Sketching at “Home”


It’s the perfect way to get familiar with a place.  Pull up a chair and sketch it. I had just learned about the native plant, ginestrelle, pronounced with impossible fluidity in Italian.  It’s all over the hillsides here.  I cut some stalks/spines of it and bound it up for a paint splattering tool. The sketch is of one corner of the open area on the second floor, where antiques and natural materials create a unique ambiance.


Right outside the door is a porch, or to be more Italian, a loggia, and favorite spot for writing and sketching.


“Our writer”, Maria, was often perched there for hours, while the resident cat Neroni, took his endless kitty naps.  Actually he may have been waiting around for the kitty massage that he and Maria looked forward to each afternoon.  After she left, he never let the rest of us pet him.


At the beginning of September there were still abundant figs, pomegranates and plums on the trees around the residence. Later in the month we feasted on the walnut harvest.


Just another exquisite little nook on the second floor, with antique books, cupboard doors and a ladder which belonged to Marina’s great grandfather.


On the left side you see the fall colors and sky drama which appeared at the end of the month when we got out our jackets and occasionally the wood stove was lit.

On the right is a sketch of the house done one morning after breakfast.  One of the ever-present green bugs landed on my yellow fountain pen while I was drawing, so I sketched him (or her) in.


The second volume of sketchbooks began with this one, sitting in an old olive grove, with butterflies dancing.



  1. I can feel through your sketching journal, the joy of your trip…I am so happy that you had this experience. We have to interrupt our annual sojourn to Montana where I annually get to feel the joy of nature as my Mom is in the hospital and probably in her last days. I remember your description of talking peacefully to your Mom and each of you deriving comfort from each other as she peacefully passed. I hope I get home in time to be with her. We’ve been here one of our planned 3 weeks. We leave tomorrow morning for a 2 day trip home. Maybe one morning we can have coffee…I’d love to hear more about your trip in person


    1. Good question! I wouldn’t exactly say it was a surprise, but I don’t remember ever experiencing the level of hospitality I received in the residence. And that made the art making feel so free and unincumbered.


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