Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Step…Don't Ruin That Ruin

  A good weather day. 
  To be honest, everyday should be a good weather day for a plein air artist. But hey, I'm also on vacation!
  This ruin looks good to me. It's in an area close to home, near the lake, and it's beautiful. The simple "block" Italian architecture appeals and has a unique presence on the landscape. 
  Also, the color of the stone and the brick expresses something very warm and is a great contrast to the greens of the trees and fields.


In this case, the orange of the tile roof overwhelms the palette.

Lovely start.


Laying in color

Breaking down the color.

Distance shot. At work in the fields of Umbria. Notice the
mountain…the trees are gorgeous, too.

  Although this painting session was nice, and I enjoyed it, I am always still thinking of the next painting. These moments are truly magic, and I hope that I'm sensitive enough to glimpse and capture the essence of the inspiration I have found here in Umbria.
  It's tricky, but that's how it is supposed to be.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In The Umbrian Studio 2014

  Here in my makeshift art studio, it's nice for me to have the luxury of space, but it is also important for me to leave it as I have found it. For example, I lay down plastic drop cloths, and carefully placed "carpets" of paper, so as not to leave any paint stains. 

  It's an all important ritual of having and respecting the workspace. Even at home, after a weeks long painting session, everything has to be cleaned and put back in order, at least for me. When starting a new session of work, I need to be organized. It clears the mind.

Organized in the Umbrian studio 

  It's very cold here, in mid-March, though there have been some warm, sunny days to paint in the outdoors. Now, with the rainy weather, I'm working in the studio.

  This year I purchased some bigger canvases, and we'll see how this works out? But still, my main intention is to paint the small panels outdoors, and have them inspire larger canvases in my studio in California.

Buildings will be more of a focus this year.

My paints that were left here from last year

  The painting on the easel was painted directly from looking out the window. 
  Here you can see 6 small panels on the table, that I've worked on so far, laid out so I can look at them. There is a stack of panels still to work on, when the weather clears up this weekend.

  On the ground, there is an image that I'm working on from a photo I took on my iPad. This is one of the local buildings that Janelle and I love.
  There is also a painting on the small easel, too, that is in progress. Oh, and the requisite bottle of red wine. Very traditional.

  It's nice to work in a studio here. Work, work, work.

  Hopefully something good will come out of it.

  A beginning sketch of a house we lovingly refer to as "The Little Pink House". In it's previous incarnation, it was a chicken coop, but now it's a favorite little spot of color among the olive trees.

  We are going to Bologna by train today to see "Casa Morandi", as well as Vermeer's "Girl With The Pearl Earring", which is now on show.
  I look forward to seeing Morandi's house and studio, as well as the museum filled with artwork by Morandi. I know this side trip will be very inspiring. One of this artist's pilgrimage destinations.

  For me wife, it's going to be all about the famous pasta this city is known for.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Grand Reward

  Beginning at the beginning, here is a short explanation of my painting gear in the field.
  All of this equipment is very important for me to feel comfortable and have everything I need. 

  I am still working out the kinks, and there will be additions to make it a perfect travel kit. Luckily, this past year, I was able to store much my studio supplies, thanks to the generosity of some great friends we've made here.

  Below, are some photos Janelle took of my painting supplies.

The picnic basket turned supply box is from home.

Scraping and dragging tools from the local hardware store.

This is a home made box that I'll use when I paint 8" x 8" panels

My office, such as it is..such as I like it.

The colors of March in Umbria

  Another short video from this session…work in process.

  The painting goes quickly, because I want to intuit the colors and design, feel it directly, by trusting my instincts. For me, this is how I paint. A
   The reason I can do this is because of all the many years of painting EXPERIENCE that has given me confidence and trust in expressing myself. 

 I feel my painting style is in rhythm with my life's philosophy.
 Sometimes I think it's all about rhythm, like music- the notes and the space between the notes. For the painter, it's like colors. 
  The trick is to see life from "the" proper prospective. 
  To see the Grand Design.

Seeing the rhythm, seeing the design.

  The spot I'm painting is of the road with it's long avenue of trees, umbrella pines and Italian cypress. This road leads to one of our favorite places to buy fruit, vegetables, and nuts from Umbria. 
  "La Saporita".
  This is the landscape directly below the small hill town we stay in.

  These small paintings I work on here in Umbria, will inspire and be transformed into much larger studio paintings back in California. They will be abstracted and distilled even more, becoming the essence of this particular beauty, this particular light, these particular moments.

I finished 3 in this session, and more panels await.

    I have to remember that I worked a "day job" for 25 years, and have put in close to 40 years painting, MY 10,000 hours, to be here right now, doing just these small paintings.
  The Grand Reward.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beginning To Work Umbria, 2014

  I'm so happy to be back in Umbria.
  I'm beginning to sort out my work here. I am getting my supplies together, seeing anew what I left behind in storage last year.
  Building my "Outdoor Art Studio", there's a lot of preparation. Soon it will be up and running with my hope being to produce many paintings. There is no lack of inspiration.

  The first week, I just stopped where ever, and did some simple sketching in my journals.
  Janelle, as always, captures me in photos. Her "job" is one of documentation.

Below Panicale, on a morning walk, I stop to sketch
a farmer trimming his vines

There is both misty fog and smoke from the olive
branches being burned. Only early in the morning.

  On another morning walk, a warmer and clearer day, we walked up an old road through an olive grove. There was one spot with a great view of Paciano across the valley. 
  I am planning to draw and paint more structures/buildings this year. Less pastoral, this year. Though I am sure the landscapes and trees will crop up. 
  I want these paintings to be more abstract than representative.

In the olive groves

A great view of Paciano

  One of the first days here, we drove around the lake to a favorite little town, San Feliciano. Janelle hiked around, while I sketched the view from way up the hill. I love the lake, Lago Trasimeno. The islands, with their centuries old castles, are inspiring on many levels. It's the history here, as well as the light and landscape, I want to return to again and again.
  The lake changes colors through out the day, with the change of sunlight and weather.

In the background, Isola Polvese, one of 3 islands on the lake.

It's hard not to be overwhelmed by it all, but it's the artist's job to
capture it, in his or her own way.