The paintings displayed here are based on my travels, from the most recent, Italy and Cuba, to the most distant in time, Mongolia. They include ones from Turkey, Republic of Georgia, Austria, France and Norway.
The three paintings below are from my 2015 trip to Italy. The first is of a small canal beside our hotel, adjacent to San Marco Piazza. The second is of the famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge across Venice’s Grand Canal. The monument to Victor Emmanuel II in Rome’s central Piazza Venezia is depicted in the the third painting. The ruins of Hadrian’s Athenaeum unearthed in 2009 are in the foreground.
I had hesitated to paint the Victor Emmanuel III monument scene because of the level of detail it presented. Not until I started using a new technique of blocking in the large forms in pastel colors and then selectively choosing details to include did this painting come together.
Monument to Victor Emanuel III-Rome 2015,
11″ x 14″. $200
In 2002 I accompanied students to Italy and Greece. A highlight was our visit to the lovely Island of Capri. Here I capture the colorful fishing boats, beached after a day in the waters of the blue-green Mediterranean.
Capri harbor, Italy, 22″ x 28″, $400, prints available
The village of Dabo, located in the Vosges mountains in France’s Alsace area, is the home of my forester Ruffenach ancestors. The Rock of Dabo once hosted the castle of the Duke of Dabo, but now a small church crowns the promontory. The second painting of the Rock of Dabo was displayed at the MN State Fair.
In January 2017, I visited Havana, Cuba, staying in the Old City. Here are two street scenes, the first on a misty morning after a rain, the second featuring a blind man tapping down the calle. The moat view is that of Castillo de la Real Fuerza, one of two Spanish forts that guarded Havana’s deep harbor, where the Spanish once gathered their treasure ships from the Mesomerican coasts to convoy back to Spain.
Through a series of coincidences, I visited Turkey three times: in the early 1990s, 2000 and 2007, twice staying in Istanbul, once enjoying an archealogical tour of the country’s interior. Displayed are two large-format views of Istanbul’s magnificent Hagia Sophia. One of my all-time favorites is the one of Heliopolis, the scene caught at early morning.
Fishmongers, Istanbul Bazaar NFS
Between stops in Azerbajan and Istanbul, my daughter and I spent five days in Vienna in 2007. The day before leaving, we rented a car and drove south to Andau in Bergenland, Austria to locate the home village of my Peck ancestors. In the village cemetery we spotted this caregiver.
After an 18-day visit to Scandinavia with my aunt Carolyn, I painted two versions of a scene we caught on a day tour in the gorgeous Geiranger Fjord area, midway up Norway’s west coast. One is large format, the other small.
In Sweden, a tourist walking down the deserted street in old Sigtuna caught my eye. The painting since has become one of my favorites.
Later in the tour, we climbed up behind the restored Hanseatic League harborfront in Bergen. The 14th century wooden buildings were used by the German fishery merchants for four centuries. Their colorful steeped roofs called for a painting, as did their facades that faced the harbor.
Rooftops of Bergen, Norway, 12″ x 12″, $90
Hanseatic League storefronts, Bergen,
24″ x 28″, $150
Because my daughter was working in Syria in 2009, I had a chance to visit the country before its archealogical treasures were trashed. Here is the cloister of the Crusader fort Krak des Chevaliers. The fort guarded the main route from the Mediterranean to the Middle East interior.
Republic of Georgia
When my son was working in the Republic of Georgia, I visited 10th century Sapara Monastery high up in the hills. From the monastery wall, I found the view across a valley toward distant mountains breathtaking.
The photo on which this painting is based was taken by my daughter when in Antigua Guatemala. The Roman Catholic cathedral of St. James was first built by the Spanish in 1541, but suffered two earthquakes in the next two centuries. Now it has been partly rebuilt.
Although I painted many images based on my travel to Mongolia and China, this is one of the few that remain in my possession. It is of a pre-adolescent girl I met while visiting a ger camp in the hills outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She was an accomplished horsewoman, as are so many of the Mongol youth.