|10" x 7", ink & watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook. Sketched in Poianella, Italy.|
Here's the pretty windowsill that I was sketching when I was visited by the inquisitive young man in the story above...
I liked the contrast between the ancient, weathered grey shutters and the bright, fresh cyclamen and delicate lace curtains.
Throughout northern Italy and Tuscany, we admired the fields full of cheery yellow flowers blooming everywhere. They added so much color to the overcast spring days. Turns out they're weeds which were soon to be plowed under to make way for summer crops. I prefer to think of them as wildflowers!
This ancient bridge, covered with moss and grass, was right across the street from our house. I just couldn't get over what a charming scene it made - that beautiful arch reflected in the clear, slow-moving water and sunshine sparkling all around. Just perfect!
I like to coordinate the colors on a sketchbook page that contains several different sketches, like the one below. It helps to unify things and make the page more visually pleasing.
|10" x 7", ink & watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook|
I keep that same idea of unity in mind when I'm working on pages which face each other. If I repeat some of the colors from the left-hand page on the right, the whole two-page spread seems more cohesive and feels right to me.
|Sample of a two-page spread|
In the afternoon of Day 8, we took a leisurely drive along winding country roads to the town of Nove, which is world-renowned for its ceramics. On the way back we stopped in Lupia to sketch La Colombara, the restaurant I liked so much. (The best gluten-free pizza ever!) I kept the focus on the historic restaurant building in the foreground by using stronger colors and deeper shadows. The beautiful old church behind it looks almost ghostly, with its pale colors and soft lavender shadows.
|10" x 7", ink & watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook. Sketched on location in Lupia, Italy.|
I set up my iPad to make a time-lapse recording using the iMotion app as I added watercolor to my ink sketch. For a peek into the painting process, click on the video link below.
This is my very first time-lapse video. It was very disconcerting trying to paint while the iPad camera was snapping a picture every 5 seconds, but it made me really focus on what I was doing. With practice, I think I could get used to it. Let me know if you enjoy seeing this sort of thing, and I'll post some more. Although it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to paint the page in real time, the video shows it magically coming to life in just three minutes! Cool!
Don't you love the way the cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue combine in the sky to make soft shades of peach and lavender? That's why watercolor is my favorite medium. It does its own thing so beautifully.
Allowing the sky colors to run down into the church helped to give it that mirage-like look that I wanted. I couldn't have achieved the same effect if I'd left it white. With the sky colors as a base, all it needed was a touch of more saturated color here and there to give it a glow and indicate a few shadows.
Stonework on the restaurant was suggested with multiple washes in shades of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and rose violet.
If you watch the video, you'll notice that I kept the roof fairly light in tone until the very end to indicate the bright sun shining on it. But I finally decided that it looked too washed out, and wound up flooding it with a deeper glaze of burnt sienna plus some touches of darker burnt umber to indicate the tiles.
The shadows on the main building are a combination of ultramarine blue and rose violet, with some burnt umber thrown in to tone them down a bit.
Well, I'm halfway through my fourteen-day trip...are you ready for a break from all the Italy sketches? I think we'll take a breather for a few weeks so I can share some great summer recipes with you, as well as a fun commissioned piece that I recently completed, and a gorgeous custom drapery job we installed a few weeks ago. And, best of all, I have another great giveaway for you! Watch for it in just a few days.
'Til then, relax and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!