5 Tips for Watercolor Painting and Journaling in Tuscany

Let the Tuscan colors seep into your life

Watercolor Journaling is for anyone who loves color.

No prior experience is necessary to enjoy painting in Tuscany.

#1 Portable Supplies

Grab your colors ~ Ultra light, portable watercolor palette, brush and journal is all you need to experience being an artist under the Tuscan sun.

watercolor journaling in Tuscany
Sitting on a park bench over looking the hillside village, I painted this small watercolor sketch in my journal.

#2 Paint on the Fly!

Paint on the fly! Pocket watercolors with watercolor postcards are easy to paint on a cafe table or park bench. No easel or heavy equipment and paints are required.

watercolor journaling in Tuscany
This tiny watercolor is inspired by the laughter from our Tuscan dinner party. I think it captures the warmth and friendship of two houses coming together!

#3 Sparkle

Make your paintings sparkle with tiny white spaces between your colors. White adds whimsy and fun.

watercolor journaling in Tuscany
This little watercolor journal entry is just one of many whimsical building in nearby Greve. We visited the market there, enjoyed vibrant Tuscan colors.

#4 Crayons!!!

Try Watercolor crayons to add linear details. On wet let them bleed. On dry paper their pigments will flow when a wash is applied over top.

Tuscan cooking lessons
Danilo’s dinner party inspired this little watercolor sketch in my journal.

#5 Whimsy, an Artist’s Eye

Use a light touch to add whimsy. Look to see vibrant colors. Practice 10 minutes a day to train your eyes.

watercolor journaling in Tuscany
Delicate washed colors from my watercolor jouranal spilled over onto my oil paintings.

Learn to capture simple vignettes that express your inner artist. Go with the flow and bring home inspiration.

watercolor journaling in Tuscany
Watercolor journaling is easy and fun for beginners and advanced painters. Ultra portable, it’s quick and easy to paint in a cafe while waiting for Chianti.

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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>

My Happy Dance! CreativSOUP Recipe #1

Who knew I would love watercolor so much?

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!

WATERCOLOR ABSTRACT TREES
Happy Dance, watercolor, 12″ x 16″, PURCHASE INFO>

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.

Ahhhh!

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