My husband and I rented a villa in Tuscany and I brought along my pastel box and my pochade box which took up almost my entire suitcase. My thought is if I took the time to bring my supplies, it would force me to get outside and do some sketching in pastel. We stayed in Cortona, coincidentally right next door to Bramasole, the Under the Tuscan Sun house. Our villa was on a hillside with beautiful views so I didn't have to go far to find a nice spot for inspiring views. I was nervous because I hadn't picked up my pastels in almost a year. The last time I worked in pastel was last October, Columbus Day weekend when I took a wonderful workshop with Casey Klahn. The day that the workshop ended, my dad became ill, went into the hospital and he died a few days later. This has been a tumultuous year trying to settle his estate plus the normal grieving process.
So .... happily, but nervously I picked up my pastels in Italy and started working. The top photo is how I like to start my pastel pieces, just large shapes and a watercolor under painting. This piece ended up somewhat of a disaster and was wiped off the board a day later.
This is actually my third piece, which was right across the street from our villa. I stood on the side of the road and looked down into the valley. My photo doesn't show too many variations in the landscape but there were many shapes of trees and shades of green. The larger house on the left is owned by a watercolor artist who was teaching a class while I was drawing her house. It was too far away to see, I learned this when she walked up the hill and talked to me later on. Her students were looking at me in binoculars because they thought I was one of their artist friends!
This piece needs a little more work so I am finishing it in my studio.