This June, I was fortunate to be able to go on a fantastic painting workshop in Tuscany, run by a company called, “Walk The Arts”. ( The website is at: https://www.walkthearts.com/ ) Unlike most other workshops, our amazing instructor, Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) — Art Instructor, Art Theoretician, Art Historian, and Artist did no traditional demonstrations. His focus was on creativity and the search for new visions and challenges. It was, indeed, a transformative experience for me. This was my first experience painting “plein aire”. Unlike my studio work, which is rather detailed, layered work, done from my own photography, I decided that this work would be about how to capture the essence of what I saw, and say more with less. Let’s say that it was truly a challenge for me!
In the beginning, I included everything I saw… with less than successful results. We painted a scene of the fields near the farm where we were staying. When my first attempt was less than stellar, I did it over. Then, in the afternoon, we were to paint from our paintings we had done in the morning, using the color techniques of the Impressionists. One must begin somewhere!
The next day, we were once more painting by the farm, at a view of the Tuscan hillsides. Again, when I first started painting, I tried to include everything… It was too much! So, I did what we did the last day, and I painted off my painting, and tried to edit. It became my “ah ha!” moment!
And so, I found my method, and my goal for the workshop. Every time that we went somewhere to paint, my first attempt was overworked, so… if at first I didn’t succeed, I did another painting. Or three!
And the next day, another view, but here’s the second painting!
Painted from a painting
And then we went abstract…
From flowers in the yard, we were to paint the “essence of “ the flowers, with no petals, stamen, etc. There was a 20 Euro fine!!!
The Eight Percent Door
Essence of flowers led to essence of doors. Here’s one of mine!
Painting in Cortona
We painted in one of the amazing Tuscan hill towns for one morning, and the images I di of Cortona really illustrate how my process worked for me. One painting, with too much…..
Version 2, painted from the painting.
Cortona Version 3
This was painted off the second painting, a couple of weeks later. It’s my personal favourite of the three…
On the last day in the workshop, I decided to paint the essence of the beautiful stone and brick walls of La Fratta…
Yves suggested that I sign my work that is plein aire and simplified, with a different name. I signed the ones that I like, as “CM” for Cynthia Markus. Another artist suggested that I should own the changes and evolution of my work, and announce it. So… here it is! Thoughts?