Paint with Dorothy at a restored 15th Century villa on a spectacular 2500 acre estate between rocky coastline, beaches, thermal spas, Monte Amiata, and archaeological sites …
Dorothy Fagan Colorist Expressionist Painting in Tuscany
Known for her vibrant oil and paste palettes, and expressive calligraphy with drawing, mixed media, and watercolor ~ Dorothy Fagan invites you to energize your signature style in Tuscany.
Absorb the Tuscan colors into your palette. Fuse la dolce vita with your brush strokes. Paint with Dorothy at a restored 15th Century villa on a spectacular 2500 acre estate between rocky coastline, beaches, thermal spas, Monte Amiata, and archaeological sites …
This pastel painting called “Two Sisters,” painted in 1979 remained in my thoughts. 40 years later the image found its way into my studio on a piece of silk. “Why am I still working on this?”
I didn’t have an answer. I only had the same question I’ve had for forty years.
“Who are the two sisters anyway?”
Clues showed their faces . . .
On the face side, discovering silk stashed in the closet I wondered, “Why is this still here?” I moved it from place to place, undecided what to do with it. Finally after painting the Winter Solstice silk jacket, I thought I’d try the same with this.
Inspired by the “Two Sisters” pastel painting I’d done in 1979, the silk was more saturated.
I guess you could say the same about me, saturated.
I used to wear bold artsy clothing like this. OMG! Trying to think of when that was ~ I remember wearing stunning colors like this just before Mom died. It’s been 27 years!
Not wishing to open the door and look, I felt to hesitant to pick up the paint brush and work with this silk. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that feeling resistance is a sure sign there’s magic just on the other side.
“Feeling resistance is a sure sign there’s magic just on the other side.”
I picked up the paint brush ~ following the thread of inspiration is the path of lease resistance, a lot easier than talking back to the Creator.
Around the same time, these two oil paintings were sitting around the studio. Seems everywhere I turned ~ there they were staring at me.
Inspired by another painting I just couldn’t let go of, “The Pond Within,” I blew up sections of it onto canvases of their own ~ so I could explore.
Exploring in a Foreign Land
Painting them felt so foreign, I actually used pics of the section to help block in each of the new paintings. While I was doing that, the images kept inverting themselves.
This may not seem weird to you. But after painting for 45 years, I have never done such a thing! If I want to draw something, I just do it. Following a pattern of my own making as if I’ve never seen it before ~ new territory.
OMG, that’s her! I see her peeking over the mountain. Like a stop-action flip book, she jumped to life on the pages of my journal.
She’s rising up!
Her heart is coming together in the center and filling her with energy!
She’s stretching her wings …
I couldn’t wait to see what she would look like in color! I transferred the small oil study to a large canvas and picked up the brush.
So how is “Goddess Rising” related to “Two Sisters?”
I didn’t get it right away.
I finished sewing the scarf, and thought perhaps the two sisters were myself as a painter and fiber artist?
Certainly I could see the symbolism of the goddess and the pond within as my Creative ~ divine and human selves. But there was more.
Writing articles I recognized a soul sister I’d overlooked. My mother, who taught me to sew, to garden, and encouraged me to paint ~ was the soul sister I was missing! She’d faded from my life, just as faint as photos in the album.
Sure I thought of her. But I didn’t recognize our divine relationship as soul sisters. To me she was still the mother who died before her time.
Now she is my divine partner in living. Her memory is vivid and so are the colors on my paintings. Together we tap into the goddess energy ~ divine inspiration that uplifts all of us together.
I’ve been praying for peace in my life ever since things went crazy. When Mom was ill, I prayed silently with my paint brush.
After she passed, I didn’t really think about it ~ I just kept doing it. This new relationship with the Creator and my easel set my dreams in motion.
My heart melted when I saw the view from my balcony in Tuscany. My easel stayed there day and night, sunrise sunset.
When the notion of painting in Tuscany first entered my mind ~ it seemed impossible. How could I possibly spend nine weeks away from home, my routine, my family?
I did what I have always done with unanswerable questions. I took them to the easel. This time I used watercolor ~ a more fluid, spontaneous medium. “Tuscan Dream” is my prayer, “is this possible? how?”
“Tuscan Sunrise” was the answer I received. I painted it on the balcony of my apartment in Poggio Alla Croce nine months after the watercolor.
The vision for “Florence Sunrise” appeared from the balcony six weeks later. Usually the mountain beyond Florence was not visible. It was usually covered in mist. On this morning, sunlight poured into the valley lighting Florence and everything with it.
I started the painting that morning. Illusive at first, the colors changed as I tried to paint them. I finally completed the painting in Virginia the following year.
That same year I began painting another view. There’s likely another post about this painting. It went through many versions before finally settling into this one.
What’s really important about it is the house and field on the near mountain at the left. You can see it in the painting above, and in the shadows of the sunset view as well.
The reason it’s important is that that same house and field appear in THIS painting, and ALL the others that follow. They were painted BEFORE I went to Tuscany!
“Embrace of the Mountain” was painted about three months before I left for Tuscany. In this painting, the house and field are inverted ~ and so is the mountain.
If this painting were a dream, I would say the house represents my consciousness, and the field my garden ~ and the mountain, my immovable issues! Yes, your’re right ~ my house is tiny! And so is my garden. And the mountain dominates the picture.
The fact that it’s inverted in really important. It’s important because that is EXACTLY what I had done with my mountain of issues. I embraced them. I started thinking of them a golden opportunities for wisdom, blessings, and divine guidance.
In other words ~ I started listening!
Every time I stubbed my toe on that great big mountain, I reminded myself that it was the Creator’s way of getting my attention. I retrained myself to stop running away, and just stop and listen for answers.
I started noticing things I’d never noticed before. For example, “Waking Dream III” was painted nearly two years after returning. I know I said BEFORE, I did. That’s because this painting was inspired by the pastel below ~ one that I found in my sketchbox from 2012!
A friend came by the studio and pulled it out. After she’d gone, I noticed it looked like the ones on my easel from Tuscany. That’s what got me inspired to do the mixed media one above it.
I noticed other things too.
This one is another good example. “The Phoenix,” I started in France 2013. I repainted it several times in France, and again when I returned home. Then I set it aside thinking I’d never get it right.
Painting the two above, I repainted this one as well. This time I noticed something I’d not seen before. You can see the abstract phoenix shape of the mountain wings, tail feathers poking into the foreground ~ by the shift in colors.
This time the house in centered and the mountains have BECOME wings!
Also painted the spring BEFORE I left for Tuscany, this one shows the vision ~ of what was to come. The mist, the mountain top vantage point, and the fertile fields.
The two cypress trees at the far left are the “Two Sisters,” a nudge from the Creator about my relationship with my soul sister. But that’s another story.