Autumn in Tuscany

I have been looking for something here in Tuscany. Some something indescribable ~ knowable only when it shows itself on canvas.

Autumn in Tuscany

Last week on our way home from a day of painting en plein air, I saw three golden trees against a backdrop of rich, freshly tilled earth. Late afternoon sunlight lit them against the mountain.

A triangle of trees standing on a patch of lush green in the middle of that deep lavender red earth ~ I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

Autumn in Tuscany
Terra Tuscano, oil, 16 x 20

The Dream

The following week, I woke from a dream with a vision of middle ground. The neutral earthy hue that is both warm and cool at once. And with it a realization about painting.

I have been painting from the outside ~ in. I have been painting from the extremes of the spectrum ~ to create balance in each painting ~ to balance myself.

Suddenly, I feel myself at the center, a neutral place. From this center, each brush stroke swings wider out into the spectrum of light.

Terra Tuscano

I scrubbed the warm/cool earthy violet neutral into my panel.  Thinking of my paint as if it were pure pigment of pastel, I used a palette knife to paint back into the neutral tone. First shadowing the mountain with cool blues. Then warming the earth with reds.

The earth divided into warm and cool tones itself. Cool lavenders dropping into the distance, warm reds moving closer into the foreground.

The trio of trees followed suit in the green-yellow range of the spectrum. The last strokes of paint, pure Cadmium Yellow.

The entire process flowed as readily as if I had pastel in hand.

Revelation in Brilliance

I know it sounds bizarre for someone who paints as much as I do to say this. Yet I have wished for years that my oil paintings would flow like my pastels. I had given up the notion that it was possible to do in two mediums.

Yet here it is. And I am surprised at how dark the painting is, when there is so much light coming from it. This is what I came to Tuscany to find.

View Tuscano Reserve Paintings

Cortona in the Afternoon ~ Soft Light

A second visit to Cortona was far different than our first. A month ago, the streets hummed with colorful tourists. Gelato dripped. Hats and flags filled the town with festive activities.

This week we had the restaurant to ourselves. Sun dipped behind the clouds, leaving little shadow or sunlight on the narrow streets and alleys.

Cortona Afternoon, oil, 14 x 11

Undeterred, we walked to the top of the hill town to see San Francisco Chapel. Walking along the now quiet streets, this view caught my eye.

I like the quiet light and soft contrast to distant buildings and sky. A few flowers still blooming hang from windows. Seems peaceful to me.