Art: Gallery in the Dungeon, visit Cortona, Italy

3E1B71C3-2F09-4709-A95E-4E32D4B1B9F5When you see a sign that says, “Gallery in the Dungeon,” you’ve got to check it out! Going in the doorway was a bit dark, so I admit I was tip toeing in, wondering if this was a good idea, but I kept going.

I found this staircase and started my decent, looking at the artist’s paintings on the way down. The artist, Daniela Piegai, is an Italian woman living in Cortona now.

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She paints in a very interesting 3D type of style. There is movement in her paintings, you can see this in this painting of the buildings as if the wind is swaying the houses. She uses bright bold colors. While her paintings seem childlike, they are interesting even for an adult audience, because they are unique.

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Once you are down in the dungeon, you’ll see a room that looks like THIS photo below with the sofas. If you zoom into the photo, you can see she does some interesting paintings with people, children, cats, funny looking owls, and more.

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I was hoping to meet the artist, while I was there, but she was not in. I would have liked to better understand how she developed her style and painting technique.

So… never pass up a chance to visit a dungeon, never know what you might find!

African animals come to life in “Beast,” by John Banovich

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© John Banovich, Giants of Kilimanjaro, 2016, oil on belgian linen, 24 x 24 in.                        Limited Edition Giclee on Canvas.

My father loves Africa, he has been there over 35 times. He was especially fascinated by elephants, lions and leopards. I believe they gave him strength to persevere, fight and drive himself to success. He is a self made man, ferocious reader and watches many documentaries. In fact, as we were growing up, he’d call us in to watch, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” with Marlin Perkins. This show studied wild animals in their natural habitats, we learned the importance of conservation from Perkins’s stories.

Fast forward 35+ years and conservation efforts are stronger than ever. Years ago, my father and I came across an artist out of Montana named, “John Banovich.” We were immediately mesmerized by his larger than life paintings of African animals. Clearly, Banovich had the same passion for African animals as my father had with the ability to bring them to life. For example, take a look at this elephant painting by Banovich. It’s incredible, we can see the precision with which Banovich paints the wrinkles on the elephant’s skin, brings fierceness to his eyes, the tusks perfectly positioned with just the right color. What amazed my father and I was the “feeling” that we were facing the elephant “head on, eye to eye,” like a fight scene. He gives life to all of his paintings in this way. They are very powerful!

Banovich’s love of animals/nature runs deep. In 2007, he started the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to conserve wildlife, wild places and the people who live there. Right now, he supports twelve projects in seven countries with a portion of artwork sales going to the Foundation. A few projects are saving lions in Africa, Siberian tigers in Russia Far East and brown bears in North America. On his Foundation’s website you can read specific information on each project.

In 2009, he published the book, “Beast.” This banovich-book-beastbook shares his life story and collection of paintings. It’s a beautiful book, one that should be put on a coffee table and shared with others.

Visit Banovich’s Facebook page for the latest news on his projects and events. His next event is in South Carolina. If you’d like to learn more about his work, this is your chance to meet him in person AND to support wildlife conservation!

NEXT EVENT

THE ART OF CONSERVATION
Plantation Grille, Brays Island Plantation, SC
Guest Speaker: John Banovich, Artist/Conservationist
March 13, 2017, 3:30-5:00pm