This painting took me almost 18 months to complete.
Not continuously. I worked on it off and on, sometimes taking gaps of 3, 4 and 5 months without looking at it or touching it.
I drew this ambitious 12″ x 15″ piece in mid-February 2020, thinking it would be painted in a month or so – with time to spare for my first scheduled art show of 2020 in May. But like the rest of the world, my attention quickly turned to the development of the pandemic and I momentarily set the piece aside.
As we locked down in mid-March 2020, I resumed work on it, deciding to start painting as a way to escape the scary news and move forward with hope that this-too-shall-pass. And what better escape than to gorgeous Positano Italy! A place of outrageous beauty and a place where I’ve made many memories. But as the pandemic news out of Italy in March grew more horrifying, I couldn’t paint this piece without becoming very sad. So I put it aside again before I’d even made a healthy start. And it would stay covered up in a corner of my studio for almost 5 months.
For the remainder of 2020 and the first half of 2021, I would make several efforts to resume its painting, but I couldn’t stick with it for long. I’d switch back to completing smaller work and miniatures, probably because they weren’t so daunting… and this large piece was definitely daunting. I simply wasn’t up for any more daunting stuff because the world was providing enough of that.
I had expected throughout the pandemic that I would easily escape into my painting of places I love, and I’d be super-productive. But that didn’t happen at all. I wasn’t aware of how much the ACTUAL travel energized my work and fuelled me to get into the studio to create. It’s been a significant learning.
So, how did “Positano” get finished?
I got a sign of real hope – my husband got on a plane and flew to Italy this summer for an extended holiday. (Previous commitments didn’t allow me to go with him.) The first photos he sent back to me showed a more “normal” Italy and his trip made me see that travel (with care and respecting rules) was possible. And that maybe more normal times were just around the corner. So I dug “Positano” out of the corner, picked up my paintbrushes and joyfully completed it within 3 weeks – even experimenting with a different vignette composition!
By now, you’re probably wishing I had written about a funny experience in Positano or my Top 10 recommended restaurants. I know that the interior stories about how art gets made can be dull, so as a good Canadian, I apologize if this wasn’t my “usual” blogpost content.
But when I look at this painting – as much as I love it and Positano – I see the journey to paint it over these last 18 months – the escape, the struggle, the beauty and the hope. It’s all there.
Thanks for your patience!
For purchasing inquiries, contact me directly. And I’m happy to say that this piece will be exhibited in person on August 21-22 at the Riverdale ArtWalk Show and Sale.
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