Tag Archives: watercolour

Santa Maria Maddalena (as a monster)

maddalena_churchPiazza Maddalena is one of my favourite places in Rome and my favourite bar is there too. On my last trip we discovered it, one block north of the Pantheon. It is one of these places I can spend a lot of time gazing across the piazza. The church is beautiful both inside and out. Some accounts say it is baroque, some rococo. What would I know! But it is the burial place of the patron saint of health care workers. The window has a Red Cross, (thanks, spell-checker, for the capital letters) and in the evening the cross is surrounded by beautiful mother of pearl pastel colours. Once inside, you realise that this is actually the painted ceiling of the church.

On my last trip I spent time here but was only brave enough to sketch the blocked up door on the lower right. Now I am doing monsters I bravely had a go at the whole thing. This is the monster I am happiest with, even though it falls off the bottom of the page. I have Inma Serrano and Lynne Chapman to thank for these sketches.

papas_cafeOn this visit to Rome, I was alone and I did a lot of wandering around. I didn’t want to see any more ‘sights’ or to be in any more museums. I wanted to be outside…to be in Rome.  I found two areas previously unknown to me that really appealed.

I was heading for the Rome beads shops. Through this, I discovered the Via del Governo Vecchio and the surrounding streets. I bought a few beads then explored the streets that run towards Corso Vittorio Emmanuele. Interesting shops, nice small streets, plenty to see.

Another street I found that day was the Via del Orso which I discovered on my way from the laundry. This is where I bought some of these gorgeous papers. (I have to show you the rest!) A lovely street with interesting shops and cafes. I ate a delicious wrap and had a beer at Papa’s Cafe, as I hadn’t stopped all morning.

So it was in the evening I ate a risotto, drank red wine ( chilly) and sketched the Maddalena.



Filed under collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, Rome, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Rome again…..naturally.

barberini_gardenSketching on my first day in Rome with Kelly Medford at Palazzo Barberini. Kelly, who teaches oil painting in Rome,was taking a watercolour class with Marta Cerrini. Well, I would have liked to do that too. I really liked what Marta was showing Kelly. If you click on her name you can see watercolours from that day. But I was really too tired to take it in, so…..next time.

Palazzo Barberini
was the villa and gallery I visited twice on my previous trip. You can see my solar plate etching of the same drawing from my previous trip here.

I came to Rome, sharing a compartment on the train,with a young man in the most amazing military uniform. Would have loved to take a photo, but I couldn’t.

imageBack to my favourite hotel near the Piazza Borghese. People everywhere. The Via del Corso and surrounding streets are car-free at the weekends now, and my taxi had to crawl along the street to the hotel.

I went right out again to join the crowds in the Corso. Italian friends have told me that things are bad in Italy, but not by the way they are shopping on this Saturday afternoon in Rome. Having had more time to look at the shops this trip, I am amazed by the makeup shops in Italy, and the cheap prices. Last year in Barcelona, we came across a shop called Flormar, where I bought some long life lipstick (I eat it off nearly as fast as I put it on, and I’ve known for years that my face without lipstick looks stressed.) It seems that Flormar is not Spanish but Italian, and there was one right near our hotel in Palermo. The ladies in our group did a bit of damage to their wallets when they went there on my recommendation. In fact Flormar is everywhere, and there is also Kiko which has similar stock. Also Sephora, which I believe is French. they have a huge range of French perfumes. We get so ripped off for cosmetics in Australia.

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Filed under collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, Rome, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Santa Maria della Pieve again

pieve_2Last day in Arezzo, I had to sketch the Pieve again, and not as a monster this time. So off to Caffe Vasari for lunch, some bruschetta and a sketch of Santa Maria della Pieve.

It was slower, not to sketch it as a monster, and the colour was put on afterwards. A monster sketch gets finished on site. I don’t know that it looks any better than the monster sketch, so what’s that about? Stick to monsters. The monster sketch is here. And here is the same buildingagain, from a photo I took during my last trip, using magic pencils.

Then my friends called. Back in Arezzo from Florence. I walked down the hill for a glass of red wine with them. Later we found a new place to dine outside, Osteria Il Grottino. Right next to a clothing shop we hadn’t seen before and had to visit again the next morning for a purchase. Something Italian and really cooool to wear next summer.


Filed under Arezzo, collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Arezzo panorama

imageLast full day in Arezzo and I decided not to go to Florence with the others. Instead I went out walking and had breakfast at “The Swiss”, Bar Stefano which is known as “gli Svizzeri”. It is a cafe in the Corso which was one of our breakfast choices. Very Delicious Indeed. See their bruschetta (though not for breakfast).
imageIn fact it was our favourite breakfast place – against the tough competition of the view of Piazza Grande from Caffe Vasari.

After breakfast I decided to go to see the Piero della Francesca frescos. I saw them last time I was in Arezzo, and I decided to pay them another visit. A large group of French people were in there being talked at by their guide. I went to sit in the body of the church to wait, thanking my lucky stars that I was no longer with a group.

imageLater, I walked back up to the very top of the hill, near our accommodation where the Duomo, the cathedral of Arezzo sits. I went through the cathedral, then out into the park nearby. it looks out over a cliff towards beautiful Tuscan countryside, and that was where I sat to sketch.


Filed under Arezzo, collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

The Outlet

Today was the day our friends took us to The Outlet, shopping again. We were short of winter clothes, and besides…..it’s nice to have things to take home from Italy. We caught the train to their village, and they drove us to The Outlet at Foiano. It is a huge place, but relatively deserted. We went round all the shops but found the sizes to be tiny, even too tiny for my travelling companion who takes a very small size.

But finally, a shoe shop where I bought some wonderful cowboy boots. In fact, I didn’t find them myself. I must have been lagging, entering the shop, and my three friends were pointing at the boots, saying “These are for you!”. Strangely, they fitted perfectly and came home with me.

Readers of my blog will know that I have had this craving for a Eurotrash persona since my last trip when I saw many glitzy clothes and shoes. I found the shoes. They are gold, lace up flat shoes with tiny pin holes. Now I am looking for some gold socks to go with them.

Back in Arezzo, after the siesta, a shop was finally open that had a sparkly Eurotrash top I had coveted. I bought it. It was perfect on me. Then Annie said, “Come on, let’s sketch!”, so we went back to Caffe Vasari and I drew a part of the Piazza Grande. We talk about going back to Arezzo and aitting there in the Piazza Grande sketching for a month.

Cold at that time of day though, so we had a warming red wine, then off to Osteria Agania for rabbit and potatoes. And cafe corretto.


Filed under Arezzo, collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Santa Maria della Pieve (as a monster)

pieve_as_monsterSo I have been sketching some ‘monsters’ on my travels and the one building I had to do was this one, Santa Maria della Pieve. Instead of finding somewhere new for lunch, we went back to Caffe Vasari, because it is absolutely perfect for sketching anything in the Piazza Grande. I approached it like a monster (in the method of Inma Serrano, see the links in this post), because I do love it, probably as much as any building in the world. It is quite complicated, and I didn’t want to make a hash of this one, but the monster approach rids me of fear. Unrealistic colour helps with that also.

imageThe part of the building you see in the Piazza Grande is the nave, I guess, the back perhaps. This is the front. It is in the Corso Italia, but you can’t get back far enough for a good look in such a narrow street.

The door they actually use is on the side, where the men in medieval costume were going in that first day. On my previous trip to Arezzo, the first day I saw this church, the conical roof seen in the sketch was shaggy and overgrown, but on our second day trip to Arezzo during that visit, it was having its hair cut.

imageInterestingly there were other sketchers, sitting in front of us in the same cafe. We were underneath the loggia, they were out in the piazza. The man came to look at our sketches while we worked, but we didnt seem to have a language in common. Why didn’t I try harder..other languages!  Concentrating on my sketch, I guess. Lost opportunity.

That evening we ate in a restaurant “La Torre di Gnicche”, that really appealed to me. (Piatti autentici e tipici.) It was just around the corner from the Piazza Grande, at the beginning of a very steep street. On my previous visit, Broni and I had struggled down the street, then watch two young men struggle up with an enornous suitcase.P1030096

Ít had great atmosphere. We ate antipasto, then polpettone. I do like meatballs. And of course we helped reduce the amount of bottles of red wine around the walls.


Filed under Arezzo, collage, Copic Multiliner, Italy, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour