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Painting with Liz...and at Home

One of the things I was most excited about during our week in Montisi, was the watercolor painting class with Liz. Elizabeth Cochrane is an accomplished artist using both watercolor and oils. We visited her studio last summer when we were briefly in Montisi, and had a lovely dinner.

Liz came twice to the villa for an art class, Tuesday and again on Thursday, but unfortunately for me, as you know if you've been following my blog, these were our two LONG days of cooking. I joined the group a little late on Tuesday, painted a wash, and sketched my olive tree (we all painted an olive tree for our first project).

Then it was back to the kitchen. I needed to get cooking tasks done, for both lunch and dinner. I was able to come out a couple of times during the morning, but was always at least two steps behind the group.

After lunch, when everything was cleaned up, I tried again, but was sad to find, it had started to drizzle, and the artists moved inside. Liz had to leave, but said she would be back later in the week. She is a great teacher, and gave each person lots of individual help and tips about shading, mixing colors, using wax to block out white area, and showing light.

Liz returned on Thursday morning, shortly after Jerry and Paul's breakfast, but it was party day, and I had lots of food to crank out! I was so frustrated that I couldn't finish my tree. The group's lesson was in the breakfast room, just off the kitchen, so I could listen to some of Liz's instructions, but it is not the same as her telling you what to do with YOUR painting to shadow it, or fix it, or to have her pick up the brush and SHOW you what to do. Everyone's finished paintings were wonderful, and I sadly had half a tree. I was determined to finish it at home, so I carefully packed it. I worked on it for two days since returning home, and realized two things. I LOVE painting, and I really need some lessons! I have tried several more paintings since being back. I will call another friend of mine who teaches art for a private class and lunch, so I can learn some basic technique. So far, my paintings look like a fourth grader painted them, but it is very fun and relaxing, and the hours fly by. I really want to learn to do more with this!

If you promise not to laugh, you may click and continue reading...

Here is my "did it on my own" olive tree:


Next, I tried a pot of geraniums.

My sunflower:

My Italian house:

And finally, a hill town:

Comments (15)


Palma, I think your paintings look lovely, especially for a beginner!

Lessons might be fun though.

Palma-why would anyone laugh? I think your work is great and I only wish I could do something like that. When I'm Italy I always find myself wishing that I could capture its beauty by drawing or painting.


Palma, your paintings are lovely, and not at all like a grade-school effort. I especially like the hilltown and the poppies below! I think you should develop your talent, especially since you love painting!

Wow! I'm so impressed Palma! You should definitely keep painting!

Nancy L:

I think your paintings are wonderful, and I'd be thrilled if I could do so well. Keep painting!


I'm not laughing at all. Those are great! I'm jealous because I am absolutely horrible at art. I love your house and olive tree. You should do more because you do definitely have a talent.

Barb Cabot:

These are wonderful and I'm so happy you shared them with us. You've got a great sense of perspective, the eye is drawn to all parts of your paintings and things seem fresh not overworked. I like all of them. You definitely should continue to paint.


Palma - is there anything you CAN'T do? Your paintings have a wonderful fresh quality to them that is delightful. I especially like the geranium picture - so very Tuscan in feeling!

I've been following your blog and wondering what kind of energizer batteries you run on - you were certainly kept hopping in Montisi, but still managed a shopping trip to Orvieto, and at least had a LITTLE down time!

Bet you will be ready to let someone else wait on you when you return to Italy next time.


ps: sorry you won't be joining us at the picnic this year. Would love to have seen you both there.

Wow, thanks for all the flattery and kind words! When I wrote this blog, early this morning, I really wasn't fishing for complements, but a little embarrassed to "unveil" my artwork. Thanks for the encouragement. I am calling my friend tomorrow to schedule a class!


Palma, it sounds like you had an extraordinary time in Italy this round. I have really enjoyed catching up with all of your endeavors and adventures, and have had to wipe the drool from my lips on more than one occastion.

Don't stop painting - they're already really wonderful, and can only get better from here.

I didn't promise not to laugh and came anyway, but I don't want to laugh! The only thing I see is that you want to be perfect in a medium in which it's imperfection is its charm. If you gotta be perfect, try egg tempera. Or relax in watercolors -- which are NOT easy-- and you're be fantastic.

Judith, you hit the nail on the head. I DO need to relax, and just let the colors blend without trying to make everything look "real" (not sure about "perfect") or life-like.
I'll work on that, AND take a couple of lessons!


I knew I wouldn't be laughing when I turned the page...I knew you'd be very capable with anything artistic. What a talented lady! I love the fact that you used brighter colors, like the clothing that you wear and like your bright and colorful personality! Great job. Can't wait to see your own personal gallery wall that I'm betting will soon be part of your home.


Really nice paintings, Palma. I think it is really great to pick these kinds of things back up - most of us never paint or draw after we leave middle school, and it is too bad! Sounds like it could turn into a fun hobby.

Sharon J:

Palma, I always love reading everything you write. When I got to your paintings, it brought a smile to my face. Thanks, I think they are wonderful.

Sharon J

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