Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Autumn Flowers

And spot the dragon fly.....!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunshine through the autumn-painted leaves

Sunday, in my garden.  Lovely colours and light.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Now Showing

In my garden: still lots of flourishing colour out there

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Return to the Abruzzo

I was very lucky to be able to return to Atessa in Abruzzo last month and to stay once again in the Casa Pietro, where I enjoyed a week's painting course under the tutelage of the lovely Marco di Marinis, who showed me how to work with watercolours more effectively.
I now realise that I was using them like gouache, or poster colour, without really exploring their characteristic use as transparent washes.

Due to poor weather (a deluge which hid the lovely valley views) our first sessions were in Marco's Atessa studio and I used one of his photos of the trebocchi - gloriously Gormenghast-ish fishing platforms characteristic of the Chieti coastline. The photo is showing the painting greyer than it is in reality.

By the weekend the weather had improved, and we had a morning date with Marco at the San Pasquale monastery to start a painting en plein air. There was a lovely view of Atessa from the park across the road from the monastery, so we pitched the easels and got stuck in.

This is my version of it:

My third piece was a view of the hill across the house from Casa Pietra: it's a lovely view to enjoy while washing up at the sink in the kitchen.  The sun was so strong that it melted the glue of the masking tape into the paper!

It was a lovely time away and I learned a lot.  I saw some wonderful places while I was there and hope that I will be able to return one day to enjoy this lovely area again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


“The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”-- William Morris

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Italic Temples at Schiavi d'Abruzzo

The Appenines are described as the backbone of Italy, and we discovered an army marching for power across the brows of the mountains in a long file.
These wind turbines did not, to my eye, detract from the landscape - they never do.  Clothed in clouds, they looked as if they belonged.

Driving from Carunchio to Schiavi d'Abruzzo showed some majestic scenery.

And as the town appeared in the distance, I wondered if the clouds would catch up with us.

Our destination was, in fact, past Schiavi, as we were hunting the Italic (Pre-Roman) temples built nearby.

This bush - a type of broom? - grew by the layby where we parked the car.

This was clearly one of nature's gardens.

The vegetation was lush.

The ground beneath our feet was squelchy.  I think there must have been springs to create such bogginess as elsewhere was dry.

It transpired that we had entered the temple site by the back door (an easier path from a parking place lay downhill of where we stopped)

I am very partial to a bit of ancient wall

and this was certainly well up to standard!

This is a temple reconstruction

while these more ancient remnants are somewhat protected from the elements.

Wonderful change of scale in this terracotta floor.

and a hint of more pillars.

We were the only people there, and the site was very peaceful.  It was easy to imagine why it had been chosen as a sacred place.  The majestic views of the cloud-clad Majella Mountains was awe-inspiring and the atmosphere was contemplative and special.

We were surrounded by the treasures of nature.

Eventually, it was time to leave and set off homewards

Past Schiavi d'Abbruzzo once more,

Past more mountains

and glimpses of Lago di Bomba to tempt another excursion on another day.


We arrived at Curunchio during the sleepy siesta time and parked in the square (by this church) where there was also a cafe open for liquid refreshment and ice creams.  After taking our ease there, I wandered over the church (which might have been dedicated to S. Margaret, I don't remember properly), wherein I found some beautiful frescoes.

 I did not like to assault them with my camera flash, so the photo is rather dull, but they were beautiful.

This gives an idea of how much this village is built on the hillside - the piazza is about haf a storey above these houses which skirt it on one side.

Curving lanes turned off the piazza and ran down the hill.

A balcony bought Romeo and Juliet to mind.

We determined that it was possible to drive out of the piazza to the high point of Carunchio, so we carried on up the hill to the top and the Chiesa de S. Giovanni Battista.

This archway was the gateway to a viewing platform affording stunning views of the village and countryside around.  Carunchio is said to be one of the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy, and I could well believe its worthiness of this reputation.

The glorious terra-cotta roofs dripped down the hillside to the verdant valley below.

The roof tiles are interlocking half-cylinders, as we saw in Venice, and the rocks upon them help to prevent damage when the sows come in the winter.

Unfortunately, this church was locked up, but there was still plenty to see.

The magnificence of the landscape

and more


roof shots.  To live here, you have to be very fit - or maybe living here makes you so.

This handsome couple is my son and daughter.

Then it was my turn to be snapped, outside the decaying magnificence of the Palazzo Camillo.

Doorway to past glories.

A picturesque wood-pile, ready for winter fires.

Looking back at the church bell tower.

What can I say?  I have a thing for old doorways.

Sun and shade by the Palazzo Tour d'Eau.

Another display of brotherly love.

Ancora, Palazzo Camillo.

Room with a view?!

Open window.

Door and ghostly messages.

No entry here.

Abruzzan vista.

More sun and shade.

Church flowers 1

Church flowers 2

Church flowers 3

Splashes of colour in planters beside S. Giovanni Battista.

Looking back at Carunchio as we set off for the next part of our adventure.