Inspiration for a Painting Commission: Cinque Terre

The rooftops on this painting reminded my clients of living in Cinque Terre!

Oh my! Over the holidays I took on a painting commission. The painting the couple loved best was too small for the place they envisioned hanging it. So we decided to create another painting to fit the space.

abstract landscape painting
Lavender Sunset, 36″ x 24″, oil, See more info>     Prints starting at $35>

Painting commissions are a wonderful collaboration of ideas, inspiration, memories

Once we agreed on the size, creative energy filled us with ideas. My client emailed me three watercolors she’d painted years ago that reminded her of the painting. I am so excited, colors and ideas are spilling out onto other paintings in my studio.

My client’s conversation about the turquoise sea opened by eyes about how to finish an unfinished painting called “Tapestry.”  And when I’d finished it, I could hear it’s new name, “The Watchtower! ”

inspirational art
The Watchtower, Purchase Info>

When I returned from my client’s home, I could see beyond the woven layers of paint. As I painted in the turquoise sea between the massive edifice ~ I saw the watchtower, a stairway to the heavens, a narrow frame of mind as each prayer relays communications heaven and earth.

I like that there is more to this painting than the struggle I was caught in. I had started it when I returned from France four years ago. It feels really nice to know the painting has a good message and is finished. Now it’s ready for a good home.

Prints of both Lavender Sunset, and The Watchtower start at $35. Shop Now>

Call me if you have a place for it in yours!

My Pond, Really!

art cottage retreat
The view from my studio looks out on a woodland pond. I’ve lived here for 18 years, yet just recently begun to paint and interpret the pond.

I used to worry about jumping from one thing to another. Being stretched too thin? Not enough time? I’ve finally just accepted that this is my pond, really!

This issue has followed me for decades. It was not until last year when I returned from Italy that I painted this abstract landscape of the pond outside my studio that things began to change.

Returning from a second retreat in Italy this year, ripples from across the pond lapped at my door.

abstract pond painting
My Pond, Really! Original oil painting on canvas, painted with palette knife, 30″ x 40″

My Pond, Really!

Throughout the year,  I’d been letting myself enjoy a little fiber art, making jackets and scarves from my paintings. I’d resisted thoughts of this for years. I thought it would keep me from doing my serious painting, get me bogged down in sewing projects, things I didn’t have time to do.  So I started very slowly.

I made one thing.  In a while I made something else. Bit by bit, I collected a rack of wearable art in my studio. Friends occasionally stopped by and bought a scarf.  Before I left for Italy last summer, I designed a kimono based on the painting of my pond.

Stir up your creativity, vitality, heart, & mind>

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Studio by the Pond

This Sunday a couple rang my doorbell. I wasn’t expecting anyone. I slid my shoes on and invited them in.

In the studio I showed them paintings, the progressions of subjects and styles. Watercolors from my journals in Tuscany to oil paintings, plein air and studio pieces I’d painted returning home.

We chatted about healing art, how my retreats in France and Italy had inspired me to write and share my art in new ways. I told Jeanette how delighted I felt to meet her, that I understand the Creator attracts kindred souls. I listened as she told me about herself, her dreams of retiring soon.

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When they asked about my hand painted jackets, I pointed to the oil painting on top of the armoire and lifted the kimono off the rack. Explaining how I printed the painting on challis and painted back into it with shimmering fabric paints, then designed the pattern and sewed the jacket ~ I handed it to Jeanette to try on.

dorothy fagan studio
Jeanette and me in the studio ~ Jeanette is wearing the kimono inspired by the painting, “my Pond, Really!” that is displayed on top of the armoire. I am wearing a hand knitted jacket I designed from remnant wools in my stash. No, we didn’t know each other was going to dress in black!




My Pond, Really!

As I saw the colors of the jacket radiating from Jeanette’s hair and face ~ my mind flashed to the moment Sara Tassi adjusted her designer  jacket on my shoulders in her shop Maison 39 in Figline.  She and my friend Antonella insisted I try on a jacket I never would have selected for myself.

Putting it on, suddenly I felt radiant. Flashing forward again, my hands preened and smoothed Jeanette, as Sara and Antonella had done for me.

Italian fashion designer
Sara Tassi, fashion designer and owner of Maison 39 in Figline, Italy and me!

When Jeanette and Brian left the studio, I knew I had changed. I felt different, as though I’d stepped through a magical doorway. Simply expressing the obvious ~ how beautiful her colors looked to me ~ transformed me. And then I received her email.

“Thank you again for yesterday! It was an extraordinary experience that I will treasure ~ like taking a peek into the future,” I could have written her words myself.

She went home wearing her dream of doing kayaking retreats when she retires in June ~ and left me standing at the door in my own pond, really!


To think I questioned the Creator’s urge with my concerns! When all along it was never about time and space at all. If I had not accepted Antonella’s invitation to meet Sara ~ and allowed myself to purchase the jacket she designed … Well

Ripples across the pond . . . we’re all in this pond together!

What are you concerned about doing ~ if only you had the time?

Use the comments to share your story. What would you do if you had time?  Is there someone you know who would be inspired by this story? Don’t be stingy ~ share your thoughts with them!

Stir up your creativity, vitality, heart, & mind>

Wearable Fiber ARt
Wearable Fiber Art Kimono hangs on the wall when she’s not wearing it!

Come by the studio to try one on! 

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.

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!

Find Out About my Creativity Retreats in Tuscany & Virginia

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?

See more of my Tuscany Paintings>

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