Is Passion Missing?
I thought living in Overwhelm was Normal, until I recovered my passion for living on a retreat in Tuscany
One of the things I love most about Tuscany is the color.
Though one thinks first of verdant green fields with winding roads, being there in the fall is more about vibrant gold, bronze, and crimson.
In September the landscape in Tuscany turns from verdant green to gold. When we arrived September 10th, the transformation was just beginning. Subtle at first, I painted ‘Rain on the Mountain’ en plein air, overlooking the Arno River Valley (Val d’Arno.)
There’s something about a rainy day, so peaceful. All the subtleties of life are magnified. Like meditating, painting helped me find stillness.
Not one to sit still, I had gotten sick upon arrival. It turned out to be a blessing. I stopped trying to do what I thought I was going to do in Tuscany ~ and just rested!
2. Reluctant, yet Willing
Reluctant at first, I played with tiny watercolors in my sketchbook. The Creative Spirit within massaged my spirits with gentle flow. Day by day I recovered stamina.
All the while that judge in my head kept going on about, ‘what will I do with these?” I ignored him, for the most part, and continued painting. Though his rant continued ~ gradually he faded away and my passion came into focus.
As my sketchbooks filled up, I found myself wishing for more ~ larger paper. We’d planned to go to Cortona, to procure some at the little art supply shop. Alas, I got sick again.
A week later I had enough stamina to ride to Cortona and walk up the hill to the little shop and purchase three blocks of Magnani Toscana watercolor paper; the largest a whopping 41 x 31 cm!
3. Wrapped in Ethereal Light & Colors
The view from Cortona was ethereal. I sat down on a park bench in the piazza and painted it. Gentle colors with lots of white space wrapped me. Soothed, my eyes wandered inspired to paint another. My body said, ‘get back in the car you’ve done enough for today.’
Sad, yet unlike the woman I once was, I followed instructions and returned to the car. Jim drove us home to Poggio Alla Croce. I took a nap.
4. Harvest Time & All is Ripe
On my last day in the village, Dario took me down into the olive grove to walk and paint in the landscape I’d painted from the mountain.
It was very late in the afternoon on the last day of October. Shadows were long. Time short.
I set up the easel facing the last remaining pools of sunlight. Painting as quickly as possible, I wished only capture that precious moment with Dario.
Turquoise paint already saturated in my palette from earlier in the day, spread intensely the moment my brush touched the page. As if signing my name . . .
“Oh wow!” I felt the rush of energy.
Grabbing another color I followed the Creator’s flow of instructions. Next thing I knew, it stopped.
“Oh my, I have time for another!”
5. At Home Wow!
Returning to Virginia, a painting I’d started two years before begged for something more. Complying, I put her on the easel and stepped back for further instruction.
Relieved to have my big palette, big studio, and big canvases in front of me once again ~ I mixed up the vibrant autumn crimsons, vermilions, golds, bronzes, and sparkly cobalt blues.
One by one, I felt them ‘wow!’
Through watercolor and oil sketches, the flow of color revitalized my palette and my life.
Now I wake each morning before the sun rises. I am filled with energy and passion for whatever surprising ‘wows’ the day brings. And I sleep well, spent when the sun sets.