16 December 2010

Sycamores on the Tevere

In the last few days the temperature has dropped here in Rome, making it really feel like winter. I was prepared and dressed in a ridiculous amount of layers, as if I were going out to paint the high Alps. Unfortunately it wasn't snowing, but the good news is that it was sunny blue skies (and I wasn't cold!).
The Tevere is the river running through the middle of Rome and has tall stone walls surrounding it. For the most part the roads along the river are lined by Sycamore trees and right now they are an irresistible orange, casting shadows on the huge river wall. Something about the blue contrating with the orange just called out to me to paint it.
I know I was wishing for the rain to stop, but I forgot to ask for warmer weather as well! Let's hope it will warm up in the next week, even if it doesn't I think I'll keep painting!

To view this painting on my website or other paintings from the When In Rome project, click here.

08 December 2010

View from Circo Massimo, 6x8" oil on panel

The Circus Maximus is a unique spot in Rome- it's where the Romans used to hold chariot races and is a long oval racetrack surrounded by (now ruins) up on the hills.
I wasn't planning on painting this view, but as I was walking along I loved the light and the grouping of buildings, so I stopped to paint it.
After painting I took a good long walk all around the Roman Forum, the ruins, the Coloseum and old temples and I was a little overwhelmed by the scale of things. The Romans seemed to have built these structures as if they were built for giant gods, nothing was made to human scale and it is awe inspiring.
With all of the tourists and silly men dressed in gladiator suits I forgot the significance, power and beauty of these things and how lucky we are to have them with us more than a thousand years later. You can bet I will have more paintings to paint of these magnificent places.

To view or buy today's painting or to see other paintings from the When In Rome project, click here.

06 December 2010

December, Piazza Vittorio

December, Piazza Vittorio 8x6" oil on panel

Admittedly, I chose this composition for the palm trees, they were just too fabulous not to put them into this painting and they reminded me of Florida.
I originally went to paint in this square because it has these huge ruins right in the middle of the park. When attempting to figure out how to make a small painting of a big pile of ancient Roman bricks, I saw this composition looking through the square down the street and thought it would work better as a painting.
I have to say that walking around the vastness of Rome with my little paint box is overwhelming. I'm tempted to feel almost silly with such a little wooden panel for painting such a large city with its centuries of history. Just one little painting at a time is all I can think for now until I find a solution to the conundrum. Maybe if I put them all together in the end, there will be some kind of story about Rome as it is now (as told from my point of view).

I'm continually asking myself what is painting about for me? So far it's been pretty simple and straightforward: to capture a moment in time to the best of my ability. But sometimes I think that maybe I'm too literal or that this idea of painting is just too simple. What would my paintings look like if I were to try and capture an essence of a place, what is it that makes up the essence of a place?

There is no real answer for now (for me) to these questions, just the inquiry. In the meantime I have a lot of work to do in making the best (literal) paintings I can!

03 December 2010

Rain, The Spanish Steps

Rain, View from the Spanish Steps 8x6" oil on panel

While Rome is endless in possibilities for painting, the rain has been a little discouraging. Truth be told I was dreading starting the project for the rain- how on earth was I going to paint consistently with it raining everyday for the last month??

Well, the rain didn't stop for the start of my project, so umbrella and paint box in hand, I was out and about.
The Spanish Steps, one of the most glorious, famous (and most crowded) places in all of Rome is a sight to behold.
I actually had no intention of ending up here (for the very reason of avoiding the crowd), but I set out walking and came upon them from above. I only realized where I was when I started walking down the steps. Since it was raining, it was quite empty and I felt lucky. I had the thought that I liked looking down this street, so I just sat down on the steps (on another painting panel to keep my bottom dry) and painted with one hand and held my umbrella with the other. It's amazing how far a little determination can go..!

In the end I was grateful to have the rain, otherwise I most likely would have never had the opportunity to paint the steps. Usually they're jam packed full of tourists and I'd never get a view. Winter and rain certainly have there high points..

To learn more about the history of this magnificent square and see pictures, click here

To buy this painting for $100 from my website or to see other paintings from Rome, click here

01 December 2010

Il Laghetto, Villa Borghese

Il Laghetto, Villa Borghese 8x10" oil on panel

Welcome to Rome!

If you've been here before, chances are you've seen the "little lake" here in the middle of the vast gardens (now a park) around the Villa Borghese.

These days the park is empty, with the occassional jogger and the old man who rents boats for only €1.50. I was tempted to rent a boat, but as it keeps raining on and off, I thought balancing an easel, ores and an umbrella might have just sent me head long into the pond..

I couldn't resist painting here, as the art collection housed in the Villa itself has to be one of the most exquisite in all of Italy for classical art. Maybe it's too clichè painting the lake, but I enjoyed the silence of the water, the fall colors of the Sycamore trees and the enormous racket produced by all the quacking ducks in the pond. I can only imagine that in the summer time one couldn't possibly find a place on a bench, much less the peace and quiet to sit and paint.

You can see this painting and others from Rome by clicking here.