Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Artists who paint in Italy - Mary Pettis

Mary Pettis is a plein air painter who visits Italy for it's magnificent Plein Air painting opportunities. 

Firstly, we would like to congratulate Mary for her recent award and fabulous painting which won 3rd place in the "En Plein Air Texas" Painting Competition. She painted this scene en Plein Air with no photographic reference, over a 4 hour period.

Her strategy for capturing this moving artistic feast was to know the goats eating habits in advance, where and when they were fed. She shows her process in her color sketch (see below). Laying in the important elements, separating light and dark forms on her canvas and positioning important objects. As a goat would move into a convenient position, she painted it in using very simple light and dark shapes. The completed oil painting is magnificent and it's amazing what can be achieved with a good plein air strategy.

Mary sitting with the 3 winning paintings. Hers is titled:
Breakfast at Treva's - oil by Mary Pettis.

The initial stage. Sketching in the main forms and shadows on the canvas, including the person in the distance.
The completed oil painting. Quiet spectacular. 

She also recently visited, Cinque Terre, Italy with a group of artists and I wanted to share some of her photos which describe the adventure. They give an idea of the great beauty, light and painting potential of Italy. Mary allowed me to share the following images and her descriptions below.

The artists waiting for the bus to Monterosso.

One hour sketch demo from the hotels garden terrace.
Moments of solitude...
This lovely Italian woman (seen above) popped open her window and started calling down to us in Italian; she was showing off her flowers and the beautiful steps up to her house (seen below). I asked if I could paint it for my demo and she was joyous! She went on calling down to me, pointing and telling me where I should stand to get the best view.
 When I was done with my 1 hour sketch, seen here, this lovely woman re-emerged asking to see the finished painting. I showed it to her and she gave me a huge smile and two thumbs up.

For more information on Mary and her art you can visit her blog at http://marypettis.blogspot.it/

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Tuscany Plein Air Villa in 2016

Welcome to the Tuscany Plein Air Villa in 2016.

This magnificent villa, which is very close to the city of Florence has been carefully chosen for the landscape painting opportunities it presents. It's extremely beautiful and comfortable. The landscape and access to it were the deciding factor. It's a magnificent building and also very exciting.

Around the grounds there are beautiful painting and sketching spots within a few feet of the main entrance. Olive fields with vistas of Florence, a local village with historical churches, views of other villas, interesting designated public hiking areas, a nearby bar and small restaurant. The villa also has wifi.

Cresting a hill, the villa is surrounded by landscapes on all sides.

Inside, it's tastefully decorated and very comfortable.
One of the most exciting elements are the painting opportunities which the tower presents. With 180 degree views of the Tuscan hills and valleys, the tower provides an impressive location for workshops on landscape painting principles such as ariel and drawing perspective, color mapping, speed painting and more. Once the principles are grasped artists can search out views, set up their easels and create art in nearby locations. The principles taught apply both to oil and watercolor paints or any media. Complete with fresh coffee or a glass of wine, this tower makes early morning and late evening painting, very convenient. 


The villa is very large, with several comfortable locations to gather, share a meal and talk. 

Bedrooms are also very comfortable and most have their own private bathroom.

As for the gardens, they are beautiful with seating areas looking over the valley below. A private swimming pool on a lower level and al-fresco dining table on the terrace for evening meals and breakfasts. We are here to learn and enjoy creating art and there is no harm in feeling pampered. 


To see more photos of the villa follow this link.

The countryside around the villa is also very beautiful. Photos were taken in October and an article will be published later. The autumn it is excitingly beautiful. Spring will no doubt be quiet awe inspiring.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A special thanks

We were very lucky to have great helpers in this event and we'd like to thank them.

Chiara Perondi

Among the best was our brilliant housekeeper Chiara Perondi, without whom we would have been lost. She anticipated our every need and was a real part of the art family during the week. If you would like to contact Chiara for your private events you can find her on facebook at this Link.

We were also blessed with fantastic cooks. We referred to them as our Italian Mamas. No fuss. Just beautiful food and great fun.

Cooking with Carlotta.

You can contact Carlotta through her website or her facebook page.


Final images from September 2015

So September 2015 has passed. There is a gentle sense of regret but some great times were had and new friends made. They all deserve a great thanks for their company and the marvelous way that everyone got on together. Their observations and comments have given us a sense of the future path for Tuscany Plein Air.

More on that later.

In the meantime we'd like to thank everyone who came along and traveled so far to take part in the workshop. It seems to have been a transformative experience for everyone, including the seasoned painters among us. There were many surprises in fact.

Here are some final photos and some images from the show and tell event of paintings and studies produced during the week.
Watercolor studies from the talented Betty Kirschenman.

Landscape study from Pat Mahony.

Very quick color studies in oil on paper. The idea here is to produce simplified landscape descriptions with an emphasis on color values rather than shapes or story.

It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to do each and this was a formative study in the first few days before we began painting.

Value studies in black and white aid compositional skills.

Some beautiful advanced value studies of the landscape from Maria Levinge.

Maureen Hyde is a Florence based painter. She visited as a guest artist on our open day. Here she is painting with Val.

 Pat Mahony, our scholarship winner, presenting her works.

Tom J. Byrne explaining one of his landscape paintings.

We also enjoyed the company of non painting guests.
Non painting guests are people who respectfully want to spend time in the company of artists as they study. To soak up the creative ambiance and join in the discussions each evening. This could be a best friend, a partner or someone associated with the arts who doesn't actually paint themselves.

The combination produced some great conversations and insights.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible. 
We're already looking forward to planning events for 2016.

In the private gardens of The Corsini Villa.