Tuscan Landscape Oil & Pastel

Tuscan landscape painting

This Tuscan landscape oil painting and pastel study is finally complete. I began the oil this past winter. Along the way, I did the pastel to help resolve several issues that came up in the painting. Coming home to pastel completed the connection between drawing and painting, head and heart.

Tuscan Landscape Oil Painting

Tuscan landscape painting
Volpaia Village, oil, 20 x 24

The pastel palette is hundreds of colors pre-mixed, laid out where I can see them. In a flash, I can grab one and thrust what ever I am feeling at the moment onto the page.

Pastel Palette Schmincke
Tray of warm tone pastels.

The oil palette has an infinite number of colors ~ waiting to be mixed! Stop and think, which color do I want? How to mix it?

After all these years of painting, how to mix it is not an issue. Yet ~ the spontaneity of pre-mixed suggestions on my pastel palette is as powerful a force as ever. I received my first set of 45 sticks when I was 12.

After graduating college I began painting in pastel exclusively. The heart connection is immediate. Holding a large chunk of pigment in hand, the wavelength touches the heart directly. No detours through the head. Emotion channeled directly onto the painting.

Spilling one’s guts is healing. Though not acceptable in society as a rule, saying exactly what is in the heart moves mountains. A piece of paper and a few pieces of raw pigment seems a safe place to let loose.

The problem I was having in the oil painting was that there were so many objects (houses, trees, lines, colors) in the painting, I got lost from what inspired me to paint it in the first place. This is a very common problem.

Instead of spinning wheels with oil paint, a small pastel study addresses the issue. Unify the palette, pull the shapes together as a unit, and return to the source of inspiration. Pray it turns out, literally!

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Author: Dorothy Fagan

Dorothy's newest oil paintings are lush abstract floral and colorful landscapes. She creates one-of-a-kind jackets from her paintings, printing and hand painting fabrics in her Virginia studio. Her studio is open by appointment on the Virginia Artisan Trail Network. See Visiting & Tours Information for details.

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