Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sketchbook Journeys: Italy - Day 3 (Sandrigo)

The little town of Sandrigo was just a short drive from where we were staying in northern Italy, and it was filled with picturesque scenes just begging to be painted.

10" x 7", ink & watercolor, Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook

I drew this adorable gourmet shop as I perched on my three-legged stool on the sidewalk one afternoon, pausing occasionally to nibble on the amazing meringue cookie I had bought at the bakery down the street.


Friendly locals stopped to talk to me, and we tried to communicate despite my lack of Italian language skills. "Molto bella! (very beautiful)," one woman said with a broad smile. I wondered if they were surprised to see me drawing something that they walk past every day and barely notice.

In the building next door, an upper window caught my eye. In front of a set of ancient wooden shutters sat three terra cotta pots of cyclamen, bringing a spot of spring color to the muted exterior of the stucco building.



I did a quick line drawing that day on location and painted it later at home in my studio. I first laid down a pale wash of yellow ochre on the wall area of the sketch and let it dry. Then I added some burnt sienna and a touch of ultramarine blue to the yellow ochre paint and sloshed it onto parts of the wall. I crumpled up some plastic wrap and pressed it onto the wet paint, then left it to dry. A few hours later I removed the plastic wrap and found a perfect stucco texture on my sketch.


To make the small red circles that frame the cyclamen sketch, I dipped a pencil eraser in a puddle of dark red paint and stamped it around the edge of the pink circle I had painted.

The main square in Sandrigo is centered around the church. I decided to sketch the scene because I liked the warm glow of sunshine that lit up the whole side of the building (and that cute octagonal newsstand!) It was fun sitting and watching the busy townfolk bustling to and fro, going about their business. I think Suzie and I were the only tourists for miles around. This was the real Italy, and it was so cool to be a part of it.

10" x 7", ink & watercolor, Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook

6 comments:

  1. How beautiful ...makes me want to plan a painting holiday for myself. I am so enjoying seeing your pages and hearing about how you went about creating them. (I am going to have to try that stucco effect myself :c)

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    1. Oh, do plan a getaway to do some sketching! It's a wonderful way to experience a place. And so amazingly relaxing.

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  2. I have used the pencil eraser polka dot trick before on different projects! Works like a charm...

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    1. I just love polka dots. They're so whimsical and fun!

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  3. Love your printing. Did you take a class on fancy printing? Also did you use brown ink on the gourmet shop building? You had some wonderful subjects for sketching and painting. These sketches are the makings of a fun book. Love your style and colors. Fun posts. Look forward to more.

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    1. That was Lexington Gray in a Noodler's Creaper fountain pen that I used on the gourmet shop page.

      About the lettering, I've pretty much just picked it up here and there. I did learn how to use a calligraphy pen in one of my college art classes, but I rarely do traditional Chancery Italic or Old English anymore. I like the casual alphabets better. Pam Johnson Brickell is my inspiration for a lot of the title lettering you'll see in this sketchbook. She's a master at it, and I love studying her style. Isn't it great to have all these internet friends to inspire us?

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