360 Degrees of Perfection


I was blown away yesterday when we happened on this valley on the way to Poppi. How to decide which view to paint? My kind of problem! See what you think . . .

Painting in the Chianti Region of Tuscany, Pelagio is north of Florence.

I couldn’t get it all on one video, so I shot the second one from the other side of a restaurant which is tucked into this vineyard.

Pelagio, oil, 16 x 20
block in

I blocked in the green fields first, rather than the darks. I wanted to position the triangular shape of the fields in the lower center of the frame.

I used a light transparent cool yellow green (Lemon with a bit of  Cerulian Blue). This is the opposite of what one might normally do in blocking in the dark shapes in an oil painting. Like watercolor, this preserved my lights. It also made it easy to get my composition established quickly and accurately.

finishing up the field work

On site, I felt as though my darks were not dark enough. When I returned home however, not so. Instead I adjusted the lights. On location I had painted all the warm tones, light and dark. In the studio I added the cool lights

You can see in the photo of the painting on the easel in the field, all the greens are warm toned. In the final painting, you can see how the cool greens bring highlights onto the foreground fields and tree tops.

In addition I cooled the foreground shadows  by over painting them with Ultramarine Blue, mixed with white to control the value.  This created the depth I wanted in the painting, and also added intensity to the colors.

panorama taken from the road above the vineyards
photos are always darker than what the eye can perceive


Returning two years later, I painted the same scene from another vantage point.

Tuscany plein air painting
Nipozzano Vista, plein air oil, 16″ x 20″


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Author: Dorothy Fagan

Experimenter, gardener, grandmother ... Dorothy Fagan plays with creativity, dreams, and paint every day.