Many artists dream about painting in Italy. Now, as retiring baby-boomers are increasingly taking up “brush and pallet knife,” more than ever, painting in Italy is the “thing.” Every day, a new “Artist’s” tour of Italy crops up in travel sections of the newspaper and on the Internet. But there still remains a majority of artists who prefer to “go it alone.” They are independent in their artistic styles, and prefer to be independent regarding their travels in Italy . This blog intends to target these free spirited artists who still need guidance to the best places to paint, especially those idyllic gems that are little known and less traveled. Certainly, independent travelers who are not artists will also benefit from this blog.

With a few exceptions, this blog is not a guide to restaurants, lodging, rental cars, or shopping, (except for art supplies.)

Sprinkled among the posts are: my paintings, and a few Italian proverbs and poems written by notable Italian authors for whom I work as a translator.

Please visit my website to view my original art:


Giclee prints of my paintings, ranging from greeting size to poster size, can be purchased at:


Friday, June 26, 2009


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Whenever I get painter’s block (that’s what I call it when my mind hits a snag and can’t come up with a subject for my next painting) I revert to what I call fun art. I use the term fun art because aside from layout and pathways, there are no rules to follow. I’m free to use my imagination with the subject and color pallet.
In “VINNY AND THE VAN GO’S (PIANO MAN)” I combined my love of music and art with a playful nod to Vincent Van Gogh.
The above painting can be purchased on my art website:
Nel quadro sopra: “VINNY AND THE VAN GO’S (PIANO MAN)” ho unito mia passione d'arte e l'artista preferito, Vincent Van Gogh, con mia passione di musica.
Si può comprare il quadro sul mio website d’arte:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Plein Air Painting in New England/Fishing at Gay Park

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In the poem, “DA DOMANI IN DOMANI,” written by Luciano Somma, we feel the sentimental spirit of one of Italy’s foremost poets. You can find Luciano Somma at:

The painting above: “Fishing At Gay Park,” can be purchased at my art website:

Nella poema, “DA DOMANI IN DOMANI,” scritto di Luciano Somma, sentiamo lo spirito sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Si può comprare il quadro sopra: “Fishing At Gay Park,” al mio website d’arte:

A togliere il fiato
al mio cuore bambino
è stata l’attesa
di giorni monelli
e le arrampicate
lassù tra i cancelli
a darmi paura
di tutti e di tutto
donandomi un’alba
vestita di lutto
domani in domani
speranze sospese
cadute nel mare
ne ho fatto le spese
la vita che corre
sul filo di seta
laggiù all’orizzonte
s’è accesa una luce
ancora un’attesa
ma qual è la meta?
Luciano Somma

To take away the breath
to my child’s heart
that’s been lingering
on impish days
of scrambling
up and over gates
to make me afraid
of everything and everyone
bequeathing to me a sunrise
dressed in mourning
from tomorrow into tomorrow
suspended hopes
fell into the sea
I paid the price
the life that runs
on silk thread
there at the horizon
a light ignites
once more a pause
but to which finale?
Pamela Allegretto Franz (translation)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

St. Clement's Castle

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In May, under the expert tutelage of Artist Elizabeth Sennett, our plein air class was granted special permission to spend two painting sessions at St. Clement’s Castle in Portland, CT.
The name “Saint Clement” was chosen for the date of the manor home’s completion, November 23, the Feast of St. Clement. An early bishop of Rome, Clement became the patron saint of mariners and ironworkers, especially blacksmiths, because he was martyred by being tied to an iron anchor and drowned at sea. In his honor, elaborate ironworks decorate the castle gardens.
In a wisteria-bordered courtyard, I was enticed by a stone gazebo that frames a charming well. Since I love painting stonework, this gazebo was too fun to pass up.
The castle can be found off RT66 in Portland, CT
The painting above, St. Clement’s Castle, is an 11”x14” original acrylic on canvas board and can be purchased on my art website:
Si può comprare il quadro in sopra, Il Castello di San Clemente, (l’originale acrilico su tela di 28x36cm, senza cornice) al mio website d’arte:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bicycle 2 Painting

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Plein Air Painting With Acrylics

For plein air artists who are new to acrylics I’d like to offer a few suggestions gleaned from many a frustrating outing. Someone recently asked if I recommend painting en plein air with acrylics. My response was, “yes and no.”
I know that sounds like a lame answer, but let me explain.
A few of the pros to painting en plein air with acrylics are: They dry fast, the brushes clean up easily with water, there are no toxic mediums to discard, and quick color washes can be applied to capture tone on days beset with fast moving clouds.
Some cons to painting en plein air with acrylics are: They dry fast not only on the canvas but also on the pallet. Drying retarders can help, but I find them to be gooey and leave an unnatural sheen on the canvas. And if you use the retarder on some areas but not on others, your canvas ends up spotted with glossy patches. Flo-aid is a must for a wetting solution and works better than retarders to keep the paint on the pallet moist. But be careful not to get too heavy handed with the flo-aid or your paint won’t grab properly to the surface of the canvas and a subsequent wash will pull that underlying color off the canvas.
Whether painting with acrylic, oils, or watercolor, painting en plein air can be fun. I don’t claim to call myself a plein air artist; I refer to myself as a "fair-weather" plein air artist. As long as the day is warm, dry, sunny, and wind-free, I’m all for it. If it’s cold, windy, or damp, I’m content to sip hot chocolate and schnapps while painting in my heated studio.
My favorite acrylic paint: Brerra by Maimare (Italian made of course.)
The bicycle painting above is an unframed 11”x14” acrylic on canvas board that can be purchased on my art website:
It was such fun painting my first bicycle scene, and just as much fun selling it, that I decided to paint it again. This time the background hues are a bit warmer and the stones are slightly rearranged, so as not to be identical to the first painting.
La bicicletta in sopra è un’originale acrilico su tela 28x36cm senza cornice. Si può comprarlo sul mio website d’arte:
Mi ha piaciuti cosi tanto dipingere il primo quadro con la bicicletta, ed ho piaciuto anche vendere il primo quadro, che ho deciso dipingere un altro. I colori sono un pò diverso siccome non volevo averli uguali.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


In May, two of my Italian village paintings were reproduced in the anthology “Ischia, Un’Isola d’Amore.” This compilation of Italian poetry, photographs, and paintings was assembled to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the “Festa del Delfino” on the Island of Ischia. The festival, sponsored by the Delphis Mediterranean Dolphin Conservation Association, also paid tribute to the organization founder and president, Katia Massaro.
One function of the organization is to educate the Ischitani about the presence of sea mammals in the vicinity of the Island of Ischia and to conserve this key area for the Mediterranean dolphins.
The protection of the dolphins’ natural habitat allows the dolphins to swim freely, rather than be rounded up and herded into over-crowded tanks for water park visitors to gawk at. When the dolphins’ natural environment is protected, the money-grabbing water parks can’t use their lame excuse that they have the dolphins’ best interest in mind. I believe the United States can learn a lesson from the Ischitani.
If you find yourself swimming among dolphins, look but don’t touch. Would you like some stranger swimming up and putting his hands all over you?
“Ischia, Un'Isola d'Amore" è un’antologia di autori di poesia, con i loro versi accorati e ricchi di pathos, si alternano a dipinti, fotografie, e disegni.
Il libro è sposorizzata da Katia Massaro, la fondatrice e presidentessa dell’associazione Delphis. (Delphis Mediterranean Dolphin Conservation Association) Tale associazione opera allo scopo di divulgare e proteggere la presenza dei cetacei nelle acque dell’isola ed a sostegno e conservazione di quest’area chiave per i delfini del Mediterraneo.
Vi consiglio, non nuotate con i delfini! Non è gentile cercare di toccarli. Ci piace uno sconosciuto appena arrivato cercasse di allungare le mani sul nostro corpo?
Ischia, Un’Isola d’Amore (con pubblicità Delphis)http://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=666976 9http://www.lulu.com/services/buy_now_buttons/images/blue.gif
Ischia, Un’Isola d’Amore (senza pubblicità) http://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=6722426 http://www.lulu.com/services/buy_now_buttons/images/book_blue.gif

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Red Vespa

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A while back, I wrote about my preference for painting the architecture in Rome’s back streets rather than some of the heavy hitters, i.e. Trajan’s forum, Caracalla’s Baths, the Colosseum, and Hadrian’s Pantheon. But let’s face it; if you’ve made the journey to Rome to paint, it would be unforgivable to not capture at least one of these gems on canvas.
Even though these monuments are all within walking distance of each other, it can be an unpleasant trek if you’re hoisting a paint box, easel, and canvas.
Bus service is available, but you could waste precious sun light while standing at a bus stop. And I don’t recommend climbing onto a crowded bus with all your art paraphernalia. Roman bus commuters love artists, but loathe sharing their cramped space with excess baggage.
Driving a car in Rome is not as harrowing as it seems. The problem comes when you need to find a parking place close to your destination. So then, what’s the logical alternative?
A motor scooter! Preferably a Vespa, and if you’re going to do it, you might as well go all the way and rent a Red Vespa. (There’s something about the color red that makes it more exhilarating.) Parking is easy and you can strap all you equipment on the back rack. You’ll spend more time painting, less time getting to and from your chosen locations, and it’s way too much fun!
Buon Viaggio!

The Red Vespa painting above can be purchased on my art website:

Si può comprare il quadro della Vespa rossa al mio website artistica: