3 Doorways to the Tuscan Lifestyle ~ Tuscan Retreat

A Question is like a doorway. Opening a question changes everything.

My Retreat in Tuscany did this. The question I opened was “how to absorb the Tuscan Lifestyle into my life and artistry?”

Three doorway paintings explore this idea.

verdigris door painting dorothy fagan
Verdigris Door, oil, 10″ x 10″

Doorway #1 ~ Verdigris Door

In Verdigris Door, I was initially fascinated with the iron scroll work above the door. My first study was this oil wash and line drawing. You can see how my focus shifted from the detail scroll in the study below to color, light and shadow in the finished painting above.

Tuscan doorways
Scroll Door, wash and line drawing, 5″ x 7″
Tuscan doorways
Verdigris Doorway oil study, 8″ x 6″

#2 ~ Vermilion Doorway

Struck by the wonderful vermilion color, I tried several times to paint it. This version where the color is framed by an open archway, seemed a way of playing with the color without letting it dominate everything.

Three arched doorways, one to the right, the next front and center, and a third through the passage ~ lead us through the painting. A slice of sky opens light on the tower, street, and the next doorway.

Like a dream, I wonder what it means? Just writing the question, I see how this painting is open doorways, while the door in the first paintings were closed.

The quest of my Tuscan retreat did open me ~ connecting heart and mind in a gentle, compassionate way.

Vermilion Doorway Dorothy Fagan
Vermilion Doorway, oil on cradled wood panel, 10″ x 8″

The figure gives scale to the doorway, small in relation to a larger structure. A silhouette suggests questions. Who? An aspect of myself? Someone ancient? Or a new way of seeing myself?

Experiencing the Tuscany lifestyle, exploring slowly, letting the colors, flavors, and laughter seep in DID give me a deeper appreciation of life. I feel amazed and privileged to be here. Every moment of every day is precious and colorful. You can see this reflected in these paintings.

Loro Cuifenna
Loro Cuifenna village

This photo of Jim was my inspiration for the painting. There is nothing extraordinary about the photo. It looks like any tourist photo, poorly lit with the person looking the other way.

And yet … Jim standing in the doorway was an invitation to explore something hidden inside myself. Looking back on it now, I can see how it sparked my dream, colors and shapes hidden inside me that I never would have seen.

Green Door Dorothy Fagan
Green Door, oil on cradled wood panel, 10″ x 8″

#3 Green Door

From the same village of Loro Cuifenna, this narrow passage called for exploration. Yes, that IS a figure down in the passageway!

At first I painted the figure distinctly. Then it seemed to feel better as I blurred the form. I thought about painting it out completely. Then reluctantly, I let the human form be suspended between the sky and earth tones of the village.

Writing this, I see myself the same way.

Tuscan doorway
Green Door, oil study, 7″ x 5″

Writing about a painting AFTER it is painted, opens another doorway. There are things we ‘know’ about ourselves innately. Playing with colors and lines is one way of exploring something inside. Jotting questions, writing a simple description of each painting, these simple journaling techniques open new understanding of the soul inside.

Another Doorway

I am taking a group on a Tuscan Retreat. Watercolor journaling like this, writing, painting, cooking, wine tasting, exploring the Tuscan Lifestyle ~ What would it look like to absorb and live it? Find out more>

Comments

comments

Coming Home to Inspiration for a Life & Artistry

I’ve heard it said that you can never go home again. I don’t know if this is true or not. Last month I went home for the last time. What I discovered made me glow . . .

Can you feel it in this painting?

Each color juxtaposes another, shimmering reflections in the river where I played as a girl. I wish you could see this painting in person. It is three by four feet and glows when you stand beside it.

Reflected Brilliance by Dorothy Fagan
Reflected Brilliance, oil, 36″ x 48″

Coming Home

Revisiting my childhood home in October, I walked trails where I played as a kid.  It really struck me ~ how clearly and distinctly inspiration for my artistry was formulated ~ from a very early age.

I went home to attend a class reunion, though my family no longer lives in the area. It seemed a one-time window of opportunity to visit Mom and Dad’s grave and the graves of both sets of my grandparents. I found myself thinking of a trail where we’d hiked many times, down behind our house on the hill.

Waking up in the hotel Saturday morning, my attention was fixed on coffee and the wooden bridge where Dad and I’d taken a picture on a rock by the stream. Googling Panera, I quickly checked off the first order of business. Remembering that I would need cash for the reunion later in the day, google directed me to my bank.

Indian Lake
Indian Lake

Many roads looked unfamiliar when a sign “Indian Trail” sparked something vague. Around the narrow neighborhood street, Indian Lake appeared in full autumn splendor. Crimson trees reflected in deep ultramarine water, houses nestled closely together. I parked and got out of the car.

The only thing I remember of living in that little cottage on Indian Lake are two photographs. One of me with my sister, in a cardboard box on a sled ~ being pulled across the frozen lake. The other, a photo of me tethered to the tree in the yard ~ so I would not fall in the lake! We moved when I was 3.

Discovering My Vision for Life & Artistry

Visiting the places I walked with my dad, feels like stitching pieces of a quilt together. My new series of paintings, Coming to the River, is that quilt. In my next post, I will show you more of my inspiration for the quilt and how the pieces fit together.

Coming to the River Series
Muses of Tuscany Retreat
Oil Painting Gallery
Get Dorothy’s Palette

DIGITAL BOOK Coming to the River

 

Comments

comments

How Many Meanings Can You Think of for MUMS?

The Meaning of Flowers

Mum

How many meanings can you think of for mums?

wildflowers painting chrysanthemums
Mum, I Love You Buckets, oil, 6″ x 6″, Prints Available. Click on image for info.

We call them mums. Every fall we plant them before Thanksgiving. Chrysanthemums yellow, purple, bronze, red, and violet. The last bit of colorful cheer before winter. Winter is a quiet time of year, mum’s the word.

So we could look them up in a dictionary of flower symbols and read someone else’s meaning on a list. Maybe it sparks an idea, maybe not. Or we could look at our own associations for a personal interpretation.

For me, I planted these two tiny mums in a cobalt blue pot at the doorstep of my studio. On a whim, I painted them. The circumstances of how they happened to be in my field of vision are as important as the symbols themselves. Mine were tiny, not large and full. And most of mine are still in the flat unplanted. Significant? To me, yes! So what about you? Did you plant mums this fall? What attracts your eye to these?

Going back to my technique from yesterday’s post, we could break the word chrysanthemum down. Chry-san-the-mum ~ A simple word association list brings up chrysallis, Christ, san without, the mum, silence, mother. Without the crysallis/transformation, silence? This track may be a bit obtuse for some. You may see something different entirely. Follow the thread that intrigues you most.

The last element here is color. Yellow, violet and cobalt blue. Different people see different meaning in colors. An artist sees these violets and cobalt blues as shadows, yellow as light. The contrast of light and dark is harmony and balance. What do yellow and violet mean to you? How about cobalt blue? Do you love it or hate it? Use the comment section to write your associations, or join me in a free online class Exploring the Meaning of Wildflowers & Dreams.

Each moment, each painting, a dance with the creator together as one.

Wildflowers at the Light House

Explore the Meaning of Wildflowers & Dreams

Wildflowers at the Light House is an interactive Healing Arts Project created to raise awareness and end violence. Join me in sharing wildflowers and sowing seeds of healing. Share this post and spread the seeds. Thank you for your support! ~ Dorothy Fagan


10 Patterns of Verbal Abuse

This form of abuse can be harder to recognize than you may think

It can sound like name-calling, constantly correcting someone’s behavior or yelling at, denouncing or demeaning someone. It can also take the form of a prolonged silent treatment.

If this type of relationship sounds like something you’d never put up with, you’re not alone. But is it possible that verbal abuse is happening right under your nose with your intimate partner and you don’t even recognize it? READ FULL ARTICLE>

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Laurel Shelter Hotline at 804-694-5552 or 804-694-5890 to speak with an advocate.
Find Help Near YOU

Laurel Shelter logoThe Laurel Shelter is dedicated to assisting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. They offer shelter, advocacy, education and support to survivors, legal support, and community education to foster awareness and identification of victims.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.


Comments

comments