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Light Pixie Studio – Sharyn Richardson » Preserve your memories | fine art portraits that tell a story | photographs and paintings by Sharyn Richardson | Light Pixie Studio | What do you want to remember? | worldwide

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Welcome to the province of Perugia in the Umbrian region of Italy. First the Romans built to honor Minerva, goddess of wisdom; Christians later claimed the area for St. Mary, St. Francis and his Claire. Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis and serves, as it has since the Middle Ages, as the backdrop to olive groves and winding streets. It is quietly beautiful along its cobblestoned Medieval passageways. Monte Subasio sits high above the town and casts morning shadows that connect the old churches, monasteries, fountains and courtyards. The high fortress of La Rocca hovers too, a darker place where Frederick Barbarossa spent his childhood. From here you can overlook the town and the valley below. A small lion fountain sits in the center of the Piazza del Commune that anchors a peaceful gathering place with small shops, bakeries, taverna, an information center, the Museum of Antiquities, and purveyors of the best Italian gelato in dozens of flavors. I arrived here in 2006 naïve to the pleasures of Italy and took home a generous helping of memories.

See bakery delights, the Monastery of St. Claire, a pair of garden cats basking in sunshine, and down the orchard covered hill to the valley where the majestic basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is a favorite destination from Assisi where a tourist might visit the Porziuncola, the tiny building where Francis died.

Bakery off the central piazza, Assisi Italy, 2006

Piazza del Commune bakery window

Monastero Santa Chiara, Assisi

Sun Cats di San Pietro, Assisi

Via della Madonna dell Olivo, Assisi


Two little girls in their holiday jumpers with a pair of patient cats

Here we have two little girls recorded in a Polaroid tucked away until the colors faded. Now grown to women with children of their own, I was asked to recreate in a painting what they remembered. My color palette typically runs to rich hues and cool blues which suited the jewel tones in their jumpers and the eyes of their cats.

The cats were easy. But it was my most difficult challenge to paint the girls as they saw themselves. After many versions, it is now finished and cherished. I learned a valuable lesson. Rather than trying to fix what isn’t working, it’s often easier to start fresh with new eyes. In the long run it would have been faster too! Starting anew turned the challenge of Forever Plaid into an important success.

The girls and their plaid jumpers are now a tangible, forever kind of memory for these sisters!