Monday, April 30, 2012

Provence Backroad

Back to 'wandering' the back roads of the southern environs of France at my favorite golden hour. This painting has a dream like quality to it, no fluff or frills, just the simple landscape with fewer brush strokes and a bit more blending. These sycamores grace the highways and the byways and create a cathedral like quality that really gets to me. Jump into the little Renault rental car with me and we'll zip around to our heart's content.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Perfect Perch

Swinging south on Pacific Coast Highway, we're back at Crystal Cove, that magical little beach enclave that I love so much. Even though the ocean isn't depicted, don't you still feel sunburned with sandy feet, ready for  lemonade and something off the BBQ? It's the summer of your dreams in the funkiest red beach cottage, complete with a sagging porch and mailbox so that people from the real world can send you a little something.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zippity Do Da

In my heart of hearts, I am singing such a song and hoping you'll link arms with me for a stroll down this little ribbon of Tuscan road. It's a perfect little slice of life peaking past the age-old cypress trees to the hilltops beyond. Just enough that it takes our breath away as we round the bend together and makes us oh so glad to be alive. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gazebo by the Sea

Sigrid came today as we'd planned a little lesson time and brought along this photo to paint from. The funny fact about it though is that this gazebo sits next door to our vacation rental house, the very house that Sigrid and her friends are staying in this week. I gravitated toward it because it was familiar and also because I loved how the light was hitting the roof sections. Vanessa lovingly tends her garden and we spent many years enjoying it ourselves until we moved into town. I was so happy to 'visit' there again today and hope it makes you happy too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Layer Upon Tuscan Layer

Hitting the Tuscan trail again, if only in my dreams. Trying to come up out of this 6 day fog of illness and it was lovely to be in the studio and off the couch. Still not really 'with it', but sometimes it's best to push forward regardless and it was really fun to visit the hills, fields and rustic villas of that faraway old country. While I was there one September, the foreground field of sunflowers had already been harvested. Isn't it great to be a painter rather than a photographer under such conditions?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thelonious Monk

Alas, I have a whopping surprise today as I am still in a catatonic state and not painting. This offering is a painting that my youngest son Levi did of the great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and I'm thrilled to share it with you. His accomplishments include extensive work in the film industry as well as painting, so since today is high and dry for me, what better time to introduce Levi to you that don't know him? I really just want to go on and on about him, but check out his website to find out more. After that, feel free to write me and I can gush in private, one on one.
At the very least I can tell you why he goes by a different last name........

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday's Mendocino Sky

Sad to report, there could be no painting today. I have been quite ill with a UTI since Thursday and it's a wonder that I could post on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday and today, impossible. However, I am on the mend and hope to be up and running again tomorrow, but this time to the easel instead of the bathroom!! The consolation prize for today are these quick shots I took out on my back deck at 8pm Monday night. It has been a glorious day with lots of sunshine and a fair amount of wind mixed in to blow these clouds into position. This silhouette isn't half bad now that I look at it, so I might have a painting location under my nose that has escaped me for over 2 1/2 years....................

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Misty Mendocino

Here's my town again, all dressed up for summer but this time the fog is winning out over the sun. I know it's summer because of the profusion of wild roses blooming, so I thought I'd clue you in on the same reality! Selling sweatshirts is a booming business here as very few people realize that the temps can drop 50 degrees once you  cross the coastal range and hit the coast. We call it "God's air conditioning" around here and sometimes enjoy the cozy quality that enshrouds our village. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Carpet

This little scene looks like it could be anywhere in the world. It's that quintessential carpet of flowers in the Spring combined with that fresh clean air and the chirping of the birds. Everyone is happy to be alive and a simple walk or bicycle ride transports your heart and soul to the highest of heights. Those were my feelings on the day that I took the photo for this painting and I hope they strike the very same chord in you as well.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

French Farmer

Back a few years, Leslie and I made a trip to Provence on our own and had a most delightful time. We tend to hit that country in the middle of summer because we like to be there while the lavender and sunflowers are blooming. On this particular day though, we had to get up EXTRA early to beat the heat and we ended up encountering the farmer responsible for our inspiration. He was tending his sunflower field and we had to scoot out of his way in order to share the roadway with him and his tractor. I took this photo as he was approaching and have always wanted to paint him, so now I'm offering a figure within the landscape and hope you like him and his red rig.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another Time

This Mendocino as it was in bygone days. Calm and quiet and bordering on 'sleepy'. A bunch of old wooden houses in a row, saying hello to a sunny summer morning while all the inhabitants are out walking along the headlands or to the market. Such a great place to live and to contemplate creative endeavors. That's the reason that so many of us artsy-fartsy types live here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pacific Way

"Honey, I shrunk the painting!" That is the kind of fun I've been having lately by re-visiting pieces I've done in the past by just making them into smaller versions. This street is actually called Pacific Way in Westport, California and is one of my favorite streets on earth. I shrunk the length of the street a little bit too as there are about 3 more houses that didn't make the cut this time. However, this is the gist of it and tells the story of this amazing and humble lane with one of the most spectacular views EVER.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Harbor Details

The Noyo Harbor near Fort Bragg, California is quaint and picturesque but truly thriving and active. It's just another visual feast for people like me, besides the fact that I love the smells and sounds that accompany the sights. This old building used to house Thanksgiving Coffee Company and this particular boat sat in this spot for years, probably as a decoration! I honestly know very little about fishing, but appreciate the trade and all that goes along with it, hmmmm, or maybe just the part about eating the day's catch!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grand Victorian

Gotta love the Anderson Valley for 1000 reasons, not the least of which is Reilly Heights, this truly grand Victorian treasure. We're talking picture perfect here, all ready for a book cover or a movie set. Lucky for us, it is perfectly unspoiled though quite huge and even somewhat imposing along this narrow, two lane roadway 30 minutes from the coast. It's the permanent home of some very fortunate people and a flock of equally blessed sheep, so don't think for one minute that it's a B&B! Just drive by and marvel and take photos from a distance.....................

Friday, April 13, 2012

Every Shade of Lavender

Re-visiting that luscious purple stuff that smells to high heaven. This time I'm 'taking' you to the property of Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma County with the lovely rolling California hills in the background. What I love about this place is that it's just like a visit to France without the expense or anguish of hopping a plane! I love the symmetry of the rows as well as all the amazing shades of pink, blue and purple besides the intoxicating fragrance, wow. Hope you do too and that this little piece gives you a mini vacation to the place of your dreams.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Country Sundown

Here is yet another view of the multi-faceted Anderson Valley. I marvel each and every time I go in or out of town as I meander (or race) through this loveliest of  Northern California corridors. The seasons change more dramatically out there than they do on the coast, so that is one of the fun things to experience. Otherwise, visually feasting at various times of the day reveals the wonder of hills, valleys, oaks, vines, redwoods, rivers, sheep and goats. Besides all of those, the barns, wineries, Victorians and ramshackle dwellings of all kinds bring such delight to this easel and camera toting girl!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monet's Legacy

Though Monet's garden and pond sit on a relatively small piece of property, every square foot is visually action packed. The house is quite grand and amazingly lovely in shades of pink and green with white trim as those colors create a perfect backdrop for the profusion of blooms. Every flower and tree imaginable abound in all their glory and the dedicated staff of gardeners plant and tend just as the master painter would have requested. His legacy lives on in his lovingly restored haven of inspiration, both for him during his life and now for thousands of others that are blessed to share the wealth.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuscan Glory

On one of my visits to Tuscany, our host took a couple of us on a wild ride in his VW van to check out some nearby painting locations. I think he'd had a bit to drink and it happened to be a rainy day, so it was a less than pleasant going up and down some roads that were meant for 4 wheel drive. However, he showed us the tiny hamlet of Poppiano and we forgave him for scaring us! I'd have to say that this spot is one of my favorite on earth. On a day when the weather was pleasant, I sat outside near this vineyard and painted while listening to the distant sounds of church bells, bleating sheep and children playing. It was one of life's most precious moments and I feel grateful to have had such an experience. I have taken many photos in and around this little enclave and love 'visiting' over and over again as I put some of that same awe inspired emotion into my paintings.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Funky Amble

Another view along my daily 'commute', the Calpella Street barns. Sadly, the one with the wild rose vines has fallen down and the street will never be the same. That puts this little piece in the historic category, capturing something important that was lost and will no longer grace our lives. This is a summer sunset, when the north sides of buildings are all lit up and even though these barns are made of weathered redwood, they glow under this rare lighting condition. You're seeing the funky side of Mendocino and with the loss of this structure that endearing quality is now diminishing just a little bit more. Hope this little painting helps to keep a little bit of history ever before us.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Monet's Pond in Miniature

I've made two visits to Monet's Garden in Giverny, France. Once was on a day for the public and the second visit on a day set aside for painters. Sadly, it rained that day so we had to put our watercolors away for fear they'd be ruined! However, on both occasions I was able to snap many photos and have painted from them over the years. Near the house there is an abundance of flowers, but here along the pond it is all about the sculptural quality of the trees, the bridges and the reflections. I hope to paint the flower garden one day soon, but for now I hope you enjoy this serene image and can imagine the Impressionist master on this very bank, contemplating the garden he so thoughtfully and carefully created.

Friday, April 6, 2012

California Olives

There is something so soothing and settling about olive trees. It's the quality of the green color, the shape and texture of the leaves, the luscious fruit and the ancient history of the humble tree besides. This orchard belongs to some dear friends of ours and from the parents house you can look across and see the kids' place shown in this little painting. It almost takes your breath away to see row upon row with their gnarled trunks, graceful and twisting branches and drink in that amazing grayish, sumptuous green.................Check them out at Lodestar Farms and see the gorgeous green oil that is produced as a result of their careful tending.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Full Bloom

I had the privilege of visiting this garden on a regular basis when I was living in my old neighborhood. The owners were rarely in residence, so we acted like we owned the place and would often play croquet on the vast oceanfront lawn and show off the garden as well. We did have permission to be there and it was much appreciated as bathing in this kind of beauty is the best soul nourishment around. Gary Ratway designed the garden and it has been featured in at least one magazine that I know of and rightly so!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Itching to Go

It's that time of year that I get Spring Fever and the itch to buy a plane ticket. It isn't likely to happen this year, so I've been having fun "visiting" some of my favorite places using this daily painting format. This little piece takes us back to Tuscany again to yet another random but captivating location. I love the dreamy sky and how the tree frames the rustic dwellings. Rather than arm-chair traveling, this is called easel-escapes and helps satisfy the never ending wanderlust. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuscany Awaits

I've been to a tiny village called Montespertoli a couple of times, a spot just south of Florence. I've stayed in the same farmhouse, or agritourisimo location called Le Mandrie Di Ripalta. This scene is one typically encountered while driving by car up and down the glorious hills and valleys of that region. I didn't have to fake anything as this is just what I saw on one of my gallivants. I'm honestly not sure if I could find it again, but maybe you want to join me one day and give it a try!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Street

I am one blessed individual because I happen to live at the end of this street and get to travel down this little lane regularly. It is always a joyful sight in any weather, but when the sun is shining it's hard to believe that such a perfect little spot like this exists. A little bit funky, a little bit quaint, a little bit isolated but so fun to paint.