Ciao Bella! If you follow my friend la Principessa Carolyne Roehm , you may know that we and a gaggle of gals have spent the last week in Porto Ercole watercoloring with Mita Corsini Bland, herself a watercolorist molto di talento. Between the eating, drinking, and cackling, we did manage a watercolor or two, and it was molto fun-o.
Who says I can’t speak Italian.
I will skip the New York part about forgetting my suitcase and having to double clear back to 61st and 5th from 57th and 1st during rush hour on the way to JFK. It was like if you were in Atlanta and said woops I left my pocketbook in St. Louis and having to go back to get it. Principessa was a very good sport about this. I believe I would have strangled me.
One look at this beautiful place, and the dolce vita it promises, and all is forgotten.
The drive from the Rome airport is a bit under two hours. We were hosted for drinks by Mita’s sister Daisy, who has a charming townhouse in the old part of Porto Ercole, on the Piazza Santa Barbara.
Nearby was this charmingly festooned facade. You can buy these terra cotta decorations in the local market. I didn’t but I wanted to.
Mita’s is a recently renovated farmhouse on her family’s property, and it is perfect. Her husband, New York antiques dealer Gerald Bland, and their children, cousins, and friends spend many happy days here in summer. We were soooo lucky for her to share it with us for six days.
If you did not see the house in this May/June issue of Veranda, do see it. To die.
Heather Clawson did an excellent post on the Blands and the house in her much admired Habitually Chic here. (Btw yours truly had a piece in the same Veranda issue, on a Thomas Pheasant project, posted in Quintessence here.)
Lunches were relished beneath a wisteria-covered pergola.
The wisteria must be as old as the Buddha. Look at the size of its branches.
Oh, right, the painting. Well the weather was a challenge on occasion, at first moving us indoors for an exercise in value–that is, working out the lights and darks. We sketched, then painted. Our teacher was the unflappable and extremely talented Patricia (“Tish”) Seligman, from London.
It is so interesting to see how different people portray the same subject. That’s half the fun of a workshop. May I add that although several of us were adept at drawing or painting in other mediums, none of us except Mita was an experienced watercolorist. But wow, look at what they came up with:
See what I mean.
Stand by for Part 2… After that Principessa and I are meeting our beloved bon-bons in Paris and are off on another bike trip… Magnifico.