An Autumn Feast

“An Autumn Feast” A drawing in Neocolor II pastels and Luminance pencils. 25.5 x 28 cm. November 2020

In November 2018 I visited Florence. Because I had spent the last few days in Venice (which is rather claustrophobic) I now needed to find nature – wide grassy slopes and trees. I headed for Giardino di Boboli. There I found spectacular views of Florence and the surrounding hills. Hardly any other people were about so it was perfect. The light was constantly changing with the passage of clouds. Eventually those marching clouds brought steady rain, trapping a cold me for a time under my umbrella.

Later I wandered over to the adjacent Giardino Bardini. Wherever I was, Filippo Brunelleschi’s enormous dome dominated the view. There is no ignoring Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. It is the last word in vast architectural statements!

Later that same day a fatigued me lamented in my journal, “I simply can’t experience everything. It’s all too much – like an enormous banquet of food is laid out before me but I’m only one person so cannot possibly eat it all. I will try a little here and a little there but when I’m done, so much food will be left untouched. Such is life”.

Seeing this journal entry reminds me of my overwhelmed state of mind – anxious over so much abundance. (Note to self: one must be thankful for the spiritual food one tastes rather than fretting over what is yet to be sampled.)

The undercoat stage in Neocolor II.

8 thoughts on “An Autumn Feast

  1. anna warren portfolio

    There is such a clarity to this drawing, which maybe is a strange thought considering the soft focus. It must be in the clear light that is falling on that impressive dome, such a proud feature, dominating the entire city below, yet looking very benign, a comfort to all the believers. It is the deceptive light that comes before a storm, which is what you describe.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      The strange clarity may result from something I did which was a bit unusual. I worked from two source photos of the same view (taken a second apart) – one was blurry and the other was sharp. So while I MOSTLY worked from the blurry one, I brought out a few details and highlights from the sharp source.

      And yes, with the cloudy day, the sun would appear for a second and then disappear again. Here it had momentarily alighted on the cathedral and made a patchwork on the hills.

      I realized after I had finished this drawing that it somehow reminded me of home; Wellington. Blue hills, moody sky and the yellow-y foliage in the foreground could almost be gorse in flower (which covers the Wellington hills).

      1. anna warren portfolio

        That’s so interesting, and I’m sure the dual reference played a part in the resultant quality of your drawing. Also, the temporary light on the cathedral would add to it too. Your soft images are what I see when I take my glasses off, so there is a kind of familiarity to them!

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        That’s funny – about when you take your glasses off! Ah yes – the dual references; well, I used the fuzzy source for the whole thing until I got to the very end. Then I realized that I needed to check out the in-focus photo. I had a very difficult time with the trees. Trees are way out of my comfort zone. I needed the in-focus picture mostly to help me to resolve those trees.

    2. lauraslittlecorner

      Dear Julie, I dunno why I cannot comment on the post, but I it was important to me your drawngs about Florence.
      Florence is in your paintings: I am from the Marche region, I have been going to Tuscany since I was two yrs old, traveling through Umbria. I have pretty good memories. After, I went back there many times… Then I went back and, in Florence, I bought a lot of artistic material and it is a wonderful city, with wonderful views. Hope you can go back to Florence and be safe and sound. Boboli is wonderful, as itis the Stibbert Museum and the Anima Museum. Your drawing still represents your hopes, your appreciation for lights, colors, while it also represents (IMHO) your fears. But maybe you should ignore the bad feeling Florence is a wonderful city. As always. I love these perfectly muted tones in your drawing. they are perfect.

      1. juliepodstolski Post author

        Hi Laura, It is always interesting when a person perceives an emotion in an art work that the artist herself is unaware of. In this case I am unaware of any sense of my fears in this piece. I don’t remember feeling fearful at all while I was in Florence. Perhaps now and then I felt a little lonely when I walked around by myself but generally I was quite happy there. I don’t have any lingering bad feeling at all about Florence, nor do I think I ever did.

        Did I mention to you that I also spent a couple of days and nights in Vernazza? That’s where we went after Rome. Currently I am working on a large and very complicated town-scape of Vernazza. I am enjoying it immensely but, as usual, I am doing it very slowly. I am sure it will take me until January 2021 to complete it. What a stunningly beautiful town Vernazza is! While I was there I walked and climbed until I could hardly take another step. It is so steep.

        So, while I physically sit at home in Western Australia, for this month my mind, eyes and hand (holding coloured pencils) are in Cinque Terre. It is almost as good as actual travel.

  2. Robyn Varpins

    What a delicious celebration of colour. The dark/light contrasts really vibrate. And the undercoat picture is surprisingly interesting by itself.


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