Siena, Italy

Sketchbook study of Siena, Italy
Sketchbook study of Siena, Italy

My first visit to Siena was in February 1999. It was a wonderfully bright and crisp, sunny ( but cold ) morning. When we arrived, the shell shaped Piazza del Campo where the famous Palio horse racing is held twice a year, was very quiet. It was just a little too cool to do any painting.

The story was quite different for my next visit seven years later on a warm October morning. This time the Piazza was jumping with people and I was able to do a couple of sketchbook watercolours capturing the historic centre which has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. One of the sketches which you can see above I later did a studio version of.

Siena is one of Italy’s most visited tourist attractions, famous for its art, stunning medieval architecture, museums, cuisine and of course the Palio which featured in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace starring Daniel Craig. It’s no surprise that my limited edition print of Siena, captured on that first visit in 1999 has proved to be one of my most popular paintings of Italy. The warm golden colour of the stone work was partly achieved by using a Windsor and Newton colour called Raw Sienna. It was no doubt aptly named after the distinctive colour of the stone and rich fertile soil around Siena.

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