"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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All for One and 14 Days in All.

This is the recap of the 14 Day Special Edition Travel Paint for The Artist and the Traveler. This special project had a special guest, meet our guide Traveler Jim M.!  
Our hosts on this trip, Travelers Jim and 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.
This Trip of Jim and Cathy's just got better and better. From Venice, to Padua, To Ravenna, to Assisi. to Montone, to Orvieto, to  Agriturismo, to Loro Ciuffennato Certaldoto Lucca, to Carrara, to Vernazzaand now on to Orta San Giuliowhat more can we see? 

Day One Painting -Venice 
I wanted to start off this little series with with a good painting to set the tone. With this one I feel I did.

Artist's Notes: In these paintings for Traveler Jim's trip, what the I was trying to capture was a over all feel for the whole trip. What I did with Jim M's travel journal and excellent photo reference, was a day to day, from landscapes, to towns, to people,  experience of the Travelers trip in paint.

Day 2 - Padua
Making a painting a day to represent a day in Jim's trip was my goal. That meant the paintings had to be relatively small in size and simple in concept and design.

When I'm out in the field painting (plein air) I only get a matter of hours to get a painting done from start to finish. And that is how I approached Jim M's travel days.
As you can see, I had to cut down a lot on what I was going to paint from his photos and focus on things that allowed me to be done in the small time frame, but yet make a nice painting.

Day 3 - Ravenna
This was my first real landscape of the series. I felt like I had a day off with it. There is a lot of shine to all these paintings because of the wet paint. The shine isn't part of the painting. When it dries the glare will be gone, and the full color will be able to be seen.

Day 4 - Assisi.
This painting was the one that I ran out of time on. When it dries I'll be able to rework a few areas I wish I had time for.
Day 5 - Hill Town Montone
After Assisi I went for a landscape to paint. I liked the small grouping of trees up front in Traveler Jim's photo and wanted to concentrate my energies there.

 Day 6 - Orvieto

This painting has a funny little story to it. When I decided to painting Italy this was one of the first paintings I started. It was from a friend trip in 2008. And the reason you find it in this series is Traveler Jim's photo is the exact same spot taken a year earlier.
Day 7 - Agriturismo
Olives trees had to paint them.
The red clock tower lighting is what did it for in this painting. Again the painting was real wet and glared up a little. I will replace these shots when I get some good shots of them made.

Day 9 - Certaldo
I had a root canal done this day, and thought it only fitting to paint a view through a hole.
Day 10 - Lucca

Painting statues again. Italy is known for it art so it was only fitting to paint some of it.

Day 11 Carrara
This is Walter. A true character of Carrara. Traveler Jim said  He was the tour guide for the marble museum they visited, He was charmer with many fun stories to tell.
I tried to capture Walter, but he was a little tricky to catch a lot like the real one I was told.

Day 12 - Vernazza

This is one of my favorites of the trip. It was a tough one to paint just based on how this Vernazza ever came to be there.

This painting signals how this whole mini series came about. If it wasn't for another Travelers painting that I was working on I would have never have come across Traveler Jim M.

 This is the painting. Traveler Jim happened to have a photo on his website from this very spot and sent it to me after I contacted him about it.
His photo did answer some questions I was having.
This is  Orta San Giulio.. I just really liked the lighting on the boat on this one. I wasn't sure if I was going to paint in the sea gulls or not. 

Orta San Giulio. again.  The roofs and the mountains was a good place to end this trip I thought.
Day 14 - Orta San Giulio.
This mini series of painting was a different trip for me and the Artist and the Traveler project. I usual only do one painting from a traveler per location. But I've been finding there are a lot of great trips out there and they can't be told in just one painting. Thanks again to my great traveling host Jim., who sent me what ever I asked for, and then some. It was a pleasure to paint his place in this project.
I do have a few other mini series planed for the future like Following the David Livingstone trail in Africa, a ten day car trip in New Zealand and Island hopping in the Galapagos, but for a while I will be hanging out in Italy. 
If you have been to Italy I'd like to hear from you I can aways use another great guide like Traveler Jim M.
Ciao for now.


  1. In my opinion Ecuador is the most beautifull place in the whole world! Last year I did the Best Galapagos tours and I fell in love with the place. I'll look for pictures of my trip, you should paint it, it's the paradise :)

  2. I'd love to see the most beautiful place in the world. Just hope to do the place justice.Thanks Jessica


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.