Abstract Landscapes - Burgundy

Trixie Pitts_Chambolle Musigny_2013_Oil,Graphite_48x48inches

Chambertin, Clos de Beze  2013    Oil, Graphite on Canvas    48 x 48 inches         

After spending some time recently in Burgundy, France I felt inspired to try my hand at some abstract landscapes, which I haven't done in a few years having been focusing on totally nonrepresentational abstracts.  My goal is to paint how I like to paint - without any preconceived plan basically as to how the painting will progress, just letting the painting happen - but with the slight modification of having a specific image in mind.  What I don’t want to do is get into the trap of basically just coloring in a drawing.  But, sometimes an image sticks in my mind of some experience that affected me strongly and I want to do something somewhat representational, but still expressive.

What I have been doing for these abstract landscapes is to start the same as I always do, with a big loose underpainting of white, and then just going for it.  Once I find myself beginning to focus more on the idea than the paint, I stop.  So far I have done three.

Chalonnaise Chateau in Winter 2013 oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches  

Chalonnaise Chateau in Winter was challenging to do with the technique because of all the architecture.  I really didn’t want to get too realistic and to keep feeling the paint as I painted rather than the specifics of the image.

Haute Côte de Nuits, Winter  2013 acrylic, graphite on canvas 36 x 36inches 

 I did Haute Côte de Nuits, Winter in acrylics to see if I preferred the feel rather than oils.  Basically I like both. But, I prefer oils.  I like switching to acrylics every so often because it kind of prevents you from getting into too much of a groove where it becomes too easy to miss spontaneous happenings.  

Some people think winter has little color but I found Burgundy to have the most beautiful subtle colors everywhere, softened further by the misty grey sky.  It was unbelievably beautiful!

The fourth painting in this series of Burgundy paintings is Fenêtre au Ciel (Window to Heaven).  It is loosely based on a window on the side of the ancient Basilique Ste-Marie-Madeleine, a beautiful old stone Benedictine abbey sitting at the top of the steep hill in the town of Vezalay. The ancient stone façade’s scars from its attacks in the French Revolution were covered with a thick coating of beautiful moss of an electric color in the wintery misty grey light, adding to the otherworldly feeling of the whole place. 


Fenêtre Au Ciel 2013 oil on canvas 30 x 30 inches

After returning to Burgundy in the late spring, the colors had changed somewhat.  Mainly, wherever there were not young vines, there were the most beautiful fields of rapeseed plants.  The color of the fields contrasted with a big often stormy sky was awesome!  Around every bend in every road there seemed to be such beauty.


Road To Ladoix 2013 oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches

Trixie Pitts_Road to Chateauneuf-en-Auxois in Late Winter_2013_Oil_30x54 inches

Road To Chateauneuf 2013 oil on canvas 30 x 60 inches

originally published: April 20, 2013                     

© Trixie Pitts 2009