Meet Kelly Medford (www.kellymedford.com) my friend, Italian hostess, teacher, critic, co-adventure-lover....oh, did I say: ARTIST. Before you get to know her through my eyes, go to this site and watch this professionally made, very short video about her: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8LrX-9C8wWU.
Sounds like a dedicated artist, eh? Here's Kelly (above) painting on the rooftop of our apartment in Procida. Yep, she's just the kind that looks out the window during wine time, sees the soft yellow light of sunset, grabs her paints and runs to catch the glow. I followed but gingerly carried my wine and camera up to catch her catching it! Kelly came to Florence, Italy to study art about 10 years ago. She soon realized she could learn more painting daily on the streets than copying the classical busts that were protocol at the academy. The rest is history....
After several years she moved to Rome to live and work. In addition to her daily plein air discipline she conducts "Sketch Rome" tours, teaches and collaborates on myriad other art projects.
We didn't paint 24/7 however, because breakfast coffee was a must no matter where we found ourselves....above is our favorite coffee setting overlooking the fisherman's harbour from a hotel we stayed at in Procida. Of course we discussed the light.....but look at those rooftops and colors and lines and arial perspective......oh my!
Kelly loves her work and is happiest when painting but she is a fine teacher as well. I have great appreciation that she recognizes we all have our own style and approach, "I'm not trying to teach you to paint exactly like I do," she begins, "I am here to help you apply some basic formulas to your own work." Nothing "basic" however about the depth of knowledge she shares. Everything from mixing all the colors you"ll ever need from 3 tubes of paint to the principals of perspective.
Kelly engaged us in a number of exercises which I greatly enjoyed. Many of us lack the discipline to do the daily work that really advances us, so this rang my chimes. Here she is moderating a critique of our work....mine on the hot seat here! I'm not thin skinned but I will always be grateful that she commented on how most of my work, even the timed exercises, seemed to offer a story in them....something I have tried to do since the day I picked up a brush. Of course her noting this, unprompted, makes her brilliant in my mind!!
P.S. I would be remiss to let you think this piece is as blue as it appears....blame my camera and my lack of technology on an iPad. You can see more of her work and sign up to get notices of new work at her website, www.kellymedford.com. I know Kelly would love to hear from you. If you are in love with Italy keep in mind that she does commissions and visits the U.S. in the winter.
We later crawled around Rome sketching in the various parks and looking for new angles to paint.
Kelly has made me want to work on my watercolor sketching more, it is a different ballgame than oil but has such portability that I will enjoy honing my skills. If I need inspiration I only need look at the photo above done in a park before we indulged in a birthday lunch and bottle of wine. Further nudges will come from the jewel below. A tiny little sketch I loved and then found in my card as a precious gift from a sweet friend, a valued teacher and a fine plein air painter. Lots of grand memories!
Ciao Italy and ciao Kelly!