Painter Tina Oršolić Dalessio says of her approach to her work in general and to this week’s cover, “The Landscape Painter” in particular: “I try to keep it simple and sincere, responding to the beauty around me with authenticity. I work with my brain as much as I do with my heart. It’s a blessing to be able to call this my job and I’m very thankful to everyone who has given me their support in the process.”
Dalessio is currently based in Florence, Italy, where she recently celebrated her graduation from the Florence Academy of Art. She notes that “the revelry that followed the ceremony” was the highlight of her summer.
Are you yourself sometimes a painter on the beach?
In the summers, I’m often a painter on the beach. Yet, the story I was trying to tell with this painting is about the painters’ capacity and privilege to work and exist in harmony with nature. While creating our works out there, exposed to the elements and constantly changing effects, we have to be respectful and observant of nature’s greatness, variety and beauty. We’re giving ourselves fully when we work, mentally and physically. For me personally, there’s immense beauty and satisfaction in being a part of this intense process that rests on devotion, meditation, focus and humility. In a nutshell, that’s the story behind “The Landscape Painter.” It’s a story about the rewards, rather than the difficulties, of our trade.
What was the particular inspiration for this piece?
My husband, Marc Dalessio, the main subject of this painting. He’s my soulmate, my best friend and my biggest support. He’s also my huge inspiration on a professional level, being one of the best landscape painters working today. I’d been looking to paint him all summer, doing his thing. On the day “The Landscape Painter” was created, his choice of position, below the cliffs of Shadmoor State Park, provided me with just the right view.
Now that summer is winding down, what are you planning for the fall?
I’m looking forward to some more landscape painting trips—mainly a road trip through Spain and Portugal, and later one to Sicily. When the weather gets less friendly for painting outside, and the colors start to fade, I look forward to working on some larger pieces, portraits and still-lifes in my studio.
What are some of your favorite places on the East End?
There are so many beautiful and inspiring spots on the East End—the one I particularly enjoyed this summer was Ditch Plains in Montauk. There’s a sense of wildness and mystery to it.
What do you think the significance of painting is for contemporary society?
Raising awareness of how beautiful, precious and fragile the world we live in is. Through my paintings, I’m trying to capture the beauty around me. While acknowledging the privilege of being able to live it fully in this moment in time, I hope to show how much there is for humanity to care for and preserve.
We are all facing a defining moment in human history: we may either continue with the degradation of our environment and the destruction of our only home, or we may act together and change our ways. Contemporary artists, I believe, have their own unique role to play in that sense.
Where’s the most unusual place your work has appeared?
I’m a young artist, who just finished her formal training, so I would say the cover of your magazine! It came as a wonderful surprise and I’m very grateful and honored for it.
If you could sit down to coffee with any artist from history, who would it be and what would you talk about?
So many! To name a few, I would love to have a chat with Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida and ask him how on earth did he pull off those breathtaking large scenes from life, painted en plein air. How did he deal with moving subjects and rapidly changing effects? I would love to discuss his process and materials. I would also love to talk to John Singer Sargent, about everything—from his superb techniques to his personal life. I would love to talk to Victoria Dubourg and Henri Fantin-Latour about their outstanding floral still-lifes and ask them how they addressed the ever-changing beauty of a flower.
I would love to have a chat with Isaac Ilyich Levitan, who was so incredibly talented and who died way too young. I would love to talk to Ilya Repin about his work and mainly the portrait of his friend, Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin—the painting that brings me to tears every time I see it. I would be thrilled to have a day painting en plein air with Edward Seago, learning from this master of subtlety.
It would be wonderful to talk to Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowicz about her exquisite and powerful self-portrait holding her palette and brushes. Self-portraits are so hard, as they require intense introspection, as well as impartial observation. As a result, one usually faces many demons during the process. I would love to hear first hand about Antonio Mancini’s paint application and method. As well as Mary Stevenson Cassatt’s, perhaps while posing for her over a cup of tea.
Where can our readers see more of your work?
My works are currently being shown at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor. A more extensive collection of images of my paintings can be seen on my Instagram profile: @tinaorsolicdalessio