Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Plein Air Painting Workshop in Italy!

This September 8-15, I will be holding a Plein Air Workshop in Cortona Italy.  We are almost booked up, I think we have three spaces available.  So if you are interested, time is of the essence.  Below is the link to the workshop information.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:

Monday, March 27, 2017


The Process

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Taking Flight - Mixed Media on Panel - 30 x 40 inches

For those of you have been following my posts, I want to let you know there have been a few changes.  I will also be posting my abstract work and will be writing under the name Gina Rossi.  Several years ago, after moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I started changing my style of painting and everyone here referred to me by my nickname, Gina.  Rossi is my mother's maiden name and this is to pay homage to her artistic family.

I have taught for so many years that it is natural for me to show my process in my paintings.  I love to share and hope that light bulbs will go on in the heads of those who see the progress.  It is good to see how others make their work, but it can also be detrimental to some who don't use the information wisely.  It is easy to find work you like anywhere on the internet.  It is important to realize that you, the artist, should create your own process and develop your own style.  Making the work is where it all begins, but being creative with your work is essential to making you stand out among the zillions of artists out there.  It can be daunting.  Make no mistake, this is your job!  Whether you learn a new technique or develop your own you must keep in mind that you must be open to ideas and problems that present themselves as you work.

In my non-objective work which I will focus on in this newsletter, there is something I have done since the mid 70's.  I create and I destroy and from that destruction comes a new way to look at the painting that I am working on and it forces me to develop new techniques or strategies to complete the work.

When I was teaching, I often found that people became incredibly attached to their work.  They would paint a passage and think, wow, that is could I make it all look as good?  So, what do they do?  They paint around that wonderful passage.  I would suggest, that 99% of the time, this is not a good strategy.  This will most often make a pretty bad painting.  You need to actually take that beautiful passage out!  You have done it and you will be able to do it again.  Maybe not on the current painting, but it will happen somewhere, sometime on another artwork.  You must not let this idea of "preciousness" stop you from discovering and re-discovering new ideas and simply put, just making a good artwork.

This process that I use has worked well for me.  It gives me opportunities that I would not have had if I had not been willing to let that preciousness go.  Not only that, I can actually destroy it again or sell it or give it away.  I am not attached.  It is the process that is the most important thing.

As I create and destroy, the work becomes rich, multilayered and has Pentimento which mean, according to this site:
  1. Painting. the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over. Origin of pentimento Expand. 1900-1905. 1900-05; < Italian, equivalent to penti(re) to repent (< Latin paenitēre to regret) + -mento -ment.  It has a history of layers. 
It gives me opportunities in the destructive stage to figure out the problem of ordering chaos.

Some coincidences just blow me away.  As I was posting this work on Facebook, the Robert Genn newsletter came out.  They titled that newsletter, Ordering Chaos.  So, you can see, it is nothing that I have invented, it is what many artists do in their process.

Although Robert Genn used different words, it all means the same.  I paraphrase here calling working in this way as seeing the work holistically.  It is an all at once focus.  It allows the work to materialize rather than develop out of areas of calculated rendering.  He said working in this way allows you to be guided by the work.  Some artists will use the term "the artwork speaks to me".  This is a natural way in which I work.  For some, it may have to be learned.

I had a friend who told me that what she would do is work on a print all morning, pin it up and go to lunch.  Upon her return, she would walk into the studio, careful not to look at the work.  She would position herself with her back to the print.  Then after a minute, she would abruptly turn to look at the work hoping to see it in a "fresh" way.  Some artists engage in critiques.  This is great if you can disassociate yourself with the work.  The artists in the critique will look at the work with a "fresh eye" making it easy for them to see what needs to be done.  Sometimes, nothing needs to be done.  It is a valuable exercise.

Below, I have attached some photos of the stages I went through with the work posted above. And, if you would like to see close ups, you can go to my new site:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5 (the final stage)

In the final analysis, I felt the work needed darkening and also oriented horizontally.  It just seemed to work better in my mind.

If any of you have questions, please feel free to email me at my email address:  If you like what you have read, pass it on to others and encourage them to send me an email with their email address so I can add them to my subscribers list.  

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Desert Mountain View Studio Painting


This is a recent oil painting done on canvas.  It is 24" x 36".  I love painting desert paintings.  There can be so much drama and I hope that I have captured that and done justice to this area near Tucson, Arizona.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



I went up to the mountains as soon as I thought there would be color.  I went with two friends, all of us plein air painters and studio painters.  It is always fun to get out in the fresh air.  It was cold.  I was under a tree to give shade to my palette and panel.  I have a hard time understanding the color if my palette and panel are lit up.  I just can't see anything!  I chose this scene because it was simple.  It is hard to get all that amazing color and foliage into one little rectangle but I think I made a good effort.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Over the holiday weekend, I and my friend Holly decided to do a little bit of plein air painting.  She had rented an adorable cottage very close to this spot.  The day was perfect.  The light, not too hot, a tree to stand under - what more could one ask for!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Painting in New Mexico is such a treat.  There are so many beautiful hidden places to paint but there are also very well know places like the view of Cerro Pedernal.  Georgia O'Keeffe Comes to mind when I think of someone famous who painted the scene.  Of course, I just had to do it myself.  Below is the photo of Georgia O'keffee's interpretation and then below that is mine.

Painting by Georgia O'Keeffe

Next is a painting I did of the same area many years later!

Painting by Judith D'Agostino

Friday, June 08, 2012

Rain in the desert - usually just virga!


This little oil painting (11" x 14") was done recently.  It really typifies the wonderful clouds we get here in Santa Fe.  I am always amazed at the sky.  In fact, I find myself wondering why I even bother with the land but I then realize, what makes the sky so stunning is what is also below it.  So, I continue to paint land and sky.  In this case, very little of the high desert land was necessary.  Hope you like it.  It is available at Arroyo Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.