Wednesday, 30 January 2013

My Italian Themed Art Exhibit

I have a art exhibit starting this weekend at Pane E Formaggio (4532 West 10th Avenue). (February and March)

I will be showing a series of my watercolour paintings of places that I have visited in Italy while on vacation. I take lots of pictures and use them as reference for my paintings.

First here is a painting of statues in the Piazza Comunale of Montepulciano in Tuscany:

"I was only kidding!" 2013 
11" X 14", $280, framed

Below is a painting of part of the Piazza dell' Anfiteatro, a unique elliptical-shaped plaza in the old centre of Lucca which follows the outline of the old Roman Arena. This is my latest painting:

"Lunchtime in Lucca", 2013
11" X 14", $280 (framed)

A pathway leading to fortress in a hilltop town in Umbria:

"Path of Light", 2012
7.5" X 10.5", $180 (framed)

A quiet street in another Umbrian town.

"Taking the Path Less Travelled", 2012
9" X 12", $200, framed

A piazza and restaurant in Umbria:

"Your Table is Ready", 2012
14" X 11", $280 (framed)

An archway leads to a restaurant in Sorento, Italy:

"Welcome All", 2012
14" X 11", $280 (framed)

Conical stone houses, called trulli, in Alberobella in the Puglia region of Italy:

"Truly Trulli", 2012
11" X 14", $280 (framed)

For more information about any of these works please contact me using the contact tab above or at 

In other art news, my painting "Masked" was accepted into the juried show "Works on Paper" at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island. You can view the whole exhibit at the gallery from February 5 to 17, 2013, or visit the online gallery and view the current exhibition. 

Thank you for stopping by ............ Gillian

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Knock, Knock?

Have you ever taken a close look at door knockers? Some of the designs are quite fascinating. On a recent trip to Europe I took many pictures of doorknockers. I found many intricately patterned and whimsical varieties and this week's art feature is one of those.

Titled "Oh-fish-al Greeter", it is drawn with colour conte (see below).

"Oh-fish-al Greeter"
10" X 8", Colour conté, 2009

Door knockers at once are both decorative and practical. They express the personality of the owner while they save the knuckles of the visitor. No longer as useful as they once were they continue to be popular today for their own sake.

For my website I did a series of door knockers that I called called "What Knockers!" Each knocker image features related iconic symbols in bottom left hand corner. The "fishy" example above is completed with a "hook, line and sinker".

What is conté?

"Conté, also known as Conté sticks or Conté crayons, are a drawing medium composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay base, square in cross-section. They were invented in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who created the combination of clay and graphite in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars (the British naval blockade of France prevented import). Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce, and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness. They are now manufactured using natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin), and a binder (cellulose ether). Conté crayons are most commonly found in black, white, and sanguine tones, as well as bistre, shades of grey, and other colors." Wikipedia
I used a colour conté for the door knocker series.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

"A Walk on the Cinque Terre"

Here is the newest painting as seen in the PSWhimsy - Behind the Brush Blog:

"A Walk on the Cinque Terre"
13.5" X 19.5"
Not for Sale

Cinque Terre, which translates literally to "five lands", refers to five small villages in the Liguira region of Italy. From south to north they are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The coastline, the villages and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO world heritage site.

My husband and I have visited the area twice and walked the coastal path between the villages which is an easy walk at the southern end and becomes steeper and more challenging as it progresses northward. The coastline is steep and public access to most of the villages is only by foot or train. It can take hours to hike the entire distance, and then only a few minutes to return by train, but then the train goes throught the hillside rathere than up and down over them. The weather can be very challenging, on our first visit the day started out beautiful but when we got about half way along dark clouds gathered and a thunderstorm with heavy rains produced waterspouts and made the trail very trecherous.

The villages (especially Venazza and Monterosso) were badly damaged by rain and mudslides in October 2011. The picture I used was from before the damage.

"A Walk on the Cinque Terre" is a painting of Manorola, the second town (going north), and as you can see the lower town is filled with boats. It is a watercolour.

I have made a few minor changes to "Masked" and added it to the "My Watercolours" tab.

Thanks for dropping by .........

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Year and a new blog

A New Year and a new blog. This one is an online gallery of my work including what's new and what's on sale. The Watercolour and Drawing Tabs are still "under construction", expect more complete selections soon.

A closer look at works, with more details on the subject, size and with prices.

Here is the newest painting as seen in the PSWhimsy - Behind the Brush Blog:


  • 13.5" X 19.5" watercolour painted largely with just 3 colours (aureolin, alizarin crimson and pthalo blue)
  • white matt, black wood frame (18" X 24", 1" width)
  • $400.00 framed 

This painting was inspired by a picture, taken by friends, of a masked and costumed participant of Carnival in Venice, Italy. Beautiful and elaborate costumes and masks are worn at this annual festival that ends on Ash Wednesday with the beginning of Lent.

Masks have interested me for some time, I have seen many beautiful ones in Venice and Verona in Italy, so I will be painting more in the future.

I thought I'd share a few pictures of a decorative mask and glimpses of masks worn by friends at a recent event.

....and here's one I wore, that left temporary blue patches on my face, to general amusement. Here it is pictured on a wooden giraffe. A lesson to me not to buy a mask at a dollar store.

Thanks for visiting this first instalment of GillinOlsonArt ............