Friday, November 12, 2010

Three from Sicily; tourism, photography and plein air painting

I took the ferry from Malta to Sicily, staying for a couple of days in spledidly sited former Greek Empire city of Syracuse, where Archimedes lived and which features ruins of some importance.

Much of the city has recently been restored, though the place still has some rough edges.

Three from Sicily (Syracuse and Taormina)

Corso Umberto I, oil on card, 13 x 9.6 cm

Greek Amphitheatre, Syracuse, oil on card, 9.5 x 12.6

I met a charming French-Spanish couple while painting here, at this greek Apmhitheatre, which is quite enormous. Thanks to them for buying me lunch. I hope they find this site.

View of Taormino, oil on card 12.6 x 9.5 cm

Taormino is one of those places that is so touristified that it is quite unpleasant, the entire length of the main street taken up with shops selling souvenirs. The tourist industry has this amazing capacity to destroy the places and cultures that it supposedly celebrates: everything becomes commodified, including aspects of interpersonal relations.

The views  from the town, however, are quite breathtaking.

My picture owes something to Kokoschka, the itinerant Austrian, whose painting journeys might become a model for me, along with Edward Lear and the Scotsman David Roberts.


Digital cameras have made photography easy, cheap and fast and I see tourists, including myself, wandering about snapping away, scarely seeing the world save through a lens. Given that images of most places tourists visit, quite probably of superior quality, can be found on the web, their reason for snapping must really more to do with the desire to say "I was here", than to record or understand a place.

In the face of this barrage of fast photo images there is obviously place for slower, more considered meditation on places. Plein air painting provides this.


These paintings are for sale- for 100 Brazillian Reals or equivalent in another stable currency (at the time of writing this is roughly 58 US$ or 42 Euros or 36 GB pounds). Post, packing and handling are not included.

More details can be found under the label "buying art", below: please contact me with any enquiries.


  1. Lovely paintings. I especially like the one of the Greek amphitheatre and the Taormino vista.

  2. Thanks Diffident, I especially enjoyed paiting them.