Friday, August 9, 2013

Landscape Painting Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I will write more about the wonderful stone carving symposium in Castelvecchio di Pescia in northern Tuscany as I get my thousands of images organized.  (Should we still call digital images ‘photographs’?  hmmm, I have always had a problem with labels and categories.)  In the meantime, I am spending part of my day away from the computer and getting back to my adored charcoal drawings.  

Before I took off for my stone adventure, I went landscape painting with a couple of friends around Florence.  I have always been a bit intimated by landscapes… Nature offers us so much information that she can sometimes shut me down and I mentally wander off on some obscure path.  However, in my recent attempts with pastel in the gardens around Firenze, it became apparent to me that my first hurdle would be to get enough DARKS into the composition.  

Artists often hear about how the light of day is bouncing around and shadows are just not as dark as one might think.  (Perhaps this is more a conversation that emerged from painting from photographs since the human eye sees nuance more than a machine can decipher.)  But I need more dark.  So, I put away my pastels for the time being and decided to create tonal studies in charcoal.  I am a bit biased towards monochrome images anyway.

Isn’t my friend pretty, sitting there enticing all of the zanzare (mosquitos)?  I should have painted her in the grasses… In any event, this was during the time that I was not living in a home of my own, with most of my belongings packed up in boxes waiting for my new flat to become available.  Alas, I had no access to my tall easels.  I have a short torso and thus, once I sat down for the view I wanted, everything changed.  Haha.  

I decided that the light foreground grasses would become my subject instead of the obvious Florentine scene along the famous Arno River.  However, I first wanted to put in the darker background objects.  So, I sat up as straight as I could, wiggled around to get the information I needed, … and did I mention “going off on a tangent.”  ???  I got totally absorbed in drawing the land across the river!  Next thing I was aware of was the sun encroaching on our lovely patch of shade.  I have always liked the idea of sunshine, but not often the reality.  Or at least my being directly under her gaze.  

So, the grasses never got drawn.  However, I had a lovely nap.  It is what summers are for, right?

Happy birthday, Aunt Sue!