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>

I Love You Buckets

4 Loveladies Paintings

A week at the beach with my sister-in-law inspired this special collection of “Love Ladies.”

Pot of Gold by Dorothy Fagan
Pot of Gold

I took my easel and my sister-in-law with me for a long-awaited beach retreat. I hadn’t been in years. I selected Long Beach Island, New Jersey ~ a place with fond memories from years ago.

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Divas in the Sun

Painting in the village of Barnegat Light, I honed in on backyard gardens as subjects while Kathy went in search of her favorite birds.

standtallbloom
Stand Tall & Bloom

Painting outside a ladies dress shop called “Wildflowers by the Lighthouse,” a woman called “Cricket” waved from the 2nd floor window. Inside I met Patti who invited me to paint her garden in Loveladies, the town just south.

iloveyoubuckets
I Love You Buckets

These special paintings are inspired by Patti’s garden and my special connection with my girlfriends. I don’t know what I’d do without them! Sister-in-laws, sisters, daughter-in-laws, aunties, girlfriends all.

The titles, the paintings, all dedicated to my sisters. I love you all!

Prints Available>

7 Rooftop Garden Paintings: Tuscany, Cinque Terre & Venice

I fell in love with backyard gardens in Tuscany

Every nook & cranny is an oasis awaiting cultivation

backyard garden painting of venice italy
Venezia Dream

Venice

Flowers cascade from every window sill and balcony. During my residency, I painted in Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Figline, Volterra, Florence, Cortona, and Venice.

The Perch by Dorothy Fagan
The Perch, detail

It was not until I returned home, that I began to see the Tuscan colors seeping into my palette. My palette softened and my eye for selecting what to paint focused in on gardens.

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Cinque Terre
Rooftop Garden Series

Figline

Clotheslines with fresh laundry hung in every nook and cranny excited my imagination. A special connection to warm-hearted Italian friends stirred with every breeze.

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Florence, Italy
The Awning

Monterossa

Each painting appears to me a dream. Each window represents a person, an opportunity of a new friend. Some windows spill flowers, open and prolific, others just peeking, a few closed to shade the light.

The Perch, Rooftop Garden Painting Series
The Perch, Rooftop Garden Painting Series ~ Cinque Terre

Florence

Each painting seems to tell a story, an imaginary tale. Who would live there? What would they be saying? Would they be smiling, asking questions, or what? Would I recognize them?

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Tuscany
Rooftop Garden

A gardener myself, I get the message. Plant joy, drip water, fertilize with love.

Village Blooming, Cinque Terre balconies blooming
Village Blooming, Cinque Terre balconies blooming

Poggio Alla Croce

Windows and doorways like eyes peeking out at me.

Village on thetHill
Village on the Hill
VillageRossa2
Villa Rossa, Balcony Garden painting series

Three Sisters

An open balcony beside three sisters tucked into a window niche, side by side in the sun. Me, myself, and I?

Village Trio, Venice Window Garden
Village Trio, Venice Window Garden

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