Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beachy and Beautiful

Being a Northern California girl, it was late in life that I discovered one of Southern Cal's most amazing sights. It was because of another artist's painting that I found out about this place and promptly bought a print as a memento. My dear friend Colleen remarked that it looked like the cottage where the movie "Beaches" was filmed, and sure enough it was. We ventured out to this hidden enclave and took about 100 photos in twenty minutes time. It is north of Laguna and south of Newport Beach and hidden from the highway, so you'd never see it if you didn't know about it. It's a beach cottage community that's been there for about 100 years and has gone through many changes over time though at present is part of the State Park system. All I can say is that it is a painter's dream-scape and I'll keep painting it so that I can keep that perfect summer vacation feeling alive in my heart and yours.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dusty and Rusty

Many years ago I sat on the street in Ukiah California with a group of painters and painted this garage scene in watercolor. I'm revisiting it in oil because I love the haphazard arrangement of old chairs, the pink bed frame and other stuff gathering dust. My great aunt used to have a set of those funny round chairs like the green one and I remember days around her table eating potato salad and other simple delights that kids like. I'm sentimental that way and wish old stuff like this could talk. Just think of all the family dinners with the rambunctious kids asking for more spaghetti, and the grown ups lingering over cake and coffee while the typical but pleasant day comes to an end. Smiling faces. Filled up tummies. Regular stuff.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ready for Lunch

Back to the Apple Farm in the Anderson Valley and another piece of farmyard activity, this time with the ever hungry bunny rabbit. To be honest, these beds had artistically designed tents over each and every one, but I couldn't imagine painting them in. Subsequently, this little fella will be having a field day, won't he? Nothing sweeter this time of year than thoughts of Spring planting and being out of doors, especially on a day like today when the rain is coming down in buckets. Happy to be inside, but love dreaming about Spring just the same.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vineyard Digs

It's just so great that I can hop into my car and be in the Napa Valley within a few hours and be transported to feelings of Tuscany, Provence and even old-timey California! This humble dwelling is just as I saw it on one of my wanderings, situated in the heart of the vineyard with the majestic mountains all around. You can imagine the simple life of such a vine-tender and the lovely hours spent on the porch after a hard day's work is done, sipping on a crisp chardonnay or just some luscious lemonade. This is the Napa Valley as it once was, and still is if you get off the beaten track.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Midday Lull

I get to live by one of the most quaint and picturesque working harbors in the world. This scene is looking north from the south side of the Noyo Harbor and I've edited out the things that detracted from this perfect and funky little cluster of river side life. The only things missing are the smells of salt and fish and maybe a seagull's droppings! Fill in the blanks and listen for the fog horn even though the sun is shining.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kinsale Bay

Begonias blooming against the backdrop of waterfront cottages and idle boats, can you imagine a more picturesque scene? I was pinching myself last fall when drinking up this lovely vista in the Irish village of Kinsale on the southern coast. We were chasing the sunshine, so our host in Doolin up north advised us to head south east to find this brand new (to us) and completely delightful bay side hamlet.This painting is a result of some photo op walks about town and was done with a brush and a palette knife. As a result it almost feels like you can pick those close up blossoms!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tallac Backdrop

Mt. Tallac as seen from the Kiva Beach area of South Lake Tahoe evokes many childhood memories. I grew up just a few miles from this spot and left a piece of my heart there. This is Tahoe in its serene simplicity- quiet meadows and majestic mountain peaks all dressed up for a summer picnic. The air is thin and crisp, the water brisk and blue and the pine trees pungent. Hold my hand and walk out into that clearing with me and we'll remember some very special times...................

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Etched in Amber

Loving the journey, though I must admit today was a bumpy ride! Viewing a scene like this has a calming quality don't you think? Seeing that sinking sun light up the roadway and causing the trees to have that golden halo, wow. I felt like making a painting that had some drama to it, along with some kind of dominance. This is mainly dark dominant, but the light areas are oh, so glorious. Just sink right in and float on into the sunset.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cluckety Cluck

This palette knife painting was done as a result of a delightful visit to 'The Apple Farm' in Philo in the Anderson Valley. That is one fabulous property to romp around on, but you should also check out all the neat stuff they do there with cooking classes besides all the yummy treats they sell. It has that wonderful country farm feeling and you can wait on yourself by putting your money in the box if no one is around. I painted a scene of a little red cottage one day while I was there with a friend and then took a bunch of photos. Chickens in motion are difficult to capture 'en plein air', so thank goodness for cameras and cozy art studios.

Note: concerning "Island Sundown" that I posted last week; I revised a section of the painting and it is now much improved. You can view the changes at Let me know if you can see what I did!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Old World Cottage

Moving to the right of the alcove with the table and chairs from yesterday's painting, this is the main entrance to the lovely cottage in Eygalieres. Both paintings are the same size, so would look great on the wall as a diptych. I am reminded of the hot day I spent on site, painting this rustic old place after tromping all over the village to find just the right thing to capture. If you look the village up on Google, you will see how it is situated on a hill and the streets climb up and up to amazing vistas. Looking up at the village and looking down from above are equally splendid, so it's anyone's guess why I settled on only one cottage to paint. I guess it's because this place was so inviting that it just drew me right in. To be honest, I'm having a hard time letting these two go.........

Monday, March 19, 2012

Open Invitation

Mark and Joanie have a wonderful coffee table book titled, "The Most Beautiful Villages of France". I took some notes before one of my last trips to Provence and actually went out of my way to see just how wonderful Eygaliers really was. Leslie and I tromped all over the town, up the uphill lanes and back and forth across the level ones. We ate, we shopped and we finally settled on a little scene of one single house. This open nook was like a magnet, and by gosh if we couldn't be invited to share a meal with this family, we could at least paint it! They never appeared, or we might have eaten my favorite French meal- salad de chevre chaud. Coincidentally, I just this minute ate a little round of goat cheese that I prepared in the same way that they do!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hill Country Poppies

A while back, Elaine Leedy and I visited a sculpture ranch in the Hill Country of Texas owned by a lovely Italian man. We marveled at the place, as well as the journey getting there. This is one of the scenes we encountered en route and we were two snap-happy girls. When we remarked at how amazed we were that he had traveled so far to decide upon this location in Texas, he quickly responded, "No, no, no, this is a little bit of California surrounded by Texas." If California is the ideal, aren't these people blessed to be away from the crowds and the crazy cost of living?!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Island Sundown

This is a dreamy sunset on Kauai's south side. I have visited there many times and love the slower pace, though I understand that things are getting more hectic all the time. You'll see from my second photo that I painted this in a hospital. My mom has been in pretty rough shape these past few weeks, so I've been by her side for a week now and have painted two paintings in this environment. She is in her sunset years, so it seemed appropriate to share this tidbit about my life right now, but we feel confident that she has some better days just ahead. Thanks for hanging with me and sharing my daily life on a new level. Love to all of you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tuckered Out

Meandering through the Anderson Valley again, I pass by this 'lawn ornament' on a regular basis. It adorns this property in every season but this happens to be a lovely day in November. This is when the vines are yellow and red, the trees are screaming YELLOW and that crisp, glorious feeling is in the air. I'm so happy that these folks chose something so aesthetic to share with the world and love staring at this rusty old truck as I zip by on my way to the big city.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Barnyard Quintessence

The Anderson Valley is one of the most pastoral and inspirational places in California. I pass by this barn on every trip I make out of town to the south and love it every single time. On this particular day, there was a lavender mist breaking up and the sun was trying to make its way onto the scene. The dew on the grass was almost flourescent and this was one of those times when I squealed to a stop to take photos and revel in the simple but glorious scene.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lust for Light

Running from pillar to post, now we're back to the coast! This is the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, one of my favorite 'skylines' because of those cypress trees that have such personality. The sea is barely visible, but you can see the glimmers across the waves if you look in between the buildings and tree trunks. It's one of the most glorious half mile walks you'll ever do, so come for a visit and be sure to bring a picnic.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fresh Light of Morn

The palette knife strikes again and this time it's back to France, the land of lovely light, textures, fragrances and old stonework. Waking up on this particular morning, this group of neighbors are greeted by the cool morning sunlight across the faces of their homes as well as the lavish field of sunflowers outside their windows. Who wouldn't want to live right here and wake up to such a scene on a daily basis? This is what I would call a beautiful day in the neighborhood, so have fun wandering around.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Loving the Country

This painting is a result of a road trip I took with my buddy Jennifer a while back to a stretch of the California coast a couple hours south of where I live. This is a scene as you approach the tiny hamlet of Tomales and it was thrilling to see this as we rounded a bend in the road. I shouted to Jennifer to stop the car so that I could jump out and shoot up the place with my camera. This is that time of day when the light is fading fast, so you have to act like a maniac to get as many shots as possible in the shortest amount of time so that the trip was worthwhile! Hope you enjoy the texture on this one as the whole painting was done with a palette knife.   

Friday, March 9, 2012

Screaming Purple Passion

I had to paint some more flowers after all the fun I had yesterday with those yellow petals. Crazy but true, I'm running out the door to visit my mom in the hospital again (we all need your prayers) but hope to bring my art supplies along this time. Both she and my sister have lap tops, so I'll soon find out if I can unchain myself from my studio easel and have fun out and about and still continue blogging and posting!!! The love and support that I've gotten through this new endeavor has been truly phenomenal and I must thank all of you again and again and again. Besides that, Daily Paintworks has me as a featured artist this week, so check out the link and see what else I had to say about my artsy fartsy life: 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Lyrical yellow petals against a periwinkle sky with sun on sun. I like how the shadows on the petals are green, but not as green as the leaves - fun stuff to observe if you're so inclined. I felt like painting bigger and bolder shapes today. All the windows are open in the studio and this March day feels like summer in so many ways. Short sleeves, sandals and sunflowers, just simple and sweet.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time to Kick Back

I had a hankering for going to Hawaii today..........wanted to visit our dear friends the Metzgers since they introduced us to their home on Kauai some 17 years ago. Hadn't been so interested in Hawaii before that, but boy has it gotten under my skin. It's like visiting a foreign country where they speak English and also like an episode of 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' with all the GIANT foliage. Yummy light, colors, air quality and water besides all of that greenery and fragrance. Dontcha just want to zip over there when Spring Fever sets in? It's time to warm up those old bones, feel young again and crunch some sand between your toes. This image came from a romp out to the Waimea Plantation Cottages where we ate with LeRoy and Cindy and lollygagged a luscious evening away. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Itty Bitty Ireland

This is an itty bitty painting of an itty bitty street in an itty bitty country. Besides that, last September I painted an itty bitty watercolor while sitting in an itty bitty car with my forever buddy Leslie. It was drizzly, so we sat in the car while painting and little by little the light was fading to the point that we could barely see. We kept adding color because our paintings looked so washed out and when we got back to our B&B were SHOCKED to see that our paintings were practically florescent! My husband loves my little watercolor and won't part with it, so I offer this second version of a completely delightful moment in time. While I was there, my Dad who was also on the trip, informed me that his father was half Irish, a small detail that I never knew before last year. No wonder I have such an affinity for the Emerald Isle and consider green to be my favorite color.............................

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Fever

Made a trip to Placerville to see my Mom in the hospital yesterday and thankfully she is on the mend. I was in such a hurry to get going that I neglected to pack my art supplies and boy was I miserable today as I drove by one glorious field of mustard after the other. However, I realized that I had several 10x10 panels in the back seat and a felt pen in my purse, so I wandered around til I found some great stuff. I whipped out my iPad and took a bunch of photos and then plunked myself down then and there to do a drawing. Raced home and up to my studio to apply the paint and here you have it. Yellow on yellow, with the mustard playing second fiddle to the daffodils up front and all singing their joyous songs of  Springtime out in the Alexander Valley near Geyserville. At least I got to have my cake and eat it too, though there were 2 hours of winding roads in between bites.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Truly Tuscany

From Texas to Tuscany without leaving home...................ahh, the life of a painter that has 10,000 photos of past galavants. (galivanting?) No matter, each place is more wonderful than the last and this place was truly dreamland. I've stayed at the same Tuscan farmhouse twice, the kind of place that feeds you from the things they grow besides making their own wine and bottling their own honey. Within walking distance is this rustic old villa and now you get to walk there with me too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Enjoy the Journey

The title and theme of this painting reflect the message that I most need today, so I offer it as a prayer of encouragement. I took a batch of photos in the Hill Country of Texas a few years ago and this one has been speaking to me over and over. Today was the day to bring it to life and give it the same feeling I had the day I was on this little back road near Fredericksburg. That is one dreamy area in the Spring and it was a day that I truly enjoyed the journey. My head is hanging a little bit today, so I'm choosing to take a walk in the sunshine, smell the flowers and revel in the wonder of LIFE.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heading for Home

Crazy but true, this is my commute every morning and evening. Some of you might know that the last several years have been challenging for us in many ways, but with visuals like this how bad can things be? We are grateful to live in such a place and to have a visual feast each and every day. Scenes like this make us think of a verse out of the Psalms, "The heavens declare the glory of God" as each new day produces a new sky show.