I colori di guardia sanframondi

Im now coming to the end of my residency, time to review and reflect on what I’ve learnt and look forward to taking new skills, ideas and contacts home with me to Scotland.

We sent out the invites, got everything ready and laid out the nibbles and wine and waited until the rainstorm finished…..and everyone appeared! Thank you to all who came along, you made it a fabulous end to a wonderful residency.

Images are taken by clare galloway of Arthouse Guardia




















Painting with stones and metal – part two

A couple of the techniques I was hoping to explore, before I came to Italy, were casein painting and egg tempera and I was delighted when Helena said she taught egg tempera to her students and she’d be happy to give me a demonstration.

During the first couple of walks, here in Guardia, I collected a selection of stones and soils as well as some oxides from around the town.


In the process of walking about i found out that the mountain Guardia Sanframondi is built on used to be an island and the surrounding land a lagoon! No wonder it is so lush, the romans and greeks made it their ‘garden’ and is where the area got its name, Campania, from the Latin, Campania Felix or fertile countryside.


We visited the paleo-lab at Pietraroja, where we had a brilliant tour through time, learnt about fossils, got to make our own ammonites and see the dinosaur found in a stone by a young boy. The baby dinosaur, looks like a velociraptor (like the ones in jurassic park) and is almost fully intact with its internal organs clear to see!

Outside the paeleo-lab.

Anyway, back to the stones…i was able to collect a few samples of limestone with iron oxides flowing through them, some interesting vitrified stones and some fossilised stones that had the most amazing molluscs and shapes in them. My trusty mini microscope came in really handy.


In Naples we bought some natural pigments from an art store to compare colours, texture and ease of application with the ‘found’ pigments. Lastly, I collected some charcoal, which i think may be from grape vine wood, found at Forre di Lavello e Grotte near Cosano mutri, a popular picnic place full of lovely walks, grottos and a huge river. All great materials and inspiration for making paint!

Stone and metal oxide pigments mixed with water and applied to watercolour paper.

Artichoke paper – part three

The last instalment of the paper making adventure finishes with transforming the pulp into paper with a little help of some mesh, sun and patience.


Once we were happy with the mesh coverage we then went into full production. Leaving the paper to dry out a little….


Before transferring it to the ‘couch’ for drying out…


Building up layers of paper as you use up the processed pulp


An additional little squeeze out of extra moisture….


And then leaving it to dry….


All our hard work was worth the effort and patience of making when the final paper was dry….

The colours of Guardia

Brilliant morning walking with Vittorio, our amazing guide of all things natural, he’s been a fantastic help with locating different stone types, interesting soil colours, fresh figs and plums to pick and the most beautiful walks.


Beautiful flowes and plants to dye with from maria pia’s garden last night, she also makes the most fantastic organic bread, mmmmmm chocolate, nuts and orange, mmmmm!


Results from the beetroot wars…..alkali water here in Guardia, needed a little adjustment with some vinegar!


Next thing to look at……the stones collected from our walks with vittorio, i think there are fossils and iron in them, pretty to look at but a bit hard to grind down…..i found some copper oxide on an old drain and charcoal on the gorge walk today…..the iron oxide experimenting is coming on nicely for watercolours and i’ll be preparing the soils and rusted iron for some egg tempera over the next week…


This week i’ll be experimenting, connecting with the community and the Guardia area. Next week I’m looking forward to some collaboration, painting and more exploring with the artists already here and Kim Habers, from Holland, who arrived today, have a look at her work, it is amazing!

Guardia sanframondi, campania, italy

Well, im here and working already!


Although it is difficult when the weather and scenery are so beautiful. Here is my studio for the next couple of weeks….


Ill be sharing this space with two other artists, Helena Wadsley from Canada and an artist from the netherlands who arrives later this week.


The studio and apartments are based in the centuro historico, of guardia sanframondi, 17th century buildings which are being redeveloped into beautiful residencies for artists and travellers from all over the world. Ive had a busy weekend already with pot luck welcome dinner, exhibition opening in the town and three brilliant walks taking in the colours of Guardia. i’ll post updates here as i go along.

Ciao, ciao xx