Friday, August 13, 2010

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, an oil painting , 30" x 40",
from an original photograph taken by
Betsy and Ben Nanson
I am actually pleased with my latest painting, and believe me, that is rare. I normally stand back and look at a painting and immediately feel I should have done this, I should not have done that…..blah, blah, blah. Mind you, I am not saying I think Ponte Vecchio is perfect, or even good, (Okay, so I do think it is good, but don't tell anyone I said that!) I am saying I am happy with the piece because I have learned so much by painting it. It does not photograph well under the lighting in the studio, but I am posting it anyway

I am usually a pretty fast painter, never more than 5 or 6 hours on a canvas. Can you imagine my surprise at realizing I spent over 80 hours painting Vecchio! Of course, I had an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other….both named David Gross. David and I share studio space at For Art’sake in Paola, Kansas. He is literally 10 feet away. I would be painting, or more accurately, pondering my painting, when I would hear this voice over my shoulder saying “Want to know what I think?” You simply do not turn down advice, observations, views, sarcastic remarks, etc., from a nationally know and highly respected master painter! “YES, David, tell me!”

With David’s knowledge always available, easily accessible, and generously given, I have found I have learned respect for the process of painting and an immeasurable respect for the influence it has on the finished painting. David has taught me one simple brush stroke can change an entie painting.

I am in the final stages of my painting. I had never glazed more than 2 paintings in my life and Vecchio was begging to be glazed. The bridge stretches over the Arno River in Florence, Italy. Built right on the bridge are shops, originally built for the gold and silver merchants. The colors are amazing, and these wonderful buildings with red tile rooftops reflect in the water below. It is that water, the Arno, that I wanted to glaze to give the river depth. This glazing process takes a while to dry, and each application must be completely dry before the next layer can be applied. So, that is where I am now, sitting and pondering my painting....willing it to dry quickly!

During the time I have been working on Vecchio, David was working feverishly on a show that opened August 6th at the Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City. I spent hours watching him create beautifully executed paintings. It was an experience to see him work with composition and color, and the brush work! Like a child, I wanted to try everything I was learning! I would move over to my easel, and there it was, Vecchio, waiting for me…..again, still….I was sure would it would never be done! Yes, I am still working on it, but it is getting so close. I am pleased, and I am looking forward to starting my next painting. I'm thinking another view of Lago di Como is in my future.

Okay, all of this talk about Italy has me hungry!
The heirloom tomatoes at the vineyard are going crazy.  I'm thinking maybe 21 plants might be borderline extreme tomato growing for a little organic garden, but what the hell, we've got tomatoes!
Here is a simple recipe to take advantage of this summer's crop. Hope you enjoy it!

Pomodori Ripieni     serves 6
6 round, ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked rice-I use arborio
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil
salt
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano
extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the top 1/3 of the tomatoes and save. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, chop and put in a bowl. Add the rice, garlic, basil, parmigiano-reggiano and season with salt. Moisten with a little olive oil. Fill the tomatoes 2/3 full with the rice mixture and put top back on. Place stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish and pour in 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more or until, rice is done. Serves: 6 as a side dish

2. This is great right out of the oven or at room temperature.

2 comments:

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

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oil painting by Kay Tucker

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