Rivers and Trees

Trees and rivers are my inspiration here, they make up for buildings and the roads in towns. We are in Ligura at 370mt above sea level surrounded by chestnut trees, oak, walnut, hazelnut, acacia, pines and many more.  Most of the trees I guess are about 40 years old, many grown up from long forgotton terraces that were cultivated when the valleys were more densely populated with people. This is an old nut tree, one of the survivors because it will always feed you!

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Il Vecchio Noce. Oil on panel, 20cm x 30cm.

Just around the corner the river runs wild in heavy rain. The roaring of the water is exciting after a year of dry weather. I did this painting from a window looking down onto the river as it rained, it was luxury plein air painting with all the comforts of heat and a dry palette without those annoying raindrops that accumulate onto the brushes and make the colours feel as if you are painting with vaseline!

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River in January. Oil on panel, 35cm x 45cm.
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Autumn.

Here are a couple of paintings just before we move into winter!

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Kaki Tree. 35cm x 45cm, oil on wood.
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Picking Chestnuts. 20cm x 30cm, oil on wood.

Paths and a Patch.

Here are some paintings of where I live in Liguria, Italy.  They were all done in Spring and from life hence the spring greens.

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The Way to Santa Maria. 60cm x 50cm, oil on panel.

There is a man in Santa Maria, this small hamlet above who once gave us some delicious onion sets from seeds that he has been using from the past fifty years, and before.  They are the sweetest onions to be eaten raw in salads or stuffed.  Not many people around here buy seeds but have been reseeding from the existing plant.  So they say the tomatoes that are easily diseased are always the seeds bought from the mass producers in the shops!

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Path in Spring. 35cm x 45cm, oil on wood.

This road takes you to another nearby village called Sasseta. Thirty years ago there was only a mule track but times have changed and there is now a road which even more bumpy than the mule track.

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In the Garden. 75cm x 90cm, oil on canvas.

Our vegetable garden with sunflowers and cucumbers and various other things including my children having a snack 🙂

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Wisteria before Bloom. 20cm x 30cm, oil on wood.

There is something I find a bit overwhelming when painting a Wisteria tree when it is in full bloom so here is a little sketch of it about to come into flower.

Ciao for now and just to keep up to date I will be posting some paintings from this summer soon!

The local religious hangouts.

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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.

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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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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.