Sketches of Shqipëria

Here are the recent paintings from the Albanian coast near Durazzo.

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

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

Durazzo. Oil on panel, 20 x 30 cm.

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.

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

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.

Journeys of a Landscape Painter in Albania, Part I

Years ago I heard about Edward Lear’s book on traveling through Greece and Albania painting landscapes and managed to track down a copy. At the time I was fascinated by the idea of  a writer discussing the technical aspects of traveling and painting en plein air in the nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, Lear’s book has very little discussion of the methods and materials of plein air painting abroad and is more a recount of his travels. His paintings from the area are interesting, but very typical of studio landscapes done from drawings from the period.

I’m off to Albania tomorrow as well, and I thought I’d post a picture of the bare minimum I need to paint for 10 days abroad:

My ultra-portable travel kit for plein air painting.

A cigar-box palette pre-filled with paints, tripod easel with a third hook for the cigar box, lots of  prepared lightweight panels, a sketchbook with eraser and pencil attached, camera, cellphone with gps, and finally, brushes. Not shown are my Cowon mp3 player for painting in traffic and learning Albanian in the car, as well as my (non-flammable) medium in a shampoo bottle. I’ll buy turpentine after the plane lands.

Wish me luck with the weather, it has rained in this part of the world since I can remember.