I spent the last 10 days in Italy teaching a watercolor workshop for Il Chiostro at the Tuscan Renaissance Center near the village of Vagliagli. Owners Nicolo and Renata Strub spent seven years restoring the abandoned San Fedele Monastery and have created a beautiful work of art that offers artists, photographers and others a quiet retreat in the heart of Tuscany. 11 students accompanied me and discovered the very best of Tuscany there. We painted for hours every day on the grounds of the monastery, in the piazza, above the garden and in nearby locales, including Radda in Chianti, which afforded us this stunning view of the Valle Volpaia, a patchwork quilt of villas, vineyards and olive trees with distant wooded mountains presiding over the valley. Each of us created a sketch here, and every one captured something of the delight of this landscape, this amazing geography.
I'm sharing several images here.
To the left is Carol Savonen's sketch. To the right is Rita Marlowe's pen and wash sketch.
To the left is Britt Sutherland's two page watercolor sketch.
I loved the wooded foothills of Chianti, a feature of the Apennine Mountains. Each evening at dusk at San Fedele we heard the call of Tawny Owls, vocalizing deep within the oak woods surrounding the Monastery, a haunting accompaniment to strolls in the piazza before and after dinner.