Twenty Studio Stories….

I’ve painted outdoors and I’ve painted indoors… on location and in studios all over the world. People often ask me: Which do I prefer? Is one more authentic? Is the other easier? Over the years I’m thinking it is all up to the individual, what gets you stoked as a painter, what inspires your process.

MFA Studio: Oakland, CA

MFA Studio: Oakland, CA

I suppose that when it comes to art studios, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in some amazing spaces in the world. Some were corners in a room, others covered patios, basements, cantinas, spare rooms, garages and shared spaces with other artists. Some spaces I have lived and slept in, some had great surf and snowboarding right outside the door. Some studios have been the backdrop for tea parties, holiday parties, and art shows…others transformed into movie sets for numerous film projects. From the ancient olive mill in Tuscany to the the old Del Monte Cannery in San Francisco, all these spaces impart their energy into my work and inspire in their own unique ways.
In this, my 30th year as a professional artist, I’m looking back at those places with many fond recollections. The hundreds if not thousands (!) of paintings I have created over those years!
Click on any of the images below to view the slideshow.. and please check back to read more blog posts about each location, what kind of inspiration it brought to me and how it affected my work.
The studio, that space with all the energy it brings to me is a silent collaborator in my creative process, looking back at these images there is no doubt in my mind about that. My special thanks to the best studio mates ever: John Charles Jopson, Sandra Jones Campbell, Ratso, Renzo, Murphy…and of course, the first of my many Muses, Bird.

Salvatore Ferragamo, Terroir and Painting Azul

October has come and gone, and with it the last of Tuscany’s balmy weather… fall colors are slowly making their appearance. Now with November’s rains here in Tuscany I am able to immerse myself in the studio.. wistful, now, however for a little sunshine!

It was a glorious sunny day when we filmed out last scenes of Terroir earlier this summer at Il Borro’s Vin Cafe, an appropriate wine tasting scene which featured Salvatore Ferragamo, his friends and Terroir actor Gaetano Guarino.

After filming, Salvatore asked me if I would paint a portrait of his favorite polo pony Azul.
I’ve painted several of the Ferragamo’s hunting dogs over the years, commissions I have done with pleasure.

We first met Azul in July, where she was a scene-stealer during our principal photography with Salvatore at the Borro.

I recently spent a happy afternoon taking photos of Azul that I will use for references. Within moments she began to reveal her character, what I truly hope to capture in her portrait.

“cheeky Azul” !

Animals, and horses in particular, were my favorite subjects when I was oil painting as a kid.

Presenting a horse portrait to my Oma, above her shoulder was the first horse I had ever painted. Age 11.

To this day, I still paint animals whenever I can. Check out the animal and still life paintings in my Flora and Fauna Gallery on my website.

Portrait completed!

….and a private vernissage with Salvatore and his artist-to-be Wanda…

Commission a painting by Caroline Zimmermann

Related:

Return to Il Borro – Part One: Terroir
Thanksgiving with the Cast and Crew of “Terroir”

[portfolio_slideshow id=1867]

Return to Il Borro – Part 1: Terroir

Terroir Il Borro

Gaetano Guarino, Caroline Zimmermann, and Salvatore Ferragamo
Final Day of Filming on “Terroir”

It was the first weekend in July and for the last 23 years I’ve been in Laguna Beach for the opening of the Festival of Arts. This weekend was a bit of a departure for me: not only was I not in California, but still in Tuscany and still filming the last scenes for our indie film Terroir.

We found ourselves back in Borro… that is the Il Borro Estate owned by the Ferragamo Family. John had asked Salvatore Ferragamo to do a cameo role for Terroir, and he kindly agreed.

The Villa - Il Borro

The Villa – Il Borro

The medieval hamlet of Il Borro and its gorgeous Villa originally brought us to Tuscany and the Val d’Arno area. John was filming at the estate in the summer of 1999, where met and filmed with the young Salvatore Ferragamo, who manages the Estate. After several conversations, dinners, wine and grappa, John informed me that we were going to rent one of the Borro village apartments… Salvatore generously included a studio for me to paint.

We lived in Borro for over two years, had our wedding party there. I had numerous workshops and painted prolifically while we were there. Living there was a dream, and until our old mill house aka Molino found us, we were quite content.

Now fast forward 10 years and our return. Salvatore did a fantastic job, playing a character not far from himself – a premiere winemaker.

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We filmed early mornings on the estate and were fortunate to have another guest appearance: his Polo Pony, Azul, who was by the way, a natural in front of the camera!

The cantinas are fabulous and make a marvelous set! The Borro Estate Winery has over 45 hectares of vineyards that produce varietals such as Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot. And we have the prviledge of introducing the estate’s next wine in “Terroir” – a 100% Syrah with a very unique label!

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“October in Il Borro” 2000
by Caroline Zimmermann

If you are considering a memorable vacation in Tuscany, do look up Il Borro. Words alone cannot give a full description to the beauty and majesty of this Tuscan Estate. You will simply have to see for yourself.

Thanksgiving with the Cast and Crew of “Terroir”

Keith Carradine in “Terroir”

 The most beautiful Tuscan November in memory and Villa Petrolo in all her autumnal beauty. An ideal backdrop for my husband John Charles Jopson’s new movie “Terroir”, an independent film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” – on which I am serving as Art Director as well as Producer along with Carlo Dusi.

The Cast and Crew of Terroir – Thanksgiving 2011 – Villa Petrolo, Tuscany

Actor Keith Carradine (in the role of wine producer Jonathan Bragg) – and his lovely wife Hayley DuMond – arrived for a costume fitting and went right into filming as inclement weather was imminent. Completion of filming happily coincided with (American) Thanksgiving Day, so we held our wrap party for the nearly year-long production there at the villa.

Villa Petrolo resides on the eastern foothills of Chianti with spectacular views of the Valdarno and Pratomagno mountains.

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…the perfect Villa to spend your Tuscan holiday or shoot a film. I held a painting workshop here 9 years ago and it was most inspirational. Autumn light here is exquisite, the surrounding forests, vineyards and olive groves paint a picture of their own. We were warmly welcomed by owners Luca and Sabina Sanjust, and Petrolo staff Nada and Marco, and felt an energy of creative freedom throughout the property.

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It’s not surprising to find out that Villa Petrolo has become a favorite destination for British Prime Minister David Cameron and super star chef Jamie Oliver.

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Sets needed to be dressed and of course feeding a hungry cast and crew took priority for my role as Producer.
Our “gorilla” film-making friends Toni and Guido were infinitely helpful. Toni worked intensely as script supervisor, and Guido as gaffer… as well as expert Tuscan chef… complimenti Tonia e Guido!

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Over half the film was shot in the ancient wine cellars of the Petrolo cantina – a fitting location for this Edgar Allan Poe story. The original short story on which “Terroir” is based was also set in the cantina of an Italian villa.
Our friend and photographer Federico Caponi captured every moment and shared these images with us:

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On the 22nd, after a long day filming in the wine cellars, Jamie Oliver and his “Fifteen” team invited the entire cast and crew of Terroir to join them for dinner…

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…an easy dinner for eighty – consisting of traditional Tuscan “arrosto”
…and Luca provided all the Galatrona we could drink!
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Jo Cooke organized a wine tasting for one of the scenes in the Petrolo salon featuring wines from the Jo Cooke Wine Selections. Great wines were poured, with Luca Sanjust generously pouring several more bottles of Petrolo’s precious “Galatrona”. Naturally a great scene ensued… Petrolo-Blog-11

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The November Tuscan Sunshine played a major role as well…..

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Keith and Gaetano performed marvelously, each scene meticulously crafted by John.

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John, Renzo and Keith sit for a press interview at the end of a long day.
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Keith Carradine on a spectacular Thanksgiving afternoon, 24 November 2011

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Renzo, “Prince of the Villa” and Petrolo Landscape, photos by Hayley DuMond

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”King Oak” on set of “Terroir” in Jonathan Bragg’s sitting room.

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It’s a Wrap” Thanksgiving Dinner… our bellissimi cast and crew, staff and family of Villa Petrolo
we give thanks to you all!

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”A Tavola”!

Photos by Federico Caponi