Elizabeths Travel Blog
My Art
In the recent years I retired to the wonderful Southern Highlands of NSW south of Sydney. Being surrounded by natural beauty, green lush farmland, quaint villages and wildlife has set the stage for me to indulge in a new passion of drawing and painting.  

Mentored by successful and professional local artists I have found that painting is not only meditative but also exhilarating. I have worked in water coliours, acrylics and oils.

I am always experimenting with new ideas and subjects. However – still life seems to be my forte. The relationship of the object and light is fascinating and can create some interesting and satisfying pictures.

In 2016 I held a successful solo show where I received a number of commissions. I continue to develop my skills through on going training and tuition.

I sell my works locally and internationally. I am available for commissions and open to your suggestions for topics and colour if you are keen to have a work that compliments your collection of its surroundings.

My Travels
My travel destinations have included Europe, particularly Italy where I have spent many holidays, renting villas, studying Italian at language schools, having a blast at cooking classes, discovering photography through the help of some talented tutors, and most recently, learning how to paint in water colours.

While in Italy, I enjoyed soaking up the Italian way of life – “la dolce vita”, meeting the locals, and discovering how the Italians tick (that still may be a mystery). The food of Italy is one of my passions and has included many wonderful dining experiences from simple rustic fare to the heady atmosphere of 5 star restaurants.

I have also travelled in France, UK, Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal, Greece and Cyprus and other stops on the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Visits to the USA and Canada have acquainted me with that neck of the woods. South and Central America are places yet to be discovered.

Further afield, I have visited Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and South West Africa including Botswana and Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius.

Closer to home, I have travelled to Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam and New Zealand and Bali.

Recently, I retired after 20 years as CEO of my business in human resource consulting. To unwind and decompress form the rigors of corporate life, I spent six months travelling. This included taking 40 flights (from the A380 to a 4 seater bush plane in Namibia), staying at a myriad of hotels and apartments, , cruising the Baltic, riding in jeeps across the desert in Africa, sailing up the Nile and marvelling at the ancient wonders of Egypt and much, much more.

These locations and experiences have inspired me to capture “the moments” with my interests in photography and writing a journal which I am now blogging. I hope that you like my stories.

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IItaly – The Love Affair Still Goes On!
Here i am again – in Italy. The magic of Italy still endures after an absence of three years. Like a long love affair – you remember everything so fondly and forgive its shortcomings and failings.

These failings manifest themselves as soon as you step off the plane. The Rome immigration hall is a game of snakes and ladders where the queues of people are ushered around a ribbon of people control barriers. A thousand deep and the line continues to grow as more planes land. Finally the immigrations desks come into view, and of course out of the 20 plus desks there are about 10 manned by very disinterested officers. Mine was a forty something lady officer (she had that very lived-in look) who had her earphones jammed in so tight that she could not possibly hear the moaning of the throng behind me.

Fish sauce factory Thailand
“บริษัท น้ำปลารุ่งโรจน์ บจก. “ผู้ผลิตน้ำปลาแท้ และซอสปรุงรส ทำจากวัตถุดิบสดใหม่ที่คัดสรรมาอย่างดีเพื่อคุณภาพ ผ่านการคัดสรรคุณภาพอย่างดีผ่านกรรมวิธีการผลิตที่ทันสมัย โดยคงไว้ซึ่งเสน่ห์ของรสชาติ และกลิ่นหอมในปีเดิม พ.ศ. 2494

I arrive at the QC Hotel Terme Roma late at night and hit the shower and bed in quick order. On awakening and opening the curtains the Italy that I love is revealed. Those oh so very Italian umbrella pines, the towering plane trees with their marvellous dappled trunks, the chirping of the sparrows and swallows and that lovely sound of water falling into the magnificent fountain below.  The view over the terracotta roof tiles and chimneys is a welcome site and reinforces the sense of where I am.

My first morning is spent with the maintenance man Marco and his cappo (bosss) while they try to crack open the safe that refuses to open. It is amazing what can be achieved with a large wrench and a few screwdrivers aided by a constant monologue in Italian by both of them. After 15 minutes of judicious banging allora – the door flies open. They both beam that safecracking can be added to their cv’s. Maybe they will go home and watch the Italian Job and give their expert opinion on the safe cracking scene

Elizabeths Travel Blog

“Ordinary Objects” Exhibition of Art Works by Elizabeth Varley
Solo Exhibition of Art Works by Elizabeth Varley
“Ordinary Objects” “In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary”.  ~Aaron Rose

Under the Tuscan Sun
Cortona is the setting for Frances Mayes’ novel Under the Tuscan Sun, and a later film version. It was a highly popular novel and I think every woman’s dream to flee the daily grind of marriage, kids, work pressures or anything else that ails you and arrive in the charming Tuscan town of Cortona. Finding a derelict house and turning this into a bucolic masterpiece along with all the romance of the Tuscan countryside.

I was in Tuscany to discover another kind of masterpiece…a painting. Not one by Michelangelo or Leonardo but one by me. I was joining a painting group for a week of tutoring and plein air painting – that means you pack up your kit and find a view point in the countryside or town and sketch. Finding a suitable spot can be pretty daunting when you have a quintessential Italian scene around every corner.

With that handicap of sensory overload I resorted to nourishing myself with other Italian delights. Sitting in a bar and sipping on an aperol spritz or strolling along the street enjoying a wonderful gelato.

My fellow students were inspiring as they embraced the task admirably and turned out some excellent work. Our tutor was on the ball and encouraging everyone at every opportunity. His morning demonstrations were mind boggling as to how he captured the mood, light and aspect of the various scenes all with large one inch and 2 inch brushes. I have a new resolve now to return home and tackle painting landscapes with a new vigour.

You ask what else did we do apart from painting? Some sight seeing and of course eating. This week’s highlights have included….carpaccio (raw beef sliced paper thin with grated Parmesan cheese arugula and olive oil), handmade fettuccine with grated truffle, risotto with scampi, anchovies all sorts of ways, pizza with wafer-thin crust with fabulous toppings, fresh porcini mushrooms lightly battered and fried and the most wonderful veal limone. Of course it is obligatory to end the evening with a limoncello to aid digestion and sleep.


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