Venice in December is a magical place of mists and Christmas lights, fluffy panettone and mulled red wine. But the dawn comes late and the days are short. Between my desire to go see all the churches and palaces and paintings in museums and my jet lag, I went out painting most mornings at 6 AM.
In a piano nobile apartment to the left flickering blue light told me someone was up early, watching morning TV. Just before dawn, yellow lights began to flick on in apartments around the square, and the Frari church doors opened around 7. An antique priest shuffled out and stood there, watching.
The farmhouse in Tuscany where I stayed with my family last fall. I’m a city person but staying at the farm was so relaxing, and Tuscany is so famously beautiful. I’ve lived all over the world, and seen a lot of beautiful places, but the Tuscan countryside is at the top. So much happened since then, I never photographed the pictures from that trip.
I rented an apartment on AirBNB in Rome with a partial view of Castel Sant’Angelo, an ancient structure later used as a fortress by the Popes. The view was very partial, you could really only see it by peering over the neighbor’s patio through some kind of spiky screen covered in plastic vines. To get around that for the painting, I stood on the rickety metal steps to the roof with my easel in a planter box, on top of the crusty remains of departed flowers. In gale force winds, but I didn’t blow off.