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The Well Travelled Painting: Mondello Beach in Palermo, Sicily

This series of Well-Travelled Paintings is designed to share my progress re-learning to paint, draw out the memories of the places and travel destinations I paint, and also keep myself accountable to my goal to paint more often. Each painting featured comes accompanied by a mini-guide to the place depicted – a taster to whet your appetite for when we can travel once again. The first painting in the series was of Hurst Point Lighthouse in Hampshire, including the back story behind this series, and the second painting shared was of Cefalù in Sicily. All paintings can be found here.

What does this painting depict?

Today the series continues with another painting from Sicily, created from a photo I took on Mondello Beach in the west of Palermo in September 2017. Palermo is actually the capital of Sicily and has a fair amount of shipping, cargo and industry, so I was amazed to find such crystal clear waters within close reach from the city centre. Mondello Beach was quiet, unpretentious and accessible, and I visited it on the very last day of my 2.5 week trip around Sicily with my then boyfriend. You’ll find the whole of my itinerary for Sicily here. This beach was far from the most beautiful beach we visited in Sicily (and oh my goodness, does Sicily have beautiful beaches) but its simplicity and accessibility enthused me – it was just a 30-minute bus ride from our apartment in the centre of Palermo. The idea of having this beach in easy reach of a city lifestyle was fascinating and I daydreamed of Palermo somehow offering me a serious, professional job I could do, without destroying my career.

I’d had the most wonderful trip around Sicily, after 6 years’ lusting after the island, and we were finally at the point where no further research, planning or bookings needed to be made. All I did on that beach was swim and reflect on the summer I’d had, and the year preceding it too, as I found myself at a transition, before I pivoted back to London-living and full-time employment the next day, after a year studying abroad for my Master’s. I wrote this very reflective and grateful blog post about the last days of summer on Mondello beach. The overwhelming emotion I feel looking at this photo and painting is a memory of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities afforded to me in life. At various stages of my life I’ve managed to travel for extended periods of time, un-restrained by annual leave allowances, and there’s a special sense of freedom that accompanies those extended, commitment-free trips.

What about the painting itself?

There are a number of imperfections in this painting, that I hope to work on as my painting improves. I only noticed from afar that the horizon isn’t straight! The clouds are too big and too prominent in my opinion, and the sea looks turbulent rather than calm. I haven’t quite captured the seaweed resting in the shallows, and it adds a colourful but aggressive tone to the sea. It’s not a realistic depiction of the photograph, and appears more dynamic and windier than the scene really was, but this captures the dynamism, happiness and excitement I felt in the moment. Does the gratitude and emotion I felt in that moment resonate with you through this piece? Does the water appear turbulent and violent to you, or does that not matter? I adore the colours and they truly light me up on a grey winter’s day here in England.

I’m toying with the idea of selling some of my paintings if there’s interest. The places I paint hold memories for me but also no doubt for others who have visited or have a special connection to a place. If you’d like to discuss purchasing this piece, or any of the other Well-Travelled Paintings, then just hit the ‘Enquire’ button below and I’ll be in touch. 

This piece is acrylic on sketch paper, 13.7cm x 21cm.

Price upon enquiry.

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