Is Passion Missing? Five Steps to Recover Your Passion

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″

1. 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!

2018 Tuscany Retreat>

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

2. 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>

3. 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.

Learn More about Tuscany Retreats>

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

 

4. 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!”

See the Watercolors>

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

5. 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>

Stir Up Your CreativSOUP>

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

Sunday in Lucca

Plein air painting in Lucca

What a joyful day we had in Lucca! October colors, warm weather, my best friend in the world at my side. What could be better?

lucca italy painting
Sunday in the Piazza, watercolor, 12″ x 9″, PURCHASE INFO>

Jim took this pic of me painting in the square.

plein air painting in Tuscany watercolor
Addicted to watercolor, I had a blast letting it all flow!

See more of my Tuscany Paintings>

 

World on a String ~ Kite Flying, Family & Plein Air Painting on the Beach Send Me Soaring

Six children, eight kites, a five gallon cooler, four grown-ups & Grammy!

If you notice, I didn’t list Grammy with the grown ups. No mistake!

Painting en plein air with my grandchildren on the beach, I became a kid again.
kites on a beach painting
Let’s Go Fly a Kite, 8″ x 10″ oil, Purchase this painting

Thinking I might capture quick portraits of the kids playing in the water, I hauled my painting gear over the dunes and set up my easel near the water.

Painting on the beach at Bavon
Painting on the beach at Bavon

Instead, 10-year-old Fiona watched me paint her mom and dad side by side with their kites ~ being kids!

I showed her how to block in the colors. Not too serious, simple shapes to make the eye think it is looking at a real kite!

Who knew I was talking to myself?

plein air painting on the beach
Fiona took her turn painting while her dad watches.

Looking at the picture of Fiona painting her ocean of dreams, with her dad watching over her ~ I see myself and my own dad.

Painting with Fiona that day shifted my gears. Somewhere between the paintings, I took my own advice and played with chunks of color.

It happened first as I played with this small painting of the lighthouse. At first I didn’t see the lighthouse. I knew it was there, so I walked down the beach to get a closer look.

New Point Lighthouse painting
New Point Light, oil, Prints Available   Purchase this painting>

Selecting this vantage point, I blocked in chunks of color. At first the lighthouse was light against light clouds. Then I changed angles slightly and began to see it as a shadow shape in front of the light background.

Seeing darks and lights is a lot like seeing the cup half full or half empty. I had become so avert to looking at the dark side of life, it was difficult to see the dark shapes. Light and dark define us. Einstein said everything is relative. And so it is!

Adding the line of dark dune grasses defines the foreground ~ and creates space beyond for us to see the lighthouse.

Does it look like lady liberty to you too? or is it just me?

flying kites on a beach painting
World on a String, 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, Purchase this Painting>   prints available

I did see the light that day. Without even realizing anything had changed, I painted “World on a String.” While three of the kids flew their kites in the dunes, I played with color.

Simple and to the point. And yet …

It’s taken me a couple weeks to realize the shift in these paintings ~ and in myself. I set them aside and worked on my fabric project. Coming back to them, I feel the utter playfulness and joy I felt that day.

And I realize their exuberance and joy is now mine to treasure for a lifetime!