Tuscan impressionistic oil painter Agostino Veroni gave our group a two-hour demonstration today in which he painted from start to finish a popular scene of vibrant sunflowers against a backdrop of a typical house and countryside.

He explained his work is influenced by the Macchiaioli artistic style of the late 19th century that preceded French Impressionism. He paints en plein air nearly every day, adjusting the orientation of his easel frequently to keep his shoulder or back to the sun.

Even before he touches his brush to the canvas, he has in his mind his painting subject. He paints quickly, from the sky at the top, to the mountains dotted with villas, to the field of sunflowers in the middle- and foreground.

He achieves the clean color by cleaning his palette and brushes after each color is applied. It was exciting to see his brush dance across the canvas.

Today’s was the first of five daily lessons for my painting students from Hawaii and me. Agostino gave us a tour of his viewing gallery and studio at the Villa Minghetti, an accommodation run by his wife Federica, and where our group is staying.