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.
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!
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!
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.
It’s not that I wish to be a ‘watercolorist,’ it’s more that I LOVE the creative freedom of doing something out of my ‘normal’ mode!
CreativSOUP Recipe #1
Break a Routine
Breaking the routine way of thinking about things, watercolor is transparent! Not opaque as all other painting mediums I have used for decades.
This is a great analogy for life! So much of life is opaque. Just look around and you will see it everywhere, people and companies doing one thing, but meaning entirely something else. Hiding behind some opaque ideas.
Painting with watercolors helps me see! I can see the veils of color on my painting. Layer upon layer, I love the way they mingle.
And I think perhaps I am getting pretty good at seeing right through those masks that others wear. I can see through my own as well! Taking it off is what makes my palette shine.
Every time I let loose ~ stop trying to make the painting perfect ~ The Creator takes my arm and palette and creates magic on my paper. This painting was one of those ~ my happy dance one afternoon during my retreat.