From a Castle on a Mountain Flows a Fertile Dream

About 20 miles east of Florence, the landscape is a spectacular 360 degree vista of vineyards, olive orchards, and farms. I saw it first two years ago, and I wanted to see it again.

Waking Dream

abstract landscape painting red
Fertile Dream, oil on linen, 14″ x 11″ See purchase info>

Finding the Castle

I didn’t see the castle two years ago. I had no idea it even existed. On this visit we took time to have lunch in the lovely restaurant overlooking the spectacular view. It was a conversation with our server that tipped us off.

“Go to the top of the hill and take the switch-back turn and you will be at the castle where they grow all the food we serve here.”

As if the Creator had spoken, we followed instructions and sure enough there she was at the top of the mountain. Standing outside the castle I painted the view, My Side of the Mountain (below.)

See the Tuscany Retreat Paintings>

Back in the studio (in Italy), I continued developing the colors. I felt very attracted to the right side of the painting, and at one point actually folded the painting in half to see how it would look as a vertical.

That did it. I decided I had to explore this half of the painting. And so the second painting in the series began as a vertical composition.

tuscan landscape painting green
My Side of the Mountain, oil on linen, 11″ x 14″, See purchase info>

Switching from horizontal to a vertical perspective changed the way everything looked. Yet it was not until I returned to Virginia, that the warm reds and purples took the lead.

Stepping back into my Virginia studio felt like walking into another woman’s life. I suppose that’s when I actually entered the castle. There were cobwebs on everything ~ even the studio entrance!

Paintings on easels from two months prior startled me. Looking better than I recalled, I felt the urge to finish them with my deeper, enriched palette. I am struggling for words to express the differences. Perhaps the paintings speak far more clearly. See more of these paintings>

Waking Dream ~ How I Discovered the Woman in the Mountain

Filling four pages in my journal, Squares, lines, a bird . . . an ancient bronze stick figure, then an abstract woman peeking her head over the mountain!

Trying to sketch a dream in my journal this morning, I filled four pages with scribbly boxes and abstract shapes.

sketchbook dreams

I’d never have considered painting such simple compositions. But my sketchbox trunk show had changed the rules. Now I can experiment.

thumbnail sketches

Squares, lines, floating leaves, a bird . . . perhaps they could be designs for the backsides of pillows.

sketchbook dreams

thumbnail sketches

an ancient bronze stick figure I’d seen in the Etruscan collection of the Vatican Museum.

sketchbook dreams

Then suddenly I saw it ~ an abstract woman peeking her head over the mountain!

sketchbook dreams

Three squares had clustered together in the valley and formed her heart.

sketchbook dreams

In the next box, she had arms. Outstretched mountains embracing the world.

Oh my! I wonder what else she can do?

sketchbook dreams

Emotion filled her shapes and i could feel her heart beating. I wonder if she can pray .. .

sketchbook dreams

I tried to sketch two hands clasped together. And then I saw her hip raised up out of the earth. Two hands praying . . . or a dancing woman with arms overhead.

sketchbook dreams

Without thinking I drew the reservoir, the mountain protecting it. And the sky rained stars down to fill it.

sketchbook dreams

The night sky filled with sparkly white stars on a deep Cobalt Blue field.

sketchbook dreams

Her heart joined forces clustering with those nearby. Head rising up, I could feel her strength growing.

sketchbook dreams

I wonder where this story is going? I see the paintings clearly. The colors, shapes, textures, the magic of painting them. I can’t wait to get started.

30 Paintings to Bring the Goddess Out of Your Mountain

30 Paintings to Inspire, coax, encourage, embolden, console, energize & applaud your goddess . . .

The first painting I ever sold was a pastel landscape I painted in college. The abstract mountain stretched across 3 square pieces of paper. In it was a reclining woman.

Really! I’d painted her from a figure drawing class where we had a live model. In the painting, she was hidden under the mountain, you could hardly see her.

I’d forgotten all about this early painting until last week. Sketching a few dream scribbles in my journal, I saw a woman rise up out of the mountain landscape. OMG!

It’s her! On the pages of my journal, at first I saw her just peeking over the mountain. Then her heart came together in the center, and she raised her wings like an angel taking flight.

dream journal sketches
Thumbnail sketches from my dream journal

I recognized her awkward moves, like a stick drawing in a flip book. Animated stop actions, step by step she finds her heart center. She puts her hands together to pray. Then suddenly I notice she is standing.

Arms overhead, she’s no longer bound by the mountain! How could this be? Her heart open and sparkly stars raining down from the Cobalt Blue heavens. She is energized, courageous, resolved.

dream journal sketches
Sketches from my dream journal

In a flash, I knew I’d found my artistic voice ~ at last I could see the colors ~ brilliant Aquamarine, Deep Turquoise, juxtaposed with heart to heart Vermilion, Deep Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Rose, and Cobalt Violet.

Finally standing in a field of Meadow Green and Jade, my fertile dream is suddenly real, no longer a figment of my imagination.

I’d lost her decades ago, or so I thought. As life dished up its challenges, my mountain grew. (raising 3 sons, surviving an attack, losing my mother to cancer, life challenges particular to me ~ but hey, eveyone has them. How else would the Creator direct us to our creative voice?)

#1 Goddess in the Mountain

Goddess in the Mountain
Goddess in the Mountain, Purchase Info

But, what I want to know is how could it happen so fast, after all this time? How could my mountain vanish? And suddenly in its place is a colorful tapestry of goddess vestments?

How could my paint brush leap to hand, and in a flash my paintings transform from reality to abstract? Overnight, what I thought was reality (the landscape and mountain) is suddenly goddess with vividly colored vestments!

Her head rising like the sun above a gem-encrusted ridge. Footprints in the landscape, the only sign she’d passed.