Tag Archives: painting

art in nature…

View from the Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia where we recently went to see the new Margaret Olley Art Centre housing rooms from her Sydney terrace house, her artworks, and exhibitions by other artists. This view from the café was like an artwork in itself.


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‘alla fontana’ ~ to the fountain…

Civita d'Antino AbruzzoThe woman in the foreground carries two conche, the copper vessels traditionally used in Abruzzo to collect water from the village fountain for the household. Perhaps she was teaching the young girl to carry it back on her head (depicted by the women in the background). The village women used to do so to transport all manner of heavy things with evidence of this including iron bedheads and, on occasion in very steep areas, even coffins.

The artwork pictured here was painted in Civita d’Antino in Abruzzo by Danish painter, Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917) who first travelled to the mountain town of Civita d’Antino in June 1883. Zahrtmann came to consider it his second home as he was fascinated by “the life there, the strong Italian sun, the brightness of colours, and the exoticness of Catholic Church rites”.

He spent every summer from 1890 to 1911 in Civita d’Antino where he stayed with the Cerroni family, and was named an honorary citizen of the town in 1902. In Civita d’Antino, a memorial plaque to Zahrtmann is set into the wall of the Cerroni house near the town gate.

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Castel del Monte, Abruzzo…

  • Castel del Monte – “Fortress of the mountain”.

    Castel del Monte, Abruzzo

  • Evidence of the site first inhabited as early as the 11th century BC.
  • Visited and painted by artist and folklorist, Estella Canziani in 1913.
  • Birthplace of a distant cousin I was pleased to meet the last time I was in Italy.
  • Location where George Clooney was filmed in, “The American”.
  • In mid-August the town hosts the annual event, La Notte delle Streghe – The Night of the Witches, a late-night spectacle I really hope to see in the future.

Castel del Monte by Estella Canziani, 1913

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In the Land of Submarines…

by Tim Sharp




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The Dome…

The Dome 1977 Jeffrey SmartJeffrey Smart, 1921 – 2013.



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a beautiful place to sit and read, or lie and daydream…

Painted by Estella Canziani (1887-1964) who wrote {as well as drew and painted the illustrations for} one of my favourite books on the Abruzzo about her 1913 travels – Through the Apennines & Lands of Abruzzi.

She painted this picture {oil on paper} from inside her house in London at 3 Palace Green in 1922. The white bird in the painting one of the many birds she rescued and cared for.


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The beauty of walking in Italy…

…a fleeting glimpse down a narrow, side alley often reveals the unexpected and the beautiful. 

{Taken in Orvieto, Umbria.}

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Lightly, lightly….

Life Behind by Maki Horanai

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days…Lightly, lightly—it’s the best advice ever given me. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling.”

Aldous Huxley

From ‘Island’, 1962


Related articles: Watching Over


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una passeggiata in italia…

Passeggiando Santo Stefano Sessanio by Juan Alfredo Parisse

~ a walk in Italy…

Costa Masciarelli, L’Aquila by Juan Alfredo Parisse



unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

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the copper chocolate pot…

Among the Spanish paintings of royalty, religion, death and destruction at the Masterpieces from the Prado exhibition is a small portrait of a copper chocolate pot with its wooden whisk, pieces of cacao, bread, and biscuits shaped like churros.

Still life with chocolate service {Bodegón: servicio de chocolate}, 1770 was painted by Luis Meléndez {1715-1780} who was born in Naples and died in Madrid, a pauper, his paintings unappreciated, and owning only his pencils.

242 years later, among all the other talented artworks, it was his that stopped me still the longest.


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A lovely way to spend an hour or two….

“If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” 

~ translated from Cicero’s Latin quote.

{The Artist’s Wife in the Garden at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1893}

Related articles: A lovely spot for lunch…  (zoeboccabella.com)


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Fossa Sole, fossa soul, Fossa in the sun…

This painting of Fossa in the Abruzzo is by artist Juan Alfredo Parisse, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and whose parents are from L’Aquila, Italy.

Parisse paints watercolours ‘en plein air’ to capture the people, the towns and rural villages of the Abruzzo.


Dietro Collemaggio by Juan Alfredo Parisse

Dietro Collemaggio by Juan Alfredo Parisse









Related articles:

una passeggiata in italia…

Popes, murder and Dante… 

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Watching over…

Maki Horanai is an artist whose beautiful paintings we discovered by chance when we came across her first exhibition in 2005, and have been following her exhibitions since. Maki’s main influences are the works of Italian artists Giotto (14th century) and Fra Angelico (15th century), and Japanese artist, Kano Eitoku (16th century). This painting is called, ‘Watching Over’.

Related articles: Lightly, lightly…

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Life in the Abruzzo in 1913…

Maria with cooking pots”, painted by Estella Canziani in Mascione, Abruzzi, 1913. Part of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery collection and printed in Canziani’s book, Through the Apennines and the Lands of Abruzzi.

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Michetti’s Abruzzese shepherdess…

Francesco Paolo Michetti - Shepherdess Carrying a Bunch of GrapesBorn in 1851 in Tocco da Casauria of Pescara province, Francesco Paolo Michetti was an Abruzzese artist who aspired to paint ‘real life’ capturing people, animals, and local events. The Abruzzo was his inspiration and in 1883 he purchased a convent there as his home and studio. For the next 20 years, the convent was a meeting place for Abruzzo’s artists including writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Time moves slowly in the Abruzzo and fortunately some landscapes such as in this painting remain.

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