The doorway – Henry Falzon – Watercolour painted at Palazzo Falson
Together with a group of artist friends, we have been facilitated access to paint en plein air at the medieval Palazzo Falson in Mdina – home to the ancient Falson family, the first Grandmaster of Malta L’Isle Adam, and recently Olaf Gollcher to name but a few.
The appointment was set for this painting expedition and armed with minimal gear I made my way through Mdina. I arrived early and in clear weather. I always fancied the impressive doorway if the place so with the palace still closed the choice to paint the exterior was obvious. So I started on earnest and sketched the basics just as the rest of the painting group appeared and the palazzo doors opened. By this time weather soured. A fresh breeze and light rain turned the romantic sunny Mdina streets into a thanks-but-no-thanks affair. I resigned to the indoors and huddled in a corner. My work of the outside view hung in the balance...
Once inside we were given a tour of the place, a peek into an ancient forgotten word. A number of lovingly restored thematic rooms takes the visitor into chapters of Maltese history.
As we returned downstairs, I mind scrambled on fresh material to paint. The Palazzo humbles any painter with its complex interior. I’m not afraid of complex setups but not when painting on location. Studio work yields better to the busy interior so I decided to hold on my simple yet carefully calibrated doorway painting. I decided to carry on with the help of my fresh memory of the sunny first moments.
I laboured away and did several passages of watercolour brush strokes. Often pausing and squinting my eyes to gauge what the painting needs and needs not.
After some more tweaks the artwork was declared ready and I could relax. Art is a serious and demanding business, very far from the common misconception of the bohemian painter waking half-drunk at 10am and donning a French beret tilted to one side...
By this time the group collected by the entrance, chatting away, alarmed that the rain was now a torrential downpour. It was time to wait for a gap in the weather and hurry off for home.
Henry Falzon is an artist versed in several mediums. Most of his work can be viewed on www.henryfalzon.com as well as on Facebook.