Rosanna Hardin Hall in Villa dell’ Artista

I am a plein air oil painter who encourages viewers to share the mystery of forms in nature. In my search for exotic locations, I walk great distances with small canvases and paint supplies.

At my destination, I search for views for dramatic compositions with patterns of sunlight and shade, shapes, space and drama. I paint fragile gardens in Pompeii, Venice, Rome and Lake Como. Chiaroscuro makes a garden: In early morning, cypress trees cast dark shadows on sun-drenched lawns. Afternoon best suits a villa at Lake Como when the intense sun hides behind a loggia and shines on the water.

Late orange light floods the desert clear to distant blue mountains. I compose dark rainforests with waterfalls, crooked trees and ginger blossoms. I explore shapes of desert cottonwood trees under the big blue sky. I discover intimate forms in my own Victorian garden.

Several techniques are designed to enhance my work. I capture magical sunlight and long shadows by using a black mirror; grind my own pigments; create thumbnail sketches, and use size-sighting. The mirror helps me adjust nature to oil paint temperatures and values. It tones down glare and allows colors to appear warm and cool, light to dark. The same type of mirror called the Claude Glass was used by artists before the mid-19th century. I grind my own dry earth pigments such as Carmine red, Veronese green and yellow ochre into linseed oil. Then I mix them on the palette into muted tertiary colors to simulate colors I see in the black mirror. After choosing a site to paint, I make my thumbnail sketches using bold shapes in charcoal and white chalk on grey charcoal paper. After I select one sketch, I use it as a guide as I draw in the composition on a small colored linen canvas. As I fine-tune the drawing, I use a technique of measurement called size-sighting. By that process, I align my canvas along side nature so that I draw shapes in the distant landscape onto the canvas in the same proportions.

I am influenced by Renaissance artists of Italy. In addition, 19th century Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot influences me through his mastery of plein air painting based on neo-classic draftsmanship and composition. He roamed the Roman countryside looking for Roman ruins and nature’s forms. Eighty years later, Paul Cezanne searched for nature’s geometric forms in rocks, streams and Mont Sainte-Victoire in Aix-en-Provence, France. I paint in good company as I share their search for nature’s Gardens of Paradise.

I am currently finalizing the manuscript for my book “Poesia: Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione” which will be published in 2017.


  • One-artist exhibit “In Search of Gauguin: Painting in the South Pacific” – May 2016
  • One-artist exhibit “The One Who Has Ruled the Longest Time – A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II” – September 2015
  • One-artist exhibit at Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hilbert Circle Theatre, 2014-15.
  • Indianapolis Hoosier Salon Christmas Show, 2014.
  • New Harmony, Indiana, Hoosier Salon exhibit show for three artists, 2014.
  • “Painting Indiana III: Heritage of Place”, published by Indiana Plein Air Painters Association, included with two paintings. Preview show at Indiana Landmarks, 2013.
  • Annual Hoosier Salon Exhibition, 2013.
  • Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, one-artist show, 2012.
  • One-artist exhibit at Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hilbert Circle Theatre, 2011.
  • IDADA Artists Exhibit (awarded Honorable Mention), 2009.
  • Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists, Office of the Lt. Governor, State House, 2007.
  • La Dolce Vita exhibit, Garfield Art Center, 2006.
  • Mayor Bart Peterson’s Office, Indianapolis, 2006.
  • Indiana Artists Club, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2006.
  • 75 Miles In Any Direction Exhibition, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Indiana, 2006.
  • Indiana NOW Exhibition, Lafayette Museum of Art, Lafayette, Indiana, 2006.
  • Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA) Member Exhibition, Indianapolis, 2005-2016.
  • Hoosier Salon Gallery, Indianapolis, 2003-2004 (Merit Award for Oustanding Work, Any Medium Traditional, 2004).
  • Faculty Show, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, 1996-1999, 2004.
  • “Art for Sale 2004,” Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2004.
  • Herron Alumni Show, Indianapolis, 2003-2004.
  • Hoosier Salon, 2004, merit award for outstanding work, any medium.
  • Villa dell’ Artista, 2003-2016

Education And Training

I received my education with an M.F.A. degree at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and a B.F.A. at the Herron School of Art and Design of Indiana University, Indianapolis.

I also attended and studied with:

  • Maryland Art Institute Summer Program in Sorrento, with Howie Weiss and Ellen Burchanal.
  • Dana Prescott, Temple University, Rome.
  • Pratt in Venice Summer Program, with Dicks Ruben, Diana Gisolfi, and Dimitri Hazzikostas.
  • Florence Academy of Art, Italy, with Daniel Graves.


Using my art education, I have written features, art criticism, and news for the Washington Star, Indianapolis Star and News, Santa Fe New Mexican, and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. My articles also have appeared in Artists of the Rockies, New Mexico Magazine, and The Honolulu Advertiser.

I have taught privately at my studios in Nambe, New Mexico and in Indianapolis. I also have offered classes to the public at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu Academy of Art, and the Indianapolis Art Center.

During my art studies at Herron, I helped produce David Letterman’s first talk show, “Cloverpower,” in Indianapolis, appearing as his guest several times.

Poesia: Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione, the memoirs of artist Rosanna Hardin Hall

This informative and entertaining book takes the reader on a journey through the artist’s remarkable life, sharing anecdotes and tales of travels, her Bohemian lifestyle in Paris, her passion for Classical Gardens and her love of Venice.

152 pages, beautifully illustrated, softback

Shipping is available for $6 within the continental United States

Available to purchase now by calling (317) 972-0898 or via email at rosannahhall@sbcglobal.net