Cinqueterre, Italy 1981-2

Riomaggiore by Barry Coombs

A long time ago, I had the good fortune to study in Florence for an academic year. After my return to Canada, it took years to pay off my student loans but it was worth it. During the Christmas break, a friend and I followed the sage advice of Sandro at Zecchi’s, the famous art supply store in Florence, and visited the coastal villages known as Cinqueterre. We had intended to stay overnight but dragged out the trip for several days, hiking the entire trail system and sketching everything that caught our eye.

I thought it would be timely to share a few of my Cinqueterre sketches as I’ll be heading off to Lucca with an eager and talented group next month. One of our day trips will take us to Cinqueterre.

The sketch above is of Riomaggiore. All of these sketches were done in a 9 1/2 x 13 1/2″ hardcover sketchbook. My typical practice was to lay in the drawing with pencil and then complete it with ink. I (carefully) carried around bottles of ink and ‘crow quill’ nibs and holders. Black and Raw Sienna inks were used in the Riomaggiore sketch.

Corniglia by Barry Coombs

The next sheet gives a sense of the dramatic topography of this beautiful area. I settled on my sketching stool and looked down over Corniglia. I completed the sketch in Sepia ink, turned my stool around and looked way up at San Bernardino. If you’ve been to the region, you’re probably wondering about San Bernardino. It’s not one of the five villages. Actually, it’s a hilltop hamlet and is considered to be a part of Corniglia.

Vernazza by Barry Coombs

The third and final sketch that I’ll share today is of Vernazza; Sepia ink over pencil. I loved working with a ‘dipping’ pen and I still do but, these days, I use them exclusively in the studio. Outdoors, I use various pigment ink disposable sketching pens and I’ve strongly recommended that my students bring a compact sketching kit to Lucca.

I drew and painted outdoors as much as possible while studying in Florence. However, the occasional rainy weather gave me the opportunity to sketch in the museums and galleries, including the Uffizi! I learned a lot by studying the masters through drawing whether it was figures from paintings or sculptures. I’ll show you a few of those in my next post. Ciao!



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6 Responses to “Cinqueterre, Italy 1981-2”

  1. Don Gilmore Says:

    Thanks for sharing Barry. I still have fond memories of our trip in 2006.

  2. patleary Says:

    Oh, Barry, I’m so sorry not to be going to Luca with you!! Sounds like such a great trip!! I’ll be watching for your posts!

  3. Ruth Bailey Says:

    I’m jealous! We were stationed in Italy for three years, and I visited Cinqueterre, but as one of the chaperones for a large group of American high-schoolers and didn’t have the time to stop and sketch. I did buy a watercolor from an artist who had his wares spread out beside the walking trail, and it brings back memories of the trip. Buon viaggio!

  4. Carol King Says:

    Barry, these are so gorgeous. I was thinking of Rembrandt as I looked at them, particularly the 2nd sketch. I am green with envy that you are going to Lucca. My friend just returned from Lucca today. He was visiting his family.

    I love how you draw texture. Can’t wait for your next post.

  5. Dottie Says:

    Can’t wait to see it for myself! Thank you for sharing some of your sketches. Love seeing your early work.

  6. Lois Says:

    All Art work, is so Beautiful, and I love the Details…
    Have a Great trip, Share when you can.

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