When it comes to painting Tuscany I’m presented with a dilemma. I’m more used to the verdant mountains of the Umbrian landscape as opposed to the bronzed hills of Tuscany. This means I’ve had to sit down and set out my palette with a little more thought than normal.
The Tuscan landscape is full of tones of orange, terracotta and of course it’s own ubiquitous burnt sienna. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its fair share of greenery.
The fields and hills around Montecucco are full of trees, bushes and scrub-land but there’s a little more formality to the Tuscan plan. The fields around the farmhouse have a regimented feel to them, a sort of quilted comfort of olive groves, vineyards and orchards.
There is a natural earthiness to the landscape, with the green of the various agricultural landmarks under pinned by the rich sienna soil. The painting features the bright luscious grasses in the foreground, freshly tilled fields and sap green wooded copses.
The colours also tip a nod to the Early Renaissance painters who walked the area, painting their subjects. There is the presence of the lapis blue commonly found in the skies of the grand masters, as are the ruby reds and florescent purples. Although these tend to be reserved for the garments of the religious figures depicted in the frescoes.
In this case the cool blue sky is enhanced with a dramatic sunset, when the Tuscan sky comes to life with a rainbow of colour. The horizon burns bright with fiery yellows, gorgeous oranges and pastel pinks, fringed with the purples and violets of nights on set.
The natural hues of the Tuscan hills is constantly accented by an array of brightly painted buildings. The greens and browns are highlighted with subtle shades of mustard in the villages, golden brown churches and yellowed palaces. There are dark, rusting farm out houses and strange distant towers, all adding splashes of intensity to the winter shades.
Fifty shades of Tuscany is not without its stories and one look across the vista and you can see that this is a land that, if it spoke, could shock and arouse you. A walk down the winding lanes, over the ancient bridges and through the musty woods is all you need to feel its history. This is anything but grey.