Bordeaux and Chianti Sketches

Here are some of the plein air landscape sketches from Bordeaux and Chianti painted the last month. We stayed in the little village of Pujols near Saint-Émilion (Bordeaux) in France, and then in Chianti near Tavarnelle val di Pesa.

My liver will need some time to recover.

Haybales near Pujols. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

The Dordogne east of Bordeaux is especially interesting for plein air landscape painting as it is unusual to have such strong tidal effects so far inland.

Boats on the Dordogne. 23 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

The Dordogne at Castilion-le-Bataille. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Petanque. 30 x 40 cm, oil on panel.

Branne. 30 x 25 cm, oil on panel.

Saint-Émilion is a beautiful little city for plein air painting. We took the workshop students there a couple of times with great success.

Gate at Saint-Emilion. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Gensac. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Sketches of the Church at Pujols. 20 x 15 (ish) cm each, oil on panel.

Here are a couple of plein air landscape sketches of the annual grape harvest, or Vendemmia, in the Chianti region of Tuscany. It was interesting to paint the workers en plein air as they moved quickly up the vineyard rows. I would paint the vineyard row ahead of them, then move row to row to paint the grape harvesters as they worked.

La Vendemmia. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

La Vendemmia #2. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

I’ll post the rest of the Chianti plein air landscape paintings later in the week.

Chasing Effects

As a follow up to the ‘into and out of effects’ post below, here is a short video of a plein air landscape sketch from this week. It was painting as the light moved from late afternoon into sunset into evening.

(Apologies for the quality, I need to upgrade the slow-as-molasses-in-winter netbook I do all this with while traveling).

The great thing about working from life, be it in landscapes or portraits, is that as effects or expressions change you can either add them or leave them. Many painters coming to landscapes from studio work find the changing effects challenging. In their studios everything is controlled. The trick is to see the constant mutations in nature as a blessing. Leave what was better before, add what improves.

I find this especially true in portraiture, where working from life allows you to capture fleeting effects such as the moment the sitter’s face lights up when a loved one enters the room. You also end up with a likeness that expresses a number of different facets of the sitter’s personality, as witnessed over the week of sittings.

In the painting video above, the final work becomes a montage of the best effects from the various changing light and cloud positions over the two hour session.

(Here is the final image):

Santa Maria Novella. 30 x 40, oil on panel.

Recent Studio Landscapes

A few studio landscapes from the last six months. Most are enlarged from plein air sketches done over the last couple of years.

The Beach Road at Palone. 90 x 110 cm, oil on linen.

Poggio delle Corti. 90 x 110 cm, oil on linen.

Dawn at Baratti. 70 x 90 cm, oil on linen.

Wheat Fields in the Senese. 80 x 100 cm, oil on linen.

Cemetery at La Pieve. 60 x 80 cm, oil on linen.

Le Balze, Volterra. 90 x 110 cm, oil on linen.

Volterra Sketches

Badia Camoldolese #1. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Here are some of my sketches from our plein air workshop near Volterra. We had good weather for the ten days, even if the wind was problematic at times. I find wind can be harder to work with than rain.

Badia Camoldolese #2. 30 x 40 cm, oil on panel.

The Fortress at Volterra, Dawn. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

The Fortress at Volterra, Midday. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Fragole e Baccelli. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Poppies in the Alfalfa. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Emma Studies. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.

The Era. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.

San Giusto #2, Volterra. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Villa le Rose Sketches

The walls at Villa Le Rose. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

Winter has set in and pushed me indoors so I’m currently enlarging the small sketches from this summer for shows next year. This was the last batch of Tuscan plein air sketches from the warm October we had there. They are all painted at the beautiful Villa le Rose property just south of Florence.

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