Residency Series

The following paintings were made at Villa Il Palmerino, which is a residence located along the edge of Florence, Italy. As I worked as an instructor I lived at the residence, which included a large private garden. I decided to paint in the garden a series of paintings that would be somewhat experimental and exploratory. 

My idea was to paint outside during the arrival of spring with a total of 5 large scale canvases, each approximately one meter square. I would work on one painting for three hours each day, for two weeks. Then stop and move onto the next canvas to repeat the process, so that the paintings were worked on in succession.

Then, as I was to return the next year, I planned to continue each of the 5 paintings again in the same position at the same time of the season. So that in total each painting was worked on for 4 weeks but divided between the 2 years, and painted outdoors from direct observation.

I wanted to try this without an idea of how the paintings would look in the end, by painting during the new arrival of spring and not knowing what will come first . I was interested in working within the two week time frame, to observe nature and watch the repetition of movement in the shift of natural light and shadow. Trying to capture the rapid bloom and decay of blossoms and budding fresh leaves. As a result each painting has a different quality of looseness and some became more tight and complete than others. Yet each result is as natural as the perceived landscape.

Historically the property was owned by Violet Paget, who was a writer that wrote under the pseudonym, Vernon Lee. She was interested in the study of aesthetics and how we experience an attraction or not to one artwork or another. She also wrote ghost stories, meditations on gardens, and feminist pamphlets. I was inspired by her work and recognize the importance of her strength, as a female who worked creatively, despite the difficulties of equality she faced. She lived ahead of her time and by doing so has added to the opportunity that females have today.

More about Vernon Lee here in a recent article by, The Paris Review.