqipëria

The Old Farmhouse, Boga. Oil on panel, 25 x 35 cm.

The mountains above Scutari (Shkodër) are very unspoiled, with picturesque little villages and very friendly people. The roads get really bad after a while (and the electricity ends) so we couldn’t make it very far with the small 2-wheeled car we had. This September I’ll go back for a longer trip with my Land Rover.

Here is a short video I took from the car while scouting around the north. So much of landscape painting is driving or walking looking for views…

Scouting in Albania from Marc Dalessio on Vimeo.