Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creating Watercolor Memories in Cinque Terre

Caio! from Italy!
Patrick and Angela of Toscana Americana have been our hosts for a wonderful Watercolor Sketching trip in the Cinque Terre.  We are capturing our days in watercolors and ink and writing in Watercolor Journals as we visit each of the five towns that make up the National Park of Cinque Terre, Italy.  The weather started out rainy and cold as will be evident in some of the photos, but the sun came out more often as the days went by.  

We begin our days at the Pensione Sorisio with a lovely breakfast with all the choices we could possibly want, and the prettiest capaccinos in all of Italy!

As you can see by the waves crashing over the breakwater our first evening in Vernazza, it was a stormy day.

Vernazza is our home base for the trip.  I took this photo the first day, no sun.

Here is lovely Vernazza in the sunshine.

I am pleased to see that the town has recovered substantially from the devestating flash flood of October 25, 2011 when three residents lost their lives and the entire town was hit by a wall of water that reached up to and above the second stories of most of the buildings.  You just cannot believe it when you see where the water line is on some of the buildings.  The villages of Monterossa, Manarola and Riomaggorie also had damage but thankfully the water levels there were more like 5 to 7 feet from what I can tell.  The hiking trails connecting the villages are still being repaired as are many of the homes and garden terraces up on the hills.  This is the biggest flood that has ever been recorded here.

This large photo is mounted on a wall showing a giant crain lifting the rubble from the harbor, and the smaller photos show the business owners working to clear the rubble from their businesses.  The grocerry store shown in the photo below had its grand opening last Sunday.

Kids are so creative.  These boys made a game out of placing a pipe at the top of the boat ramp and as it started rolling down they would run down ahead of it and then jump it when it reached them.

An "intersection" in Vernazza.

Even though I printed my notes in my journal I see they are not legible on the computer, so here is what I wrote on this my first page of the journal on this trip:   "Day 1 of a Watercolor Sketching Workshop everyone starts out a little tentative, even the teacher!  The weather was not cooperating, windy, cloudy and threatening rain, so a real test of our enthusiasm.  Turns out this group is a real bunch of hardy  troopers.   We had great fun capturing all the textures of this scene." 

Margaret A did a great job of capturing the grey day in her watercolor journal page.

Berna also captured the grey day in her painting.  Note, Don under the arch.  Inspite of the weather we all had a lot of fun.

The next day the weather looked a bit brighter so we took the train to Corniglia the quietest of the 5 towns.

After sitting on her stool for awhile, Margaret W opted for the pavement of the playground.  Later some kids came out to play soccer (it was a Saturday, so no school) and they admired her painting and told her it was very "bella".  Here is her painting:

Berna found a tiny little lane that was so charming to paint,  Here is her interpretation:

She still has more color to add but ran out of time.  I can't wait to see it done.

Margaret A climbed to the top piazza and saw a lovely view of Manarola, here is her painting:

Corniglia was where Norma Jean (or token Canadian) introduced us to "elevenzies".  Hot tea with ameretto does wonders for paintings!  

Marie may be having a capaccino or maybe not, but she looks comfortable painting at the cafe in the main piazza.

I came down the stairs from the top of this tiny town where the Margarets and Berna were painting and followed howls of laughter to find Priscella and Norma sitting on steps painting this view of the fanny bazar sign and the cute porch above it.  I don't know what started the laughter but by the time I got there it was contagious.  This is Priscella's painting that captures the scene before the lady came out to water her plants. And if you look closely at Norma's painting you can see the lady did not just water her plants, she "shushed" them and threw the water in their direction!
Norma wrote about each event that she painted in her journal, often doing more than one painting a day creating a wonderful story of her trip.  I also noticed Priscella was recording all her adventures in notes in her journal along with the paintings, these little books become wonderful keepsakes in years to come.

Stay tuned...I will continue to post more about our trip as I get the photos internet ready and get this tiny computer and the internet connection here to like each other..