Loro Ciuffenna, Italy
When I took these photos, I had just arrived in Italy for the first time. I didn't have a vision yet. At least not one that I could see.
I had a feeling in my heart, though. It was more of a longing, really. A longing for something I couldn't put my finger on was driving me to seek something I could not see.
What? I didn't know.
That's why I was there, in Italy ~ to discover it.
One of the first places I visited was a village called Loro Ciuffenna. Rising from a deep ravine from Etruscan times, this labyrinth of stone streets, bridges, and doorways did not disappoint.
Like a little girl in an amusement park, I explored with my artist's eye behind the lens of my cell phone camera. As usual, looking at the photos back in the apartment, I wondered why I took them. It took me four years to find out.
Reviewing them with a stepped back vision, I see the thing. The thing I went in search of when my heart felt that longing. Saturated colors, portals at every turn ~ my life and paintings have become me ~ and I them.
A garden on every wall, embraces every doorway. Eye candy, and yet something more.
Each one interpreted as if it were a dream, I cannot avoid the realization of the integral importance of structure. Without the ravine, the bedrock rising up from it ~ there are no portals. And certainly no garden.
Yet I have been trying to avoid my ravine. I've been looking for another life, instead of building on the one I have. All those 'issues' together create the bedrock.
As if the Creator handed each one to me, and I placed them one by one in a wall. Then the choice appeared right in front of me. See only the rock wall? Or see it as a portal?
The choice is always there waiting for you.
Out on a ledge? Step down and hold on tight.
Hold Faith in your hand, for she is the one who brought you here.
You believe in something greater than yourself.
Believe that it resides within you.
Is the door barred?
Or is it a restaurant that will open for dinner?
It's your dream, you get to choose.
Dorothy Fagan paints colorful landscapes and abstract floral oil paintings. Painting in Virginia for 40 years, Fagan is now inspired by travelling abroad. Artist residencies in France and Italy, inspire her to reach beyond landscapes to explore people and architecture. These new explorations add new structures, seen in linear details and fresh abstract approach to painting.
Now it just so happens that as I culled through my photographs, an overwhelming attraction I had near the end of my first trip came back to inspire a painting. Near the end we visited Venice. And the images of festive people in the streets backlit with the sunset stayed in my mind's eye.
It is not so much a visual vision, as it is a feeling. I feel the glow of them milling about, joyful in the pleasure of simply being there in such a magical state.
It is THIS feeling that found it's way back to me. The thing that I sought to find, saturated my palette and invigorated me. I think you can see it in the mixed media painting.
I cut loose with a big fat stick of willow charcoal and drew from my heart. It felt good to release all that pent up energy. I've been holding it back for a long time.
Standing beside it I can feel it pulsing. My heart beats in sync with the strokes and colors.
It activates something deep inside me. And that is the illusive thing I sought to find. Speaking from the heart ~ the truth ~ my artistry now has purpose.