Above at the left, you see the first, and best,
oil painting that I have done here in Italy.
"Lemon Topiary", 8" x 6" on RayMar Panel
Copyright 2011 Debra Joyce Dawson
I have only painted four oils in this past week. Pretty sad on the oil painting side, but I have done several nice watercolors in my sketchbook, and also spent many days painting in the fabricca.
It all started because Susie felt I was here and should at least paint something as a keepsake. We combed through the bisque ware and I chose a round pot that I would use for pens or small brushes. I needed inspiration for a design, and the only thing I could think of was my lemon tree topiary. Below is the pot with that design on it.
It was painted effortlessly and without much thought. As I have already said, I did a lot of ceramics in the 1970's when my daughter was small. At age two, she was also in the shop painting some pieces alongside me and my Mother.
The next morning we went to the local market, and I found a lemon with some branch still attached and bought it. I took it into the fabricca and painted it on the back of this piece.
The back of the pot. And at the top you see the indentation
where Riccardo holds the piece with some pliers.
This is all fixed at the end after it's painted.
Just a freehand lemon applied with no sense of importance. The last touches were to add some stripes. One in green and one in bright orange. On tihis piece I did it myself, after watching Katia do it for Susie. I thought, "How hard can it be with a little wheel to sit the piece on and just touch the brush to the edge?" It wasn't too bad, not perfect, but okay, and I left it as a record of what I could do at that time.
Next day, in comes Ubaldo, the owner. He says to me, "This is very nice. You should do it on a plate." I asked, "A small plate, or tray?" "No," he said, "on a dinner plate. One in dark yellow and one in white."
So it was now back to the bisqueware. I painted two dinner plates, this time letting Katia do the stripes. I took her advice on color and placement. After all, she is an expert at painting and also at maioliche, and she would be tasteful about it. The finished plates looked great, and they have also been sitting forever on the sidelines, on a board that when filled with our stuff would be carried to the kiln.
The hand of Katia painting a boar design.
I had the afternoon now to kill, and a little rectangular plate to paint. Katia suggested the a holly branch from the tree outside. She picked one for me, but I felt the design too complex, and in the end, not really what I wanted. I sketched some olive branches with green olives, but Katia didn't like that too much, most likely cause it was all grey green. So, I walked around the workroom searching for something to paint, and taking photos of the women and what they were painting. On the sidetable were a set of plates with the designs pounced on them. One had a duck, another a rabbit, and much to my excitement, a boar, on the third! Katia was working in this set of plates. She applied all the striped first. I took my drawing book over to the table and sketched the boar in my book. That was what I was going to paint. She had a catalog sample for colors, and the orange background just made it that much more exciting for me!
Her linework was fine and sure, but she has a brush with just a few hairs. I will have to post the picture of one of the brushes they use for line work. We don't have one of these few hair brushes, bit it would help. At anyrate, you see the thickest of her line, and here is mine!
My happy boar!
A woman from Holland, who now lives in Italy, said she liked mine better because the pig had character, and a smile. Not that it's a contest. I was just thrilled to be inspired by this old design. And I will have a new soap dish that makes me very happy.
And my pig all finished and ready and waiting to go into the kiln.
He was carried away yesterday to the kiln, and they will fire on Monday.
Yesterday, we learned that the light yellow that Susie said 'was the white' that Ubaldo wanted wasn't correct, so I painted four more plates, as some of the plates will be left with Ubaldo. He loves my design (of course we haven't seen it fired, so who knows) and is going to take the samples to new York and show them to the buyer at Bergdoff Goodman!
Yikes! Wouldn't that be fun for something that started as a keepsake.
Sorry if there are lots of mistakes,
we are off to find a place near Firenze.