Italian Drawings

Writing My Memoirs | A preview of “Poesia: Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione”

  • October 30, 2016

Rosanna’s book “Poesia: Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione” will be published in Summer 2017. Below is some insight into what inspired Rosanna to publish her fascinating stories.


In 2001 while studying art with the Maryland Art Institute summer program in Sorrento, Italy, my instructor Howie Weise gave me a small drawing book for sketching and keeping notes. Soon I filled the book with sketches of villas in nearby Pompeii I would like to paint. I was so captivated, I returned to the ancient ruins by local train daily to fulfill my mission to learn as much as I could about painting on location, thus pursuing my bent on plein air painting.

Naples | Rosanna Hardin Hall (second from left) with Howie Weise (second from right) 

One evening, Howie said to me, “you could be a tour guide at Pompeii. Even better, you could write a book about the summer art programs you take. You have a sense of adventure as well as a chance to develop your art skills.”

Wow, I gasped.  I never thought about writing about my adventures at the Florence Academy of Art, Pratt Art Institute summer program in Venice, at an art summer program in Assisi and with an artist who later headed the painting program at the American Academy in Rome.

Taking a cue from painting in enclosed gardens in Pompeii, I have searched out all the classical gardens I could find in Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Assisi, Sicily and Siena. And on each trip, I kept a journal of everything I did and thought, all the feelings I had and how much everything cost. I have a complete diary of all my adventures in Italy.

Mysterious Fresco I | Villa dei Misteri Pompeii by Rosanna Hardin Hall | 24 x 32 inches

When I first wrote up my adventures from my journals, I was really writing a travelogue of my plein air activities. And writing became almost as important as going out each day to tackle the visual beauty of Italian gardens. Now, painting has become my eyes and journals are my ears. I listen each moment for phrases and thoughts.


Writing a book is a different process than painting. I am a record keeper so I have documentation on everything I ever painted. That must mean that facts with words are important to me. I trace this habit back to my career as a newspaper reporter and feature writer at newspapers in Washington DC, Santa Fe, NM, Indianapolis, and Peru, Indiana. All my adult life has been an act of juggling painting with newspaper writing. How can I now abandon the twins of my creative nature!

Journal writing dates from my teen years. I have made journal writing my confidant.  Journals remind me of my life – the ups and downs. Life is a struggle and I know every mood and joy.

Writing this book on painting in Venetian gardens brings joy for me, and I hope for my readers.

– Rosanna Hardin Hall

Rosanna’s book “Poesia: Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione” will be published in Summer 2017 

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