When I started this painting, it was not a sunset. I don’t even remember what it was, now that it is finished.
The title was already penciled on the back of the canvas and this got me wondering. What was it that got me started on this painting?
It was rolled up with some other paintings in the studio. When I returned from my retreat in Tuscany, I found myself thinking about it. I’d done some small cloud paintings in Italy and wished to explore the idea on a larger canvas.
“Painting dreams feels like layering thin veils of color ~ all sparkly inside.”
Unrolling it and another along with it, I clipped them both on boards and set them on easels, side by side. Like a dream, I don’t really remember the middle part. I only remember painting very thin veils of color, one after another, until the painting looked like this.
That’s the way dreams seem to me ~ very thin, translucent veils, wavering in my being. Only the present one is clear. Then it is replaced by the next, and so on.
Until finally, I can see them all like a prism ~ and I feel amazed and sparkly all inside.
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.
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.
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.
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>