The Cabbage Series in Memory of my Brother

The Cabbage Series:  in memory of my brother Graham Holdsworth  1948 - 2011

My brother and only sibling, Graham Holdsworth, died in Normandy, France last June. He was three years younger than me. Like everyone in our family he was an avid gardener, so when I returned home from saying goodby to him, I took refuge in my garden and began, almost by chance, painting the Cabbage Series:


As I harvested the cabbages,  I continued painting. The series became a meditation on, not simply the  loss of my entire immediate family, but on our lives together over so many years.

Art exists to explore and celebrate life.

Paint outdoors in Italy 2012

I am leading painting groups to  Tuscany and Liguria, Italy in June 2012. Early registration is necessary for Italy.



We paint Florence in the rain.        Linda and Niccolo serve dinner.           A view from our windows.



View from our farmhouse                            Portovenere

For information about  this painting expedition and to view a short video go to the Classes section of my website  and scroll down to  'Outdoor painting in Tuscany and Liguria, Italy'

Beginners and one or two non-painters are welcome on these trips.

Holiday Exhibition: New Paintings of Italy, Oakland & San Francisco

Join me in my studio the weekends of

Dec 11-12  &  18-19 from Noon to 5 PM

View my recent work and enjoy

wine, cheese and cappuccinos.

351 Lewis St. Oak. 94607



My ongoing  Global Warming Series led me to an interest in the depiction of water. I took full advantage of  the breathtaking, blue-green waters of the Ligurian Sea during the five days I stayed in Portovenere, Italy. This port faces the Bay of La Spezia which was a playground for the Romantic poets. Italy is a touchstone for me. Here I can reflect on most of western history and also paint reflections of that history in its landscape and its buildings.

Scroll down to the previous blog or click here if you wish to view the eight paintings I created in Italy.

The waters of the Pacific enter an ultramodern port along Oakland's shores:


I decided to return and re-paint the Chronicle from a slightly different angle than just over a year ago. Last year I spent March and April painting the building as more than a hundred employees left the struggling newspaper. My stimulating exchanges with reporters, editors and other employees (as well as that painting) may be viewed at News in the News Pt 2: The Once and Future Chronicle in the archives of this blog.

View many more paintings like these in my exhibition.

I look forward to seeing you!

My Painting and Cultural Tour in Tuscany and Liguria: 2010

This September I led a painting group on an 'agriturismo' twenty minutes south of Florence. As well as painting around this farm, which produces exceptional, organic olive oil, wine, grappa and vino santo,  we took two day-long visits to Florence and one to Siena. The trip is documented in an eight minute video on youtube  "A Painting and Cultural Tour in Tuscany and Liguria 2010"  which you may access here.

This blog focuses on the eight oil paintings I completed during my month in Italy. They will be exhibited for two weekends in my studio Noon to 5 PM, Dec 11-12 & 18-19. For directions to my studio just go to Visit Studio on this website.


I arrived in Florence five days before the painting group. I stayed at a pensione in Piazza Santo Spirito which is one of the few areas of old Florence that maintains a vestige of its original character.

Early mornings I worked on my first painting standing in front of  the homeless who slumbered in their sleeping bags alongside the church under the disapproving gaze of its priest. 'Tutti in piedi! E tempo di lavorare!" (Up on your feet! It's time to work!)  he shouted one day - an exhortation which had no discernible effect.

The open air market in the square offered fresh fruit and vegetables. Evenings tourists and Italians patronized several restaurants while the homeless, adding a commedia dell'arte flavor, squabbled around the fountain . Young students across from the expensive restaurants crowded the charming little 'aperitivo' ' Pop Cafe'  .

There are views of Florence which transport me back to 1967-68 when I lived in a  little attico  behind the Palazzo Vecchio.  I would pass over Ponte alle Grazie and look back at the city center from across the Arno. Because it is associated with so many memories this view continues to resonate  strongly with me.


In those days I would continue out of  the city and climb the steps past Piazzale Michelangelo on my way to paint in the fields. I would often pause to savor this view (below).

On this visit, my student Daniel Altman and I spent two afternoons painting here. The first afternoon rain accompanied by thunder and lightening added drama to the scene, and to our experience of painting it!


On the 'agriturismo', where we all stayed for two weeks, the  courtyard in front of our accommodations (of which a corner is discernible in the bottom of this painting) served as our outdoor studio. It offers a number of fine views of vineyards, olive groves and hilltop towns.

We also ate breakfast, lunch and some dinners out here.


I have often hiked  this road past our farmhouse to other subjects like abandoned farmhouses, chapels among the cypress and breathtaking vistas.


But we found beguiling subjects without even leaving our rooms!


From Tuscany I accompanied two of my students to Portovenere in Liguria which is a two and a half hour drive north-west of Florence on the Mediterranean. The name Portovenere derives from the fact that there was originally a temple  to Venus where this 12th century church of St Peter  (below) now stands. The church appears to have succumbed to it's pagan antecedent: it serves, almost exclusively, as a site for lavish weddings.

There is a decidedly Venusian flavor to this port. The colorful fishing boats, charming alleyways that climb its steep slopes, alluring artisan, fashion boutiques and fine restaurants like Da Antonio seduce the senses.  After busy, warm days,  an evening dip in the calm, blue-green water that is set aside for swimmers along the quay was a welcome balm.


These waters also conveyed me on a spellbinding journey to the Cinque Terre.  Seas permitting, there is regular ferry service from Portovenere. The five lands live up to their reputation. But they struck me as incredibly fragile clinging precariously to the steep, unstable cliffs. And I wondered if the current  avalanche of tourism might eventually bear their delicate terraces and precipitous towns down into the oblivion of the blue-green waters...


I am planning further painting trips both to Tuscany and to Liguria. Contact me if you are interested in participating. I will soon post dates and details in my ' Classes ' section of this website.