Cortona is the setting for Frances Mayes’ novel Under the Tuscan Sun, and a later film version. It was a highly popular novel and I think every woman’s dream to flee the daily grind of marriage, kids, work pressures or anything else that ails you and arrive in the charming Tuscan town of Cortona. Finding a derelict house and turning this into a bucolic masterpiece along with all the romance of the Tuscan countryside.
I was in Tuscany to discover another kind of masterpiece…a painting. Not one by Michelangelo or Leonardo but one by me. I was joining a painting group for a week of tutoring and plein air painting – that means you pack up your kit and find a view point in the countryside or town and sketch. Finding a suitable spot can be pretty daunting when you have a quintessential Italian scene around every corner.
With that handicap of sensory overload I resorted to nourishing myself with other Italian delights. Sitting in a bar and sipping on an aperol spritz or strolling along the street enjoying a wonderful gelato.
My fellow students were inspiring as they embraced the task admirably and turned out some excellent work. Our tutor was on the ball and encouraging everyone at every opportunity. His morning demonstrations were mind boggling as to how he captured the mood, light and aspect of the various scenes all with large one inch and 2 inch brushes. I have a new resolve now to return home and tackle painting landscapes with a new vigour.
You ask what else did we do apart from painting? Some sight seeing and of course eating. This week’s highlights have included….carpaccio (raw beef sliced paper thin with grated Parmesan cheese arugula and olive oil), handmade fettuccine with grated truffle, risotto with scampi, anchovies all sorts of ways, pizza with wafer-thin crust with fabulous toppings, fresh porcini mushrooms lightly battered and fried and the most wonderful veal limone. Of course it is obligatory to end the evening with a limoncello to aid digestion and sleep.
More culinary delights are on the horizon.
Categories: Art, Food, Wine and Cooking, Italy, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized
Tags: architecture, Arezzo, Art, arts, Chianti, Food, gelato, holiday, Italy, language, Painting, Pasta, photography, restaurant, spaghetti, travel, Tuscany, wine, Wine and Cooking
Here i am again – in Italy. The magic of Italy still endures after an absence of three years. Like a long love affair – you remember everything so fondly and forgive its shortcomings and failings.
These failings manifest themselves as soon as you step off the plane. The Rome immigration hall is a game of snakes and ladders where the queues of people are ushered around a ribbon of people control barriers. A thousand deep and the line continues to grow as more planes land. Finally the immigrations desks come into view, and of course out of the 20 plus desks there are about 10 manned by very disinterested officers. Mine was a forty something lady officer (she had that very lived-in look) who had her earphones jammed in so tight that she could not possibly hear the moaning of the throng behind me.
I arrive at the QC Hotel Terme Roma late at night and hit the shower and bed in quick order. On awakening and opening the curtains the Italy that I love is revealed. Those oh so very Italian umbrella pines, the towering plane trees with their marvellous dappled trunks, the chirping of the sparrows and swallows and that lovely sound of water falling into the magnificent fountain below. The view over the terracotta roof tiles and chimneys is a welcome site and reinforces the sense of where I am.
My first morning is spent with the maintenance man Marco and his cappo (bosss) while they try to crack open the safe that refuses to open. It is amazing what can be achieved with a large wrench and a few screwdrivers aided by a constant monologue in Italian by both of them. After 15 minutes of judicious banging allora – the door flies open. They both beam that safecracking can be added to their cv’s. Maybe they will go home and watch the Italian Job and give their expert opinion on the safe cracking scenes.
NEXT STOP CORTONA!
Categories: Food, Wine and Cooking, Italy, Travel, Uncategorized
Tags: architecture, Art, Food, holidays, Italian, Italy, photography
Grapes Cheese and Pears On Linen – $350 – 75cm x 50cm
Solo Exhibition of Art Works by Elizabeth Varley
“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary”. ~Aaron Rose
You are invited to the Exhibition Opening : Saturday 10th September 2016, at 2.00pm
The CTC Robertson, 58 Hoddle Street, Robertson NSW 2577 Viewing and sales: August and September 2016
Hours: Thursday to Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday – 10am -1pm
Visit my Page for all the images – pricing, dimensions and more information
Categories: Art, Cooking School, Food, Wine and Cooking, Italy, Mushrooms, Photography, Recipes, Travel, Uncategorized, Wine
Tags: Art, arts, burrawang, cheese, Chianti, Food, grapes, holiday, Italian, Italy, Painting, photography, Pinot grigio, robertson, still life, travel, Tuscany, wine, Wine and Cooking