Val d’Orcia, Toscana

Val d'Orcia
Watercolour Painting of Val d’Orcia

Umbria

In the autumn of 2006 my wife and I travelled to Italy for me to do a special commission of a clients property in Umbria. After doing the preparation sketches, we then went on to Tuscany to a little town called San Quirico d’Orcia.

It’s close to the towns of Pienza and Siena. As we were driving towards this small town, I noticed a very paintable view on our left of Val d’Orcia. We stayed for a couple of nights in a delightful hotel with lovely gardens called Palazzo del Capitano.

The countryside in this region is characterised by gentle rolling hills and cypress trees. Val d’Orcia is a real inspiration for any artist, or indeed photographer. However, to really appreciate the regions distinctive beauty, one needs to rise when it’s still dark.

Sketchbook

The first morning, I did what was required and made my way to a small olive grove, the grass drenched with dew. As it was October, there was still a definite chill to the air. Despite wearing shorts, I still made sure I wore my heavy leather jacket. A thick mist hung in the valley below, shrouding a small farm building surrounded by cypress trees. As the sun crept over the horizon, I began to paint. Although the experience was wonderful, I was not satisfied with my sketchbook studies so I decided to return the following morning.

Paintings of Italy

This time I captured what I felt was the essence of the scene, and together with some reference photographs I took of the sun rising, I was able to produce a large studio watercolour painting that is available as a limited edition print. The original painting hangs in our bedroom which is a lovely reminder of a fruitful trip to Italy.

If you have one of my prints of Tuscany which evokes special memories which you would like to share, then please feel free to post a comment below.

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