Friday, October 28, 2016

In search of the Muse... and a good bottle of wine.

I’ve had the good fortune to visit Italy twice in less than 3 months. Teaching was the common denominator… a group workshop in early June in Tuscany and an offer that I couldn’t refuse, to teach privately in the Apulia region this September.

Maria Santissima della Madia, Monopoli by Eli Cedrone
Courtyard of the Masseria

Apulia is beautiful, mysterious, and extremely paintable. It’s located in the 'heel' of the Italian 'boot'. We stayed at Masseria Petrarolo, a beautifully restored, fortified farmhouse dating back to 1689. It offers breathtaking views of the coast and the nearby town of Monopoli. Furnished in the Salento style, each interior was an eclectic mix that managed to be aristocratic yet contemporary.

View from the Masseria
Alessandro by Eli Cedrone
The coast is dotted with scenic towns of great historical significance. Tourists are scarce, food is delicious and wine is plentiful. Alessandro, our chef invited us to his parents home in Corovigno for lunch, where his mother prepared a feast of orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), polpetti, fruit tarts and homemade liquor. His mom and dad were delighted with the small oil sketch I'd done of Alessandro earlier that day.
Burratta, the hip version of mozzarella, seems to pop up on trendy menus everywhere these days. A visit to a cheese factory told me everything I needed to know about how it's made.

We had a private tour of the studio of Peppino Campanella, the world-renowned "sculptor of light”. His atelier is in the beautiful, old village of Polignano a Mare which rises on a cliff from the Adriatic Sea. Campanella sculpts glass with a special hammer, creating jewel-like fragments, where "solid water” is transformed into unique works of art. Here's a link to his website:

Peppino Campanella
Wine tasting in Ostuni
The White City of Ostuni
Ostuni, known as "The White City" is perched atop a hill with views of the sea and olive groves. Our brilliant tour guide Michele, took us to one of his favorite cafes there, where we sampled the local wines. 

We also visited Alberobello where the mysterious trullio, cone shaped houses, dot the hillside. But I have to say, my favorite town was Cisternino with it's lovely piazza, shops and the warm Italian smiles. 
I’m currently planning a workshop to Apulia in 2017. 
If you'd like to learn more about this magical region of Italy visit:

Join me for a new workshop in Portugal in 2017!

I'll be offering a workshop in Casais, located along Portugal’s spectacular, southern coastlineThe region offers so many wonderful scenes for outdoor painting. With its balmy climate, it's the perfect year round destination.
This workshop is designed to be a fun, stimulating and stress-free, experience for beginners to advanced students. Everything has been carefully organized with Artful Journey's so all you need to do is paint and enjoy the wonderful experience of visiting Portugal.

Painting location are carefully chosen for scenic beauty and class size is limited for plenty of one on one instruction. Visit my website for more info on this workshop:

• Includes accommodations at the luxurious Albatroz Resort* for 7 nights, all meals, airport transfers, ground transportation in Portugal, excursions and entrance fees. $2,950, double occupancy, single $600. Each daily instructional sessions includes a 2-hour break for lunch.

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