Its been 65 days since the start of Italian lockdown and thankfully the weather in Europe has been mild and sunny which all the more easier if you live in the rural hills and can get ouside exercise and avoid bumping into anyone. Italy’s lockdown has been strict with no one allowed to go outside unless for vitals and the schools have been shut since february, so all the better for staying at home and painting.
Normally I wouldn’t feel the need to explore the woods with my painting stuff close to the house but when there isn’t anywhere else to go you are kind of pushed by the force of adventure and just follow you feet. Woods play a big factor where I live. So after skidding down steep banks with the easel in one hand and tip toeing over slippery rocks with a palette of freshly squeezed paint in the other I found this spot on the river Mangia below our house, it’s a short flat stretch with a warm February midday sun reflecting on the water.
The next river painting is a calm Spring afternoon on the River Vara. The river Mangia flows into this much bigger river that runs along the bottom of the valley. This river is very wide and deep and I liked the reflections from the trees on the water, the colours were lovely and I hope to go back soon. I think we are now allowed to travel for necessity but to be out painting and having a picnic could be seen as having too much fun (!!)
Travelling a little higher up into the hills you can overlook the whole valley from the Alta Via Dei Monte Liguri. The Alta Via is a stony road that takes you all through Liguria and into France and it could be one way in getting back to the UK on feet or wheels or a donkey without having to fly in an aeroplane! The horses in the foreground are privately owned and left to roam the pastures, there are at least fifty horses, some mules too and they are used to work on steep mountain tracks where tractors cannot go. The moutain in the middle is Monte Dragnone, the highest peak in the area. I wanted to get a sense of space in the painting with all the hills receding into the backround with thin washes of paint, (linseed oil and turpentine glazes). Something I find easier to do with winter colours than summer because there are more earthy colours in the undertones.
Here is the passo del Rastrello that is part of the Alta Via from in the previous painting. It is a little colder here and I have come across snow, it looks like I have just taken you through the wardrobe and into Narnia! (I painted this in 2019 when it snowed for a couple of days). This year it has been too mild for any of that kind of weather but it was nice to look at snow and to use different colours than usual.
Dusk from the top of Monte Dragnone. This is the highest mountain in the area at over 1000mt. It takes a steep 20 minute hike to get to the top but once you have arrived there is a Sanctuary that is used during the many religious festa’s. Unfortunately this year they have all been cancelled but the view is rewarding.
Thankyou for looking and I hope you are all safe and well!