Tag Archives: San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Alan Reed

San Gimignano, Afternoon Sunlight

Susan and I first visited San Gimignano in February 1999. We were staying in Florence for several days and having seen San Gimignano featured on a holiday programme, we decided to go there for the day. A local bus took us to nearby Poggibonsi then after a short wait, another bus to our destination, the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano.

From a distance it looks like a mini Manhattan with its 14 towers gracing the Tuscan skyline. Apparently it did boast 72 towers, built by the Patrician families who controlled the town. The bigger the tower, the greater your wealth! I remember painting a watercolour by the well in Piazza della Cisterna whilst Susan went off to buy some wild boar salami for an al fresco lunch. Even though it was February, it was bright, warm and sunny, ideal conditions for painting “en plein air”.

After lunch I spent the afternoon wandering about gathering further reference to do a studio painting to add to my Italian Collection of Limited Edition Prints. As the sun began to set and we made our way to the bus I noticed that the stonework began to turn a beautifully warm pink with hints of orange. I logged the colours in my mind and decided that this would be mood and atmosphere I would aim to capture.

The studio painting of San Gimignano which was reproduced as a limited edition print was an immediate success. I still sell copies of it online and from our gallery in Ponteland. More recently I’ve painted a portrait version of a similar view which is also available as a limited edition print.

You can see a short video on YouTube of the original watercolour “San Gimignano, Afternoon sunlight” which can also be seen at my Studio & Gallery.

 

 

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Painting Holidays in Italy

Over the last few months we have been telling the story of our love affair with Italy on the Reedart Painting Holidays in Italy blog. You can see the story unfold by going straight to Reedart Painting Holidays in Italy, but if you want to follow our adventures from here then read on.

The Adventure Begins

“The world stood still around them as they sat together on the piazza of San Gimignano, a beautiful walled medieval hill town in Tuscany. Having spent the afternoon sampling wild boar salami, cheeses and other delicacies, and dipping in and out of the local papiro (paper) shops and boutiques, the pair sat together watching the world beyond in perfect harmony, Susan sipping a glass of wine while Alan painted the scene before them.”

Their trips taken together span wedding anniversaries, births of grandchildren, picnics at Lake Garda and other international adventures to some of the world’s most beautiful and far-flung locations and they all have one thing in common: travelling the world with his wife Susan and family, painting often “on location” or, later from a misty memory or photograph has helped shape the distinctive style of one of the North East’s most admired artists, Alan Reed.

Join us in this brand new series of blog posts as we take a trip down memory lane and uncover the stories behind Alan Reed Art and their Painting Holidays in Italy.

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San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano Print

San Gimignano, Tuscany

For more than a decade, I have been building up a collection of limited edition prints taken from some of my paintings of Italy. Before embalming on the finished watercolour, I like to spend time in the chosen location (who wouldn’t?) making at least one small watercolour on the spot to trigger off memories of the mood and feel of the place. For the painting of San Gimignano above, I wanted to capture the famous towers bathed in the warmth and clarity of late afternoon sunlight, that would evoke happy memories for those fortunate people who have spent lazy days under the Tuscan sun.

I spent a day and a half driving about the surrounding countryside, wandering in and out of the medieval town, enjoying the occasional glass of wine or espresso and sampling wild boar salami in-between painting and taking reference photographs. However, it was not until we left San Gimignano that the sky turned a wonderful pink, creating a beautiful golden hue on the various buildings and in particular the famous towers. I took some photographs from the car and logged the colours in my mind. This is the mood I wanted to capture as I began the finished piece that has been a successful limited edition print. Since then, I have painted the scene again as an original watercolour which you can see online or at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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San Gimignano

San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Evening Sunlight

The first time I went to San Gimignano was in February 1999. We took the bus from Florence to visit this Medieval Tuscan hilltop town after seeing it on a holiday programme. Seeing its 14 famous towers for the first time from several miles away made me even more eager to explore and paint the distinct skyline. We entered the small walled town, making our way to the piazza via the enticing shops selling wild boar salami and other mouth watering local produce.

By now it was lunch time so whilst Susan went off in search for salmi, bread and wine, I painted a small watercolour which I later sold from my gallery. Although it was a bright, sunny day, the afternoon was short but I managed to obtain sufficient reference to do a large studio watercolour of the town’s famous towers bathed in the winter sun. I had the painting reproduced as a limited edition print which has been extremely popular over the years. The prints of Italy and the smaller original watercolour (inspired by the trip) can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland and also online at alanreed.com

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Tuscany

Tuscany

Tuscany

My first taste of Tuscany came in the autumn of 1998 when Susan and I travelled to Pistoia to spend a week with members of an evangelical church. Pistoia lent its name to the pistol which it started manufacturing in the 16th century. A day spent wandering around the hills surrounding Pistoia and another day spent visiting Florence, whetted our appetites for a return visit to Florence in February 1999.

Before arriving in Florence, we had seen San Gimignano featured on a holiday television programme, so after spending a few days exploring Florence, we decided to jump on a local bus to this small Tuscan hilltop town famous for its 13 towers. I’ll always remember my first glimpse of those towers from the window of the bus which have been likened to a mini Manhattan skyline.

I recall doing a small watercolour in the piazza which you can see in the book “Landscapes in Watercolour” by Theodora Philcox. After sampling some local red wine and wild boar salami we looked out from the town walls to enjoy la bella vista. The painting of Italy above is just a tiny section of the view which we enjoyed that memorable day, yet somehow it typifies the essence of the Tuscan landscape, rolling hills disappearing into the distance punctuated by cypress trees and white washed farm buildings.

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