Friday, 26 June 2015


At the end of last year I signed up for a Tourist Guide course. Over the last six months I have swayed from both loving and hating the choice I made. The wealth of information awaiting you is enough to wet your appetite of an evening, so even if it was cold, wet and miserable, the incentive to go to lessons  was there. Travelling to the school during the winter months across Alta Langa was no joke, most evenings were so thick with fog that the 50 kilometer drive could take nearly two hours to complete....that's just one way. Often I would count to 10 aloud, with the car window open to keep me from falling asleep. 
Just like the fog, the course was THICK with dates, names and terms on subjects that ranged from geology to legislation, from history to genealogy, from regional traditions to geography...beyond anything that made any sense to me -considering this was a six months course. I struggled with language and with being understood. All of a sudden I felt like a foreigner in Italy, after 25 years!  This wasn't what I had hoped.. at all! 
With a massive dose of self-inflicted torture however I HAVE FINISHED! I am free!
So here's me doing a little virtual "thank-you" dance to Fortune for letting me out alive�� 
Now back to my brushes...and "seeing" with my eyes again!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

This is sky travel, with no planes involved. The Langa hills are so, so, SO beautiful that the first thing that comes to mind is finding some way (wishfully) to go and live among the comforting domes of vine and hazelnut trees. They fall away towards the alps where the tip of Monviso can be seen dominating the horizon. Langa provides thousands of panoramas in just a few turns of every road. This is wine and food heaven!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Turin, Piemonte, simply Italy

Palazzo Reale, Torino. The magnificent Scissor stairway designed by Juvarra in the early 1700's for Carlo Emanuele Savoia's wedding. The double stairway starts at the top and joins together on the middle ramp. Here you see the underside of that middle ramp and the final separation again into two passages that are the first ramp. Gossips of the time thought it an impossible task to build, so on completion Juvarra added a medallion to the stairway showing the face of a man with a serpents to an open pair of scissors ready to chop it off! (see detail)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vezzolano Abbey and the romanesque trail in Asti

A lovely field trip brought me to Vezzolano Abbey in Albugnano Asti. The combination of limestone, terracotta and brick makes it surprisingly welcoming considering the austerity of its era. A beautiful cloister accompanies you towards their permanent nativity display that occupies impressively four sides of an entire room. The church is dedicated to the Madonna and as with all romanesque decoration in the area, every pilar, capital and column tells its own story, sometime our own imagination is as close as we will every get to unlocking their secrets!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

San Giorgio e il drago

Looking forward to painting a saint George and the dragon for a church in Torresina Cuneo.
Here's the rough sketch of how I want it composed. It will measure 100x160cm.