Roundup of Ev Hales Painting Workshop September 2015

From Janette Garbuio

Wow! Where do I start?

Let’s start with beautiful VENICE!

Venice is filled with light, surrounded by sea and is so vivacious! We ventured through this ancient city painting and exploring. We left early by ferry for the islands so not to be crushed by the tourists and returned when we felt like it.

Such is Italian life!

The convent was always a welcome relief after a busy day. We would have time to relax in the peaceful and serene inner garden courtyard before venturing out for a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. Venice at night is magic. With our ferry tickets we were able to experience the brightly light Palazzi in various nooks and crannies.

Eventually it was time to leave to train to the city of Bologna. We explored the hidden towns and markets were the local people in their fine cloths come out and chat while purchasing their fruits and cheeses. Although Bologna is not part of the tour – I still like to showcase parts of Old Bologna include the food stalls which are hidden in the medieval section, which the locals know about. It is such a beautiful town!

Then we started our Painting Workshop in the Appenine Hills (Tuscan/Emilia-Romagna Hills)!

We had the perfect opportunity to paint and follow the instructions and encouragement Ev Hales provided for all. She demonstrated and supported the groups attention-to-detail so they were able to capture the essence of the Frignano region. This was followed by sessions in the hotel studio on our return.

Naturally, I enjoyed relating the legends and history of the region and with its connection to the history of Italy. I would go as far back in time and brought it forth to the present when we went to various locations.

We had a birthday celebration for Elizabeth in Palagano. Sheryl kindly spoke to the hotel to help organise this festive event!

In Italy, the climate can change very rapidly and when this happens it is great to know that the local community is ready to provide another option for us painters. This included the inside of a castle and having natural still life set up (ie: an old kitchen with various  items, a cobbler  or farmer residence). This occurred in the towns of Sestola and Castellerano, where their ancient monuments were open exclusively for our use and the Local Council kindly provided a luncheon for us.

Being hosted on a private property where an old 15th century watermill still grinds the farmers grain and the Vitriolla Farmhouse, where the lady provided us with her homemade cake and coffee for our refreshment, were some of the more unusual highlights. Hospitality like this does not happen for typical tourist. This happens because the people who own these properties view our participants as family guests.

After our day in the city of Modena we had time for a short drive though the Ferrari city of Maranello before being invited to visit my uncle, Monsignor Giuseppe at the Sanctuary which overlooks the land. We were lucky enough to be given refreshment before returning to the mountains.

On the last day, the weather would not hold for us but the artists were pleased to be able to finish their paintings and prepare for departure the next morning. We had two wonderful poets Margaret and Rhonda who stood up and read their poem about their Italian journey with us and was followed by a resounding applause. On that same night, the hotel owners filmed us chanting ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ to be used for the Wedding Reception, which was being prepared for the next day at the hotel.

The morning of departure two buses were organized. One went to Bologna railway station or the airport of Bologna for dropoff. The second bus was for the lucky people who wanted to go to the Bay of Poets.

Catia, our personal bus driver, suggested to take the scenic drive through the mountains and the rivers which lead to the Ligurian coastline. It was a new route for me and everyone enjoyed the journey through the misty mountains and then down into the plains, which ended at the sea side of the Bay of Poets.

I love this area because it is colourful and flat. I think it might be the only area where it is so. It has a beach and a long promenade with views to enjoy. Our hotel is located in the quiet alcove at the end of the bay were there are traffic restrictions . At the other end of the bay we take ferries to Cinque Terre.

Time is at leisure and the food is typical of the region. Silvio and I took Ev, Laura, Graeme, Rhonda, Robin, Alan and Sue on a mystery tour which lead us to a medieval town in the Tuscan region called Sarzana. What a gem and what a cake shop was discovered. We had time to explore the castle and the town before returning by bus to our location.

Time went too fast but soon it was time to catch our train and say our farewell to our company over a glass of vino or sprintz cocktail.

I am looking forward to the next Ev Hales Painting Workshop for 2017 – if you are interested in joining us, email or call us on 03 9758 5985. Details of where we will be going will be released soon.

PS: A word of warning – never travel by train on a Sunday. If the train conductors in Italy decide to strike it will always be on a Sunday because they do not want to disrupt the Italian workers getting to work (never mind the tourists!!)… just a little tidbit we found out – chatting to some people in the ‘know’ at the train station!

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