One Pink Field Turned Green ~ Color Field Painting or Something More?

In a dream last week, I saw a pink highlight on a shiny metal statue. Over and over again, the same image reappeared. Then suddenly, I saw the pink changed to a more neutral color.  The dream felt like being in a rainbow, and I knew before the dream was gone ~ which painting the dream was about.

Why is it we can see something one day, so obvious, that all previous days was invisible?

The dream woke me up. Quickly making my coffee, I headed to the palette. Lavande Magic was still on the easel. The painting had been driving me crazy for five years. Ever changing color fields, when one changed ~ they all shifted like dominoes set up in an intricate landscape of undulating hills and valleys.

healing with color
Detail of the pink field

You can see the pink field in this detail photo of the painting. Not a small painting by any means, three by four feet of color swatches side by side, it was tempting to paint over the whole thing!@%&z

That little pink square is 1/2″ square! I painted over it with Verdigris.

color field paintings
detail pink field, painted with verdigris

When that tiny square of pink highlight moved to green on the spectrum ~ all the other pink highlights did the same. Look in the field behind it, to the side, and down through the field in front ~ they all now have the verdigris highlights.

The shift is actually a spectral opposite. Green is the opposite of red. More specifically, pink/verdigris are cool pale red/cool pale green.

This is just a fraction of what happened to the whole painting, however.

color field paintings
unfinished painting

In the unfinished painting above, the intense pink fields in the foreground are most obvious. It is difficult to see beyond them. Everything else is hot, or cold.

Below, you can see the shift. That one verdigris field softened everything. With it, I cooled the shadows in the foreground as well as the fields in the middle ground.

color field paintings
Lavande Magic, final version

I softened the screaming yellow highlights on the trees between the buildings with it. And in the distance as well.

And then it happened. I mixed up a dark green shadow color and painted it into the back sides of the foliage on the left side of the painting. A smidge of it cooled off the cypress trees in the distance as well.

When I stepped back and looked again at the canvas, I saw the yellow wash of color gently lighting the cloud. I brushed it softly over the top of the cloud and into the atmosphere around it.

I have been afraid of my darkness. So afraid of acknowledging the terrible day when I was attacked in the safety of my own studio, I blocked it all out.

Blocking out that one day, trying not to be a victim ~ shaped everything about me. I fought really hard not to appear stupid or naive. What person would be naive enough to try to help someone who was intending to kill you?

Avoiding the dark, my colors screamed with light. Like a deer caught in the headlights ~ I have been frozen, unable to move to protect myself.

What will change now? I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine life any other way. Thirty-five years is a long time.

How could one pink field shift everything?

See more about Lavande Magic>

The Magic of Lavender

On my first day in France, I went in search of lavender fields to paint. Little did I know how much lavender would influence my art over the next five years.

Joy;s Garden colorful abstract landscape painting
Joy’s Garden, oil

The Magic of Lavender

The full story is in my book, Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain. Color has always been a major inspiration to my painting, though recently lavender is taking a leading role.

Not to spoil the story in the book, lavender played a large role on my pastel palette years ago when I first began painting in the late 70s. Working my way around the spectrum, over time my interests ebbed and flowed according to my emotional whims.

I have always believed it to be my role as an artist to paint how something “feels,” rather than how it “looks.” When I begin a painting, I do not usually have an image of how it will look at the start. Instead, it is a feeling that tells me I must paint to satisfy something deep inside.

lavender fields painting
Lavande Magic, oil

Lavande Magic

The urge to paint brings me back to the first day in France ~ when I felt I simply must paint this … The painting finally complete, Lavande Magic, has lived up to its name. Perhaps you can see how Joy’s Garden (top of the page), is part of the landscape from Lavande Magic ~ up into the foreground?

Of course, there’s lots of symbolism in these images. For starters, what was off in the distance five years ago ~ is now front and center. And all those swirling lavender fields? Those are the swirls of creative energy moving about. Can you see how they are all moving in unison? No static.

And there’s a picture story about the villa in the painting. It’s in the book too.

Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain

I hope you will see something of yourself in the story of Joy’s Garden. I hope you will feel the colors too, as you see the paintings and read the stories of how they are connected to dreams and the everyday stuff of life.  I am thrilled to announce that Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain  is out in print! You can order a copy, along with the CreativSOUP Journal.

Click on over and Peek Inside the Book>

And I invite you to see the paintings from the book in the Joy’s Garden Gallery. 



It’s ALL about Color The most powerful communicator uses no words!

A friend asked me the other day, ‘Why paint in Tuscany?’

It’s all about COLOR! Painting IS color.

Color is emotion. Paint in translucent veils of Watercolors. Paint in pure color pigments of Pastels. Or paint with vibrant, glowing, resonant hues of Oil Paint.

‘There’s plenty of beautiful things to paint in the United States,’ my friend insisted.

So why would an artist paint so far from home in any media?

colorful contemporary oil painting
When Prayers Go Up, Shooting Stars Light the Sky, oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″  Purchase Info>

Painting is color and color is emotion

Yes! Different places have distinctly different, unique color palettes. Painting on the Chesapeake Bay for 15 years, I was all too aware that my palette had become blue/gray/green/brown. I felt it.

Bored by the idea of painting one more coastal landscape, I wondered what to do about it?

Painting in Tuscany, I discovered the warmth and vibrancy of Tuscan Colors and how they reflect the joyous people and culture. MORE than just painting. Learning to see and feel those colors ~ to appreciate the people, see the backroads, take my time and really feel the light and colors.

pastel painting lessons
Waiting for the Stars to Shine, Pastel Memory Painting, 15″ x 12″   Purchase>

Can you see it in the paintings?

I was able to bring the palette home with me! The painting holiday came home with me, and with it a new palette, renewed energy, and a fresh way of seeing the world that uplifts every single day. Can you see it in the art?

It doesn’t matter which media one uses. Even my photographs capture something more.

Chef Danilo makes Tiramisu for our cooking lesson
Chef Danilo makes Tiramisu for our cooking lesson, Photograph
Tuscan landscape painting
Tuscan landscape in autumn is all about color of ripening vineyards, olives, mountains. Photograph

Painting Colors of the Heart in Virginia

Painting in Tuscany forever changed how I see the United States! Coming home the landscape in my own backyard feels colorful, joyful and renewed.

Painting in Tuscany also helped me understand my role as an artist in bringing color and joy to people at home. Now my paintings capture lightheartedness, heart colors, and vibrant energy on each and every canvas.

colorful Tuscan landscape painting
Splendid Memory, Watercolor Landscape, memory painting, 9″ x 12″  PURCHASE>

In any media, painting is color and emotion

It doesn’t matter whether I paint in watercolor, pastel, or oil ~ the palette still reflects the joy I learned to see in the Tuscan people.

Color Painting Holidays in any Media

Now I can teach COLOR right here at home!

Painting on the Chesapeake Bay, the palette is no longer neutral gray green. Come paint with me. Weekend Getaways or a Week-Long Painting Holiday. Or if you prefer, join me in Tuscany this fall.