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Live Painting with Opera Extravaganza in Umbria

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Walking into the Teatro Sociale in Amelia, Umbria is like walking into a box of fine chocolates, you know, the kind that are decorated all sweet and lovely.  It’s a recently restored theatre built in 1783 by the architect Stefano Cansacchi and exquisitely decorated.

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I was there to kick off Opera Extravaganza’s first event of 2016: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the Opera Buffa, La Dirindina.  Opera Extravaganza is an incredibly talented cultural organization located iin Vetralla, Lazio Italy and headed by Susanna Ohtonen and Rudolph Hupperts.  They dedicated themselves to organizing high level operas, concerts and courses.  They’ve put together a wonderfully innovative project called “Adopt a Theatre”.  Basically anyone in the world can sign up to adopt a theatre and by doing so can view via live streaming the productions that Opera Extravaganza organises during the year.  Just think, you can watch a live opera production in the comfort of your own home wherever that may be.

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I arrived at the theatre about 3 hours before the start of the concert in order to set up and start painting the background.  What a treat to paint during the rehearsal, listening to Vivaldi.  I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to paint during the Dirindina since it would only last about 40 minutes.  I had to get as much painting down as possible beforehand.  The rest would have to be done from photograph later in my studio.

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Having spoken with Susanna about the painting, she explained to me that she wanted me to capture the joy and playfulness of the Dirindina with her big wig and heavy stage makeup. And this is exactly what I did!  It was very important to paint the warmth and glow of the theatre lights that illuminate the theatre and also paint small details of the actors on stage.

I can’t wait to Live Paint my next venue!

Are you planning an event such as a wedding, anniversary, bar mitzvah or corporate in event in Italy or Europe.  Contact me below, I’d love to paint your celebration.

Thank you.

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Plein Air Painting at Roccafiore in Umbria

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The countryside around Todi is surrounded by endless rolling hills and Roccafiore Wines is cradled among them.  It’s a sweet and slow 5 minute drive up the hill to the winery and you can even catch a glimpse of Todi just across the motor way.

As a painter, you can’t just trample on someone’s property, and especially not a vineyard in full harvest.  I planned ahead and wrote Laura Ferrucci the Hospitality Manager who basically rolled out a little red carpet for me.  She set up an appointment to show me the cantina, tell me a little bit about the philosophy behind it and greeted me with warmth and enthusiasm.  I had the chance to explore the grounds and find a couple painting places for the next day.  Umbria is always beautiful but it’s particularly magical if you can experience it during one of its harvests and see the transformation of olives or grapes into prime quality products.

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What really caught my eye about this place was its aesthetic and design, its architecture and landscaping fused together.  Nothing is left to chance and everything is absolutely beautiful, from the hanging grapes, to the logo, to the farmers harvesting Grecchetto.

I woke up very early to get to the vineyards and be “in the field” by 7:30 a.m.  The morning light is the best and it moves real quick in the autumn.  I really liked the perspective that the vines offered so I set up my easel making sure I wasn’t in anyones way, especially the tractor dude that would come by every so often and pick up the harvested grapes.

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The pickers, which are local farmers that live in the area and work seasonally for the cantina were really amused by my presence as was I by theirs.  They had never seen a painter in their field before and were pretty happy to catch a glimps of my painting while it was developing.

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I really enjoyed painting en plein air in these Umbrian vineyards, the cool morning breeze, the sweetness of the farmers and knowing that I too was contributing to the harvest (in my own little way of course!).

Would you like to paint a wine harvest or olive harvest in Umbria, Italy?  Contact me below.

 

A special thanks to Alessandra at Discovering Umbria Tours in Todi for having introduced me to Laura Ferrucci at Roccafiore Wines.

 

Download your FREE Roccafiore Vineyard Painting Print that I painted that morning. I suggest you print your painting on 200 or 300 gm. cardstock for best results:

 

 

 

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