Good Morning Rapallo Italy

With oranges picked from a tree and sliced to eat to lemons, fresh eggs from the hen-house and an enthusiastic young niece to our host to greet us we felt right at home in our tiny house style apartment up in the hills of Rapallo Italy.

orange from the tree in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 001

This morning before walking down the hill to get groceries I walked up a ways until I could see the Mediterranean Sea.

May morning in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 037

We are surrounded by hills with little spots of inhabitants scattered around.

From the hillside in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 030

I believe there is a bus that goes around to the area across from us. I hope so because it would fun to have a closer look at this hilltop.

Hilltop near Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 048

But it is the sea that is calling me right now.

over the palm tree is Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 039

The Bird of Paradise blooming outside our door

Bird of Paradise in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 007

nor the abundant number of prickly beauties

prickly beauties by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 019

and not even the roses will keep me on the hillside today.

A rosy kinda morning by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 057

We are off on the twenty or thirty minute walk to see the sea and get a feel for this place.

 

What is holding your attention today?

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Olive Tree en plein air

On occasion a painter is mesmerized by a subject. In this case, I have fell under the spell of a particular olive tree in the Tuscan hillsides of Florence Italy. I have added it to two previous paintings – once because it was actually there and the second time because I wanted it to be there. This morning I made a third attempt. It is our last day in Florence and the only chance I will have to set up directly in view of this prized olive tree.

olive tree in progress 2 25 x 35 cm acrylic on 185 lb coldpress archival paperby Terrill Welch 2014_05_06 038

I rough in an underpainting and settle in to work. Oh how my brush lacks the life of the moving light! I struggle with the acrylic painting, my limited ability to interpret what I experience so fully in front of this tree and the landscape that holds. The haze is heavier than I am used to on the west coast. The colours are richer and fuller in this May midday sun. I want to give up. I want to sit on the ground and toss the brushes in the air in defeat. But I don’t. I take a deep breath and I keep working. This painting will hardly be able to be called a sketch. It is already long past my self imposed 60 minute limit for a painting sketch. I care not for this limitation today. I am determined.

Finally the brushes still. I have no idea what is on the canvas really. I lost conscious track way back when the last long narrow tree was brushed into the distance. So let’s have a look together…

 

plein air painting of olive tree  25 x 35 cm acrylic on 185 lb coldpress archival paperby Terrill Welch 2014_05_06 045

Well, it isn’t what I had imagined. Nor does it fully capture my intention. But it will have to do because no further brushstroke is asking to be added. This is it. Finished.

OLIVE TREE 25 x 35 cm on 185 lb coldpress archival paper

olive tree in25 x 35 cm acrylic plein air on 185 lb coldpress archival paperby Terrill Welch 2014_05_06 052

(Art prints available in my Redbubble storefront HERE)

 

I have no question for us today… what one would you like to ask?

 

Now I really must go and pack or we shall be in a flurry tomorrow morning.

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

I Hung My Nightgown to Dry in the Tuscan Sun More Than Twice

Today the sun shines but we have had some great thunderstorms  and we were glad we could borrow umbrellas during this past week.  On a particularly miserable day, while we were tucked into our apartment that is part of an old Farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence Italy, I read advice in a travel guide on how to see four towns in a day while traveling by train in Europe.

Farmhouse courtyard Florence Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic painting sketch on linen finished panting block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_27 004

(Farmhouse courtyard Florence Italy – acrylic plein air painting sketch.  Art Prints available HERE)

Let’s just say we are slow travelers in Europe. Our minimum stay is three nights. Our more lengthy settling-in-visits are up to fourteen days. We have done some long days on the train a couple of times but mostly a five-hour trip is enough.

What does this really mean as far as being able to say we have been someplace?

Well, it means that we actually live like we would at home in the communities we are staying. We buy  groceries, mail letters, go to the pharmacy and run out of toilet paper, garbage bags and coffee. We need to do our laundry and hang it out in the sun to dry. That is the best part. Clothes that flap in a hot breeze under the Tuscan sun can never be taken for granted again. That white cotton nightgown of mine with the tiny bit of embroidery around the neckline knows that it will be worn until there are only tatters left for painting rags.

It means we don’t make it to all of the highlights and sometimes we hardly make it to even a few. Instead, I can be found painting on a hillside.

plein air painting southern Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 136

The painting sketches are a quick way to deepen my understanding of the light, the land and a place.

Galluzzo Valley in southern part of Florence Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic sketch on linen finished paint block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 145

(Valley in Galluzzo southern part of Florence Italy – acrylic plein air painting sketch. Art Prints available HERE)

It means there is time to be given not only to a lemon but a cedro which is not a lemon and about the size of a grapefruit.

cedro cut in half by Terrill Welch 2014_05_01 006

There is time to find a recipe by Elizabeth in Rome on how to make a salad using the sweet pulp of this fruit while the rind and dry center are composted.

Cedro insalata Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_01 015

There is time to do a composite painting sketch in a makeshift studio that combines five different experiences that happened over about as many days.

Spring in Tuscany 20 x 30 cm acrylic sketch on canvas board by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 030

(Spring in Tuscany – acrylic painting sketch. Art prints available HERE)

I begin to become familiar with the changing light in the narrow stonewall-lined lanes where the walls of homes sometimes converge with the pathways.

country lane in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 056

The fields and the hills start to speak in clear notes of recognition.

rolling thunder on the Tuscan Hills by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 001

The courtyard becomes well worn with memories of breakfast, lunch and afternoon painting.

garden pots 18 x 24 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch on linen finished painting block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 030

(Garden Pots – acrylic plein air painting sketch. Art Prints available HERE)

There is time to use different photography editing tools to express the light’s dramatic effect on the courtyard

storm breaks  poster edges by Terrill Welch 2014_04_30 005

or a curved building at the top of the hill on the road out of town.

ink outline on the old road to Rome by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 042

Whether it is a villa

villa across a Tuscan Field by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 035

or a more humble dwelling

Via Dell' Amore Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 053

Florence or Firenze is so much more than crowded streets in the old town or the lookout over the city. The Village Road painted by Italian Macchiaioli leader  Giovanni Fattori in 1904 is very little different from the village roads here today.

(Village Road by Giovanni Fattori)

We have only today and tomorrow left in our two-week visit to Florence. David has headed off on his own to do a bit of shopping. I am considering if I have time for one more painting sketch. But mostly, it is time to start packing up our belongings and our hearts. It is time to say good-bye to the Tuscan hills, the fields and the narrow village roads. We promise, as good visitors sometimes do, to return. It is a sign of our love and appreciation rather than a true commitment. That is okay too, for such a possibility will be a welcomed gift during the short daylight hours of heavy rain back at home on the west coast of Canada.

We leave for Rapallo Italy on Wednesday from which we will then do a day trip into the Cinque Terre. From May 13th – 16th we will be in Nice France. The primary intent of our stay there is to see the museums of Matisse and that of Chagall. On May 16th we will travel to Aix en Provence where we will wander (and I shall paint) in the footsteps of Paul Cezanne until May 20th. We follow this up with three days in Narbonne France which will be our last stop before Barcelona Spain and our next longer stay of ten days where we will spend time with the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi who we have both long admired. This will take us to June 3rd with slightly more that three weeks left until we return home. As you can see, we have some shorter visits in this next stretch as we travel towards one of our major goals to visit Barcelona Spain. We will not know these places in between nearly as well but we can say that we gave them more than one-quarter of a day on high-speed town hopping European excursion. Yes, it is work to book trips independently, to plan each stay and each train trip and each meal that must be made. But I wouldn’t trade it for a fast trip. No that would never do. For it is not what we see with our eyes that sustains us but what we visit with our hearts. This is what drives my creative will, my desire to interpret and translate and this is what leaves me just a little sad with each good-bye.

 

Where have you most not wanted to say good-bye but instead promised – until we meet again?

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

The Value of a Lemon

What might be the value of a lemon? Or two?

two lemons by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 069

Or maybe even a whole front yard  filled with lemons?

front yard full of lemons by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 065

Some of these lemon trees might be  growing in pots. Then there are others that might be really large and trained to grow up the side of the house.

lemon tree by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 067

You might even be able to tell me in ways I can guess that it took four years for one of these lemon tree to get that big. What then would be the value of a lemon to someone like me who has never seen so many lemons on lemon trees before? What if you were to invite me in for a really close look? Then, what if you were to reach into your hip pocket for the pruning shears and reaching around under the leaves you grasp a huge firm most lemon-of-lemon-yellow-lemon ever. What if you went “snip!” and handed it to me as a gift?

gift of a large lemon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 121

 

What do you think the value of THAT lemon would be?

 

Note: For those that might think that I just have small hands which I suppose I do,  here is another comparison of my lemon with a large orange…

lemons larger than a large orange by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 126

These lemons were growing in a front yard in the southern most reaches of Florence Italy and were spied through the fence when I was out for a walk. Anyone who has ever traveled or moved to a country where they don’t speak the language knows how exhausting it can be to do simple things like figure out where to get bus tickets or mail a letter or buy the right coffee capsules for the espresso maker when you can’t read the labeling (neither that I got were the right ones by the way). However, this conversation with a fellow gardener was almost effortless and every time I sniff the lemon – I remember how the sun shone on this exchange between complete stranger with hardly a word that could be spoken in common.

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Pillaging Five Essentials From Florence Italy

I suggested to David that since we were walking the old road from Rome to Florence this morning we could pretend that we were Roman Soldiers sent on a mission to the city of Florence.  He replied – if we were crazy we could. Ah well, I tried but he wasn’t up to carrying all that armor clinking and clanking down the narrow echoing street. So we left as two starry-eyed Canadian tourists with two water bottles, a camera and sufficient funds to ward off starvation.

It truly is only a 30 minute into town but by the time we did our circle route and return trip four hours had passed. What did we find you might ask? Here are our five spoils from a first photography pillage of Florence Italy.

Papier – I surely cannot have been the only camera person who sat on the edge of the sidewalk listening for fading foot steps to get a clear shot of this store and side street?

Papier in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 045

Then there is the Ponte Vecchio – which even from here you can see is it is brick-to-brick bodies.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 059

A stretch of the city wall is a must! But which one? Did you know there are six different city walls that were constructed over the history of the city? Judging from where I was standing this is a piece of the sixth wall.

city wall in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 117

From the Piazzale Michelangiolo there is of course a great view of the city and particularly of the Piazza del Duomo.

Piazza del Duomo Florence Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 137

Yet, the most arresting view is possibly that of a replica of David against a Florence blue sky…

replica of stature of David in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 149

Even a copy is a charming sight to behold. But it is getting near the hottest part of the day and we must slip out the back way with our bounty and then trudge up the last part of the hill out of the city.

 

We will be back – so what image of Florence do you wish we might have taken instead?

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Arriving in Florence Italy

Our hosts, Nicoletta and Roberto, call me “Terri” just like my step-son-in-law who is from Malan, Italy. They said that the people of Florence like to welcome their guests and how true we have found this to be. They met us at a small train station in the industrial west side of the city and gave us a full tour on our way to the southern edges. We were presented with gifts of Easter cake, wine and coffee for the espresso machine. Yes, I did still sleep last night after doing some taste-testing before they took me to get a few groceries which in hindsight I should have made a bigger shop. But, oh well!

Today, when we were shopping for a larger supply of sustenance, strangers readily helped me several times until I was able to independently work the weighing machine in the produce section.  In the stores we have been to in Italy, the buyer weighs their own produce and a purchase slip is then created by the machine and you stick it on the bag of produce for the cashier. Quite handy really and efficient when you get to the checkout.

A little while after that I was enthusiastically given tips about the area by a fellow motor-bike riding local photographer. Needless to say, we are finding the people of Florence the warmest, most friendly and inviting hosts in our travels so far. Granted, we are a bit off the tourist map. Just the same – we feel we are at home in less than 24 hours. The view across the valley last evening didn’t hurt either…

view across valley in south Florence by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 016

It is the end of the day as I walk around the yard exploring and looking.

end of the day in south Florence by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 024

Someplace a little further to the left of this, I am told that Galileo’s observatory can be seen through the trees in the winter. I haven’t spotted it yet but it isn’t for lack of trying. It is warm here but not hot like in the summer when is common to have 40 degrees Celsius.

We are staying alongside a narrow one-way street that runs along a hill and is part of the old via Romana or old road to Rome from Florence. The street is now called via del Podesta.

old via Romana by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 063

One of the side roads has poppies blooming along the edge of the stone wall…

poppies by a stone wall in Florence Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 077

and a great view which I will show you on our return.

We walked over the top and down the other side to get our groceries for the next two days as tomorrow, April 25th ,  is Liberation Day in Italy, a national holiday. The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. This means most everything is closed.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. – See more at: http://www.florencewebguide.com/things-to-do-in-florence-in-april.html#sthash.ush8QP2p.dpuf

While shopping, I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. Our hosts had taken me the evening before with their car so I would know where to find the store. I only had a small amount of cash on me so just got enough for supper and breakfast. As we were returning they told me about the national holiday. I knew then that our main task for today was going to be to get a few more things to eat. Well, the great little store with fresh produce and oven-fired bread was packed shoppers. We jostled our way through with the locals who were laughing and joking and being helpful all at the same time. It was a hoot! When we finally got ourselves out on the street again with our pull-cart full of supplies, I told David, we couldn’t get a better experience of local life than shopping on the last day before a national holiday in a neighbourhood store. But, I assure you, now that we are back up the hill and have the provisions tucked away, anything we forgot, we are going to live without 😉

I didn’t take my camera with me but right around noon walked back to that place with the wonderful view.

landscape of churches south of Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 121

This is when I ran into a fellow photographer on his motor bike and he gave me a bit of a rundown on other places to check out in the area. He was born and raised in this neighbourhood but had also made a trip to an island of the Pacific Northwest of the United States so he had some idea what it was like where I was from.

In conclusion, I have decided that my Italian name is Terri and to say it properly you have to roll the “r” just slightly – not too much and leave the emphasis on the “i” and give it more of a long “e” sound. It is very pretty said this way and I will answer to it without a moment’s hesitation.

 

What is your name in another language that you might like to be called?

 

is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at: http://www.florencewebguide.com/things-to-do-in-florence-in-april.html#sthash.ush8QP2p.dpuf

is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at: http://www.florencewebguide.com/things-to-do-in-florence-in-april.html#sthash.ush8QP2p.dpuf

is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at: http://www.florencewebguide.com/things-to-do-in-florence-in-april.html#sthash.ush8QP2p.dpuf

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Venice Italy on a Short Tether

Venice Italy on a short tether by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 115

Where is Venice? Silly question you might answer. It is in Italy of course. Well, it can be. But I am going to postulate that Venice Italy is mostly in our imaginations. To demonstrate, I am going share my unscientific nine days of observations and reflections. You see, we are under rather peculiar restrictions while in this ancient city of canals. We must, for the most part, avoid frenetic crowds.  To avoid dragging a snarling frothing-at-the-mouth tourist through the narrow complex pathways of Venezia, I must pick our times and our locations with care. The most noted touristy locations and activities are therefore passed over.

Though I did get a nice shot of the Canal Grande from the Ponte dell’Accademia

Canal Grande from the Ponte dell'Accademia 1 by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 050

and the long view…

Canal Grande from the Ponte dell'Accademia by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 062

and another Canal Grande from Porte degliScalzi

Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 026

Plus, there is the gondalier polishing away while waiting for riders…

gondaliering 6 by Tierrill Welch 2014_04_17 034

and an inspired painting sketch…

Plein air painting along the Grand Canal in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 030

or two

Low Entry Venice Italy 18 x 24 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch linen finish paintblock by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 060

oh, make that three!

Afternoon canal watch in Venice Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic painting sketch on linen finished paint block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 005

and there is the laundry I showed in my last Venice post.

Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 046

There are also the narrow wabi-sabi alleyways…

wabi sabi street in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 092

So far so good, we might say. It all seems to be just about what one might expect in Venice. But this is where the imagined truth begins to slip and the many faces of Venice start to show themselves in the shadows.

We know that much of Venice was built by the 1500 as it is recorded in a woodcut print by Jacopo de’ Barbari. This aging and declining beauty hosts about 50,000 tourists a day. Finding a narrow calli not streaming with a procession of guests is often a challenge. Still, amidst the frantic excitement, its swaying elegance can still be hunted down to stand alone, quiet and charming in the afternoon sun. Distant clicking of carry-on luggage fades as it is jostle over the masegni then silenced when the owner picks it up to carry it over one of the more than 450 bridges connecting the city of islands. I have two full days left of my nine in Venice. My feelings are mixed. This photograph is the city I imagined. Yet, it is only one, and often seldom seen, expression on a declining, trampled profile of romance, elegance and power. I am not sorry I came. I am not even sorry I stayed long enough to see past the glitter and shiny bobbles. I am however slightly melancholy to visit this elderly lady on her last breath being sustained by tourism, mythology and will.

Let’s take a deeper view, one where I hope to still leave this fading darling of the world with some dignity – yet let the wrinkles of time add to her story.

400 years long by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 100

we are connected

We are connected Venice Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 099

Italia in Venice

Italia in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 047

or just Italia?

Italia by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 046

1776 someplace in Venice Italy

1776 someplace in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 070

I smell a  rat nearby

I smell a  rat nearby by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 108

Who broke the nose of Venice?

who broke the nose of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 154

and then bit off her hand!?

larger than life statue at Canal Grande Hotel by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 020

Is this where Venice collects herself then?

Reflections in an antique shop window Venice Italy

reflections in an antique shop window Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 052

Or is it here in the campo Nazario Sauro?

The many faces of Venice expressed at once by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 125

No, I think possibly the Venice we expect can be most frequently be found on this wall…

within reach of Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 146

Venezia posted by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 140 on the wall in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 141

Wandering the back alleys in search of Venice Italy, I come across a happenstance poster collage that includes Ruth Orkin’s best know photograph early 1950’s “American Girl in Italy” amongst the mix. I carefully frame the collage within its original context and then edit the photograph to become a new image, a new work of art which emerges as a study of this earlier piece. There are bits of debris, wrinkles and wear showing on the paper. A piece of the brick wall is showing through the plastered images. Nothing is quite straight and true. There is more nostalgia than truth and this is Venice in April 2014.

In search of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 131

More about “American Girl in Italy” can be found on a post written by her daughter at Ruth Orkin’s Archives:
http://www.orkinphoto.com/photographs/american-girl

Such a small cup Venice!

such a small cup Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 020

Yet, siblings can be seen looking at something from a bridge in Venice just above the daily beer delivery.

siblings looking at something from the bridge in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 088

Canals are as much for heading to work in Venice
heading to work Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 042

as they are for gondaliering.

gondaliering 4 painterly by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 098

Such gondola pride…

gondola pride 2 by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 104

as they pass the open storage door.

storage Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 036

and the practical posts at the edge of the canals.

practical posts at the edge of the canal by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 040

The fancy ones are over in the Cannaregio district where the streets are wider, quieter and maybe not so interesting…

Cannaregio Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_20 017

It is where Venetians live. It is where your coffee is only drank with milk before 11:00 am and the restaurants are mostly closed from 3:00 in the afternoon to 6:30 in the evening. It is where the boat with fresh fish makes a special stop before going to the larger open market over by the Rialto Bridge. It is where a small boy can through a plastic pop bottle in the canal and no one takes any notice. Still, just like the rest of Venice, the sorted refuse and recyclables will be hung out between six and eight in the morning where they will be picked up and trudged to the edge of the canals to be hauled away before the tourist day begins.

Who is this Venice with such a notorious reputation for love, superb expresso and fish that can sold in a restaurant for 13 euros a 100 grams – with the head still attached?

Who is this Venice behind these many masks?

Venezia masks by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 045

Shuttered more often than not, she gives few clues…

shuttered in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 032

As I make my way up and down the old marble stairs of our apartment again and again in the Santa Croce district,

old marble stairs in our apartment building  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 011

as I reach for one old door handle after another,

door handle in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 007

and the city’s church bells swing a resistant ring against the graffiti walls…

Graffiti of Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 019

I ask – where is Venice?

Then it rains. Sidewalks pool with water.

rain on the sidewalk of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 003

Canals welcome droplets as if being caressed awake from a deep sleep.

rainy day in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 050

The passageways empty and leave the heavy light to a photographer on her knees. He brushes the red clay that is caked to the shoulder of her shirt where she leaned steady against the wall.

per Rialto by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 015

Darkness comes and still they walk – umbrella to umbrella, touching lightly on the delicate underbelly of  exposed skin that is Venice. He asks what she is doing. She says she would like to frame those lights there, the ones dancing on the water. But she doesn’t. Instead, they keep walking, passed where the hustlers have packed up their purses and glow sticks, and passed where the usual sound of rolling carry-on luggage is louder than laughter and past where a couple is having difficulty deciding which restaurant they should go to for dinner.

Damp and satisfied, she leads them past the couple, and  up the three flights of stairs to their apartment, opens a bottle of cheap red wine and makes sandwiches on white buns with local cheese for a late supper.

Early the next morning, there is Venice, waiting on the street for the garbage to be collected. A Venice that knows she can order a standing up espresso for a euro at the bakery where she will buy only what bread is needed for breakfast. About then – the light is just so! The masks fall from her imaginary vision and she says…

suggested Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 040

I am ready to say good morning to you Venice. I am willing to say I am in love with your many faces.

morning by a Venice canal by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 069

Only now, it is time to say good-bye – a long goodbye like that of Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h67MxIl795w

Venice, I think you will surprise me again.

Tomorrow,  I shall be packed. It will be time for this humble artist to stow away her work and leave only her impressions behind.

 

Where is YOUR Venice? What one of her many faces do you love most?

 

Note: The painting sketches and some of these photographs are now available for purchase at my Redbubble Storefront.

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

En Plein Air by the Rhine River in Basel Switzerland

The Rhine is a working river, moving cargo and people along its length and from shore to shore. She knows her place in that respect. Yet, what passion this slow moving river awakens during a long and warm spring morning.

plein air painting by the Rhine river Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 102

Even having just arrived the evening before I know her charms intuitively. The Basel Minster (Cathedral) is a prominent feature in the Basel landscape. Its beauty from afar or up close is worthy of admiration.

RHINE RIVER BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 10 inch on gessobord acrylic painting sketch.

Rhine River Basel Switzerland 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 067

Art prints available HERE.

While I was painting the riverside restaurants filled with lunch patrons. Several stopped to visit as they arrived or left. One was a young girl about eight years old. She didn’t speak English but her grandmother did and she translated for us so that we could talk. The girl reminded me so much of myself at the same age with her curiosity about painting.

A Basel Switzerland morning  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 015

In much of Basel, single family dwellings are few. These small four or five-story apartment buildings line the streets with frequent small bar/coffee and other shops below. This economy of space without the North American highrise allows for trees to reach tall in squares and along sidewalks. The results are a relaxed pleasant neighbourhood though rippling with human noises.

FROM THE BALCONY OF AN APARTMENT IN BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 8 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board.

from the balcony of an apartment in Basel Switzerland 8 x 8 acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 065

Art prints available HERE.

Friday nights are definitely the end of the week with businesses opening later on Saturday morning and grocery and many other stores closed on Sunday. Locals walk, run, roller blade and cycle all the time. Frequently whole families can be seen out together along the paths beside the river. Work, home and play are integrated. Here are a couple of a skate park ramps in a small space at the end of a street.

skate park Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 022

This is just before where we are going to cross over one of the major bridges, the Wettsteinbrücke and look over the Rhine again. On a nice evening the whole east side of the river is filled with people having picnics and BBQs and drinking wine and beer. Everyone is there from visitors like ourselves to parents with new born babies, lots of university student and elderly women and men. There are people still in their business clothes sitting next to those who appear to have been beside the river since the first sun touched the east bank. Our picnic evening was close to the number one highlight during our time in Basel. Not to be missed if you are ever in town on a fine evening.

looking over the Rhine Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 032

It is morning now. Sunday morning to be exact and it seems as good a day as any to take a closer look at the Basel Minster which has a fascinating history. From a slightly different angle this time.

Rhine river by the Basel Minster in Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 027

If you look really closely done on the river bank near the right side of the photograph you can see the cable boat that ferries passengers back and forth across the river. However, we are going to continue across the bridge and walk through the “old town” and into the courtyard of the church.

Basel Minster courtyard and windows to the Rhine river by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 074

I could stand here for hours watching the light change and seeing how it impacts the few through the far windows. But. Sigh. We must be off through the archway that leads to the lookout.

freshly washed steps by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 077

Around a bend or three and a street or two and we can glimpse the oldest remaining bridge across the Rhine. It is called the Mittlere Brücke or middle bridge. Basel’s first bridge across the River Rhine was opened here in the year 1226. Electric trams were introduced to Basel in the year 1895. These proved to be too heavy for the old bridge dating from the 13th century, so it was replaced by a new structure in 1905.

through branches is Mittlere Brücke the oldest bridge Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 101

That little peaked roof structure on the bridge at the bottom is a copy of the original chapel or Käppelijoch on the bridge where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were sentenced to death. Also, in this time period women who were accused of infidelity or infanticide were bound and thrown into the Rhine. If they were swept to the banks of the river still alive, then this was taken as proof of their innocence, and they were set free.

Reference: Virtual Basel

Today, what I found were the padlocks of lovers sealing their commitment.

ove locks on Basel Bridge Switserland  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 123

Don’t get caught putting one of these on iron gate to the chapel though. I am told there is a fine.

 

What would your padlock say if I was to find it on this iron gate in Basel Switzerland?

 

I could tell you so much more about our time in Basel – like when I saw the Five Bathers (1885/1887) by Cezanne in the Kunstmuseum Basel

But some things must be left to our imagination or possibly for another post. Though this isn’t too likely since the train has moved on and we are now well settled into life in Venice or Venezia.

 

All the best of Easter Weekend to you!

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Is it Venezia or Venice to you?

We traveled by train from Basel Switzerland through Austria and down the northeast part of Italy to Venezia or Venice. Being an English speaking Canadian I think of Venice rather than Venezia but the later sounds so pretty it seems a shame not to use it. I do have a blog post in the wings for Basel Switzerland. However, we are taking a short introductory walk around the Cannaregio area of Venice late this morning so I thought I would take you with us.

We are staying on quiet calla Gallion not far from the first bridge near the train station. In retracing our steps back towards the station, there is a chance for us to take in that postcard view of Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi.

Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 026

Stepping down off the bridge we will turn away from the train station and take the Rio Tera Lista Di Spagna and have a look along the Canal Cannaregio.

Canal Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 028

Yes, this part is still fairly busy but it quickly becomes quiet as we wander into the Cannaregio area. I lose interest in canals for more mundane observations. I love laundry hanging on lines. Laundry in canals.

Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 046

Laundry with a view.

Secchiere Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 061

Laundry with a colour theme.

Shades of red Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 088

Well, that is about it. The sun is too high for good viewing and it is time to return to our rooftop apartment for a wee snack and a nap.

 

Oh! Is it Venezia or Venice to you?

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

False Gargoyles removed from Church of Notre Dame of Dijon after fatal accident

Early evening in Dijon France is as inspiring as the early morning. Our adventure started out seeking a wee bite of sustenance. Following what-has-become-after-three-days our usual path, we enter the far side of Park Darcy and follow the path to the top by the trees.

top area of Park Darcy warm April evening  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 008

We walk along the top of the fountain and I stop to sigh a small regret as I had hoped to spend the afternoon painting from this vantage point.

Park Darcy view from above the fountain by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 012

Instead I spent most of the day in the Dijon Fine Arts Museum which was wonderful but meant no time for painting. I shall keep this photography sketch for later reference.

The April light in Dijon already has the harsh sharp contrasts that I generally associate with summer on the west coast of Canada. The sun is warm but the shade is still cool. Though we were in just our light sweaters, others had layered up in winter coats.

April Evening on The Streets of Dijon France by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 020

We eventually found a plat du jour to our liking and after including a glass of wine, a shared peach tart and expresso doppio I convinced David we should go find that great church we had seen on our first walk through the city when we had been looking for the Les Halles market. The last light was leaving golden trails across the tops of the building and I wanted to pocket a little of that to take home with us.

It is the Church of Notre Dame of Dijon that we were seeking and it was just around a couple of corners and a little more to the north from where we had dinner. Let’s see. Yes, there it is!

Church of Notre Dame of Dijon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 035

A person might reasonably think it was the evening light coming through the stain glass windows that I found inspiring.

westerly evening sun back lighting Church of Notre Dame of Dijon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 084

They are lovely enough but it not what caught my eye and curiosity. It was these!

false Gargoyles from the side by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 061

These are false gargoyles and there are 51 on the west side of the Church. There were false gargoyles to the left of where I was standing.

false Gargoyles to the left by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 050

There were false gargoyles to right and the clock with its jacquemart above

false Gargoyles to the right Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 055

and false gargoyles in the middle. Let’s just say 51 false gargoyles is a lot of gargoyles.

false Gargoyles in the middle by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 058

They are false gargoyles because they do not have a spout that is designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Oh but they are curious intriguing things! I had to know more.

The wikipedia story for the Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon’s false or dummy gargoyles goes like this:

According to the account of the monk Étienne de Bourbon, the original gargoyles were in place for only a short time: they were removed around 1240, following a fatal accident. A usurer was killed on the church forecourt as he was about to get married: a stone figure representing a usurer became detached and fell on him. His colleagues organised the destruction of all the dummy gargoyles on the façade, except for one at the upper right corner that survived until the 1960s, when it was replaced. Some 19th-century engravings do not show this gargoyle, but it can be seen in photos taken before 1880. The gargoyles at the sides and the back of the façade remain.

The dummy gargoyles which today decorate the façade, and which represent human beings, animals and monsters, were made in 1880-1882, during the restoration of the church. According to the archives, they were the work of seven Parisian sculptors: Chapot, Corbel, Geoffroy, Lagoule (also known as Delagoule), Pascal, Thiébault and Tournier.

Note: a usurer is a person who lends money and requires the borrower to pay a high amount of interest.

If you were to name one of your least favourite relatives (dead or alive) after a false gargoyle – what human being, animal or monster would they be?

Oh! Please do NOT disclose the name of the relative or leave any identifying clues. In this case, anonymity is a must 😉

Now, far too soon,  it is time to start packing our belonging and say good-bye to this beautiful city. Tomorrow we continue on to Basel Switzerland where I am not sure I will have internet access so you might not receive another post from me until we get to Venice, Italy.

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com