Recent Tuscan Plein Air Paintings

Plein air landscape painting of Sinalunga (Siena).

Sinalunga from the Valley Below. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

These plein air paintings are actually from a few weeks back, but I never got around to posting them. I was working in the area around Montisi (east of Siena), and looking for views that would work as larger compositions for studio paintings to be done over the winter.

As I’ve discussed before on this blog, the Holy Grail of landscape painting is a view where the foreground, middle-ground, and background compose well and I spend a great deal of time every year driving and walking in search of such a view. An obvious question would be ‘why not just invent it from parts of views taken elsewhere?’ The answer for me is that, in part, my training makes it difficult. I was trained with the more ‘Impressionist’ methodology of sight-size, which requires the subject to be in front of the artist (as opposed to a ‘construction’ based painting system). In part though, it’s also a component of my philosophy on painting of taking a more humble and reverent approach to viewing the natural world. Furthermore, there is a historic precedence as seen in the work of a great number of plein air painters, and Henry Fuseli said it best: “Selection is the invention of the landscape painter”.

It means a lot of driving though.

Plein air landscape painting of Castelmuzio.

Castelmuzio #1. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air landscape painting of Castelmuzio.

Castelmuzio #2. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air landscape painting of Castelmuzio.

Castelmuzio #3. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

I’ll often do a number of paintings of the same view when I do finally find one that will work on a larger canvas. This is in addition to a number of pencil sketches to figure out the balance and composition of the final piece.

One of my favorite ‘tricks’ to finding good views in central Italy is to look for the cemetery. They tend to be placed just the right distance from the town, usually with a very good view on the town, and they have parking and shade to work under.

Plein air landscape painting of Scrofiano, Tuscany.

Scrofiano. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air painting of a sunset in Tuscany.

Tuscan Sunset. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Overall I was quite happy with this short excursion and I think I can make at least three larger studio pieces from a few days worth of scouting.

September in Salzburg and Hallein

Plein air painting of a honey seller in Hallein, Austria.

Honey Seller in the Market, Hallein. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

A few plein air paintings from earlier in the month in Salzburg and Hallein. These are part of a continuing series of paintings I’m doing in the area for an exhibition in Hallein. The show was supposed to be coming up fast, but I’ve pushed it back a year to next October, so I can try to get four seasons worth of work into it.

Plein air painting of Schöndorferplatz in Hallein, Austria.

Schöndorferplatz, Hallein. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

I really enjoy painting in the valley west of Hallein as well, (even though it’s Germany and I’m supposed to be working on an Austrian show).

Plein air painting of a church in Oberau, Germany.

Church in Oberau (Germany). 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

I painted a lot in Salzburg again. I tend to focus on smaller areas as walking a lot to scout can take up too much time for these short trips. In this case I was in the Mirabell Gardens for a couple of days.

Plein air painting of trees in the Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg, Austria.

Mirabell Gardens #1. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air painting of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.

Mirabell Gardens #2. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air painting of statues in the Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg, Austria.

Statues in the Mirabell Gardens. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

Plein air painting of a street musician in Salzburg, Austria.

Street Musician, Salzburg. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

This last one is unfinished as I didn’t calculate the shadow of the bell tower blocking out my light for an hour. It was my last morning there so I didn’t get a chance to go back this trip.

Unfinished painting of carriages in Salzburg, Austria.

Carriages in Salzburg (unfinished). 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Cape Cod Paintings

Plein air painting of an umbrella on Marconi Beach, Cape Cod.

Red Umbrella, Marconi Beach. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

These are some of the small plein air paintings from last week on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. We stayed with the excellent landscape painter Joseph McGurl and his wife, and he showed us the good spots for landscape painting.

Plein air painting of a lifeguard station on Marconi Beach, Cape Cod.

Lifeguard Station, Marconi Beach. 14 x 11 in., oil on linen.

Plein air painting of a Cranberry Bog.

Cranberry Bog. 8 x 12 in., oil on linen.

Landscape painting of a cranberry bog.

Side of a Cranberry Bog. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

Painting of Quissett Harbor, Cape Cod.

Quissett Harbor. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

Plein air landscape painting of Fisherman's Beach, Quissett Harbor.

Fisherman’s Beach, Quissett Harbor. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

Some of these paintings will be going to Collins Gallery in Orleans, MA.

Painting of Surf Drive Beach in Falmouth, Cape Cod.

Surf Drive Beach in Falmouth. 8 x 12 in., oil on linen.

Plein air painting of a painter at sunset.

Painting at Sunset. 12 x 8 in., oil on linen.

For the last stop of our two month trip to America, I taught a couple of three day plein air workshops in Boston for Leo Mancini-Hresko’s Waltham Studios. Boston is gorgeous. Probably the most beautiful large city in the US. I had been there 25 years ago for a couple of days, but didn’t remember it being so picturesque.

I didn’t have time to paint any cityscapes, unfortunately, but here are the unfinished demonstration pieces from the plein air classes. I painted the same view twice as it worked technically for the points I was making during the demo.

Plein air painting of the Boston Gondola dock on the Charles River.

Boston Gondola Dock. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

Plein air painting of a Charles River Gondola in Boston, MA.

Charles River Gondola. 11 x 14 in., oil on linen.

Nova Scotia

Painting of the Picton Castle in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

The Picton Castle. 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Here are the paintings from the last week in Nova Scotia, Canada. We rented a place just outside of Mahone Bay and painted up and down the coast from Blue Rocks to Chester.

Plein air painting of a street in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Street in Lunenburg. 25 x 35 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air painting of Lunenburg Harbor, Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg Harbor. 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Lunenburg was a particular favorite. There was a wide selection of views in a small area, the weather was great (the food too) and the people were very friendly.

Plein air landscape painting of the point at Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia.

The Point at Blue Rocks. 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air landscape painting of Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Blue Rocks. 25 x 35 cm, oil on linen.

Because of the microclimates in the area, we often had sun all day in the town of Mahone Bay, when other parts of the coast had the fog.

Plein air painting of the churches in Mahone Bay.

Fog Lifting, Mahone Bay (#1). 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air landscape painting of fog lifting in Mahone Bay.

Fog Lifting, Mahone Bay (#2). 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air painting of boats in Chester Harbor, Nova Scotia.

Boats in Chester Harbor. 20 c 30 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air painting of a dock in Chester, Nova Scotia.

Dock in Chester. 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Plein air painting of dinghies at sunset in Lunenburg.

Boats at Sunset, Lunenburg. 20 x 30 cm, oil on linen.

Maine Paintings

Below are some of my paintings from the last week in mid-coast Maine.

Plein air painting of Broad Cove, Maine.

Osier Dr, Broad Cove, Maine. 11 x 14 in.

Painting of fishermen in Friendship, Maine.

Fishing, Friendship. 12 x 8 in.

Plein air painting of a boatyard in Round Pond, Maine.

Boatyard, Round Pond. 11 x 14 in.

Plein air painting of Round Pond, Maine.

Parking Lot, Round Pond. 8 x 12 in.

Plein air painting of a road in Friendship, Maine.

Road to the Town Landing, Friendship.

Plein air painting of a sailboat in Rockport, Maine.

Sailboat, Rockport. 12 x 8 in.

Plein air painting from outside of Waldoboro, Maine.

Grey Day on the 32. 8 x 12 in.

It was my first time painting in Maine and I have to say it’s one of the best places I’ve ever painted. The weather has been great, sunny but cool most of the time, the people are incredibly friendly and knowledgable about plein air painting, and there is a great wealth of stunningly picturesque places to work.

Plein air painting of a dock in Friendship, Maine.

Dock in Friendship. 8 x 12 in.

Plein air painting of Friendship, Maine.

Friendship, Maine. 11 x 14 in.

I have an opening tonight at Haynes Gallery in Thomaston, Maine. It’s actually a few group shows. My ‘group’ consists of Karen Blackwood, T. J. CunninghamBen Fenske, Greg Howitch, Leo Mancini-Hresko, Joseph McGurl and myself.

Joseph McGurl was a big influence on my work when I was first starting out as a landscape painter (and still is), so it’s great to be showing with him.

Plein air landscape painting of Haynes Gallery in Maine.

Haynes Gallery, Thomaston. 8 x 12 in.

I’ll also be giving a painting demonstration at 3:30 pm, if you happen to be in the area.

Plein air painting of a street in Thomaston, Maine.

Afternoon Shadows, Thomaston. 8 x 12 in.