25 January 2012

Christmas Lights in Trastevere

Oil on Panel
© Kelly Medford, 2012

Anyone who has visited Rome has most definitely been to the old neighborhood Trastevere. It's such a fabulous little neighborhood nestled in winding cobbled stoned streets just across the river. At night it's always bustling and I couldn't resist stopping in the middle of the street to paint while everyone was getting their shopping done before dinner.

Not being able to exactly see what I'm doing and it being a bit chilly to boot, added to the excitement of making this free little sketch. People didn't hesitate to stop and look over my shoulder, although they undoubtedly saw as little as I did and wondered what on earth I was try to accomplish here.

I do wish that these lights were hanging all year round, they give me a certain excited and nostalgic feel, knowing the differences between Europe and the U.S. You just can't recreate the feeling of this place, so rich, old and layed in it's feel and history. To have the opportunity to take a minute to stop and capture these moments is priceless to me and endless in enjoyment.

If you like this painting, you can bid on it here at my Daily Paintworks site.

12 January 2012

Tea Time

Oil on Linen Panel
© Kelly Medford, 2012

The title says it all, more tea! I can't seem to get enough, that and sitting next to any heating device (or in the sun) are my major winter activities. I suffer through winter, just holding my breath until it's over. Good thing I live in Rome where the winter is relatively mild.

So, while drinking one of my many cups of tea, I thought to paint this little gem. Easier said than done.. That green, what is that green?! Painting green man made objects, well it was a good challenge for me. I should paint more objects, I like how still they do sit after getting used to hurrying to capture something while landscape painting, still lives give me the chance to breath, relax and enjoy rather than feeling like I'm racing againt time.

In other news, my new easel has arrived along with the return of the sun, so you can expect some more Roman street scenes to come in the next few weeks (along with still man made objects)

I hope winter is treating you well and that you're drinking less tea than me.

If you like this painting, you can bid on it here 

10 January 2012

Night on the Town

Oil on Panel 
© Kelly Medford, 2012

Winter in Rome has gotten chilly recently, but I couldn't resist going out to paint some of the Christmas time lights. Armed with just a tiny easel that I can rest on one arm while painting with the other, I set out to the center of town.

In one of the main drags, which is the longest straight street in Rome, via del Corso, they have adorned the entire length of the street with lights the colors of the Italian flag in honor of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. It's quite a sight, and a bit overwhelming while standing directly under them, so I went to a sqaure and stood looking towars the steet to paint this.

Now the tricky part of painting at night is of course that it's dark! So this adds an extra element of fun, not being ably to fully see what I'm painting, just knowing which colors are which on my palette from memory and mixing what I think is more or less the right value, more so than the right color.

This is a sketchy sketch, meant to give the sense of the moment in the square and the lights against the sky coming into the street. I liked stalking around with my little thumbox and it's a time of year not to be missed for painting.

If you like this painting, you can bid on it here at my Daily Paintworks site.

03 January 2012

An American in Rome

Oil on Panel
© Kelly Medford, 2011

Recently the Italian coffee company Lavazza wrote to me and asked me to share some of my Rome paintings along with a story about my painting and life experience here in Rome for their ongoing project called The Italian Experience: Italy Behind Italy. It was a fabulous opportunity for me to synthesize some of my thoughts and experiences thus far into a small yet concise story. You can find the story below, or see it on their website (in Italian).

A big hearfelt THANK YOU to Lavazza and for their ongoing efforts to engage and promote the public in Italian life and culture, something much needed during these times in Italy.

Sometimes I think I’m old fashioned trapped in a modern time. I stalk the streets of Rome on a bicycle and a French box easel, stopping to paint the different neighborhoods in their strange, layered beauty.

In the process everyone stops to talk and I get to learn about Rome firsthand from its inhabitants.  I paint what I see, as the light and life unfold in front of me, although my compositions are strangely absent of people in such a bustling city. Somehow I wish the city would stop and I could capture just the light casting across the buildings, fountains, ruins and piazzas.

This was my way of getting to know Rome. I moved here a year ago after living 6 years in Florence where I studied art. After spending many dark days in the studio, one day I had enough and took my easel outside to paint and never went back. My easel on the street has been my induction to Italian life and culture. Painting the scenes and places of a city slowly introduce me and let me see all the layers past and present.

One subject that I painted was Rome’s nasone. This is something truly unique to Rome- the public water fountains that are placed all over the city and surrounding neighborhoods and used to be the center of life in each neighborhood. Still people stop to drink and fill their bottles. While standing and painting one, I must have seen 50 people stop to drink and everyone stops from workers to business men who jump off their scooters to housewives coming to fill jugs for their homes.
Being an American in Italy, I see my compatriots everywhere, wandering the streets lost with their maps, drunken college students trudging the streets at night with their boisterous voices and their signature sneakers and flip flops. And I am not one of them, and neither am I Italian. I rather feel myself a timeless observer suspended in  slow moments of time.

December, 2011