In September, when we visited Assisi, we walked out in the evening to see the "pietra rosa di Assisi" phenomenon, the actual name given by the local people (as reported to me by my friend Simona of the blog Briciole--she was born in Perugia). The pink limestone becomes a rich pink in the sunset light and I was able to take several photos. The ones I liked best captured some of the characteristics of the town, the ancient gates and windows with both round Roman and pointed Gothic arches and medieval crenellations atop the towers, and the peaceful low mountains and fields in the distance. I sketched the scene of the Porta di San Francesco in pencil lightly and then wet the entire paper and applied the colors with a flat brush. Later when the first wash had dried, I came back and refined my drawing and created a few harder edges to strengthen the impresson of light and dark, which helps reveal the forms of the architecture. It's always difficult to decide how much detail to add. More detail often takes away from the subjective emotional impressions that can be conveyed by a sketch. The subjects I like best reveal themselves in larger forms--rocky peaks, cliffs, enormous fir trees, massive architectural shapes. These forms really lend themselves to a quick treatment in watercolor, so the more detail I add, the less I can appreciate the poetry of the forms themselves. The architectural language of Assisi is made up of simple shapes: arches and large blocks, and the relationship between these elements in changing light situations reveals those shapes most clearly. During daylight hours, more textures are visible, whereas early and late in the day, the shapes and volumes become more important. When I'm traveling and teaching I often wake up early as I anticipate all the events of the coming day, and though I sometimes feel a little sleep-deprived, I am always so grateful for those moments of peace and incredible light. I don't always sketch then, but I try to at least take photographs.