Every time I leave for my painting workshop in the Apennines mountains along the Tuscan border in Italy, I have the same excited feeling, meeting new people and seeing others who might have taken the journey before. The June 2014, which has just passed, was special because Ev Hales came for the first time, bringing her expertise. I was sure everyone would enjoy her love of painting. Ev enjoyed herself because not only were we painting Plen Air with excellent locations at various villages, towns, cities but for also having a large studio in our hotel to work from.
Coming with us enables you to wander down an isolated country lane to find a mestra (old Shire), with ancient frescos within. The artist is admired and respected by the town’s residents and are often invited to enter their homes.
The highlights of the 2014 June tour – celebrated a 60th Wedding Anniversary as well as celebrating a special birthday, Ev Hales was approached by the Italian Council of Cutigliano to hold an exhibition of all the works next time she is in town, two of our artists sold their paintings to the locals, every class from the Prep to High School level came to visit our mini-exhibition at the hotel (as they had seen us paint in Palagano and were curious).
The Mayor of these country towns welcomed us and provided their own public building for our use in case of unexpected weather. Everywhere had an opportunity to study all mediums but the best option was the faithful pen and paper for subject matter, which could then be transposed for art projects on your return.
The artist had time to explore, shop and be total engrossed in the learning provided by Ev Hales.
On the bus, I recounted stories of the history of art, the region, the fables and customs of the mountain people.
Our hotels continually provided fresh regional foods, at which some participants suggested I conduct a separate gourmet tour. The region is renowned for its special recipes using local products and local wines – which may come to fruition down the track!
Enjoying each other’s company, producing works of art which reflected the region, tasting the meals, marks Ev’s and my anticipation of our return in Sept 2014 (which is now all full).
However, I am planning my next trip to this region with options for further exploring in Italy, with Ev for Sept 2015 and Regina Hona for June 2016.
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