Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paintings from Italy, Part 1

Looking Towards San Damiano, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches, Private Collection
This is the first installment of the twelve paintings I completed in Italy. This was truly a life changing experience, even though it was my second visit it opened my eyes to a different world of color when painting in oil in an outdoor setting. On the first trip, which was two years ago, I was working with watercolor, a medium that was new to me.  At that moment I was not very comfortable with it, there were a lot of things to be learned as I worked on the field. Watercolor turned out to be enjoyable, but oil paint is my thing, it's what makes me tick, and it was pure joy being able paint the Italian landscape with a medium I've very comfortable with.  The painting above was my first of the two week workshop, and I believe my most successful. I was in a great moment seeing everything so fresh and as I was working I could not believe I was painting in Italy, a dream come true.
Assisi Roofs, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12, Private Collection
The biggest challenge of this painting trip was time, I had about two and half hours, three if I was lucky, for each painting session.  As I work with plein air more I have become more detailed, making my regular painting sessions longer, about four hours on average.  Due to group lunches, dinners, and outings, time was very limited, and there was so much information I needed to capture in each painting, and most times I was not successful in finishing the paintings in one shot.  Assisi Roofs was one of those paintings, I had two sessions on site with this painting, and I still needed to do a lot of work in the studio. 
View from St. Anthony's, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches
This painting is another one of my favorites, and it was one of the most difficult the execute due to the morning heat and exposure to the sun.  It felt like I was going to pass out, but I kept trucking and was able to come up with this cool misty landscape.  The light and landscape of Italy really did effect the way I see and use color, this is perhaps the coolest (color temperature wise) green I have worked with and I really enjoy it. 
View from Cortona I, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches
The thing I enjoyed most about painting in Italy was how the morning light and the mist combined to form this cool rosy effect, especially on the horizon. The sky was not one hundred percent bright cerulean blue, it had this greyed down, yet glowing aspect.
View from Cortona II, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches
Think like Corot I kept telling myself.  Not that I know what went through his mind when he painted, or that I'm any close to being as good as he is, but keeping in mind his Italian plein air paintings helped to achieve the atmosphere and color in both paintings of the view from Cortona. 
Cortona Public Garden, 2015, oil on linen mounted on panel, 9 x 12 inches, Private Collection
In a few days I will be posting the second part to this post, including the remaining six paintings from Italy. Stay tuned! 


O. Douglas Jennings said...

Lovely paintings! You conveyed the rosy aspect of the sky very well. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your Italian landscapes.

Luis Colan said...

Hi Douglas,

Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it!