Hvar Artist Retreat 2015: day 1 in Vrboska

I like to begin our artist retreat with an introduction to Vrboska, our base for the week. Much grumbling amongst the troops as I explained the previous night that we’d be meeting at 6:30am for our morning walk, cameras at the ready! This is, in fact, shortly after sunrise, and by far the best time to get good photographs. The early morning light and calm water make for great views.

Sunrise with swift

Sunrise with swift

The reflections are perfect, and I even managed to catch a swift in my photo as it flew by! As we walked along the waterfront, everyone became very enthusiastic, and we were all clicking away with our cameras. This is not a time of day to sit and sketch, as it was definitely rather cool this time of the morning!

Vrboska waterfront at sunrise

Vrboska waterfront at sunrise

I was interested to see that there were other photographers out and about with ever so slightly larger cameras than mine. Is word getting out? After wending our way round my favourite back alleys, the artists headed home for a well-earned breakfast. At a more civilized hour, we resumed our explorations with a tour of the two larger churches in Vrboska – first, the famous church fortress of Sv Marija. It has a great view from the roof, overlooking the approaches to the harbour.

View from the church roof

View from the roof of Sv Marija

The roof also provides an excellent view of the bells, which I’m well used to hearing, but never really appreciated how beautifully decorated they are. Our group this year includes a couple of keen birders, who always travel with binoculars, which came in very handy to read the inscriptions!

Beautiful reliefs on the bell

Beautiful reliefs on the bell

Pero, the guide at Sv Marija, was helpful as ever, and took us to see Sv Lovran, just along the road. It has a much more interesting interior, with any valuable works from both churches being housed there. And then it was off to Konoba Lem for lunch!

Lunch with the artists

Lunch with the artists

The afternoon was a chance for some of us to sketch and paint at Lem’s, take a walk along the coast, or indeed, just relax and catch up on some sleep. Here’s my little painting of the view from Konoba Lem

Today's painting

Today’s painting

In the evening, we went to Carić winery’s new tasting room to try their wines along with typical Dalmatian food. Ivana Carić gave us a great presentation on not just their own wines, but a general overview of Hvar wines, history, etc. It’s amazing to think how recently the production became organized to deliver the wine to the distributors other than by donkey down the slopes of Ivan Dolac. The artists now want to see some of the spectacular scenic vineyards, and indeed, we’ll be looking at those on Friday.