Thursday, 30 July 2015


Pen and Watercolour on Paper

How could I live without my sketchbook?

Sketchbooks are creative people's best friends and I would advise everyone to get into the habit of using one.
A sketchbook is a book with blank pages that you can carry with you at all times and use it as your private place to draw, write, scribble or do whatever you want, there are no rules, and nobody will see it unless you want them to.
So, what's so great about them?
In a sketchbook you can:

  • write down or draw creative ideas before you forget them, 
  • develop ideas, for example try out compositions for a painting or drawing,
  • experiment with different mediums you are less familiar with, provided the paper you choose is suitable
  • use it as a visual diary, drawings help you remember experiences better
  • practise handwriting 
  • make lists
  • stick stuff in it
  • have fun, doodle and make a mess!

Watercolour on Paper

There is no right or wrong way to use a sketchbook.
Some people do a lot of writing in them, some consider it a proper form of art.
Check out artists like Andrea Joseph, Fabio Consoli     and Lapin , for example.

Pen and Watercolour on Fabriano Paper

Most of my pages are quite messy and I usually don't spend a lot of time on each drawing. I like to capture what I see around me and I often use it at home to relax or on days when I can't paint.

I carry a sketchbook with me all the time and there are some days when I don't use it at all, but I have to know it's there in case I need to draw or write something!

Ballpoint on Fabriano paper

What about you? Do you like sketchbooks and can you think of other reasons for starting using them?

Ideas for future paintings..

Monday, 13 July 2015


"Sunny Morning in Tuscany"  Oil on Canvas cm 60x80

If you were travelling around Tuscany right now you would be seeing miles  and miles of sunflower fields everywhere.

Every summer it's the same old story: I promise to myself I will not paint any sunflowers this year, as they are quite messy to deal with, but as soon as I see them popping out, I can't help it. So the other day I took lots of pictures in the countryside south of Siena, and then spent many hours in my nice and cool studio, trying to get something good out of them...

Here is a series of pictures that will give you an idea of how this painting came to life. I hope you enjoy them!

 Here is how I started out by using diluited acrilic colour for the underpainting,

I then established the dark areas,

made them darker,

and even darker,

I then started painting the sky and distant hills and fields,

then suggested  the greens and the shape of a few flowers in the foreground,

and eventually everything fell into place!

Monday, 6 July 2015


"One Late Spring Afternoon" Oil on Canvas cm 25x35

Living in Tuscany is great.
Especially if you are a landscape painter.
Many artists throughout history have considered this part of Italy as one of the most picturesque places in the world. And  this applies particularly to the countryside of the province of Siena, where I happen to have been born.

In today's painting you can see what the Val 'Arbia, just south of Siena, looks like in Spring. 
This valley is named after the river Arbia, which flows all the way through it, and which is reminiscent of the greatest and most cruel battle between the Sieneses and the Florentines during the Middle Ages, the  Battle of Montaperti.

It was the bloodiest defeat suffered by the Florentines in their centuries long struggle against Siena, and Dante, in his Divina Commedia, described it as " The havoc and the great slaugther, which dyed the Arbia red".

This was back in 1260 though, today it's actually a pretty peaceful place..