My Mother the Poet

SS Pink halos detail peony peonies.jpg

Pink Halo Peonies ~ Pandora's Box Cover Art


Tonight I read to my Mother from her own book of published poems. As I read, I glanced at her from time to time in her hospital bed. She lay with her eyes bright and alert. As I finished each poem she had written, I would meet her eyes briefly and she would meet mine, with a bit of a smile shared between us.

As I read to her, it occurred to me, my reading voice has the same inflection my Mother's voice had when she read to us as children. Because her hands can no longer grip properly, I held the book upright for her, showing her each poem and the painting I had chosen to go with it.

When I finished the last poem, the one she had written about her Father, I said to Mom, "The end." She turned to me with a smile and said, "That was good."

And it was. It was very good.

Gentle Thoughts

Drifting, drifting

back in time,

poignant memories

brush my mind.


When we were young

and life was sweet

I danced with you

in sandled feet.


You were so tall and I so low

I had to kiss you

on tiptoe.


My faithful friend

so strong, so true

I loved you but

you never knew.


Elsie Leighton Becker



Seaside Cottage - A French Retreat and a St. Louis Workshop

Seaside Cottage - A French Retreat
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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This morning I received an email from LinkedIn suggesting I consider a new job in architecture. This is about as close as I'll get to being an architect, one of the paintings of Le Vieux Couvent in Frayssinet, France, converted via my imagination into a seaside retreat. Can you tell I'm longing for spring? I had a palette knife teacher from Belgium once who told us, "There are no straight lines in nature." I can tell you for certain there are no straight lines in French villages, either. The old roofs are layered with ancient tiles and when one section collapses, it is often propped up with boards and patched over with another layer of beautiful ochre tiles. The result is a colorful treat for the artist's eye!

Painting Florals and Landscapes in Brilliant Color in St. Louis, Missouri

October 23-25, 2015

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I'm very excited to announce a new workshop in St. Louis is set for October 23-25 - we'll paint bright florals and French landscapes in this historic town of my birth! You are invited to join me for three full days of painting, and students who work in oils, acrylics and water based oils are welcome. Read more....

Out with the new, in with the old! A pigeonnier in France, not

far from Le Vieux Couvent, where I teach in August!

Spring Fever in the Texas Hill Country - Pink Tulips in Blue Glass

Spring Fever

Spring Fever Pink Tulips
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Spring Fever Pink Tulips was one of five class demonstrations during my workshop in the Texas Hill Country this weekend. Visiting Fredericksburg, Texas, is always a treat, and we were just on the verge of what may be the best bluebonnet bloom season in quite some time, thanks to the wet winter that is behind us now. Students painted tulips, hydrangeas, sunflowers and French landscapes, fueled by fresh fruit kolaches and cookies made from scratch, courtesy of our talented multi-tasking energizer bunny hostess Jane!

I did emphasize to everyone our holiday theme, encouraging everyone to come up with a few bunny jokes.This was about the best we received:

What is invisible and smells like carrots? Answer - Bunny farts!

One More Day Pink Peony Bouquet

  One More Day Pink Peony Bouquet 24X24 Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas Purchase Information


One More Day Pink Peony Bouquet
Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas
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One More Day Pink Peonies was the result of another good day at the flower market, I found fresh peonies out of season! Only two in the bundle really held up well overnight, so I painted them here, as a tribute to their perseverance under the bright studio lights. My Pug-mobile will soon be filled with supplies for my next workshop in the Texas Hill Country. I am planning to make a strategic stop at the fresh kolache bakery one morning, to indulge just a bit! Hopefully there will be at least a few left in the box by the time I make it to class, but I can't make any promises or anything...!


If you could have one more day

With someone you love

What would you do

What would you say


If only one wish

Could come true

My wish would be to have

One more day with you.

Garden Remnants Geraniums and Pansies

Garden Remnants Geraniums and Pansies
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Garden Remnants Geraniums and Pansies was created from the fresh flowers left over following my Louisiana workshop this week. One of the perks of teaching fresh flower painting is a house filled with color for days after class! Office supplies with color, what a great life it is to be an artist! Spring is my busiest time of year, since spring practically spells flower bloom season - as a result, I'm packing for three back to back workshops coming up lickity split! Next stop, the beautiful, historic, charming and wonderful town of Fredericksburg, Texas, in the Hill Country. If you've been walking this path with me for a while, you've heard me speak of "Freddy-burg" a time or two before. Here are a few photos from last year's workshop for you - enjoy! This one is full, but rest assured, I'll think of you fondly as we traipse through the wildflowers, courtesy of the late great angel of flowers, Ladybird Johnson, who claimed this area for her very own State Park!

Violet Fire Sunflower and a Louisiana Workshop

Violet Fire Sunflower

Class Demonstration
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Violet Fire Sunflower is a bright rendition of one of my favorite bloomers - sunflowers! I grew up on an organic farm in East Texas, and sunflowers were planted throughout my parents' gardens to help attract insects off the vegetable crops. I remember standing barefoot in the cool soil, gazing up at the faces of giant sunflowers. They are such a quintessential summertime flower!

I'm just home and unpacking from three days in Louisiana, sharing painting time, prizes, fresh flowers and no shortage of giggles with some lovely ladies from Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana. Next stop is Fredericksburg, Texas. If we're lucky, the wildflowers will be starting to bloom - see you soon in the Hill Country!

A Spring Surprise From a Fluffy Visitor

French Sunday Flower Market
Watercolor Painted in Frayssinet, France

I'm off to Shreveport, Louisiana this morning to paint florals and landscapes and the Pug-mobile is filled with surprises. I found fresh tulips and giant faced sunflowers at the market - a bit of a miracle, considering the iced roads and snow we've had! This morning it's all melted and the birds are singing in my garden. I think that's a sign of good things to come, don't you? I raced outside so many times the past few days to cover my hydrangeas, surely there will be some bright blossoms to reward those efforts. One can hope! Stay tuned, you'll get to see photos from the workshop at historic 601 Spring right here over the next few days, a place where Elvis once performed. Elvis isn't planning a surprise visit to us, but we do have one other visitor who is planning to make an appearance. He has already left a few clues in baskets with eggs and candy....hmmmm...who could that be....?


I knew I had seen some little footprints and chocolate egg wrappers lying about...

Blue Fire Sunflowers



Blue Fire Sunflowers
Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Blue Fire Sunflowers celebrates a fresh bouquet of sunnies I found at the market a few days ago, in the middle of an ice storm here in Flower Mound, Texas. I love applying a vibrant, loose mix of warm colors in thick, textured paint on a large format canvas. Something about the large size seems to really set the brush free. Sunflowers are just about the best anti-freeze flower there is!



The studio models take a bow!

The studio models take a bow!

My New Poppy-Pansy DVD Double Feature


Poppy Garden
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

Click here to order my Pansy-Poppy double feature DVD

I'm super excited to announce my new double feature DVD has arrived! With two full-length lessons on poppies and pansies, you’ll want to stock up on Milk Duds and popcorn, and maybe get a nice little four footed helper to sit in your lap during the show. Tomorrow morning I’ll be shipping out all the pre-orders to flower friends in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and across the US. No worries, though, I’m saving a poppy with your name on it! Here’s where you can order your copy….

Click here to see the trailer!

A new DVD - brought to you by my extra fancy $2 brushes!