Lunchtime.

Here are a few paintings of what wasn’t eaten…

fish_annadennis_oilpainting
5 Red Mullets. 32cm x 26cm, oil on wood.
peasandbowl_annadennis_oilpainting
Peas and a Bowl. 35cm x 45cm, oil on wood.

…except in this painting so far most has been eaten, it is our polytunnel during the winter months – as long as salad is popular no one will starve!

saladsinthepolytunnel_annadennis_oilpainting
Salads in the Polytunnel. 70cm x 55cm, oil on canvas.
radishes_annadennis_oilpainting
Radishes. 17cm x 30cm, oil on wood.

The local religious hangouts.

montedragnone
Monte Dragnone. oil on wood, 20cm x 30cm.

Just one building sits on top of this mountain, the Sanctuario della Madonna del Dragnone. Monte Dragnone is just over 1000mt high and it lies in the area of Zignago, in the La Spezia region of Liguria.  It has a very steep and rocky path climbing up beneath the pine trees to the summit where todays Santuario sits.  Built in the 1800’s on a pre-christian site signs of the bronze and iron age have also been found.

sanctuariodragnone_annadennis_oilpainting
The old Oak and the Sanctuario Della Madonna del Dragnone. Oil on wood, 35cm x 45cm.

As popular tradition tells us the Madonna appeared infront of a deaf shepherdess miracolously bringing back her voice.  The spiritual following of the Madonna del Dragnone, Patron of Zignago, is still very popular and on the 8th September pilgrims from far and wide, old and young make their way on foot to the top of Monte Dragnone to the Sanctuary.

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santuariobrugnato_annadennis
Santuario di Nostra Signora dell’Ulivo. 20cm x 30cm, oil on wood.

This 17th century sanctuary of Nostra Signora dell’Ulivo is built on the hills overlooking Brugnato, a small Ligurian town that sits in the valley below Monte Dragnone. The Sanctuary has been built on one of the several oratories that were constructed  by the Brugnato monks in the 7th Century. There wasn’t much room to get a good view of the facade, (and the same problem happened in the Dragnone Sanctuary!) however after a bit of exploring I preferred this view amongst the olive trees overlooking the valley. Each olive tree has metal plaques with names and dates on tied on chains around their trunks, if you are born here in this community then you can have an olive tree planted in your name.

Yellow Roses

yellowroses_annadennis_oilpainting
Yellow Roses, oil on wood. 30cmx 40cm.

I had some yellow roses growing on a wall and with all the sun and dry weather this summer the blooms were at their best!  This is an oil study I painted before they all disappeared.

In this painting I mainly used a flat brush. For me brushes are an important part of my equipment and the flat brushes especially because I find them to be the most versatile because you can make many different strokes, a wide stroke, a narrow stroke and then by twisting a triangular stroke which helped with the petals.

This summer I have been busy with lots of new works and I will post some them as soon as my computer is on the mend 😉

Rainy Days

rainydays
Rainy Days. Oil on wood, 25cm x 35cm.

I don’t know about you but here in the north of Italy it has rained for the whole of June. Where is Summer? This is a study of my daughter who sits still long enough for me to paint, even though it’s nearly summer most days it feels like April!

In this painting I needed alot of Cadmium Red Light for the sofa which is an very intense orange/red – a really bright, bright red!  Other reds verging towards crimson are more darker and duller. I also really noticed while painting this how much cadmium yellow and red pigment I needed to mix into my palette to try and get that cozy artificial light coming in.

Cadmium is expensive to buy but worth every penny. High quality artist’s grade paints generally contain far more pigment than the cheaper student paints so in the long run you use less and they last much longer, both in the tube and on your painting. Once I ground a few tubes of my own cadmium red and that tube really did last along time, it was worth all the effort but now too unhealthy to make your own paints with children about!

May

lavillaabbandonata
La Villa Abbandonata. Oil on wood, 30cm x 40cm.
wisteria
Wisteria. Oil on wood, 30cm x 40cm.

In Italy during May gardens are at their best, even when they have been forgotten but where everything still grows anyway.  I stumbled across this villa and the garden that is almost abandoned and it was fun trying to put some long awaited colours into the greenery, with the spring grasses long and overgrown and the little wild flowers reaching through!

The Orange Tree and La Damigiana.

orangetree
Orange Tree and a Damigiana. Oil on canvas, 30cm x 40cm.

 

Finding a title for a painting is a sometimes a struggle! I chose this view because I liked the effect of the afternoon light on the house and the orange tree with the glass damigiana in the foreground but when it came to finding a title nothing very interesting came up.  In Italy the glass bottle in the foreground is called a ‘damigiana’ and in English a ‘demijohn’.  The word damigiana is definently a more elegant term than the blunter English word demijohn which I wouldn’t have put in the title !

Traditionally in Italy a damigiana is used for wine making and you are always sure to find a good selection of empty ones like this in most rural Italian families although nowadays they are used less due to the more modern ways of wine making. Except you can’t beat a damigiana full of wine compared to a bottle!

Some Inspiration for 2016

This year 2016 the Italian goverment has given 500 euros for each 18 year old to spend on museums and cultural events. What a shame that I am not 18 so here’s to 2016 and maybe a lottery win (!!) to dream and spend on a round the world ticket to go and see these well known paintings from life that inspire me.

giorgio belloni
Giorgio Belloni, Mareggiata. Oil on linen. 40 x 60.5 cm, 1911

Giorgio Belloni (1861-1944) was a well known artist from the north of Italy.  He painted Italian alpine scenes and portraits and specialised in seascapes which were painted from life during summer stays near Genova and the Ligurian Riveria near to where I live.  His paintings are distinguished by a poetic and evocative atmosphere and I love his use of light in this painting.

sorolla
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. “Cosiendo la vela”, 1896

I enjoy looking at Sorolla’s (1863-1923) beautifully painted representation of a group of Spanish fishermen and their wives (?) sewing the sails under the dappled sunlight of Valencia in 1896. Measuring 222 x 300cm it is a big canvas and full of life.

arthur streeton_the purpl moon's transparant might 1896
Arthur Streeton. The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might, 1896

Authur Streeton (1867-1943) is known for his landscapes that capture the unique light and colour of the Australian outback. Often when he painted he bought with him poetry to read, ‘The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might’ is a title influenced from a poem by the poet Shelley that embraces the natural world, the sun, sky, water and mountains. Apparantly the painting was painted in two days while experiencing a fiery trance due to the sweltering Australian heat!

John_Singer_Sargent-An-Artist-in-His-Studio__1904
John Singer Sargent, An Artist in his Studio, 1904.

Here we are looking over the shoulder of the Italian artist Ambrogio Raffele while he paints in his cramped and untidy hotel bedroom during a summer holiday in the Italian Alps with Sargent and his friends. I think this painting is one that Sargent has handled with an extraordinary display of brilliant brushwork. My eyes keep on looking at the back of the artists head as he contemplates his painting.

All the Best for 2016 and thankyou for your support and inspiration!

Winter Pines

Last month I subscribed to Making a Mark a practical and well known blog for artists.  It is packed full of information, techniques and tips for art and business in the art world.

I was happy to see a mention of my painting During the Summer which was exhibited in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, 2015 London show in December. The author goes to many art exhibitions and writes up a blog review afterwards. This was one of them.

Here is the link to her review and from here you can continue to read her other posts:

http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/review-2015-exhibition-of-ROI.html

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas!

A brief scattering of snow in the hills above where we live is all what was given for this quick painting before the year is out. (It was quick because after a bit of standing around I find dark forests get cold and creepy!)

winterpineforest_annadennis
Winter Pines, Oil on Wood, 20cm x 30cm.

Catching Fire.

Catching Fire.  Oil on Board, 25cm x 30cm
Catching Fire. Oil on Board, 25cm x 30cm
Spinach.  15cm x 20cm, oil on board.
Spinach. 15cm x 20cm, oil on board.

Spring here is pretty busy but I didnt want to forget to do a few painting exercises! These two sketches were done alla prima which in italian means at ‘first attempt’ while painting with wet paint on top of wet paint and giving myself 40 mins max for each. I tried to catch just the gesture of the subjects using thick paint in some areas and leaving the darker areas with less. It is a fun and fast way to paint and I found it a good exercise in trying to be confident in putting down each brushstroke and then leaving it, a way which will hopefully earn me in the future to be a quicker painter! Using subjects that are constantly moving is another interesting way to work as you need to remember what you see because when you look back up at the subject from putting down a brushstroke it has changed yet again!