Site changes

December 4, 2014

I can no longer add photos to this site and so I my future posts with photos will post on my art website where I have 20 gigs to work with.  I will be forwarding your sign up over there and the one here will remain as well.  If that arrangement is not to your liking just let me know.

The site is  There are links to the Art blog or you can use!blog/cxhw

There you will find photos, and this blog which will be written here but will appear on the website as well so you see both in one place.  There is a comment section, which can also post to facebook.  My web provider does not have a link to google plus.

Hope you enjoy!



What I have been up to

Our first 6 weeks in Rome were a busy time.  We had a visitor from Valencia, Enid, who is an American actually.  She was here for a week.  Then came a couple from the US.  He and go back a long ways.  And then came Cal.  He was married to Peg back in the 70’s and we’ve been keeping up at least since Peg and I married in 1983.     I was not until late October that I was able to devote much time to art.


I have recently moved my website to one independent of the gallery representing me, Xanadu (  This allows me much greater freedom to post my work.

You can see my latest works at





Photos of our place in the Pigneto neighborhood

October 2014


Here are a few photos of our place in Rome.  The Pigneto neighborhood is a bit edgy.  There are quite a few buildings needing total renovation and quite a few have been redone.  The new metro line is coming to the area but still the city neglects it a bit so the streets are not being swept and there are not enough trash bins.  There seems to be a mix of the very poor and the upwardly mobile (well, maybe not mobile).  There is a short walk to three tram lines and several buses.  To get anywhere seems to take an hour unless you are just going to Termini, the central rail station.  But from there you can get most anywhere.

The house is on two levels.  On the upper level is a large deck, the kitchen, bath and bedroom with the queen size bed.  On the lower level is a large living room (where I paint and Peg works), a bathroom and a smaller bedroom.

There are steps everywhere.  Two steps to go on the deck, two to go to the master bedroom.  Downstairs you step up to go into the bathroom and down again to the sink area and down again to the toilet.  To the bedroom downstairs you go down a step.  There are light switches galore, confusing but there is plenty of good lighting.

The kitchen features a 5 burner stove (2 of which are not working), and a decent sized refrigerator.  There is a dining table there, one on the deck and a third on the lower level.  The entrance leads to a patio with a wide door as well as sliding glass doors.

It’s a super place with some strange features in an iffy area.  Overall one of the best places we’ve lived in, although the internet has been a bit iffy.


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Hiking on the cliffs above the coast (slide show)

On August 29th we took the tram to the top near Opicina.  The tram dates from circa 1900 and just resumed service a week or so ago . We walked along in the area referred to as the Carst on the path towards Sistiana, about 12 kilometers.  We went about half way.  Sistiana is a coastal town north of Trieste.  It was a gorgeous day, as you can see from the photos.  There were other hikers, joggers and you will see some people climbing the sheer cliff that rises from the path.

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Street With A View- The final and two previous versions showing the evolution of the piece

I did three versions of this view.  The first one (bottom) was a sketch from memory.  I noticed the gorgeous view as we passed by on Bus 30 on the way up the hill.  I did the second from a photo in pen and ink, and the third on site in watercolor.  I think you will find it interesting to see the three together.  From memory- I think I did it rather accurately considering I had about 30 seconds.  The first two will be up on my website shortly


street with a view trieste
Street with a View On Bus Line 30, Trieste, Italy



Street with a View On Bus Line 30, Trieste, Italy pen and ink
Street with a View On Bus Line 30, Trieste, Italy pen and ink


Street with a View On Bus Line 30, Trieste, Italy- First Sketch From Memory
Street with a View On Bus Line 30, Trieste, Italy- First Sketch From Memory

Grotta Gigante (video slide show)

La Grotta Gigante  is a giant cave just outside Trieste.  We took bus 42 to get there and got some great views of the city and the bay on the way to Sgonico, the town where the cave is located.  We got there early, had a cappuccino.  I sketched and we ate some blackberries off a neglected bush.  Along the way we had fabulous views of Trieste and the bay, perhaps the best yet.

The main cavern is 107 m (351 ft) high, 65 m (213 ft) wide and 130 m (430 ft), long.  It  is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest tourist cave.   One of the formations is about 12 meters (39 feet) high and up to 4 meters in girth.

A thin cable 100 meters (328 feet)  in length supports two pendula which record the movement of the earth’s crust.  There was an earthquake of 8+ on the Richter in 1989 although the cave suffered no damage.

There are 500 steps to the bottom of the main cavern, 500 back up.  There is an additional 160 meter drop which is not for ordinary visits.

Here is a short slideshow video, with a bit of scary music to go with it.  Don’t ask my why scary other than it would be frightening in the total darkness.


Pula, Croatia, and its Fabulous Roman Amphitheatre

August 22, 2014

Our visit to Pula, Croatia

Croatia is just to our south, and we’d never been there.  It has a certain allure because it is Western European but somehow not, as it was part of Yugoslavia during the post war period.  It became more Slavic during that period and the traditional folk dance music you hear in the video (link below) reflects that origin.

Pula like Trieste is on the Adriatic.  Most noted for the Roman Amphitheater, it also has a temple and other bits from the Roman era.  It is an attractive town with 20 km of rocky beach the locals love.

To get there by land you cross Slovenia, so it’s 3 countries in two hours on the fast bus, but four hours through even more of the Croatian countryside on the way back.  Slovenia is in the EU but Croatia is not, so there’s no border check leaving Italy but in and out of the other two countries there is.  With my shiny new Italian passport we had no problems, although Peg was stamped in and the border guard suggested she get a ‘permesso di sojourno,” (residence permit) which as my wife and with an officially registered marriage certificate, should be no problem at all.

It’s a lovely town with architecture from the 13th, 19th and 20th century. There are pedestian zones, lots of cafes and eateries, summer sunshine and today a very pleasant temperature, in the low 20’s.  People walk about in shorts and lightweight shirts.  You hear what I assume is Croatian, lots of Italian and perhaps as much English; people who deal with tourists spoke it reasonably well.

It’s about a ten minute walk to the Amphitheater from the bus station.  The amphitheater is enormous, probably not as big as the Coliseo in Rome, but it is much more intact.  Only the seating area is largely gone, maybe a few hundred left out of the original 25,000.  It must have been spectacular when filled, and the fabric roof in place.

The main pedestrian zone is one of the more attractive ones we’ve seen but not all that different from others.   We had lunch in the area.  The service was very attentive, and the food quite good, for a bit less than Trieste, even, although we’d heard Croatia has become quite expensive.

It is still an active port and ship building continues.  There are large bays for ship repair as well as large yellow cranes for unloading and loading cargo vessels.

A Bit of History

Human remains (Homo erectus)  in the area date to 1.5 million years.  Pottery dates to 6000 BCE.  Inhabitation in Pula proper dates to the 10 century BCE.  Greek pottery and statuary remains attest to that people”s presence.

Starting around the 1st century BCE a Venetic or Illyrian tribe  lived here.  Under Julius Caesar the town became an important port, with a population  then of around 30,000.  However it sided with Cassius against Augustus, and the town was destroyed.  It was soon rebuilt and with it came the amphitheater (finished in 68 CE) which you will see in the slide show video.

The Venetians took over the city in the 1200’s and the Hapsburgs arrived in 1997.  After WWI the whole peninsula became part of Italy.  Mussolini persecuted the Slavic residents and many fled.  The Germans took over in WWII after Italy collapsed, and Pula was bombed heavily by the Allies after the u-boat installation.  Pula joined Yugoslavia in 1947.  Most of the Italians fled in 1946-47 in the run up.   To this day, Croatia is predominantly Roman Catholic.


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