Thursday, December 12, 2013


Lulu  8x8 oil on museum board

I did this painting for my friend, and fellow dog enthusiast, artist Steve Cook.
Earlier this year Steve captured a wonderful memory
in paint for me of Robi and I riding on the ferry
from Sicily to the Italian mainland.  I wanted to say thank you 
by painting his puppy Lulu for him.
I just loved this photo of her, in her 'bling' on the beach,
enjoying herself.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Green Cabin

Green Cabin  8x8 oil on board

There is a campground near my house with small cabins for rent painted
in different colors.  Most of the people that visit are Dutch, who 
find summer and fall in Burgundy quite warm.

The green one really caught my eye against the colorful leaves.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kronenbourg Beer

Kronenbourg Beer  5 x 7 oil on museum board

There's a little cafe down the street from my house where
the locals like to hang out. I love the Kronenbourg beer sign
and see it often.
Produced in Alsace it has over 40 per cent of the market share in France!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sports Center

Sports Center 8x8 oil on museum board

No matter where I go in the world, some things never change!

The season is here!  I hope all my stateside friends
enjoyed Thanksgiving (and football). I've just returned from
a wonderful break stateside for a family wedding.
I really enjoyed seeing everyone.
What would I do without the internet and Skype?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Value to Color

Some of you might agree that one of the most stressful things
 about moving is finding a new hairdresser.
It can be a nightmare that comes back to haunt you
like my bad perm back in the day.
When she asked me to stand up and then only cut one side of my hair I knew I was in trouble.
The good news is that my roots aren't gray anymore:)
They're black, or dark brown.  I should say 'they were' because I've already gone elsewhere
to fix the problem.
You KNOW it's bad when your husband notices!!!
It was one of those things that got lost in translation....

So what does it have to do with painting?
It really highlighted (no pun intended) just how important value, hue and temperature are.
Value being the very most important thing even if it's not as exciting as color.
When I'm having trouble with a painting it is usually with the value.
It's not quite as easy to spot on a canvas as it is on your head,
but a piece of red plexiglass to view the painting through
can work wonders to help you figure out the problem.

This is how a few of these value studies turned out in color:

Thanks for viewing my paintings.  I welcome and appreciate your comments and questions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do Breaks Help?

My painting I bought from Dreama:)

Some of you know I had a whirlwind summer with back to back workshops with Ovanes Berberian and Dreama Tolle Perry. (Both fabulous artists and teachers). It was a heady mix of extreme color boot camp overlade with brushstroke abandon.

Afterward I continued to twirl my way across a rainbow palette like a giddy grade school-er on ice skates for the first time, dancing to disco. It was euphoric but a little like eating all the icing and forgetting about the cake.

To fully learn something, I believe it's best to go all in, (you might have noticed).The more you immerse yourself the more you'll get in return. The method of my madness is to practice a new skill until you can naturally incorporate it into your work more effortlessly. For example, I always try to break up my canvas into unequal areas. I feel it creates more interesting shapes, it appeals to me more and is a basic principle for creating a good composition. Now I don't consciously think about that when I paint, it's almost like second nature.

Did I say too much icing on my cake? Hard to imagine I know. But now I'm evaluating just how much I want to add to my creative diet and evaluating what direction to head next. Every small break, whether it's a weekend or moving, is an opportunity to start over again and for me getting back to basics is a great way to do that.

I really love the drawing process and decided to begin with 3 or 4 thumbnail sketches of each scene followed by a value painting. Most of the problem solving is done in this phase and then I'm free to jump into the painting more intuitively. I especially like working from a black and white reference and allow the color harmony to develop on the palette.

The learning continues and the color adventure is a life long project fueled by personal preferences. The opportunities for improving painting skills are endless and it's my feeling we should do this as often as we can. Workshops, breaks, changing locations, seeing things with beginner's eyes, making a fresh start are all helpful in developing a rich and unique creative life. More cake anyone?

How I've been working things out:

Thanks for hanging in there with this extra long post. I appreciate your time, your comments and welcome
your questions.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Colorful Crosswalk

Colorful Crosswalk  8x8 oil on museum board

This was one of those paintings that was pure pleasure to
create.  Except at the very end when it fell
face down onto my palette.
#@%! happens.

I figured it was meant to be and that the repairs
actually worked out to make the painting better!

I feel like some of the things I've learned this year
are starting to show up in my painting.
In my next post I'll go into more detail about what I'm
doing to help make things 'click':)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cote D'Or

Cote D'Or  8x8 oil on museum board

 This is the time of year in Burgundy when the magic happens.
I'm not talking about Halloween, I'm talking about the wine harvest.
The vines show off their fall colors and is why this area in Burgundy
 is called Cote D'Or, the Gold Coast.
Each village celebrates with a wine tasting and lots of discussion
about how good the wine will be from this harvest.
It does look like a promising year for the wine with a wet spring and a long dry fall
that forces the wine to struggle to survive.

Robi and I have really enjoyed these long warm afternoons and wish they could last forever!

Friday, October 25, 2013

At the end of the day

"Happiness is found in friendships we make along the way."
Where shall I start?

To my good friends near and far, I couldn't have made it through this move without you. 
And special thanks to those who came to visit (three different sets of them) and help me re-acclimate to my French life.  I couldn't have indulged in all the laughter,
the decadent cuisine, the incredible desserts, foie gras, meursault , chocolate, award winning macaroons
 all by myself now could I?
After all, what are friends for?
Thanks for the calories, I mean, memories!

Now it's time to, squeeze back into my work britches.
It must have been the French who invented sans a belt pants.

At the End of the Day 6x6 oil on museum board

I loved the quiet intimate mood of this couple.  I can only guess what they were discussing. You might be about to tell whether you're a optimist or a pessimist by what you think they are saying.

I worked on this painting in the morning but wasn't satisfied with it and moved on to
something else. Just when I was about to clean up for the day I decided to pull
it back out and do a "make it or break it" maneuver.
I had a few colors left on my palette and some nice gray mixes.  I went back into
the painting, eliminated all the fussy detail, and kept what I felt was essential.

 I can only speculate on this couple's conversation and it was the same with the
painting process. I took a gamble and gave it a shot. In this
case I like what happened at the end of the day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Say Cheese

Say Cheese  6x6 oil on museum board

Each of these cows has a unique look and personality.
This big girl came running up to me with a big smile
on her face, practically begging me to paint her!
Say Cheese!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Loved Ones

Two in the Brush  6x6 sold

I always miss my paintings when they are sold but the
beauty is in knowing they have found a good home where
they are loved! 

Now that I'm resettled in France and surrounded by my
cow friends, you can count on seeing alot more of them:)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Morning Smiles

Morning Smiles 12 x 12 oil on museum board

These colorful flowers brought a smile to my face
this morning.
They seemed to be dancing in the sunlight.
Happy, happy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Meet the Neighbors

Meet the Neighbors  8 x 16 Oil on Canvas

Slowly but surely I'm getting more settled everyday in France.
That means I have more time and energy to paint!

I wanted to introduce you to my neighbors. They were
practically begging me to do this family portrait.
Robi and I met these guys just about a mile away from our
house when we decided to head down a new trail
we hadn't explored before. 

As I've said before, new inspiration waits around
every corner.
Ahh, France!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Just Up The Road

Just Up The Road  5 x 7 oil on museum board

Every where I go I am inspired to paint.  I think I could find
about 50 thousand paintings within 5 kilometers of my home.
Just up the road from me the beautiful morning light
was hitting the unusual blue door ahead and 
it took my breath away.
That feeling of "oh,wow" is what inspires me.

Only in France:
Moving in has been much more chaotic than expected and
I've had to spend alot of time on co-ordinating repairs since the house
has been empty for the past six years- and with my French-
that takes a while.

One of the things we needed was a new gate and I wanted one
where Robi would be able to see out of. After stopping by the
'portail magazine' (gate store) it was agreed that a
salesman would stop by the next morning to take a measurement and
decide on a final design.  He arrived promptly at 9:30 and within 5 minutes
all the details were straight so I asked if he would like a cup of tea- in my best French.

Of course he would, he loves tea and most people here only drink coffee, he tells me.
So I offer a Madeline as well which he graciously accepts, and we continue to
chat over breakfast about my cow paintings, the back lighting, the French life, followed by 
all things about the portail business and his philosophy on customer service.
Delightful! Only in France:))))
Could there be a better French lesson?

Monday, September 30, 2013

View From Epertully

What does a Maltese taxi driver, road signs, and caution have in common?
Absolutely nothing!

After the white knuckle drive, my friend Jeni Caurana and I needed some time to 
unwind and recover from PTS syndrome.
There's nothing like a few French lunches and some time painting plein air to
set things right again.
Robi is hanging out and loving the wet grass.  Does he have on a leash?
Some of you might be wondering.  I left it on for his protection.
We are in the middle of Charolais cow country and those big
mommas can be very protective of their babies.
They wander around the fields all day and if they get too close I
can grab Robi before they do!

You might recognize the bush on the right side of my painting
from the bush on the left in the photo above.  In Malta, that
would have definitely been a tree. Can't imagine two places that are
more different.
View From Epertully 9x12 oil on board

I want to thank everyone so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes you sent
me yesterday.  I had a fantastic birthday and spent part of the day at a 
BBQ at the local camp grounds.
Nice of these two Frenchmen to get up early and throw a party on my special day:)
I'm getting settled in nicely now and almost finished with unpacking boxes,

Monday, September 23, 2013

A New Lease On Life

Does this photo remind anyone else of standing on the  bow of the Titanic?  If it doesn't then you don't know about the rest of our trip to France and our many near death experiences.  But that's another story with so much excitement to tell you that this blog won't hold it all.  Movie to be released in 2014- staring ( you guessed it), Counte de Roblechon. That's Robi's full French title. Names will be changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent?  Well they'll just have to suffer the consequences.

Rememder the little 'house' that Robi was supposed to ride the first Ferry in?  That plan went out the window by five o'clock in the morning.  He had already installed himself comfortably taking over the entire back seat, which we were supposed to share, and settled in with his road snacks, toys and comfy bed. He literally wasn't budging.  Fortunately it was a cool morning and the car was parked directly in front of the catamaran and there was an awesome cross breeze so everybody was happy.  The second Ferry trip to the main land of Italy is only thirty minutes and we all got to walk around on deck which was pretty awesome.  After that, things began to go sideways....

Obviously if we hadn't made it here to France safely I wouldn't be able to write this.  We are all just glad to be alive and have a new lease on life.  It doesn't even bother me that things are in total chaos at the moment, or that I'm having issues with my cars, washer, heating, and did I mention termites! Eek! C'est la vie. Sometimes life gets in the way of painting as we all know, but that's life and I'm damn happy to be living it!

Now that's a cappuccino!

So there's nothing like a leisurely French lunch in one of my favorite restaurants (Le Petit Rolin) to regroup from the stress of moving, topped off with a  big cappuccino to get the brain synapses snapping. Now where the heck are my brushes? 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Italian Men

Italian Men 8x8 oil on museum board

OK,  Italian men do have a bit of a reputation.  I just couldn't resist the title.
So before your mind starts spinning out of control,
let's take the high road here.  I promised myself
I would not make any off color remarks that might offend anyone.
   But I will admit that I think Italians are some of the most beautiful people in
the E.U. both the men and women.
There is a reason why Milan is one of the four fashion capitals of the world!

Did I forget to mention that the Tuscany region is one of my favorite places to paint
in the world?  I love the small old villages nestled on the hillsides, the narrow
picturesque streets filled with flowers, and the expansive landscape.

My goal is to be nibbling a homemade pizza and sipping a glass of Chianti by the time you
wake up, make a cup of coffee and read this post. I should  have
ridden two ferries, crossed Sicily and driven to northern Italy.
BUT if my next post still has palm trees instead of vineyards and rolling hills
you'll know I wasn't very convincing in getting Robi on the ferry, inspite of being
heavily armed with bacon treats.
I've told him that only the most preferred customers get to ride in their own
kennel private compartment, it's extra special.

Yet he's difficult to convince, he just wants to know what the heck I did with his sofa!
Wish me luck.
Stay tuned....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fond Farewell

The time has come to say a sad farewell to Malta.
Special thanks to all my friends that have
made life here so wonderful.
Good times:)

There have been so many inspiring places and people in Malta
I can't begin to name them all.

I'd like to leave you with a short video I made here of
the Blue Grotto.  I incorrectly named it Blue Lagoon
at the time and stand corrected, but you can
see how beautiful it really is here.

Now a new adventure begins!

Next week we head to France.  Stay tuned....


Monday, September 9, 2013

Evening Glow

Evening Glow 12  x 12

I'm moo-ving!

Yes, it's crunch time here in Malta.  Let's face it,
those boxes don't pack themselves!
The movers arrive at the end of  the week to take
everything I want to ship so I need to get crackin'.
Or I should say packin'.

Of course I'd rather be painting:)

By the time next Monday rolls around we'll be on our

If you missed my newsletter and didn't get the details
so you can look froward to where we're going and what we'll do!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

End of the Day

End of the Day  9x12 oil on board

I love this time when people begin
to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
The shadows begin to lengthen 
but the sun is still sharing it's brilliant light with us.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Museum Guide

Museum Guide 9x12 oil on board

Wishing a happy Labor Day to my 
friends stateside.
I hope you do something you really enjoy today!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beach Buddies

Beach Buddies  5 x 7 sold

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this little painting
commissioned by a friend of her husband on the
the beach with her dogs.

It brought back great memories for me of
wandering a deserted beach with my dogs.
It's from the mid-Atlantic region of the 
east coast where I'm from.
Although I've lived on the Med for the past
six years, it's much calmer and more rocky than the ocean.
There nothing like the soothing sound of the
rows of breakers bounding on the beach
and the sand beneath my feet.
I miss that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blue Shutters

Blue Shutters 8x8 oil on museum board

Some things just make me happy:
sunshine, bright colors and blue shutters:)

Wishing you some happy moments today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Les Charolais

Two in the Brush 6x6 oil on museum board

I loved the way these two cows peeped around
the bushes to get a better look at me.
They actually stopped chewing for a second:)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Bonjour 9x12 oil on museum board

I am really enjoying painting these cows. They are
such Rubenesque models,
as a friend politely pointed out to me;)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good Morning

Good Morning 8x8 oil on museum board

There is just something about the French charolais cows
the appeals to me, an indescribable 'je ne sais quoi'.
Maybe it's their long dreamy eyelashes and their curious
personalities.  Maybe it's just the way the light
skips across their well rounded form.
France is not the place to skimp on what you eat!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Food and Wine in France!

Walking in Lavender  6x6 sold

I'm back from my trip to France so that I could get things
ready for me to move in next month. I didn't complete everything
on my check list but I did get the internet hooked up and my
studio and office cleaned up.

Did I mention food?(and wine?)
After all, moving is hard work and I need to make
sure I keep my energy level up;)

Let's begin with a little Amuse Bouche,  bite sized treats of flaky pastry topped with a sauce
 that just explodes with flavor in your mouth. Quite the surprise.  From left to right the
flavors are pistachio, olive, and curry.

Followed by:

Quail eggs (the little green dots) on petite toast served with thinly sliced rabbit rounds, topped off with
and emulsion of  something amazingly delicious, but I have no idea
what it was.  I was impressed with the artistic presentation and combination of flavors.
(I feel like I'm beginning to sound like a waiter in a fancy-fied restaurant or maybe even a food critic!)
Also important:
The setting:
Burgundy vineyards as far as the eye can see!
Hope you enjoyed having lunch with me:)


Thanks for following my blog and letting me share with you.
I love your comments and appreciate you taking the time to do so:)
Until next time-

Thursday, August 8, 2013

French Music and Curious Cows

                                           Curious Cows  9x 12 oil on board

 The lyrics of a French song begin to weave their way through my mind.  I notice the lilting conversation of two women as they gossip in the grocery, the rhythm of a Frenchman's laugh, the earthy sent of fresh cut grass, and the staccato patterns of sunlight as they dance across  the rolling Burgundy  countryside. These are the moments that color my day, striking harmonious cords deep within that make my heart sing. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

My French Window

My French Window 12 x 12 oil on board

Smiles turning toward the sun
overflowing with joy,
colors reaching out to 
share the delight.

My French Window

Thursday, August 1, 2013


  Déjeuner 6x6 oil on museum board

  déjeuner = lunch in French:)

Pizza and red wine? Why not it's France and it's lunchtime.
No wonder I'm always so happy there;)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking in Lavender

Walking in Lavender  6x6 oil on museum board
There is a reason why lavender soothes us,
makes us feel happier and
relaxes us into a state of well being:)

About my process:
This painting marks a shift for me. It blends things
that I love to do with some things
I have been trying to learn to do better:)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cuppa Cream and Sugar

What happens when you do two back to back workshops
and then try to incorporate the new information into your work?

It can get a little crazy and sometimes my work can get worse
for a while instead of better because it's messy and confusing to
change the way you paint.

Since I was really focused on color temperature changes and brushwork,
after I came home I decided to set up a still life as an exercise,
just focusing on those two things- temperature and brushwork-
and paint something I was familiar with and a set up of my own design.

To eliminate confusion I worked on a mid-tone gray palette and
stained my boards the exact same gray mid tone.
Then I did an experiment with different underlying colors in a 
monotone value painting and proceeded to try different color combinations,
trying to get them to harmonize.

After four of them I took it a step further and decided to try to ignore
subject matter altogether by taking a photo of my still life in black and white
and then working from the  photo upside down from a computer monitor.
That one ended up being my favorite,
maybe because the colors are more unexpected.

Now I feel ready to move forward!
I appreciate your comments and would love to hear if you enjoyed hearing about my process.


Friday, July 26, 2013


Loki ready to pounce on another couple of winners!

Julie Ford Oliver
Sandra Robbins

I want to thank everyone for playing along.  I'm sorry everyone
couldn't win but I promise to do something similar in
the future.
There were 14 postcards sent out to Canada, Malta, Israel,
Japan and all over the States.
I feel really fortunate to have such wonderful friends all over the world!

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my life with you:)

Malta has alot of festivals every weekend in the summer.
Churches host one for their neighborhood and this weekend it's here.
There's lots of food, drinks and of course fireworks.
On several occasions more than the fireworks went up-
sometimes the entire barge goes boom!

I snapped a photo for you on my walk this morning so you could see
the decorations:
Did you notice the local beer ad for Cisk right beside Mary and Jesus?
Just didn't want you to miss the irony:)
Some odd folks even like to paint the decorations:
Blessings 6x6 sold
Have a great weekend!