Power of Emotion = Passion

Contemporary Expressionism

Expressionist Practices

Plein air painting is the equivalent of doing exercises to keep in shape. Then when you need power, strength and endurance ~ it’s at your fingertips.

Golden Beauty, oil on linen, 20″ x 16″ PURCHASE>

While I enjoy plein air painting, it’s not always practical to do so. This painting, for example, is inspired by weeks of driving around Tuscany drooling over the stunning autumn colors.

Most of the time, I was sitting shotgun while Jim drove. Better I am free to oogle out the window and let someone else stay out of the way of Italian drivers!

“The power of emotion equals passion!”

Sparkling blue turquoise skies in October dazzled me with their deep intensity. Golden leaves ranging from bright yellow and ochre to greenish gold, orange, vermilion, and bronze ~ created a magical flickering tapestry across the sky. I couldn’t wait to paint it!

Find Out About my Creativity Retreats in Tuscany & Virginia

abstract tree paintings
My block in for Golden Beauty began with a big brush and all the emotion I felt from the colors.

My block in began with the biggest brush I had and the biggest canvas, which was a 20″x 16″ piece of linen. I moved quickly, as if signing my signature, to capture how I felt in that moment.

Then I set it aside to dry.

One doesn’t just pull off the side of the A-1 and set up a plein air easel. That would be like trying to paint in the median on I95! Even parking in some of the hilltop villages, space was often at a premium.

After years of exercising my plein air brush hand, I opted to paint from memory instead. Back in the Tuscany studio, I called on all those plein air paintings I have done in the past thirty years ~ and used the power of my emotion at my fingertips!

I came back to the painting several times, each time finding yet another layer of emotion at my fingertips.

Expressionism, in my way of thinking, is working in a way which always insures my feelings are raw and authentic.

What do you think? Can you FEEL the emotion in the painting? How does it feel to you?

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Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

OMG! I just received a confirmation note from Luca!

Castle Ruins, a Medieval Bridge, and an Archaeological Dig are on the Estate where we’ll be painting next fall!

dig 2
This year’s dig at Monteverdi

Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

The 2500 acre Monteverdi estate is in the Maremma part of Southern Tuscany. I just booked it for our 2018 retreat!

It has a Medieval bridge, castle ruins, and it’s own chapel Sant’ Antonio!

Family Chapel at Monteverdi
Family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century

I am SOOOOOOO excited! I can’t wait to paint this magical place! The rolling hills against the backdrop of Monte Amiata (an extinct volcano), the ruins, and it’s so close to the rocky coastline of the Tyrranian Sea! I so enjoyed painting the rocky coast of Brittany ~ this will be wonderful.

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Montverdi landscape
Montverdi landscape

Monteverdi is dominated by a late 15th Century borgo with an 18th century church dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. Bought in 1904 by Luca’s grandfather as a hunting estate, it presently covers over 1000 hectares (2471 acres), with olive groves, vineyards, woodlands, rivers and arable farming land.

Olive groves at Monteverdi
Olive groves at Monteverdi

Our host is Luca Savelli, an Italian-English archaeologist and owner of the estate. His team is studying  the Castellaccio of Monteverdi. It appears as a deserted medieval village, with a few structures still visible in the vegetation. It faces the river Ombrone and overlooks the ruined Medieval bridge connecting the NW shore to Sasso d’Ombrone.

Luca Savelli
Luca Savelli

The estate appears in early maps: in fact it is the location of several important sites, including at least one Roman site, a still very visible Medieval bridge over the River Ombrone which is overlooked by a ruined castle known as Il Castellaccio; the main Villa with its current origins from the 1490’s, and a family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century.

Maremma map
Monteverdi estate in located 2 hours north of Rome near the coast

The Maremma is a large geographical region of southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, half way between Rome and Pisa/Florence. An Etruscan heartland and Roman colony in Ancient times.

And the unspoiled rocky coastline of the Maremma with its beaches and islands are close enough to make day trips!