Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Stroke Class

One Stroke Painting Class
One Saturday Jana arranged for me to teach a One Stroke painting class, I had 6 students, including a couple of young girls, one was 11. Everyone had a good time. Jana spread us a lovely lunch and we painted away most of the day.

Mural in the apartment

Apartment kitchen before
On Friday was lazed about the studio painting and sketching from our photos, doing laundry and what not. In the after noon I painted a little mural in the apartment kitchen where I am staying. Here it is before.

And here it is a couple of hours later with a little one stroke mural of a grape vine and some brick work.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Montefalcone and Vittoria

The door to San Taddeo
 On Thursday morning Elise and I hiked up the hill to the ruins of a small farmer's chapel. I'm told it was actually in use right into the 1970's but by then everyone had a car to go to the big church in Force so the priest stop coming to the little chapels.

The roof has mostly caved in and part of the walls are coming down from neglect but it gives  a good idea of past building methods. The walls are around 18-24 inches thick, the middles of the walls are just rubble fill and mud. The beams are tree trunks just barely squared off. There is a trace of painted decoration on the inside. As with most buildings even now there are no window screens, but there were shutters for the windows to help control light and heat during the day and cold during the nights and winter.

San Taddeo

The chapel sits on top of little hill in a copse of trees. Just below the crest the farmers fields begin.

View from San Taddeo

The valley on the side opposite of the Retreat has steeper slopes than below Force.

We sat and painted a bit then went back to the Retreat to freshen up a bit and take off again. Our first stop was Montefalcone, Mountain of the Falcons. The falcons nest in the cliffs here and are protected. The town literally hangs on the edge of the cliff.
Montefalcone from below

13th century tower, Montefalcone

Like most Italian hill towns Montefalcone has a surviving medieval tower. Rebuilt in the 13th century the walls extend through the town and you can see parts of them in other places.  An odd thing to realize too is that in some places there are residences built into the walls then above them is a road.

street in Montefalcone

While quads aren't something you see on the streets every day, you do see one once in awhile.
street in Montefalcone

But you are more likely to see these little 3 wheeled trucks running about. I'm told that mostly the teenagers drive them because they do not require a license to drive one of these.

convent gate, Montefalcone

Fountain, Vittoria
We left Montefalcone and traveled on over to Vittoria. We sat and sketched this cute little fountain. We walked through the gate to a little shop and had a gelato in the street.

street, Vittoria

Vittoria gate going in

Vittoria, gate from the other side

To Market, To Market

veggie plants for sale in the market

A large vegetable stall in the market

After breakfast on Wednesday we went to the market in Amandola. Besides veggies and veggies plants there were stalls selling clothing and accessories. I picked up a nice all cotton skirt. We stocked up on fresh vegetables and fruit and picked up a piece of sausage (very different than what we get in the States; no ground, a solid piece of meat)

country road
After leaving the market we headed for Sarnano because there is an exhibition of Crivelli works there. Along the way we stopped by this country road in the shade to eat the lunch we had packed.

Sarnano gate house

Typical of hill towns the old part of town at the top is enclosed in walls and you must pass through the guard gate. Today of course there are no guards and the buildings are usually given over to government offices or even made into residences. We parked near the bottom of town and had a steep hike up the winding passage ways to the small piazza on top, where the exhibition is. Unfortunately it was closed for siesta and we did not want to wait around 3 hours. So we sketched a bit and looked around and then took off again.

doors in Sarnano
Sarnano street
Residences around the piazza, Sarnano
View from Mount Amandola

We started back but took an interesting looking road and ended up on top of Mount Amandola, inside of the Sybillini National Park.
View from Mount Amandola

Elise on Mount Amandola

Flower on Mount Amandola

We go to the beach

'rustico' at dawn

We got up early on Tuesday and left about 6 to go and sketch this little 'rustico' or rustic farmhouse. Abandoned and empty the farmer plows the field nearly to the walls of it. The little add on to the left was probably for animals or tractor or even just storage. The main entrance is up some steps on the right hand side, now overgrown with vines.

As you can see from the series of photos the light changed quite rapidly.

Jana's garden
When it warmed up we went back to the Retreat and had breakfast. Jana has a lovely garden just outside the studio and the bedrooms. Jana claims she is not a gardener and that she believes that whether the plants live or die is their own choice, she just sticks them in the ground and they go their own way. The lavender grows luxuriantly all about as do several other herbs and roses.

pink rose in Jana's garden

blue flowered herb

John and Jana have two cats that Jana found on the road last year, along with two dogs. Here Chester the dog tries to get in on the cats play.

the beach at Pesaro

After breakfast we rode with Jana and the girls to Pesaro, a seaside town. Here Jana had rented us 'sunbeds'. The Adriatic was much warmer than I expected. I had some bad sinus issues and wasn't very energetic; mostly laying about in the shade. Although I did take a dip in the ocean. The water is pretty shallow for quite a ways out, just up to my waist or so.

There is of course a fortification up on the hill above the beach and we were tempted to go have a look, but everyone was very tired, especially the children, so we decided to go another day and just came back to the Retreat.
Little Ivy enjoys the beach.

Smerillo and Roman ruins

old fashioned haystack
On Monday afternoon we left Force and wound around through the hills, no special destination in mind. We drove through a tiny place, Ceresola, where we stopped to take a photo of this very old fashioned haystack. You don't really see these any more, not even in rural Italy, as most all the farmers use the round balers.

Then we turned around to get back in the car and saw this adorable couple.

We came across the little town of Smerillo, this is the view from the main road. We parked and walked up the stairs because there was a sign for a pizzaria and we were ready to eat lunch.

Garden in Smerillo
As we walked up the steps there was a beautiful garden and the gardener harvesting and weeding. She didn't speak any English but we told her the garden was 'bella', she seemed a bit embarrassed, but maybe a bit proud also.

Looking down the street in Smerillo

Roman gate, Smerillo

We ate lunch at the pizzaria. No one spoke English but we know the names of the pasta dishes and ensalata (salad) and so had pasta and salad on the terrace. We sat and drew a little while, then too a walk to the tower we had seen from the road. Smerillo was a Roman fortification and the tower has been restored a little.

Smerillo, Roman gate

Smerillo, Roman gate from above

old door, Smerillo

plants grow on a roof, Smerillo
view from Smerillo
We walked to the other end of town to discover that we had been here last year, having lunch at La Loggia; had we realized it we would have eaten there, tho the lunch we had was delicious and sufficient. La Loggia sits right on the edge of the old Roman fortification and there is another arched gate way near their car park. Then you can follow the old road to another town, but that would be a long hike. So we settled for smelling the flowers and taking in the view, then back to the Retreat.
Smerillo Roses

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Force, Museo de Arte Sacra

Embroidery in Force
On Monday as we were walking back down to the car from the top of Force, there was a sign for the Museo dell' Arte Sacra, Museum of Sacred Art. The above photo is about half of one piece, it's behind glass so I couldn't avoid all the reflections.

embroidery close up

embroidery close up
Here are some close ups of the big piece above.

These priests garments are in another case.
and here is a close up of a bit of it; I believe it's gold thread. There was nothing at all about it in English and I haven't had time to try and translate the Italian.

Here is a close up of the cutwork that you can see in the above photo.

Here is the placard in the Italian if you want to translate it!