Thursday, October 23, 2014

In And Around Varenna

I really loved the look of Varenna so I decided to stay there and sketch a bit instead of traveling.

This is the steeple of the local church.

I went back for a second visit to Villa Monastero. It is such a pretty place. I loved the fountain.

So I painted it.

I loved this odd little building at the end of the point.

So I painted it.

A new friend joined me while he was resting in my palette.

Every place I passed was a possible painting or sketch.

The colors are so great on the buildings. I sat on a bench down by the water to paint this, and talked to just about everyone who sat nearby.

And the contradas always called to me. The man at the bottom was taking a photo looking up. I wonder if I ended up in his photo.

Still more posts to come.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Walk from Varenna

After visiting all the other towns by ferry I ended up with a page of quick ink sketches that I did when the ferry was pulling into some of the other towns. This went across a double page in my sketchbook.

Here are a few closeups.

I decided to stay on our side of the lake for a change. Every morning I would walk from our apartment to the very edge of the next town that was about a mile away. I knew from my research that the town, Fiumelatte has "the shortest river in Itlay." Apparently it runs at certain times of the year and then dries up. I didn't know if it was running or not, but I decided to make an extra trip there to check. When I got to this spot I thought I had found the river....

but I decided to keep on walking and take more photos.

And then I heard this roaring noise and went a little further to find this. It was so noisy your couldn't hear anything else. It was right along the road and went under the road into the lake. 

I wanted to sketch it, but there was no room at all to sit down, so I sketched it standing up.

I walked a bit and found this great view back to Varenna that I wanted to paint. I thought a panoramic watercolor paper would be best. As I was sketching I kept getting lost in the buildings so I decided it would be best to start on the left and sketch a building or two and paint them as I went along. The color made it easier to figure out where I was in the view. I did most of the painting that day but completed it the following day.

Here are a few more photos from Fiumelatte.

I had been gone from the apt for quite a while and I knew it was a long walk back...and I was hungry and was ready for a bit of vino.  I will continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Trip to Como

Como is one of the biggest cities along Lake Como and from Varenna it was about an hour ride on the fast, high-speed ferry. I left on a 7:40 ferry to Menaggio and then took the connecting high-speed ferry, so I was in Como around 9 am...just in time to have a relaxing cappuccino before walking around.

My first stop was the Como Cathedral which was very nice...both inside and outside.

I sketched part of it...the Como Duomo.

I found a nice courtyard garden that was well cared for.

I walked around a bit especially in the historic center. I love the older buildings.

I sat on my travel chair and started painting the street above. Midway down on the left is a restaurant. A man wearing an apron came out and walked over to see what I was doing. He told me the restaurant was his and asked if he could take a photo of what I was doing. I told him he could but that  I still had a lot to do on the painting and he might prefer taking a photo later. He came out a second time to look and told me that when I was finished to come inside and he would make me lunch. He seemed so honored that I was painting his restaurant. The restaurant had a display case filled with all kinds of fresh pasta and assorted sauces (garlic and oil, tomato, pesto, bolognase). I picked my pasta (cheese and spinach ravioli) and my sauce (tomato) and he took it in the back to cook it. It was just delicious and was served with a little basket of crunchy Italian bread. I offered him the painting but he said I should keep it to remember his restaurant. He just took a photo of the completed painting and said when he looks at it he will think of me. I told him that when I look at the painting I will think of him and his food. I thought he was so nice. I got a big hug when I left.

Here is my painting of the street and L'Ora della Pasta.

Next I walked along the harbor to the funicular which goes to the top of the hillside to the town of Brunate. It was a really steep ride as you can see from the photo. I was glad I wasn't walking. lol

The view was great looking down to Como.

The lake was soooo far down!

I did one sketch of this last view.

Before leaving Como I took a few more photos around the harbor area.

It was a fun day in Como and I even bought a bracelet for myself. Yes!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lenno, Varenna and Tremezzo

Somehow yesterday I missed posting this painting of Tremezzo's waterfront.

Next to explore was the town of Lenno which was further down the lake. I had some really pretty views.

With all the traveling I was doing by ferry I did some small thumbnails of some of the stops of the mid-lake ferry.

This was sketched along the promenade of Lenno.

I loved this Lenno building all covered with plants and foliage.

Each night in Varenna I would watch the sunsets. 
I enjoyed seeing the colors and the mountains in the distance.

In an unrelated part of the post...I need to share. One of the art associations I belong to, the Wet Paints Studio Group had their juried member's show over the weekend. My collage "Sunset" won first place in the mixed media category. It was done with washi oriental papers that I painted first with watercolors.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


The next town I visited on Lake Como was Tremezzo. It was a fairly quiet town with just a few shops and restaurants. It is home to Villa Carlotta which I didn't get to visit. I did walk down to a lovely park along the lake.

I painted part of this wall, but from the other side.

There was a beautiful fountain in the park.

I liked the wall with the foliage which was starting to turn red.

The church tower caught my eye.

While I was waiting for the ferry I sketched the salumeria across the way.

Tremezzo was pretty looking at it from the ferry.

To be continued...

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Next the ferry brought us to Bellagio which sits out on a stretch of land that juts out into the middle of the lake. It is a pretty town, with cobblestone stairs similar to Varenna. But Bellagio seems much more commercial than Varnenna with many, many more shops with souvineers  and lovely merchandise too.

I sat and painted a lovely scarf store at the top of the stairs.

This man was patiently waiting for the ferry when we were.

The houses by the lake were very pretty.

I started this painting and it started to rain. I went back to try and finish it later.

To be continued....