The details, the underbelly, the juicy details of my 10 days, boots on ground, trip to Italy.
Traveling with Watercolors:
Well, evidently, the watercolor cartolinas got a lot of you worked up about watercolors, travel journals, which pens to use and some of you even wanted to know if I would be teaching a watercolor workshop:)
The truth is, I love watercolors– one reason being how portable they are (you can fit the entire gear needed for watercolor postcards in your purse or pocket!). Although I don’t have any plans to teach a watercolor workshop, the watercolor postcards will be part of the experience for painting with me in France or Italy (yes, there will be a Paint Italy with Dreama trip:)).
There are two great brands (Pigma and Staedtler) for markers–either one offers a super fine point for drawing. My favorite sizes are .01 and .03 which give more of the light, airy feeling that I love. The main thing to remember when selecting the pen–get the ones that are waterproof! This allows for drawing and splashing on the color, without fear of your lines “bleeding” and messing up your beautiful colors:)
As for my approach—I skip the pencil and go straight in with the pen–getting the drawing down. Then it’s just a matter of dropping in juicy color. After it dries, I may go back in and add an additional line or two. I try to keep it light hearted and free–
the whole idea being to just capture a moment in a moment!
The beauty of the postcards??–They are just an additional way to truly immerse and savor the beauty that surrounds you. They are perfect for traveling with artists and non artists alike–no one has to wait hours for you to finish a painting. You can have one done in about length of time it takes to get your oil painting gear set up:))
And the best part??
You can either have them as part of your personal journals OR share them with special people in your life:)))
Going With the Flow:
As for getting the most out of a painting trip, or any trip for that matter, it’s best to make your plans—and then promptly forget them:))
In other words–as in life, so goes a trip abroad–things rarely go as planned.
Life has many joys, many unpredictable things—staying open means you get ALL of it:)) What if it rains?? What if you can’t find your paint brush??
“Doorway to Tuscany” created with my palette knife:)
(do you know my brushes never did surface?? I have no idea what happened to them–hopefully some Italian is painting away with his new W and N Monarch #14 brush;)
What if you twist an ankle and can’t do the walking tour you had planned? Staying open to what might be there– that is even more wonderful than the plan you had– can be
the difference in a so-so time and a beautiful time.
France or Italy:
Which did I like best of the two places I visited in the past 4 months–France or Italy?
Surely you wouldn’t ask me to choose between my children! Ah, I can see that you would:))
Well, it depends on what you are looking for.
I loved them both equally well and for very different reasons.
It must be said that obviously, every person is going to have a one of a kind experience based on
- Your own personality
- What regions, towns you visit in each country
- What your expectations are
- The time of year (For instance, France in June means all the roses are blooming heavy–September in Italy means all the grapes and vineyards are burgeoning with their fruit.)
There is so much range of beauty within each country that it would be difficult to choose one over the other as to region, let alone single out France or Italy as my favorite.
If you are planning your own special trip to one of these delicious countries, I think giving great thought to your own personality as to what you find meaningful will best help you plot a course to connecting with those things. I wanted more rural, more off the beaten path. I wanted to feel more “local” and less of a tourist. With this in mind, I veered away from big hotels and looked more for the mom and pop variety of places to stay. I love painting/seeing/smelling things blooming—that helped me to not go to plan on early months of the year—like April, when things are just starting to grow.
Hope you really didn’t think I could choose just one:). Remember, I’m the four gelato girl…
And What IS the Deal with Gelato?:
Believe it or not, gelato has LESS fat in it than ice cream–which accounts for the rich, intense flavor—the fat doesn’t coat the mouth as much and allows for the full flavors (chocolate, pistachio, etc, etc) to come through. It is also mixed at a slower speed than ice cream so it has less air—more full flavor to tickle your taste buds:))
It is a national past time in Italy–there are gelato stands everywhere, with many of them making their own gelato and specialty flavors:))
It has been said that it is….well…better than ….ahem….sex.
Here’s the recipe to make your own gelato and draw your own conclusions;)) Click Here:)
Walk Like an Italian:
We had an unexpected “man down” incident which ended with a trip to the Italian ER near Florence (my hubby hurt his foot). It was an interesting experience in that we paid cash for the visit and signed only one paper–yep ONE PAPER for the entire process. It cost 50 euros or about 75 bucks for the entire hospital visit–we paid on the way out. (He is, by the way, totally mended–can’t keep a good guy down!)
We used google maps on our phone to navigate through the countryside and in town. It didn’t’ want to work as well in the congested city areas of Florence, but otherwise–kept us always on track:)) And thank goodness….you remember that conglomeration of signs that I posted on my first Italian post??
Those kinds of crossroads happened an awful lot. We just followed the blue dot on google maps and pretty much ignored the signs.
55 year old eyes and tiny print road signs are not made for each other;))
Because I wanted to see a lot of the rural side of Tuscany, we chose to center our stay in Panzano, one of the hilltop villages there. We stayed in a spacious apartment and were beginning to feel “local’ by the end of our visit:) There are so many towns within an easy drive–we took in Radda, Certaldo, Sienna, Florence, and Cortona (where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed)–to name a few.
Some of you had questions about traveling with paints, what kind of watercolors I used, etc. I spoke of that on my trip to France in June/2012. Here are some links to those posts containing the details on:
The Watercolor Kit I Used in France and Italy: Click Here
Now–go get your gelato and watch “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Tell anyone who asks that you are under doctor’s orders–prescription to cure Italian Withdrawals:)))
P.S. The first of two Jacksonville, FL workshops starts in the morning. You know I will be painting, loving life….and looking for a gelato stand:)))
Art, Humor and Inspiration–In Your Inbox!