Last October I spent a blissful week painting In and around Marsala, on the beautiful West coast of Sicily. I was hosted by a lovely couple, Yumi and Adriano. They have tastefully converted an old Sicilian winery into the most unusual and comfortable guest house, the Salinara Art Farm.
In April I am returning - this time to tutor a week of painting in this wonderful place and I'd love you to join me. I will be taking my watercolours, but if you'd like to bring any other medium that's fine. We'll be visiting a whole range of exciting locations, from the medieval hilltop town of Erice to the mysterious island of Mozia..... from windmills and salt pans to quirky fishing boats in the port..... deserted forts, wild countryside and the charming town itself, Marsala has it all.
As my regular students know, painting sessions are fun and relaxed, and tailored to individual needs. You'll work hard and learn lots of course, but there will be plenty of time to relax too. On this holiday I'd rather like to encourage everyone to include people in their paintings, so we will have a model (my daughter Tamsin) on hand to sit still for us. At the Farm, I'll show you easy ways to paint and sketch figures so that they look 'real' without adding too much detail.
Except for the flights to Palermo, everything is included in a great package deal; all food, wine, transport to and from painting locations, and me of course :-)
See the brochure below for full details on booking.
On the 14th July 2017 the Malta Arts Festival hosted an amazing performance at Fort St.Elmo. Ultima Vez gave us 'In Spite of Wishing and Wanting', a world acclaimed piece by chroeographer Wim Vandekeybus. Powerful in its sheer energy and drama, the all-male troupe explored "fear, the desire for security and the dreadful magic of sleep". The music of David Byrne underpinned it all, and two short films added to the surreal atmosphere.
It's impossible to describe in words though - so here is a short YouTube clip to give you an idea...
I had asked to paint the performance because it sounded so unusual and dramatic, with some nudity and what seemed to be men flying in showers of feathers. I wasn't disappointed; the sheer physical energy and total focus took their bodies beyond human limits. I caught as much as I could - I was spellbound!
In May I organised two painting trips to Trapani in Sicily for my students. We really did a lot of work between us, and had a good time exploring some interesting sites ..... as well as feasting on fresh fish and local wines!
One intriguing place we visited was ‘La Grotta Mangiapani’ described as ‘a village where time stands still’.
This huge cave is in Scurati, part of the Mount Cofano Reserve in Custonati, about 30 minutes from Trapani by car.
The cave has been inhabited since Palaeolithic times and in the 1800’s was turned into a small village by the Mangiapani family. Four family units lived there for 150 years until after the Second World War, when most of the inhabitants emigrated.
The Di Rosario family continued to live there, using it as a large stable and store.
In 1982, destroyed by the animals and quite derelict,a group of young people from Custonaci decided to restore the place and hold an annual Live Crib in the cave. It took years to restore the abandoned buildings and surrounding areas. They sourced examples of traditional tools and wares, and it is now a kind of living museum, with animals in the pens and the rooms displaying various crafts such as the making of barrels, clothes, puppets, carts, and food.
The photos above were all (brilliantly) taken by Melanie Geraghty
It was all very well done and we had a great time exploring before we settled down to paint. It’s a challenge to draw such a massive cliff and keep the sense of scale and perspective – I’m not sure how well I managed but it was fun trying.
My visit with the second group was on a Sunday and we were overrun by about 50 motorbikers obviously on a Tour, and we were all entertained by a group of traditional singers in local costume..... they did kind of disrupt our painting, but they offered to share their wine with us, so we forgave them !!
I couldn't resist these two horses swishing off the flies from each others' faces
I couldn't help thinking that Malta has so many locations that could take this idea and restore interesting but currently derelict areas.
Close to where I live, the old village of Manikata "Razzett tal-Qasam" has been very well restored and preserved by the local farmers (see Koperattiva Rurali Manikata ) but there are many once-inhabited caves in the area that could be used in a similar way to the Sicilian one - even a Living Crib! Just an idea....
Read Full Article
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.