"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Rock and Hard place, comes from this Place.

 "Walter of Carrara"
By James Swanson / Traveler Jim M.
18"x 14" Oil on Canvas

Welcome to Day Eleven, of this 14 day Travel Paint Special Edition of The Artist and the Traveler. This special project needs an special guest, meet our guide Traveler Jim M.!  
Travelers Jim and wife Cathy
Jim and his wife Cathy took a 14 day trip to Northern Italy following the trail of PBS travel show host Rick Steves' Italian journey to see the real Italy.
The town of Carrara in the shadow of the mountains.
This Trip of Jim and Cathy's just gets better and better. From Venice, to Padua, To Ravenna, to Assisi. to Montone, to Orvieto, to  Agriturismo, to Loro Ciuffenato Certaldoto Luccaand now on to Carrara, what more can we see?
Blocks ready to be cut or shipped (no FedEx for these chunks)

It's all about the marble, even in the roundabouts.
Walter could have been the model for this sculpture!

Well, how about visiting a place that an empire was born on and a guide who know his business.
Traveler Jim M's. Travel Journal: In the morning, we left Lucca for the Carrara marble quarries.  Carrara is in the Apuan Alps on Italy’s western coast and is famous for its snow white marble.  And as you get close, you can easily see why.  From a distance, the mountains look picturesque and snow covered.   Even up close, the white marble (and literally tons of marble dust) looks like freshly fallen snow.
Karin arranged for a “local” to give us a tour of the outdoor museum and tell us about the lives of the miners.  We arrived at the small museum on the mountain top and met Walter.  Walter was enchanting, knowledgeable, and literally overflowing with character.  Walter spoke little or no English, so as he talked about the history of the mining, how the techniques have changed through the years, the tools they used, and small details of their daily lives, Karin translated.

For more on Walter and the trip, visit Jim M.'s website.

Walter the museum tour guide.
This is the photo of Jim's that I will be working from to make a painting.
Traveler Painting"Walter of Carrara": Traveler Jim said this guy was a real character and was very enthusiastic with his tour, even if it was in total Italian. When I saw the Walter, I wanted to paint this guy. He had everything about him, and his life right there on his face. And I knew he would be fun to paint. So here we go with Walter.

The hardest part of this painting I knew was capturing Walters likeness without making him into a cartoon. So this is where I sent the most of my time, trying to get Walter carved out.

The darks are painted in next. There is a lot of red in Walters face. It was a balancing act with the color to get the right shades. He looks kind of scary at this point .

Walter's hat is the thing that sets him off. I needed to get that painted in  next to give his skin tones something to play against.

The major part of the skin is painted in.

I was concentrating so hard on the skin tones in the face that I forgot to take a few photos. But here it is almost done. The background is done. I 'm not touching it. Anything more done to it and Walter will need to be worked tighter.

Done, all I had to do from the last step was to clean up and soften some painting edges.
Details from the painting

Framed and ready to go.

 "Walter of Carrara"
By James Swanson / Traveler Jim M.
18"x 14" Oil on Canvas
On this trip of Jim M's and his wife Cathy, I've painted buildings, lovely landscapes, statues, gondolas, and now people. I would say this has been a very rewarding trip image wise so far. Thanks to Jim and Cathy for their guided trip. 
 This is day Eleven, of this 14 day painting journey of Northern Italy, here are the links to see the rest Venice, to Padua, To Ravenna, to Assisi. to Montone, to Orvieto, to  Agriturismo, to Loro Ciuffenato Certaldo, to Lucca.
Or go to The Artist and the Traveler.org to see them, and many more place and stories. New Travelers and stories are always welcome too! Until next time, Ciao!

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.