What is it about some summer nights that stay in our memories long after they’re over? Many possible rational reasons come to mind, but it’s more fun to stick with the mystical romantic notions! Especially when there’s art to make!
I selected a photo for my next Mini Vacation piece that was part of a very memorable summer night in 2009. Our family was staying at a hotel in Umbria that served suppers out on its terrace beneath a billowing tent lit up with sparkling lights. We arrived on the terrace just as dusk was starting – the scene was magical. Our son was the only one smart enough to have brought a camera to dinner, and he snapped dozens of photos of the terrace, the dusk, the eventual sunset, and our dinner as each course arrived. We had the evening on the terrace all to ourselves, and we laughed and savoured the good food and company. This piece is taken from one of my son’s photos.
I must confess that when I started painting this piece, I had my mind on all kinds of other things – stress stuff. I wasn’t attuned to the good feelings the image held, and I couldn’t get into the usual flow state I have when drawing or painting. I began to make mistake after mistake, and became so flustered I put the piece on the trash pile. That night my husband and I went out for dinner and sat outside on a terrace at a local restaurant, under twinkling lights and warm breezes – probably the best night of this summer so far. The next morning I went into the studio and looked at the piece again, and the memory of that Umbrian night was all I saw. With that evening clearly present in my head and heart, I went back to work on it, fixed the mistakes, and now this piece is one of my new favourites.
Ah, the transcendent power of summer nights, you say? Absolutely! But also, for you creators out there, the transcendent power of staying connected to the story and feelings that belong with the art piece. In the making of this new Mini, “Begonias at Dusk”, I’m grateful for having experienced, and hopefully learned from, both.