Painting Positano, By Jean Cauthen

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What memorable days I spent this summer capturing the light, color and illumination of this wonderful Italian village perched on a hillside, facing seaward.


 I am a landscape painter and teacher from the mountainous regions of North Carolina, USA.  My main experiences in landscape painting then, are depicting gently rolling hills, with their reddish clay undertones and the small town life there.  Therefore, I’m always eager to seek out new terrains, finding both the similarities and differences inspiring.  Also, I have had an ongoing love affair with all things Italian, having spent my infancy in Naples and returning yearly as an adult to teach landscape painting in the Chianti region.


One of the great joys of painting on location is the full absorption you experience when you engage in a visual conversation with a place.  It makes travel richer and painting an adventure.


I arrived in Positano with my friend, Kathy during unusually chilly weather and set up my easel on hilltops, under balconies and along the coast.  I often considered donning a sweater and sitting in a café for the day, sipping cappuccino, enjoying the lively parade of shoppers and tourists who pass.  There turned out to be plenty of time for kicking back in the evenings…and sampling the glorious wine and seafood in any of the little street side café’s.


As expected in any tourist town, resident artists set up seaside and rely on visitors to buy their original paintings.  These artists are understandably territorial, and it is important that the traveler/painter not appear to infringe on their market.  Also, seeking to avoid scenes that I may paraphrase as “clichéd,” it is better for me set up “off the beaten path,” and find my own slant on common themes.

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