Thursday, October 3, 2013

Greetings from Italia!

It's been a fast week in Italy.  First. A stop in Milan.  Then a wonderful time in northern Italy on lake Garda.   It's been foggy and overcast so when the sun breaks through we rejoice!
So I am learning my new IPad and trying to post photos.  If you want to paint along, here's a shot of the cloister.  Sorry there's no sun, but that is the life of a plein air. Painter!  Tomorrow. On to Venice where the nice man in our restaurant today said would have the same weather but hey, it's Venice!
Ciao for now!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 5: Red Sea

Red Sea
12 x 12

Couldn't let the week slip by without doing a poppy painting!  This one started as a demo for the Impressionist oil painting class on Tuesday.  Of course the scene is from a photo taken in Provence during a workshop there last May.  Not saying that every time I go to France or Provence that I see a poppy field, but have been fortunate to find them.  Now if you are interested in finding them too, please join me for Painting in Provence, May 27, 2014 for a week of painting and discovery of that lovely region!!  Registration is open now:  Register before November 30 and receive a discount!  
The name for this painting came from one of my grandgirls who said it looked like a sea of red!

Also, thanks for bearing with me on this monthly painting challenge! I just found out how to post on the 30 Day blog without posting to my blog every time!  So what I will do now, is upload several paintings and send out no more than once a week.  I like my friends too, but everyday in the mail box is a little much for me.  I hope this will work!

Happy September!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day 4: Day's End

Day's End
8 x 10

There is something quite somber about going to the Chickamauga National Battlefield and seeing the cannons and monuments.  When you read the accounts of the fighting there, you can only imagine what a hard and trying time that was for so many men and their families.  The Park, as we call it, adjoins my neighborhood so I travel through it almost every day.  This painting was done for the 6th Cavalry Museum ( exhibit "Lives and Lands of the Civil War" which is part of the commemoration of the Battle at Chickamauga. I did two more paintings which are different scenes of the area.  The exhibit opens Friday, Sept 6 4:00 - 7:00 pm and lasts until Oct 26.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 3: The Baudy Courtyard

Courtyard in France
12 x 12

For the third day of the 30 Day challenge:  This is a scene from the Baudy Hotel in Giverny, France.  I painted there a few years back while staying in the hotel just up the street from Monet's Garden and Home.  This is where the American artists stayed who had traveled to France in hopes of meeting and painting with Monet.  Today there is a restaurant in part.  I'm not sure if they lease rooms still or not, but it has a beautiful courtyard in the back and a studio where the artists used to work.  Watch for a few more paintings from this wonderful place!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Painting A Day

Jane Painting in the Olive Grove
oil on linen
16 x 20

Trying it again!  I am setting a goal of posting a painting a day for September.  May get a little tricky since I will be traveling a lot but hopefully I can do a sketch while on the road.  This painting is from a trip to Assisi, Italy.  Jane set up to paint in the shade, yes, it was warm that day!, and I loved the way her sundress slipped off her shoulder while she was painting.  I also love the twisted shapes of the old olive trees cascading down the hillside.  Awww, something about Italy keeps drawing me back!  I will return the end of the month to paint and play at Lake Garda in the lake district and then on to Venice!  
If you are a painter or sketcher, I plan to send back photos on my blog for you to enjoy so you will feel like you are on the trip with me!  They won't all be as complicated a scene like this and I will give you a few tips along the way about composition and cropping using photographs.  It will be the next best thing to being there!
Ciao for now!


Sunday, June 30, 2013


Florence Cafe

When you close your eyes, where are you? Are you still in your own environment surrounded by things that are familiar to you?  Or are you someplace where you have been where you remember the sights, sounds, and smells?  Maybe you can imagine a place you would like to go.  Is it very different from where you are?  What do you envision you will see?  What do you hear? Are you alone or around others?  Is the language the same as yours? Are you in a town or out in the country? Maybe at a beach or in the mountains?  Do you smell traces of flowers or freshly baked bread at a market?

There is something about experiencing a new place that has always drawn me to travel.  Perhaps you enjoy discovering new places, new sounds, and new foods?  Where would you go if you were given a trip?  There are places I have been where I would return.  Still others that I would like to visit.  

Part of the joy of being a teaching artist is helping others to record what they see in sketches or paintings.  It is like you can stop time for a moment and capture it all to yourself.  When you return and see your artworks you created, you can still feel the presence of the place.  You can close your eyes and imagine being there again, hearing the sounds, smelling the air,and feeling the heat, cold, or breeze.  

Let me know if you want to experience some of the places I will be going this year.  I would love to have you join me!

Plein Air Painting in Venice  October 5 - 12, 2013, contact: 
Painting in Provence  May 25-June 1,2014, contact:

Ciao!  or Au Revoir!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Feeling of Place

Luberon Valley
oil on canvas
24 x 30
Franklin, TN

This is a place that you wish you could close your eyes and return to the very spot.  This is Provence.  Lush  valleys with vineyards in their spring greens and red poppy fields scattered across the fields.  To the left, the village of Gordes sits perched on the hillside like icing on a GiGi cupcake.  Below, the distant view takes you down the farm road through the fields to the rolling hills beyond.  It's just what you can imagine and more.

I guess that feeling of wanting to be in a place so peaceful is what makes this one of my favorite paintings of late.  I hope you like it too.

Close your eyes.  You're there.


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Right Note

Sitting through (I mean enjoying) a piano recital last night, I couldn't help but think about the correlations between music and art.  Everyone starts as an amateur.  There are as many different ways to learn to play an instrument as there are to learn to paint.  The beginning students played one finger melodies while the more advanced and not necessarily older students played more complex pieces using both hands and more than one note at a time.  It was interesting to hear the interpretations of Fur Elise and Ode to Joy and a couple of Rachmaninoff classics.  

But what truly was the difference in the playing?  The beginning student searched for the "right" note, sometimes after hitting a sour one and would nearly always pause while playing to find that particular note leaving the tempo of the song only to start up again with passages he or she seemed to know better.  It was that "break" which intrigued me.  What does that have to do with painting?  Well, I can only say that beginning painters are very self conscious about mixing that right color or making that right shape.  They Know what the color should look like and where it should go, they just have to pause and try to mix it on their palette.  Then they panic if they can't get it or put something on the canvas that isn't what they wanted.  What happens to the rhythm of the painting?  After that one hang-up do they now speed through with ease on the rest?  Probably not.  They become consumed with fear that they won't be able to match the other colors.  OMG, people might be able to tell that they haven't painted for 30 years or studied at an academy!  The painting loses its freshness and becomes formulatic in placing color notes.  

If you listen to the more advanced students playing, you will become aware that they carry the melody and tempo of the music all the way through.  They play softly where it is needed, they increase volume or speed where it is needed.  The song sounds like a song.  It is not a broken ping, ping, ping,  It flows like the composer intended.  Do they hit any wrong notes?  Maybe.  Do you hear them?  Not so much.  You are listening to the music as it floats through the air.  You're not holding your breath hoping they don't  hit another wrong note.  It is the same with painting.  Do the real masters ever see something to improve in their work?  Absolutely.  They revise and paint over and start over.  But the results are the paintings hold together.  They show a style, tell a story, and make us believe we can see something three-dimensional on that flat canvas.  Sure, painters hit wrong notes once in a while.  But the true painters paint with passion and that's what makes us want to look at the paintings over and over, much like listening to a favorite song.

Spring is coming- I have lots going on with paintouts and shows.  I hope to see you there!


Sunday, January 20, 2013


French Courtyard
20 x 16
oil on museum quality board

OK!  I know I said I was painting 30 paintings in 30 days as part of http://www challenge for the month of January.  Admittedly, I am not up to 20 paintings that would be the total for today.  I have been painting nearly every day.  But due to sickness and then injury the first weeks of the month and (can I blame the rainy dark weather for some of this?)  I am just a little behind.  Hopefully now I am getting back into the swing of it.  I was able to photograph this painting today.  I have a few others who are in various stages of development that can be shot later this week including you guessed it, another poppy field!

This painting is from a tiny French village in Provence called Oppede that we visited and painted on our workshop in May.  Oppede had an interesting background with a fortified stone wall and a church that was up behind it on a hill.  Seems one of the major past times in olden days was to attack your neighboring village.  Then you had rulers who liked to tax everything and everybody.  Oppede started to fall into disrepair until artists and writers and others discovered its charm and began to restore the stone buildings and open businesses again.  I just know that I loved the architecture, blue shutters, and flowers that were there.  Thanks to Jackie with who hosted our group and took us to so many beautiful places.  And, I will give you a heads-up:  I am returning in May 2014 for another workshop and this time, an artist's retreat!  Watch for updates on my website  where you can sign up for my newsletter or check out my Fan Page on Facebook.  

So don't give up on me yet- I will see if I can put several photos in one post so you won't be getting something from me every day.  Then I will see if I can pin them to my Pinterest board that I made.  Wish me luck!

Hope the sun is shining where you are today!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

30 Paintings in 30 Days

Early Morning Market
20 x 16
Oil on museum quality board
I decided to challenge myself and sign up for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days on Leslie Saeta's blog: .  What was I thinking?  Today was Day One and I painted a 20 x 16!!  I'm not sure, but just looking at the others on the posts, I think most were 6 x 6 or something.  I just thought, here is an image from Provence I wanted to paint and I have ALL DAY.  Right?  Well, you know what happens when you think that!  Everyone including the cat needs you to do something for them.  Not to mention the house still needs a good cleaning from Christmas, but I won't go there.
Actually too, I changed the scene somewhat.  The cart in the front was folded material and not flowers.  Luckily I had photos of flowers in the markets that I could get ideas from. SO, it may need a little more twinkin' in a few days but that's it for Day One.
Stay tuned for the rest of the month!  I plan to travel through France and Italy with my images.  After all, I haven't painted Monet's Garden since I returned.
Happy New Year to you and yours.  I wish you a prosperous and healthy coming year.