Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sketching in Siena

We took the train into Siena on Tuesday and spent the day walking around the city. Siena is famous for the Palio de Siena, a horse race that is run twice a year around the Piazza del Campo, the large sloping square in the center of town. 

There were no horses to be seen on Tuesday, but plenty of tourists were out enjoying the city with us. We began with a group meeting in the piazza, where my students got to work on their first suggested assignment of the day: Talk to someone you meet and have them draw a picture in your sketchbook and sign it.

Larry gets a nice guy from Paris to sign his sketchbook

Geraldine and Nancy get acquainted with some visitors to Siena

When we did a group sketching project where each of us took a section of the panorama of buildings in the piazza and drew it in our sketchbooks. I urged them to draw freely and quickly, without worrying about accuracy. Whacky, crooked lines were encouraged and when we painted our sketches, we pushed the colors, turning dull rust-colored bricks into blushing pink or bright gold, and changing white awnings into green stripes.

Here are the buildings I drew:

And here's my sketch:

After sketching, I visited the Campo, the center of commerce and government for the province of Siena.

Then we walked up to the Duomo - doesn't it remind you of a fancy wedding cake?

 Just look at the carvings and the colors of the marble - aren't they incredible?

And the inside.......words can't even begin to describe it!

Back at the villa, we put together all of our sketches to make a panorama of the Piazza del Campo...

Take a look at these fun, bright, colorful, slightly whacky sketches from my students...


Don't they just make you feel happy? We had such fun.

Our time is winding down here, but I still have so much to share with you all. Patience, my friends! Tomorrow is my last day in Tuscany, and I want to soak up all I can of it before I fly off to Cornwall. More sketches are coming...eventually. :)


  1. What a wonderful experience. I hope to do something like this in the future. I will add this to my bucket list....painting or sketching in Italy!

    1. I'll be returning to teach in Tuscany again next year - think about joining me at Fattoria Bacio. It was just a fantastic week with a good mix of relaxation, sightseeing and painting. I'll be announcing details soon.

  2. Hi Leslie, it was a lovely surprise to see your photos and sketches of Siena this morning! My daughter is going to Venice tomorrow to live there for a while, and we have planned to visit Siena when I go to see her after Christmas - can't wait! I love your blog, it was recommended to me by my sister who's blog you may know - Colours in the Breizh..

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, Joss. Are you a sketcher, too like your sister? I love her work. Enjoy your visit to Italy! It will be so different to be in Siena in the wintertime, without the crowds of tourists. I know you'll love it!

  3. What an amazing trip! I too will have to add this to my bucket list. Your sketches are wonderful!


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