Friday, 3 October 2014

Painting in Val Veny, Aosta

I've been wanting to visit ' Val Veny ' in Aosta for ages. Not because it is a beautiful valley on the Italian side of Mont Blanc with stunning scenery. The main reason 'John Singer Sargent' one of my favourite artists spent many Summers painting here. He would bring a party of friends and family to this high mountain valley in Summer and stay near this hotel at Purtod. Days would be spent painting and relaxing. Ladies wearing costumes of Oriental floral silk, lazing on the grass beside the bubbling stream were famously painted. He also painted many dramatic Glaciers and rock strewn valleys wanting to capture the bright light and shadows. He used wax as a resist to create texture and overlaying transparent colours in his watercolours. I could see the famous honey coloured rocks here in this valley. I used a mix of Naples yellow with a touch of permanent Rose.

We drove up the same thin mountain road that Sargent had, seeing the mountain scenery as he would, and found the famous river. It  gushed rather than bubbled and no way was Number One Art Critic dressing in Costume for me to paint!

I did get the paints out for a quick watercolour sketch of Brenva Glacier and thought about Sargents 'Moraine' painting while tackling this dramatic scene, which he had painted in 1908.

I worked very fast on this watercolour sketch, the light was changing at a rapid rate and I didn't want to get bogged down with detail, I also knew it was only a reminder and just to enjoy painting this amazing scenery in front of me.

I'd also heard about a place that did 'Porcetta' Now for some reason I had romantic ideas about this meal.
We sat down at a table with a view of the entire valley before us. The sun was shinning, the open oven was gently smoking and the smell was quite enticing. We ordered our roasted Pig with vegetables and fries and enjoyed the scene.
Poor piggy arrived on a plate, we picked at the meat and I enjoyed the vegetables. It was quite nice but I did decline a trotter and wondered why Number One Art Critic was suddenly putting Piggies face onto his plate. I then realised he did not know he was holding one ear!! All I can say is I'm not sure when we will be eating Roast Pork again, not for a while!!!

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