Okay, enough of winter already. I don't know about you but my winter was totally nuts. Not that spring will be less nuts but at least they will be warm ;-). Family matters have kept me from doing much painting, but here and there I have worked on this 14x18" piece, revisiting a familiar theme and experimenting with brushwork and soft edges:
Paintings of France, Italy, and Beyond ©Jennifer E Young
With school out for the Thanksgiving holiday, my studio time has been a little dicey. But now that we are back in session I have managed to wrap up my posting about the Pienza painting from earlier last week. Before I dive into painting the potted plants, I finish up the main architectural features of the painting-- the final touches on the windows and doors, and completing the distant bench.
Now let's move onto the flowers!
Here is the final:
The hill town of Pienza is lovely for a number of reasons. First, it overlooks the gorgeous Tuscan valley called the Val d'Orcia. Second, like so many of these small towns, the whole village is oozing with charm and dripping with flowers, just like the scene I have painted. Third, it is the home of Pecorino cheese! Need I say more?
We have been back from Thanksgiving travels for a week now, and we all received an awesome airline door prize in the form of the virus-of-the-day. It's on the way out now, but I guess I should not be surprised to have contracted something, travelling with a toddler (who, especially since she has been in preschool has become the human petri dish!) Well, I guess as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Any way, I am back to painting now, and I have really missed my studio time. As I mentioned before, I am sticking to some smaller paintings for a while. The holiday schedule seems to just get fuller and crazier with each passing year. So, for sanity's sake, I think I am finally learning to just be kind to myself at the outset and not even attempt anything overly ambitious during this time.
So December is officially small painting month for me! And here, to prove my point, is a 12x16" painting of the Val d'Orcia, in Tuscany:
The compositional sketch:
The Tuscan landscape just seems to roll on forever. It is a painter's dream. That idea is the inspiration for the title. "Sogno" (= dream), and "Rosso" (= the red field of poppies). I am painting from photos, memory, and imagination. The photos are the touchstone, but through memory I hope to convey my feelings for this place, which, from the very first time I laid eyes on it, has pulled at my heartstrings.
I rarely paint anything exactly as it is, (whether painting from photographs or life) so that's where the "imagination" comes in. I compose, rearrange, and edit until I acheive a composition and a statement that is pleasing to me. I want to stay true to the place, but really, it's just a moment in time, and an impression of the natural world that I'm after.
Though I am temporarily committed to keeping my painting sizes small, I think this composition cries out to be reincarnated as a larger piece at some future point. What do you think?
We are traveling next week in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, so I am limiting my sizes in the studio to avoid having a half-finished or unresolved painting when we come home. Here is a little 9x12" painting of the Val d'Orcia , set high up on an olive grove. The scene then slopes down to a Tuscan farmhouse and then back up to the hillsides beyond.
I plan to do a few smaller works like these over the next while to serve as studies for possibly larger scaled paintings. I liked the idea of undulating rhythm as this painting leads the eye up and down the hillsides. And while I am happy enough with it on a small scale, I'm undecided if I will attempt it in a larger rendition. For now I think I will move along to one of the other compositional ideas that I have cooking. Hopefully I'll have more along that line by week's end.