Autumn Reflections from a Tuscan Studio

Molino, Autumn 2014

It has been a wet autumn here in Tuscany, and that following a very wet summer. Italy has been inundated by November’s storms adding to the heaviness of an already disastrous olive harvest. Makes for a slightly maudlin mood for the locals. Rainy weather means more time for me in the studio, happily working away… of course, on my newest water paintings.

Our house was originally constructed 500 years ago as a mill, but not to grind flour. Instead the river Ciuffenna’s water was harnessed to turn machinery that somehow processed wool for felt. That medieval machine worked away hundreds of years ago in a large space under our bedroom, in the oldest part of our house. It is in this room that I work on my paintings now.

Murphy takes a taste

The Ciuffenna cascades down a series of three man-made waterfalls located in a ravine next to our home. The normally pleasant sound of the river coursing turns to a roar when there is a big rain, a thrilling energy to have nearby. In this house, you can imagine, I have many and marvelous dreams of water.

October ended with some fabulous autumn days, but that was to be short-lived. We did manage a day hike into the Pratomagno Mountains where we had a tranquil picnic by one of Ciufenna’s tributaries. All the while my mind was in the waters, becoming nostalgic for blue water horizons…

My father’s parents from Germany visit us for the first time. Laguna Beach, 1968. I’m the little one, and having the most fun…?

Being a So Cal girl, I’ve always been close to the sea. My parents enjoyed taking us for picnics no matter what time of year. It was there in Laguna Beach at an early age where I began my communion with the sea….

More fun at the beach.. Me, my father, and my sister. I’m sure my father sent numerous copies of this pic to my relatives in Germany, gloating over the November sun in California…

November sun is eluding us here in Tuscany, so I’ve conjured it up with color in my studio. Welcome to my World….

“Cleopatra’s Baths” being completed in the Studio
“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths” Lahaina Galleries 47″x36″
Blue water Bliss: Cleopatra’s Baths on the Turquoise Coast

Blue water Bliss indeed. My weeks spent on the Turquoise Coast two years ago have inspired numerous paintings and an infinite opportunity to explore variations of blue in a painting.

Oh to be back in the water! It’s days like this when skies are gray that I yearn to be immersed and refreshed. Those days will come again, I am sure, but for now I am painting away in the gray….

“Lake Como Contemplation I ” Lahaina Galleries

The quiet calm of Lake Como’s waters provides a wonder of reflections. Ancient Roman villas on tranquil waters with graceful gardens that beckon contemplation.

“Lake Como Contemplation II” Lahaina Galleries

Bella Toscana does have its brilliant blue skies, and that is reflected in my “Autumn Reflections, Bagno Vignoni”. Gorgeous light on a gorgeous location south of Siena, the ancient baths still produce their healing waters.

“Autumn Reflections, Bagno Vignoni” Lahaina Galleries

How many shades of blue: the search continues… with a joy and delight of communing with that most fundamental of the elements.

Mediterranean Reflections 24″ x 12″ Lahaina Galleries
"Vintage Crystal Cove" oil painting 30"x40" Lahaina Galleries
“Vintage Crystal Cove” oil painting 30″ x 40″ Lahaina Galleries

The Sea continues to inspire new paintings from my earliest memories. Crystal Cove and a sunset by the Pacific. Water has always called to me, and to water I will always return.

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