Just back from my sketching trip to Italy, mainly focussed on Tuscany, 7 weeks altogether in our box on wheels (The Boomobile, our motorhome), started in Turre (our home in the north of Andalusia, Spain) on the 29th of march 2011. Yesterday afternoon, 15th of May, we arrived safely home after a 5000 kilometres journey through Spain, France and Italy. Some days before, in fact the day of my birthday, we had been told about the earthquake in Lorca (located about 70 kilometres from Turre) a big shock, having to travel through Lorca quite often. Not exactly the kind of birthday present I wished! Anyway, we were happy to find all our paintings and posters still hanging on the walls, and our beloved mugs on their shelves! Living so close to Lorca, it could have been much worse…
In Italy I sketched a lot -well, this of course was the aim of the trip- although I must say that I could not sketch outdoors on the site as much as I wanted: much too many people around, no chance to get the peace and concentration I needed. Also I had the intention to paint more with gouache than with watercolour this time, but I soon noticed that it is much too complicated to deal with all the tubes and palettes and brushes, much too messy too for the motorhome. So very soon I went back to my usual technique in watercolour and ink. I did what I could, loads of the sketches having been done simply from memory some hours after having been on the site, or done from inside our Boomobile looking out of the window and imagining what I could not really see….. This might have the advantage of rendering all these well-know places in a more personal way.
I had been in Italy before, a long long time ago, when painting was not my main activity. It is very different to visit a country with the eyes of an artist, and also in company of the man one loves. Being shared, all the impressions and feelings are much deeper, intensified. Also, in this special case of Italy, there was an additional strong emotional component as our artist friend from the USA, Pamela Allegretto-Franz, of Italian origin, had helped me to choose the travel route. We followed step by step her advice, went to most of the places she had recommended to us. It was very emotional to think that she had been there before herself, especially because we have never met in person! At least we can say now that we have been at exactly the same spots, just not at the same time. Being such dear friends as we are, this alone means a lot!
Now I guess I will spend the next few months revisiting Italy, working on all these sketches and painting material, of course, publishing it, in the form of paintings, sketches and blog posts. Suddenly the net will be infected with Miki’s Italy stuff, but I hope some people will find pleasure in them, and perhaps be reminded of their own holidays in that marvellous country, or their native country, or their family history.
First blog post with first Italy sketches coming soon… fasten your seatbelts please!
Photo taken by Kev Moore as I started sketching, somewhere between Rapallo and Portofino… judging by the white paper, I hadn’t done much yet!
And please take a moment to admire my wonderful; bag, bought in the Sierra Nevada last year to carry my sketching material, , and used in Italy for the first time! So far it had been used as a model for the following still life