I am here on the island of Ischia in southern Italy, once again painting the spectacular La Mortella Garden. I was invited to paint here in the Fall of 2015, and now am painting the spring. It is like a new garden for me, the contrast between the two seasons is strong, and the paintings reflect this with blues, violets and yellows.
This garden was created by Sir William Walton, an English composer, and his wife, Lady Susana Walton, a grande dame from Argentina. The garden reflects the subtle English influence, flamboyant colors and tropical plants from Susana’s youth, and the site’s Mediterranean climate plants. The overall landscape design was by Russell Page. (http://www.lamortella.org/en/)
The garden has an international music concert season in both spring and autumn, and invites youth orchestras in summer. William Walton’s music seems to accompany me, the birds are in chorus all day: one pictured here is often in the studio with me.
With this body of work, I am thinking about FOCUS. When we look at something specifically, what surrounds it becomes hazy. Close up photography does the same. So rather than have the same degree of focus on the painting, I am experimenting with different levels of clarity. And as the hazy areas are pushed further pictorially, they become abstract. What I cannot see from afar, I can see up-close. And when I am far from the painting, I see things that I cannot see if I am looking at it up-close.
I invite you to look at my website where I will be posting these paintings and others as I progress in the residency which lasts two and a half months.