Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wettest May in 23 years in Umbria

Unlike the previous few days, of clouds and rain, this morning held promise for our group of painters.  As we sat in the sun room munching on croissants and sipping our morning cappuncinos, we noted the fairly clear skies and sunshine. Finally- a day to relax and simply enjoying painting in Italy in the springtime.

Our painting expedition would be held just outside Torgiano at Tony and Elizabeth Turpin's house.  From their house there are fields of vineyards nearby, and vistas of the hilltop towns.  Plein air painters dotted the fields as we each found our special spot to set up and paint.  In no time at all, we were painting, even though a slight mist of rain had appeared.  However, this was not to last.  We were served up a generous portion of rain.  Some donned vogue red raincoats, while others went for the more avant garde fashion of a "black leaf bag" dress which I'm sure will be the feature of the next Milan fashion show.

But when the side dish of thunder and lightning was added, we all scurried inside, all 12 of us in Tony and Elizabeth's cottage kitchen.  Can you imagine twelve drenched artists with muddy shoes crammed into your kitchen.  Elizabeth just smiled and we all felt at home, a sweetheart.

It seemed about lunchtime, so we ate the sandwiches we brought, and about an hour or so later, the skies cleared.  The light was beautiful, and we thought, "Okay, we can do this.".  So out we went. 

Fifteen minutes later....dark skies, buckets of water pouring down. The thunder returned.
By this point most were soaked and we decided to call it a day.  But there was still a lot of laughter at the incredulity of the situation.  This will be a day that we will all remember. 

Nine days out of the eleven, we fought the rain-sodden landscape of Torgiano Italy.  This was not what these plein air painters were hoping for but, as crazy as it sounds, a lot of lessons were learned and some really good paintings came from it.

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