Power of Emotion = Passion

Contemporary Expressionism

Expressionist Practices

Plein air painting is the equivalent of doing exercises to keep in shape. Then when you need power, strength and endurance ~ it’s at your fingertips.

AUTUMN TREE PAINTINGS
Golden Beauty, oil on linen, 20″ x 16″ PURCHASE>

While I enjoy plein air painting, it’s not always practical to do so. This painting, for example, is inspired by weeks of driving around Tuscany drooling over the stunning autumn colors.

Most of the time, I was sitting shotgun while Jim drove. Better I am free to oogle out the window and let someone else stay out of the way of Italian drivers!

“The power of emotion equals passion!”

Sparkling blue turquoise skies in October dazzled me with their deep intensity. Golden leaves ranging from bright yellow and ochre to greenish gold, orange, vermilion, and bronze ~ created a magical flickering tapestry across the sky. I couldn’t wait to paint it!

abstract tree paintings
My block in for Golden Beauty began with a big brush and all the emotion I felt from the colors.

My block in began with the biggest brush I had and the biggest canvas, which was a 20″x 16″ piece of linen. I moved quickly, as if signing my signature, to capture how I felt in that moment.

Then I set it aside to dry.

One doesn’t just pull off the side of the A-1 and set up a plein air easel. That would be like trying to paint in the median on I95! Even parking in some of the hilltop villages, space was often at a premium.

After years of exercising my plein air brush hand, I opted to paint from memory instead. Back in the Tuscany studio, I called on all those plein air paintings I have done in the past thirty years ~ and used the power of my emotion at my fingertips!

I came back to the painting several times, each time finding yet another layer of emotion at my fingertips.

Expressionism, in my way of thinking, is working in a way which always insures my feelings are raw and authentic.

What do you think? Can you FEEL the emotion in the painting? How does it feel to you?

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Is Passion Missing?

Is Passion Missing?

I thought living in Overwhelm was Normal, until I recovered my passion for living on a retreat in Tuscany

One of the things I love most about Tuscany is the color.

Though one thinks first of verdant green fields with winding roads, being there in the fall is more about vibrant gold, bronze, and crimson.

abstract landscape paintings
Rain on the Mountain, oil on linen, 16″ x 20″

Ripening

In September the landscape in Tuscany turns from verdant green to gold. When we arrived September 10th, the transformation was just beginning.  Subtle at first, I painted ‘Rain on the Mountain’ en plein air, overlooking the Arno River Valley (Val d’Arno.)

There’s something about a rainy day, so peaceful. All the subtleties of life are magnified. Like meditating, painting helped me find stillness.

Not one to sit still, I had gotten sick upon arrival. It turned out to be a blessing. I stopped trying to do what I thought I was going to do in Tuscany ~ and just rested!

tuscany landscapes watercolor
Vineyard on the Hill, watercolor, 4.75″ x 7.5″   See the Watercolors>

Reluctant, yet Willing

Reluctant at first, I played with tiny watercolors in my sketchbook. The Creative Spirit within massaged my spirits with gentle flow.  Day by day I recovered stamina.

All the while that judge in my head kept going on about, ‘what will I do with these?” I ignored him, for the most part, and continued painting. Though his rant continued ~ gradually he faded away and my passion came into focus.

As my sketchbooks filled up, I found myself wishing for more ~ larger paper. We’d planned to go to Cortona, to procure some at the little art supply shop. Alas, I got sick again.

A week later I had enough stamina to ride to Cortona and walk up the hill to the little shop and purchase three blocks of Magnani Toscana watercolor paper; the largest a whopping 41 x 31 cm!

tuscan landscape watercolor
View from Cortona, watercolor, 9″ x 12″   See the Watercolors>

Wrapped in Ethereal Light & Colors

The view from Cortona was ethereal. I sat down on a park bench in the piazza and painted it. Gentle colors with lots of white space wrapped me. Soothed,  my eyes wandered inspired to paint another. My body said, ‘get back in the car you’ve done enough for today.’

Sad, yet unlike the woman I once was, I followed instructions and returned to the car. Jim drove us home to Poggio Alla Croce. I took a nap.

tuscan landscape watercolor
My Place in the Sun, watercolor, 9″ x 12″  See the Watercolors>

 

Harvest Time & All is Ripe

On my last day in the village, Dario took me down into the olive grove to walk and paint in the landscape I’d painted from the mountain.

It was very late in the afternoon on the last day of October. Shadows were long. Time short.

I set up the easel facing the last remaining pools of sunlight. Painting as quickly as possible, I wished only capture that precious moment with Dario.

Turquoise paint already saturated in my palette from earlier in the day, spread intensely the moment my brush touched the page. As if signing my name . . .

“Oh wow!” I felt the rush of energy.

Grabbing another color I followed the Creator’s flow of instructions. Next thing I knew, it stopped.

“Oh my, I have time for another!”

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RED TREE PAINTINGS
Red Oak, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″, PURCHASE INFO> PRINTS>

At Home Wow!

Returning to Virginia, a painting I’d started two years before begged for something more. Complying, I put her on the easel and stepped back for further instruction.

Relieved to have my big palette, big studio, and big canvases in front of me once again ~ I mixed up the vibrant autumn crimsons, vermilions, golds, bronzes, and sparkly cobalt blues.

One by one, I felt them ‘wow!’

Through watercolor and oil sketches, the flow of color revitalized my palette and my life.

Now I wake each morning before the sun rises. I am filled with energy and passion for whatever surprising ‘wows’ the day brings. And I sleep well, spent when the sun sets.

Tuscany Retreat>

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Red trees painting
Red Oak, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″, Shown over leather sofa, available on Wayfair.    PURCHASE PAINTING> PRINTS>

Passion for Painting Clouds ~ Retreat Discoveries

Inspired by my Tuscan retreat…

I came home with a deep connection to my passion for painting clouds.

large cloud painting
This painting has rich, textured surface with lovely contrasts between translucent glazes, rough weave of Russian linen canvas, and bits of impasto paint. April Morning, oil on linen, 30″ x 40″, PURCHASE PAINTING>   PRINTS>

 

Though I have painted clouds for many years, I never felt truly passionate about painting them before. I think you can see the difference in this painting.

Can you feel the fresh air? Do you feel the cool breeze moving the clouds? Do you feel lifted up?

When I returned from Italy, I brought home half a dozen small cloud paintings. I was itching to swing a big brush on canvas grande!

This 30″ x 40″ Russian linen canvas was my ticket. I blocked in layers of translucent clouds with a large spatula-shaped palette knife. Then I waited.

A week later the canvas was dry. I’d been working on other cloud paintings and had new ideas about glazes. Mixing up some very thin, transparent colors ~ I scumbled atmospheric clouds and sky into the rough woven texture of the linen.

Passion for Painting Clouds ~ Retreat Discoveries

Signature Style & Passion

cloud paintings
April Morning, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″, PURCHASE INFO> PRINTS> The sofa is available on Wayfair>

Scumbled is a painting term that refers to light over dark, with a scraggly brush marks. The calligraphy of a painting is very important, like a signature. This is an extension of how one would sign their name ~ without thinking!

During my retreat I had focused on painting this way. Thinking about my painting being an extension of my signature, I sought to release any idea of trying to control it. Similar to a signature, while we might wish to have it be legible, most often we simply make our mark and move on.

What if I could paint this way? I wondered.

This painting is the answer I received.

I rather like it! I’m glad I asked.

Clouds, Sunsets & Dream Series paintings>

Tuscany Retreat>

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