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>

Clouds, Skies, Sunsets and Dreams

Cloud Series Paintings

Painting clouds has been a passion of mine for a long time ~ nearly two decades!

cloud paintings
Silver Lining VI, oil on linen, 11″ x 14″ See Purchase Info>

I didn’t realize how much I LOVE painting them until my retreat in Tuscany this fall. I was taking a lunch break from the easel and took my sandwich and drink out on the veranda.

As I sat there soaking up the Tuscan sun, my eyes and heart wandered. I had nothing in particular on my mind. I simply rested.

The next thing I knew ~ a vision of this cloud riveted my attention.

cloud paintings
Silver Lining VI, framed size, 18″ x 21.5″, See Purchase Info>

I took my drink back to the studio and squeezed some blue pigments on my palette. With the Charvin Paint, I use full strength pigment without any medium ~ just like pastel.

Clouds & Dreams

It’s a dream come true to have my oil paints behave like pastels. I’ve been dreaming of this for such a long time, I thought it would never come to be.

Like pastels, I scrub the pigment directly onto the linen and mix the colors on the canvas ~ not the palette. Oh, some preliminary mixing does happen on my palette. But I love letting the viewer’s eye blend the colors.

When this happens, each person becomes a participant in seeing the painting in their own way. Colors meld with each person’s energy fields, you know how everyone has a different aura. And how it can change from day to day, mood to mood.

This is magic!

See more of my Tuscany Paintings>

7 Rooftop Garden Paintings: Tuscany, Cinque Terre & Venice

I fell in love with backyard gardens in Tuscany

Every nook & cranny is an oasis awaiting cultivation

backyard garden painting of venice italy
Venezia Dream

Venice

Flowers cascade from every window sill and balcony. During my residency, I painted in Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Figline, Volterra, Florence, Cortona, and Venice.

The Perch by Dorothy Fagan
The Perch, detail

It was not until I returned home, that I began to see the Tuscan colors seeping into my palette. My palette softened and my eye for selecting what to paint focused in on gardens.

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Cinque Terre
Rooftop Garden Series

Figline

Clotheslines with fresh laundry hung in every nook and cranny excited my imagination. A special connection to warm-hearted Italian friends stirred with every breeze.

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Florence, Italy
The Awning

Monterossa

Each painting appears to me a dream. Each window represents a person, an opportunity of a new friend. Some windows spill flowers, open and prolific, others just peeking, a few closed to shade the light.

The Perch, Rooftop Garden Painting Series
The Perch, Rooftop Garden Painting Series ~ Cinque Terre

Florence

Each painting seems to tell a story, an imaginary tale. Who would live there? What would they be saying? Would they be smiling, asking questions, or what? Would I recognize them?

Rooftop Garden Paintings, Tuscany
Rooftop Garden

A gardener myself, I get the message. Plant joy, drip water, fertilize with love.

Village Blooming, Cinque Terre balconies blooming
Village Blooming, Cinque Terre balconies blooming

Poggio Alla Croce

Windows and doorways like eyes peeking out at me.

Village on thetHill
Village on the Hill
VillageRossa2
Villa Rossa, Balcony Garden painting series

Three Sisters

An open balcony beside three sisters tucked into a window niche, side by side in the sun. Me, myself, and I?

Village Trio, Venice Window Garden
Village Trio, Venice Window Garden

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See More Tuscan Style Paintings