A Muse in Tuscany ~ Plein Air Painting

oil painting Tuscany

Plein Air Painting ~ View of Figline Valdarno

oil painting tuscany
Olive Grove, plein air oil, 5 x 7

The first muse accompanied me to the balcony overlooking Fignine Valdarno to paint.  She wanted to watch me paint!

How do you start? she wanted to know. I showed her how I create a little thumbnail painting ~ an abstraction of color shapes ~ to establish the central theme and composition.

Plein air painting, particularly with an expansive panorama like this one, it is so easy to lose yourself in the details. In this view, my heart was in the villa in the foreground. The landscape around it created such a lovley heart shape. That is where I began with the 5 x 7 oil paining above.

oil painting Tuscany
Figline Valdarno, oil, 16 x 20

As I painted a local gentleman stopped by to see what I was doing. Speaking only Italian, and I only English, I quickly returned to my easel. Not so with the Muse.

Chincia (the first muse) had a lengthy and complex conversation with the Italian gentleman ~ right at my elbow! I didn’t understand much of what they were talking about. She was using Google Translate to decipher his Italian, and to help him understand her.

Their game of words infected my game of colors and shapes. Their play came alive in my landscape. Wiggly brush strokes, fun colors danced on my canvas.

Unsure of the new feelings, I urged them away from my easel. From the top of the hill, I could still hear their banter. I grabbed the willow charcoal and pulled a few details out in the foreground. Stepping back ~ I rather like the fun look!

I picked up my thumbnail study and finished it’s details with the same whimsy, afraid that it might all go poouf with the muse’s departure! Capture it now while the spirit moves me.

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Author: Dorothy Fagan

Through the quirky way she interprets dreams, art, and day-to-day stuff ~ Dorothy's dream of painting the lavender fields of Provence became real. Her book about painting in France, Discovering Joy's Garden, transformed into this inspirational website.