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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cortona - one of the oldest towns in Tuscany

Cortona, 30x15, oil on panel. Available
This piece is my favorite so far from my recent trip to Italy. We had wandered around this medieval walled town built on a hill for hours and were coming back down to the main square when I saw these buildings making great patterns and colors right in front of me. For the first time in a long time, I had to use two photos to make one piece as neither the phone nor camera photos were just what I wanted.

What I liked about this scene was all the repeating shapes and lines. Rectangles, half circles, squares and triangles. Despite the tall verticals there is good eye movement in it. Though it painted realistically, it comes off as an abstract. Since the majority of the scene is in shadow, I could paint it rather flat (local tone) with just a bit of light hitting the roofs (it was about high noon) to give dimension.

I am not sure of the significance of all the flags, but it seemed that each town we were in the town flag was in evidence. Everywhere.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On a Wing and a Prayer

6x6, oil on panel, available
My first thought when I saw this scene was 'Drive By Religion.' but that seems to trivialize not only the church but religion which I don't want to do. So I am thinking 'On a Wing and a Prayer.'  We were on our way to Rome from Montepolciano and I was intrigued that the road would curve around the old church. I believe the name of the church is 'Madonna Regina della Pace.'  My translation of that is the Reigning Madonna of Peace. I am up for correction if anyone knows Italian, which I do not.

I decided to do this one in a small format to work out the shapes. I thought the shapes fun and worthy of playing around with. The whole church is local tone (in shadow) while the landscape around it is in full sun. As is usually the case, when I see the painting in a photograph I start to see things that I had not noticed before. In this case, some of the patterns are repeating that I did not consciously think about. I am happy with that!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Italy - Walking the Tuscan Countryside

Hay Bale with Poppies, 12x24, oil on panel
Here is the next painting from my recent sojourn in Tuscany. The reference image was taken by Olin and posted in the groups Flickr album. I photographed a couple of versions of this scene myself. Had I not seen Olin's version, I would have been happy with mine. But my format was 3x4, so much more of a square, and his had the length that I liked better. I still cropped it to get the 1x2 format here. I punched up the poppies a bit but from the looks of it I may have to tone them back down a bit. The reds read okay in person, though.

I added the painting below from my last post because the field with the hay bale and poppies is off to the right of the road that we walked on. To put it in context. And one image was taken by the husband and the other, his wife. It was a lovely walk on a beautiful day.
Children of the Landscape, 6x6, oil on panel
The poppies were in their full glory and it brought to mind the field of Flanders and why poppies are handed out on November 11, Veteran's Day. Here is the poem from WWI In Flanders Field:

by John McCrae, May 1915, a Canadian Physician

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Italy, first round

Study, 9x12, oil on panel
A Walk Under the Tuscan Sun, 6x6, oil on panel

I have been busy doing some fun pieces from my trip to Italy last month. A 'walking' tour of Tuscany. Both of the references for these pieces were shot by one of my new friends from the tour, Nancy, from Tampa. Nancy was more than willing to share her photos with me to use. She and her husband are both avid photographers.  It is so much fun to see what catches other peoples eye.

We deemed the top painting's image 'Hopperesque' which was taken with Nancy's phone. I did this as a study to see whether I wanted to do it larger or not. I think I like it this size for now. 

Nancy took the bottom photo as well. It immediately made me think of Van Gogh and the south of France. I love the simplicity of the shot. I cropped it to be square, and I think these are the tiniest people I have ever painted! Group of 4 to fit in less than an inch squared. I had to get a sable watercolor brush out to to it as I do not own any tiny sable oil brushes.

I am always looking for help in titles, so if anything comes to mind, please let me know.