La Dolce Vita - Tom Butler Artist

La Dolce Vita

With its stunning rugged landscapes, delicious authentic pizzas, and beautiful architecture, Italy has it all. My fascination with the country started in 2015 when I first visited Venice. The labyrinth of waterways, narrow streets, squares and piazzas - all framed by stunning architecture - captivated me from the outset. It's the only time I've ever enjoyed being lost - miles covered on foot with camera and sketchbook and yet the feeling that everything I had seen on one morning would change dramatically by the end of the day as the sun changed position. Even in the rain it is beautiful. My new piece titled, ‘Venetian Vista', hopefully reflects my love for this beautiful floating city. There’s a pretty special second hand bookshop there that I frequent each time, selling all sorts of old print, perfect for adding some authentic collage to my pieces.

Unsurprisingly, the Amalfi coast has also been an inspiring destination as has the Ligurian coastline to the northwest - dotted with delightful and rustic fishing villages or towns seemingly carved into the rock faces. I love the myriad of colours from the shuttered facades - often a striking contrast to the volcanic hills and beaches that surround them. The well-visited harbour of Portofino, as featured in my latest print 'Riviera Dreaming', has true curb appeal - or maybe that should be 'curve appeal' on account of the way the bright buildings hug the contours of the hillsides. Blue skies, reflections on the water and bobbing boats...the smell of Italian cuisine in the air - heaven!

With less opportunity to travel abroad during the pandemic, returning to Italy's shores (or maybe exploring new areas of the country) has been somewhat of a 'challenge' in the last 18 months, but by continuing to paint 'La Dolce Vita', it has kept the love affair going. I have been lucky to have fresh photos to work from taken by a good friend, who moved out to Padua near Venice 3 years ago, and who is also handy with a camera!

In terms of a subject matter to paint Italy is so diverse - so many landscapes rolled into one country - from the undulating beauty of the Tuscan hills in the North to the kaleidoscopic Amalfian towns and villages further south. Each city boasts famous landmarks, history and charm - Venice, Rome, Sienna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Verona...with the limited trips I have made, it feels like I have barely scratched the surface of this beautiful land and I long to see more. The ultimate dream for me, when the time is right, would be to hire a camper van and spend a year meandering down Italy from top to bottom. An Italian sabbatical - dreams are free! In the meantime I hope you enjoy my new Italian limited edition prints as much as I enjoyed creating them.