After arriving without my luggage and thus my oil paints, I switched over to watercolor. I've actually enjoyed the challenge so much, learning something new, that I've stayed with the watercolors throughout the week.
The great difficulty for me is to learn to mix the perfect color on the palate, load up the brush and lay it down. Then leave it be. Let it lie. The freshness of w/c comes in not going back on top of it.
Contrary to that method, in oils I love to build layer upon layer letting just a bit of one peek out beneath. Two differing methods! Brain drain.
Yesterday afternoon we took a little jaunt (when an Aussie volunteers to drive a quirky car on the "other" side of a dirt road just over one lanes width, winding up and through hills while following our host who knows the countryside....it qualifies as a real jaunt). We went to a teeny little village called Castel di Fiora (where the only public restroom was attached to a one room coffee machine museum and closed!). Such a picturesque place one could plant a chair and paint all day merely turning slightly for a new view.
Later we were delivered to the local Castle, parts of which dated back to the 1100's. The current owner, the Marchese of Montegiove, gave us a tour. I could hardly listen for taking photos. He was quite a gentleman who lived there with his wife and two daughters. He admitted that as a boy coming to the grounds for holiday, he dreamed of running the place. Not so much now!
An Italian problem heard over and over are the high taxes on the castle properties coupled with the restrictions on maintenance. The government is supposed to kick in for improvement expenses but never does. Thus many of these lovely pieces are abandoned, crumbling, or up for sale.
Our guide discussed the many working enterprises of his 3000 acres; including oak harvesting, olive trees for pressing oil, cattle and vineyards with a wine making operation. He admitted that while he could run a tractor, he usually caused more damage than good so he mostly ran the administrative end of things and oversaw a small crew of about 5.
I looked down on the surrounding properties as the sun set and could see where the protective moat had been, where the watchmen could spot unfriendly invaders approaching and where my fantasy knight in shining armor was galloping up to whisk me away. Harsh realities for some, sweet dreams for others.