Ever seen a painter’s guide to Sicily? Jack Hannula hasn’t, and he is dumbfounded by that. Why?
Jack Hannula in Agrigento, Sicily, in 2013
“Sicily is so underappreciated — it’s one of the jewels of the Mediterranean,” says Hannula, a Washington, D.C., painter. “I go for a month or two every year. It has nearly a thousand miles of shoreline, Mount Etna, great food, and diverse culture.” Hannula has been painting in Sicily since 2000, and when someone recommended he write a book about his experiences, the idea caught fire with him. He’s now well on his way toward finishing the book, a travel guide for painters titled Painting Sicily: An Artist’s Odyssey. (Incidentally, Hannula includes several locations mentioned in either Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid.) The artist says all of the paintings in the book were started on location, and most were finished there.
“Piazza Carmine, Taormina, Sicily” by Jack Hannula, 2014, oil, 9 x 12 in.
“The Temple of Juno, Agrigento, Sicily,” by Jack Hannula, 2014, oil, 8 x 12 in.
“I have found 25 to 30 towns or villages in Sicily that artists should visit,” says Hannula. “All of the places in my book are basically unknown, and all meet the criteria of being beautiful and enchanting, and having the basic amenities painters need — hotels and restaurants. I drew maps of places to paint wherever I went. I even indicate where to set up an easel, and provide a painting or sketch from the spot. You can go to any of the places and have no uncertainty about where to visit, or if there will be a place to paint or stay.”
“The Greek Altar, Caltabelloto,” by Jack Hannula, 2014, oil, 8 x 12 in.
“Il Castello, Sperilina,” by Jack Hannula, 2012, oil on paper, 8 x 10 in.
Hannula plans to publish the guidebook in 2015, and it will be self-published. “I want to keep the copyright and I don’t want to deal with the royalties system,” he says. Hannula hopes to continue with additional volumes covering other regions in Italy, as well as France.