Guests on our creative courses the mill often ask about the striking, colourful silk pictures in our dining room. They were made by our English artist friend Annabel Collis and the represent various scenes from our Italian life when our children, Lydia and Lara, were very young. They’re painted with ‘barrier lines’ between areas of the silk so the colours don’t run into one section from to another.
The picture above shows in its central panel the family and friends enjoying a picnic in the olive groves above Terenzano, with the peaks of the Alpi Apuane in the background. It’s not a snapshot of one moment in time, but rather a collage of events, so the dramatis personae appear several times, notably the children, who appear from babies to toddlers. The dark-haired young man holding the football and flying the kite is Bill! The background is a typical Fivizzano scene, with Bill’s white MG, drinking in a caffé, and the children enjoying ice creams around one of the distinctive dolphins around the fountain in the Piazza Medicea .
The picture below features a diptych, with the Cinque Terre village of Vernazza on the left of the internal panel and the watermill’ bamboozery on the right, while the background captures the ‘blue Italian weather’ of the Cinque Terre coast.
In the main Tuscan house, you’ll find a third Collis painting. This one captures the essence of the mill, the cascades and the river, the family enjoying the gardens, the bamboozery and surrounding vineyards.
We commissioned the pictures after Bill had asked Annabel to make a silk scarf of Venice for one of Lois’ birthdays. Lois liked it so much she refused to wear it and had it framed instead. It hangs in our bedroom at the mill (viewing by request!) Lovely pictures, bringing back warm memories.
Annabel, who lives with her husband, the architect Guy Greenfield, in the West of England, is still an active artist. She also writes and illustrates children’s books and makes quirky greeting cards. You can find out more about Annabel and her work by clicking here. Her particular passion is elephants! Here are some children with an elephant they decorated with Annabel on a school artistic project.
And of course you can see Annabel’s Italian silk paintings if you come on one of our world-famous creative courses. To find out more, please just click here.
***Don’t forget our special Early Bird offer: If you book any of our 2016 sun-filled, fun-filled courses before 31 December 2015, there a £ (GBP) 75 discount.***