It has been non-stop touring, dining and painting with my daughter, Natalie. We even celebrated her birthday in Cortona with a special cake that Lina had made. She wanted to visit this old farm estate, called Spannocchia, southwest of Siena. It offers great painting opportunities for another trip. From there, we headed for one night at the wonderful Villa le Barone, above Florence, with panoramic vistas any direction you look. The hosts, Jacqueline and Corso are so generous and welcoming. Tomorrow, it is time to think about packing to return home.
September 8, Tuesday
i am now in Tuscany at Villa Nobile near Cortona for a little time on my own. Natalie arrived this evening by train from Florence. Raffaele surprised her by picking her up. On return, Lina had made everyone six different kinds of pizza. Yum!
The villa has been growing with lots of new additions for our comfort. The trees and flowers are looking great!
Today, our last full day, it was raining so we painted at the hotel finishing paintings we had started earlier. Strolled to lunch outside in a lovely restaurant, then back for more painting and packing. Tonight we have a critique and review of the week’s paintings. Farewell! It has been a glorious two weeks with very special students! Tomorrow, I ride with Raffaele back to Tuscany where I will spend over a week at his villa, painting with my daughter, Natalie – so stay tuned.
Today was an excursion to tthe islands of Murano and Burano. Murano had a glass blowing demonstration and lots of Murano glass shops. Susie found an art piece of glass sculpture where the colors come alive in the glass when a light is shown on it. From there, we went on to Burano for the colorful buildings on the canals. We did some sketching, ate outside on the canal and of course, a little shopping, too.
After breakfast as usual, we took the valporetta to the St Traviso area to paint, a nice quiet area without too many tourists, crossing canals and SHADE – although it has cooled a bit. It was a lovely morning of painting, then Raffaele found us a great restaurant in the area called Pane Vino with homemade melanzane and tiramisu. St Elena appeared. If you look closely at Helena, you will see a halo and it has not been Photoshopped.
This evening many of us went to La Traviata at La Fenice, where the original production was first played. The theater has been recently refurbished and seeing it alone was worth the price of the ticket.
Tuesday, September 1
Great breakfast at the hotel, then we hopped aboard the valparetto, St Elena stop, and headed for the St. Marco stop. Everyone was on their own in the morning to work on the shopping-gene, and tour, too while Raffaele and I checked out some painting sites, including the gondolier repair shop. Lunch was at Cucina da Mario on a canal. Must be good as the gondoliers were all having lunch there, too. The heat was too much for the afternoon so we played at being Italian and took a nap back at the hotel. Jann did a quick demo on some special paints, including using some luminescent pigments and texture paints. In the evening we took the valparetto to dinner at San Barnaba, eating outside in the plaza. We are missing Kristin, Michael and Patti from Lake Como, but welcome Pat and John Smythe (in the blue below). On the valporetto ride to dinner, we got the golden pink sunset! We are on the water all of the time and loving it!
Sunday and Monday, August 30 – 31
Today, our last day in Lake Como we painted textures on an old building, then walked to VIlla Melzi to paint. Some of the night photos from the night before are by Michael. On Sunday evening we had our final critique on the rooftop. Photos of it will be coming. Susie’s birthday was well celebrated!
Monday was a long travel day from Lake Como to Venice. We revived a little shop worn and hot but soon revived – ready to take on Venice tomorrow.