Friday, March 31, 2017

The Garden Center

  When it comes to garden centers, either here in Italy, or back in California, I've never met one I didn't want to poke around in.
  I love checking out all the 'stuff'-plants, pots, fertilizers, weird accessories for the outdoor living room, etc.
  There is this one garden center about thirty minutes away that we have driven past a bunch of times, and on this particular day, decided to stop and check out. We didn't need to be anywhere at any certain time, the weather was great, and spring has sprung hereabouts. Perfect.

  The very first thing to catch my eye was this gorgeous viburnum in a large nursery had blooms that were softest shade of pink, with a fragrance that made me sigh. I love the fragrant viburnums, and hadn't seen this one before. I have something similar in my garden, but the blooms are snow white.

The color is so beautiful.

  Once inside, we were blown went on and on with different greenhouses and gift areas...

This area had succulents and cactus.

Lots of tables with annual color

Lots of varieties of herbs.

Fun pots.

Ummmmm...everything from hedgehogs to chimpanzees....

Just in time for Easter.

And last, but not least...statuary.

  We had fun, bought a couple of things(no, not the hedgehogs or the statue of David), jumped back in the car and continued our adventure for the day.
  Big fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Day Or Two

  We are getting out and about while the weather is nice. Looks like rain may be on the way in a few days. Hey, we'll take it. It's just so nice to be here.

  Over the weekend, between bouts of Johnny painting here and there, we took our walks in the morning, as always, after coffee in bed.
  (An aside-I think we may be the only visitors who rarely have coffee at the bar. We wake up super early, like at home, and have our coffee in bed while we read, or check's our ritual. People are shocked if they see us at the bar in the morning.
  That being said, they would be even more shocked if they didn't see us there with wine in the evening)

   We always try to get out early for our walk.

A walk up to the old church.

Especially pretty in the early morning sunshine.

  Taking the road out of town to buy some art supplies, we pass one of my very favorite views.
  This year, the scene is even prettier with the white blooming shrubs.

   The weather has been fantastic. Great for photos.

 I came across this lovely villa on a walk while Mr. J painted. Could not get closer, unfortunately, but still intrigued.

  I have bought two pairs of boots this year, and I wore these for the first time over the weekend. Like slippers, only squishier. Light as a feather, too.

I just want to beam this entire scene to my California garden.

   Sunday, we enjoyed a birthday party with friends in the morning, Johnny painted for awhile, then we headed to the lake in the late afternoon.

  There is so much to love about spending an hour or two at the lake. Sundays, everyone comes out to play. All the generations show up. And they all talk to one another, play cards, walk along arm in arm, laugh...

  From one side of the lake....

 the other side of the lake. We are equal opportunity lovers of this beautiful lake.

  Here is a little sight and sound video of a typical weekend afternoon, lakeside-

  Check out Ciao Trasimeno to find your own piece of heaven.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Walking In The Fields

  Any of my regular readers know that I love a good stroll down a dirt road. Here, in Umbria, or back home in California. When the weather is good, it's even better.
  This past week the temperatures hovered around 65 degrees, which is so perfect for a walk. The earlier winds have cleared things up, so the late afternoons are just gorgeous.
  While johnny sets up and starts working, I'll snap a few photos of him, make a video or two, then head in whichever direction looks the best and has the least amount of mud or brambles...or both.
  I have my camera from a couple of years ago ...I bought it in Venice after my old one finally conked out. It's been a great little tool...lots of features like micro, panorama and 'fancy' artsy options. I love making short videos with it, too.

  Sadly, this year I've noticed it has some weird dots on the lens that I can't get rid of, so forgive me. You'll only notice on videos, which there is at the end of this post. I know the dots are there, and it's making me crazy. Hope it doesn't make you crazy, too...and if anyone knows how I can fix this, leave me a message, please!

  Back to the sweetness of the fields.

  I look for a long shot that has interesting shapes and light....

I can't get enough of the rows of trees without leaves...

On the left, in the background,  a glimpse of Castiglione del Lago.

Italian Cypress and Umbrella Pine are always good together.

Three old souls.

I like the lines here.

Haze from burning olive clippings adds a nice softness. Our throats and eyes suffer, though.

Everything I look for.

 A little bit of Primavera in the olive grove.

  A few moments alone in the fields is all I need sometimes. The views, smells and like.
  I'm always asked "And what do you do while Johnny is working...?"

  This is pretty much what I do....


  It's just enough, too.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Scenes From Today

  Self-explanatory....Scenes from a typical day in our 'Other Life', here in Umbria.
  We start with an early morning walk, go to the garden center to start the little 'step-garden' at the apartment, then out to paint in the afternoon, with a gentle evening walk for fun.
  Oh, and then the Alien Cloud Sunset.
   Hey, it's Umbria....

A particular fruit tree I like to watch change.

Interesting details.

Nice light.

Kitty wants out.

A favorite ruin.

Wild violets and a lovely stone.

A closer look...

Starting to lay out a plan for my 'garden'.

The Golden Hour.

Painting at prime time.


A beauty.

A favorite scene of Johnny's.

Alien clouds? Over Lago Trasimeno?

Sure, why not.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Me & Art Continued

  Still somewhat jet lagged, we have started trying to get into some kind of routine. Coffee in bed, a morning walk, some chores...Johnny is still setting himself up for painting, so that has not started yet.
  We like to find somewhere interesting to visit, and yesterday it was Il Giardino dei Lauri, in nearby Citta Della Pieve. We visit at least once a year, since this fantastic contemporary art collection is only a twenty minute drive for us. There is usually something new every year.
  It's free, and it's very cool.

  There are many pieces I like, and they are almost all installation works. Johnny prefers paintings, while I get excited about installations. I am blown away by the thought that someone came up with it. Color, texture, sound, and motion turn on my senses, big time. The concept often has much to do with my interest, but is just as often lost on me. It's ok...I just know what I like.
  Humor is always welcome.
   Yesterday I shot a few videos. No photos this time.

  Wu Tsang 
  "His Master's Voice"  2004

Samara Scott 
"Aquarelle Gastebuch 1"  2004

  This final video features one piece I really like, along with a general sweep around one main gallery.
  It begins with:
   Gianluca Concialdi 
  "Padiglione arrotolato"  2014

  The collection is free to the public, and only open on Fridays and Saturdays.

Friday, March 10, 2017

First Morning Walk

   Short and oh so sweet...Our first morning walk was gorgeous. We had beautiful crisp and clear weather with loads of sunshine. We are told that wind, rain and cold are just around the corner, but today was fantastic...Fantastic on so many levels, I won't go into here and now.
  It's late, and I'm molto stanco...very tired. I hear the gentle kitten snores of my hubby as I write this, so let's get going....

Can you ask for more on a morning walk?

I'll take it.

Interesting trunk on an old olive tree...

I want to make something fabulous from this...but of course, no.

Mr. J peeks into a favorite little church...

Cyclamen leaf with moss....

I'm one happy gal.