Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Greek Colors

Click Here to Bid

Back to my October wanderings, this is from the island of Kythnos, Greece. Sure I have been around to some mighty fabulous places, but I duke it out with my art materials on a daily basis! Mainly in solitude but often I have a steady stream of visitors and get to talk all day instead of paint.........................either way you look at it though, this life of arranging colors in a pleasing way is pretty wonderful. Thanks for looking, listening and linking.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mustard in March

It's that time of year when Winter is thinking about departing and Spring is wishing for an opening. I'm wearing a scarf and gloves today and somewhere in the Napa Valley, these very mustard fields are probably shaking in their boots too. This painting is a result of past trips to Napa and is serving to cheer me right up on this blustery day and my sincere hope is that it does the very same for you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hydra Hillside

I sat right here last October to paint this hillside of stacked up villas and loved every precious moment. Hydra is a Greek island in the Saronic Gulf and resembles Italy in some ways because of the tile roofs and cypress trees. One of the members of my group discovered a stray kitten along this wall, a neglected and sickly little specimen that responded quickly to all the love and attention she and several others lavished upon him. I am hoping to write a children's book about the whole thing, so stay tuned for that one day soon. In the meantime, enjoy this idyllic Mediterranean holiday all done up in watercolor to match its environment.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Luminous Landmark

I pass this historic house often as I make my way north and south on highway 1 here on the Mendocino coast.
I haven't been inside, but imagine how life might have been lived in the 1800's, before the highway separated the house from the barn on the west side. I can "see" children frolicking on the sloping hillside, running in and out for lemonade, picking blackberries or everyone just plain enjoying themselves on the sunny porch. The eucalyptus trees certainly add to its grandeur and change color throughout the day depending on the way the sun hits them, one of my favorite aspects of this property known as The Spring Ranch. The end of the day is markedly my favorite though, when everything is bathed in this luscious, golden light. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peachy Keen

Windows and doors are like tangible portals into our hearts, aren't they? We gravitate towards them because they are colorful, inviting and intriguing. They cause a special kind of emotion to well up inside, an inquisitive longing to know what lies behind them and a delight at they way they are adorned. Ok, so not all doors and windows do this for us, but the European ones certainly do! I love how these shutters are two different sizes as well, maybe the owner found these planks in a pile and just decided to use them as is? Who knows and who cares, we're just happy about the shapes, the shadows and the colors.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pretty Close to Heaven

Is one spot yummier than the other, or are they are all competing for the yummiest? At least the places I decide to visit are all vying for number one and this place is WAY up there. This is the village of Varenna on Lake Como in Italy, right up near the Swiss border. The tall mountains that rise up majestically around the lake create  awe inspiring drama, while the elegant villas that line the waterfront take your breath away. I  have painted this promontory over and over, maybe because I think that possession is nine tenths of the law and I should own it by now.............................

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bayside Glimpse

Posting something new today, a watercolor I did last fall on the island of Serifos in Greece. We were lollygagging at a waterfront cafe, doing our email while sipping coffee and eating our glorious omelettes and salads. I liked using my 'magic minutes' to capture some of the wonder that was ever before me and rather liked the feel of this one because of the leaning tree trunks framing the little fishing boat. What a land of delight in every way- sunshine, olives, goats, feta cheese, WATER, boats, donkeys, whitewashed dwellings, oregano, dusty pathways, kitty cats and steps, steps, steps. Hope it gets under your skin like it's done to me and that we can travel there together one day soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How About Them Apples?

It's that yummy red and green thing again and no matter how you slice it, it's a winning combination. Besides that, who doesn't like a crisp, juicy apple to contemplate? "Painting by Committee" is the term I often use when I ask people for feedback as I'm working on certain pieces that have me stumped. Carol Marine, Elaine Leedy and Gail Johnson all put in their 2 cents, oops and my husband too. They looked like pomegranates for a while and one of the leaves looked like it belonged to a fig know, stuff that needed FIXING. Thanks everyone for your help and thank you everyone else (you know who you are!) for all the fabulous feedback. This has been the most amazing few weeks of my life and I feel blessed beyond measure. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fabulous February

With the sun low in the sky and the mustard filling in the gaps between the vines, February is one of the most glorious months of the year. This is a scene from nearby Cloverdale which is in northern Sonoma County and is a spot that I see on a regular basis. It is glorious in any season and especially because these are the old vines with no supports or guide wires. The mountains, the oaks and the old barns set off the vineyards in a down to earth and rustic fashion, creating wonder and delight for me the painter. Spring is on its way, but let's not hurry it up too much by missing the billowy, beautiful, yellow blossoms!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Backstep Hideaway

On a French roll this week. Hmm, that sounds like I'm some kind of sandwich or something.................really I just mean that I am re-visiting lovely places in France to paint and re-paint in this instance. Here you see Leslie and me painting in the back garden of a 12th century chateau. No swimming pool in sight, but we were so hot that we put on our suits and took an occasional shower beneath the giant watering can! Chateau de Avejan is Mary's amazing place, just northwest of Avignon and I've been there twice now. Just found out that the online radio show slated for Tuesday the 21st at 9am PST at will also be available after the fact as well. Hurray! Schedule, schmedule, just listen in when you have time and we'll connect on that daydream wavelength, hoping for a real visit to Avejan in the not-too-distant future.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lavender Lane

Yet another idyllic jaunt down a country lane in Provence, all dressed up for summer. The lavender is big and billowy, fragrant and fabulous and you feel like pinching yourself to make sure it isn't a dream. Yet here I am with my bestest buddy Leslie with pinch marks all over my face! And guess what?? I get to talk about my travels in the south of France this coming Tuesday, February 21st at 9am PST during an online radio show. I'd love for you to tune in and see what I have to say about the many idyllic hours I've whiled away in that lovely spot on earth. Here is the link: 
I hope I don't get tongue tied, but have all my wits about me and can "take you away" with me on an audio vacation that will inspire you to join me for a real holiday there one day soon. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Over the River and Through the Dale

Besides living on one of the most beautiful coastlines on earth, I get to make my way home through the equally fabulous Anderson Valley. It is often sunny when the coast is foggy (see that gray billowy stuff in the background?), so it is great fun to escape to the heat for fun and frolicking. This property is the backside of Standish Winery and is definitely a favorite spot. The tasting room is upstairs in the apple dryer and they serve up one of the most distinctive pinots on the planet. I hope you have a chance to visit me one day and also take the time to stop and sip along the way. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daydream Entrance

Who doesn't want to come home to this doorway at the end of each day? The colors, the textures along with the curves of the vines, pots, flower beds and wooden door meld perfectly. Believe it or not, this house belongs to someone in the Getty family and I had the opportunity to see this much of it some years ago. I actually sat outside and did a watercolor painting, and loved it so much that I re-did it in this small format in order to re-live the lovely experience. Let's go inside together in our dreams and sit a spell.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tantalizing Tuscany

The title says it all. One glorious hilltop after the other with rustic villas, elegant cypress trees and amber fields. It's downright dangerous following me as I'm driving there because I pull over at a moment's notice. Each bend in the road reveals yet another picture perfect scene that takes your breath away. So little has changed in 500 years that you feel like you've taken a step back in time. Thank goodness though for those little rental cars!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet and Sassy

So here's an example of saying more with less. I wanted maximum punch with minimum fuss, so each stroke was planned out and deliberate. It was great to have 3 models of different colors, all bathed in warm light. If you look at a light colored surface under strong light, you'll see that the area nearest the light source is warmer than the areas further away. It's not only fun playing with the colors of the "stars", but all the "supporting roles" are  important too. Thank you for sharing these tidbits of color and cheer with me!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Secondi Piatti

As promised, here is the second course of that unforgettable Italian dinner that we were treated to. I suppose in reality, this is the second and third courses, but they arrived together and sure make a complete scene don't they? Some kind of heavenly conglomeration of pasta, meat and sauce and a delectable roasted beet salad with that dastardly crusty bread too of course. Even though we were in Golden Colorado, we were transported to Tuscany and ate like kings. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sycamore Serenade

The way these regal and graceful sycamores shroud the roadways of France just gets to me. I love the symmetry and the tunnel like feeling. Then I love the way the sunlight hits those on the sunny side and the way the reflected light outlines the others in the shade. Peeking through one of the openings and across the field is a welcoming and rustic maison, perfect to retreat to at the end of a hot summer day. Now this my friend, is a visual vacation and the next best thing to being there.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Primi Piatti

My husband and I were treated to an elegant Italian dinner at the home of a wonderful couple that had bought one of my paintings. They had a house guest from Italy during our visit and she was responsible for much of its preparation. It was a long wooden table laden with things that were both pleasing to the eye as well as the palette and we savored every single moment and morsel. This was the first course, or Primi Piatti, prosciutto with melon. Stay tuned as soon I will post the painting I did of the second course!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Decked out in Red

I live north west of California's glorious wine country and have no lack of inspiration as I go to and fro throughout Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. It's anyone's guess why I leave the country to look for more things to paint since there is ample beauty right under my nose, but I guess I inherited wanderlust from my Dad! This particular property is north of Geyserville and is the home ranch for Seghesio wines. I drive by it often and never tire of the way the gracious Victorian is 'dressed' for each season. Today she is decked out in red which is perfect for the week of Valentine's day eh?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ready, Set, Cook

The humble tomato, the pungent clove of garlic and the fruit of the vine. Almost all the ingredients you need to create a memorable meal and enjoy the process. I love how the light filters through the wine glass creating a neon glow on the label of the bottle too, one of those happy discoveries within a piece of artwork. I also adore pea green yellow, but who can have green without RED? Almost makes you want to get your tushie into the kitchen.......................................

Monday, February 6, 2012

Right in My Own Backyard

We've had some fabulous winter weather lately, so I took advantage of it and went out painting. This stand of trees is just north of my studio and graces the headlands in every kind of weather condition. I love these trees. It was a challenge to compose something so majestic and awe inspiring into this small format, but it was a magical morning and I hope you can smell the salt air right along with me.  A lovely couple happened along and did a "walk-by shooting" of me, so can share that as well!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happiness in a Vase

Sunflowers, simply put, make me happy. They are like tangible sunshine because of their color and shape. Here  I am sitting in a field of them in the south of France, feeling a lot like Van Gogh since I wasn't that far from where he'd spent time painting. The bees were buzzing, the sun pounding down and the moment forever etched in my mind. Sunflowers come in all shapes and sizes and I hope you enjoy this single bloom in its simple little vase. 6"x6" stillife oil on panel

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tip Toe Through the Lavender

Provence in July has got to be one of my favorite destinations of all time. 
Can't you just feel the heat, hear the cicadas and smell the lavender?
Oil on panel, 6"x8"