Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Day Out, Finally

  For the last week and a half, I've been up and down with the sinus infection/cold from HELL.
  I swear, every year it's something...I was starting to think I'd slip by this trip without getting sick, but alas, no.
  We did manage to keep our reservation for a night in Florence this past Wednesday, but it was a tough go for me. So sad to be there with low energy and a lack of an appetite, but we did see two good exhibitions and we managed to visit our favorite spots anyway. 
  It did take it's toll, and I spent an entire day in bed after we came back to The Nut., Saturday, I actually felt good enough to do some morning exercises, make coffee and clean house a bit. Afterwards, we decided to take a drive around to enjoy the very beginning of what appears to be Spring. Yeah!

  First off, we stopped in the nearby village of Paciano. We heard from pals that we just had to see the small church there... I think it is the 'Chiesa di San Carlo Borromeo'... which is hardly ever open, but for Easter weekend they have it filled with candles, as well as a beautiful Jesus 'laying in state'.
  It was well worth visiting. I believe it is open through Sunday.

The candles were so beautiful, and the only light in the small chapel.

  Next, we took a drive to another nearby hill town, Citta delle Pieve. Every Easter weekend, they have a festival which features lots of local and regional food treats.
  There are also lots of hand made crafts, which are fun to see. 
  Usually there is an art exhibition, too. This year it features photography. 

  We like to just cruise around and see the sights...I saw these openings and the light was pretty good.

  The town colors were really blowing in the wind...

  After buying our cheeses, we enjoyed a glass of wine while people watching, then hoofed it back to the car to take the scenic (it's all scenic...) route home.
  With the clouds whipping by, and moments of brilliant sun poking through, it made for some great photo opportunities.

I am pretty damn proud of this one.
Just a split second of pure sun made it happen.

Same field, different angle.

I call this "Through The Windshield".
I just didn't want to get out of the car.

Still waiting for spring to arrive!

I love the curvy road.

A favorite spot for painting and photos.

  We actually had some nice blue skies near Panicale...

  Back at The Nut we decided to grill one of the cheeses we had bought, along with some good 'Lia' bread.

The fellow we bought this cheese from recommended grilling it, so....
Plus, I'm up for grilling pretty much anything.

It got all oozy on the inside, still held it together on the outside.
But...I'm glad I pulled it off the grill when I did!

A perfect early dinner...oozy cheese, toasty bread, fig jam and a slice of goat cheese.
The apples didn't make it in the shot, but they were part of this meal, too. 

 And what better way to end the early evening but having a laugh with Eddie and Patsy.
  Thank you, YouTube! It was Absolutely Fabulous!

Honestly, we don't ask for much...

  Buonanotte, Dear Readers. Off to bed early... Hoping to feel even better tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Getting Together With Monet

  I guess it was about two weeks ago...We took the train to Rome for a day trip. There is a Monet exhibition going on, which seemed like a must see, and we needed to visit a favorite spot for lunch.

  I wrote about the day here, but really wanted to go more into the actual exhibition a little more.
  I was quite taken by this show

  The paintings are on loan from the delightful Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. We have been there a few times, but not in well over a decade. Honestly, I just don't remember being so blown away by the work. 
  Silly me.

  On entering the show, you walk through a gently moving video display of Monet's waterlilies. A very nice effect.

Arriving early was great We had the place mostly to ourselves.

  The first piece you come across is this good sized painting of white clematis, which I loved. 
  The wall colors they chose were just perfect, and both Johnny and I started thinking about a color 'accent wall' in the new gallery...

  There are some lovely landscapes represented in the show, this one, below, being my favorite .
  It's so simple, it seems as though it wasn't even finished. 
  My first hit... "This guy was pretty modern for his day".
  Silly me. 
  The '"Father of Impressionism"?  Yeah, he was way out there for his time, of course.


  I really enjoyed seeing the display which includes his palette, his last pair of glasses, and his smoking pipe. All very cool, but the palette drew me right in, as I am always taking photos of Johnny's palette as he paints.

  As we worked through the earliest pieces, which I liked, and got into the rooms featuring the later works from his garden in Giverny, I started seeing these as abstract paintings.
  I know that Monet could not see well in his later days, which helped to create this particular effect so well, but I never really stood and looked the way I did on this day.

Sure, it's a painting of a reflection in water, but I just see color and line.
But... what color, and what line...

  I knew right away I wanted to write my impressions of the exhibition, so I took photos of the paintings that I sort of centered in on...the whole painting, then close ups, which I was excited by. Seeing the paint strokes so close, and the blending colors. 
  Each canvas had interesting 'moments of abstraction', at least to me.
  I always mention, when writing about art, that I don't have any solid art education, I just know what I react to. I am not pretending to be a critic...I just like or don't like. 
This is me reacting to Monet- Hey, Monet...I like!

Wonderful shape, color and movement.

  I loved the larger pieces that had lots of negative space.

Rose arbor.

Up close.

  One space has three large horizontal paintings. Two featuring a wisteria vine, and one water lily piece.
  These were so loose, they took my breath away.

  This one was like smoke, it was so light and loose.

A very gentle touch, but with so much power.

Almost not there at all.
   The large water lily painting made me instantly think of Joan Mitchell, one of my favorite Abstract Expressionist painters from back in the day.

So much white space here.

Up close, it's just so marvelous.
So contemporary.

  There are also several weeping willow paintings, as well. A very different feel, as they are very dark.
  But to me, very abstract in form, and so much 'action'.

Up close.

  I felt so honored to be able to get right up to these paintings to get the close up shots. 
  Each one had several small areas that were standouts.
  These are more representational, but still have these small 'moments' within them that I was so drawn to.

Very active.
Great color combination.

I love this subtle color combo.
Nice lines, too.

You can get right in there and see each brush stroke.

  At one point, I ran back to the willow tree room to get shots of this one...I just couldn't help myself.

This is it's own abstract painting, within the painting.

  Last one for me, the Rose Path.
  Having been in this garden, in Giverny, made this show more special. For sure.
  Seeing these paintings again, some ten years later, with a more developed consciousness of contemporary art, expressionism and abstraction, made this a visual feast.
  And I ate it up.

Wow. Just wow.

Thanks, Claude.

  The show has been extended until sometime in June:
  Monet in Rome ....Now!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Between Storms

  Morning time...looks like we might have some sun today, Tuesday. 
  The last couple of days have been on and off rain, sleet and hail. Cold winds have been difficult to deal with, too.
  But, when the sun does peek through the clouds, I try to get out there and capture some of it.

  As I was chatting with a pal and looking out the window, this loveliness, below happened like magic right in front of me...

A study in grey on grey.

It wanted to be a rainbow...

  With the entire valley at our doorstep, I am enjoying taking photos from the terrace. The cloud formations and color contrasts never cease to inspire my imagination.

  Hello, blue skies!

  We took a drive a couple of evenings ago, just because we could, and these are some of my favorite photos. I took so many, as the sky and shadows and landscape just kept changing so fast.

Field of purple cabbage with the grey sky and warm colors of the buildings.
Loved this combination.

The opposite side of the valley.
I can almost see The Nut way over there.

  Looking forward to a walk this morning, once we finish coffee and get ourselves up. There is sun!