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.
Animals, and horses in particular, were my favorite subjects when I was oil painting as a kid.
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.
….and a private vernissage with Salvatore and his artist-to-be Wanda…
Izmir to Berlin in three hours… flying across time and cultures to meet John and Renzo… why not?
While we were off in Turkey, John spent September in Berlin, working on the final edit of our film Terroir at studios in Prenzlauer Berg.
It was Sandra’s first trip to Berlin, but certainly not my first.
At the age of 17, my mother escaped from the former East Germany through Berlin. Leaving her family and friends behind, she embarked on a daring journey with only a suitcase and fled on a ship to Canada.
I traveled with my mother to visit relatives in East Germany several times over the years and was in East Berlin in October of 1989, just days before the wall came down. I returned twenty years later and finally made my peace with all the heartache and trauma that tormented my mother’s side of the family.
It was only fitting that now, on this trip and with my mother in mind, I would return again with a bittersweet joy.
My mother would have marveled at the nature of the city’s renaissance. Berlin is a tribute to the re-generative spirit of human kind – to be able to rise out of the rubble of destruction and boldly live again.
Creativity abounds here… the city itself is an open-air exhibition of ideas and innovation, truly anything goes.
Our days were spent perusing galleries and museums in Kreutzberg and Mitte…
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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!
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:
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…
…an easy dinner for eighty – consisting of traditional Tuscan “arrosto”
…and Luca provided all the Galatrona we could drink!
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…
The November Tuscan Sunshine played a major role as well…..
Keith and Gaetano performed marvelously, each scene meticulously crafted by John.
John, Renzo and Keith sit for a press interview at the end of a long day.
Keith Carradine on a spectacular Thanksgiving afternoon, 24 November 2011
Renzo, “Prince of the Villa” and Petrolo Landscape, photos by Hayley DuMond
”King Oak” on set of “Terroir” in Jonathan Bragg’s sitting room.
It’s a Wrap” Thanksgiving Dinner… our bellissimi cast and crew, staff and family of Villa Petrolo
we give thanks to you all!