Shy Plums and Ruthless Bananas in the Art Studio

Shy Plums and Pink Peonies
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I made an executive decision to leave the banana out of my class demo in Hot Springs, Arkansas, this morning. It was a tough call, but one of the plums kept rolling behind the vase out of the spotlight, and I didn't want to spook the rest of the fruit herd and cause a stampede. It was one of those days when you knock things over and drop things and can't remember the recipe for green (yellow plus blue equals...hmmmm).... Fortunately, I had a class full of talented and incredibly encouraging flower friends.

These talented gals whipped out peonies so quick we finished up early today! I flower marched them out to the deck for the class photo before any of them could escape my lens. Tomorrow we will paint French landscapes, which seems fitting, since all the supplies for my France workshop will be shipped out next week - my how time flies when you're having fun with paint!

The offending banana makes an appearance....

Showing off their beautiful bouquets in Hot Springs, Arkansas!

A Texan's Point of View on the European Kiss ~ White Tulips

 

The Kiss ~ White Tulips
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There is just something about that European greeting, the kiss, that always takes me by surprise. Not that I don't like it, I could get used to it, but being a gal from Texas, we were taught "The Hug" rather than "The Kiss" and so going in for the hug and suddenly getting lips on your cheek is like discovering you're doing the Cotton Eyed Joe when your partner was intent on the Texas Two Step. It's really just a different point of view on a greeting, and one that is much warmer, even than a hug. Like I said, I could get used to this whole European thing! And it's a good thing, since my France workshop is coming up in August. Mon cher, I must pack again soon!

For now I'm finally back on Texas time, the unending rains have cut off the main road into and out of Flower Mound, and I'm so thankful, yet again, to be a work at home artist! We're not paddling around in boats, though it sure looks like it from the national news. Not to worry, I have plenty of Dove chocolate and crackers and cheese. I can hold up literally for days on such awesome rations!  

The view from Tuscany - a villa on a hill!

Thunder in Tuscany and 1000 Years of Prayer ~ Painting Near the Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance

Class Demonstration, Tuscany, Italy

Thunder Red Geraniums
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Oil on Museum Quality Panel

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Thunder rolled across the Tuscan hills last night, blasting light in bolts that shook the ground and threw out the power for a short time during our dinner hour at San Fedele in the Chianti region of Italy. We grabbed our wine glasses, cameras, and other valuables from tables on terraces overlooking vineyards and ran into the chapel to escape a drenching rain. As black clouds moved quickly across hills that had seen the boots of the Gestapo, the soft tread of monks, and the footprints of local farmers, it seemed only fitting to find sanctuary in a place where prayer had been given for 1000 years.

Tomorrow will be our third day of exploring the Chianti region, and of painting each day in a high ceilinged room adorned with frescos, adjoining the chapel of San Fedele, a place where local families have found solace for over 10 centuries. It is an honor to teach painting in a place so close to the birth of the Renaissance, and the signs are all around us pointing to how this red earthed golden sky-ed place inspired brushes to reach for the heavens. 

Already I've seen a few signs that are hard to ignore. I'm sharing all my favorite Tuscany painting videos and photos with you each day on my Facebook page, join me there for images of pasta, paint, biblical clouds, rose laced vineyards, and petals painted in joyful color! Read more....

Salute from Tuscany!

Looking for Angels in Rome and a Coliseum Closeup

Class Demonstration, Sonoma, CA

Lace Cap Hydrangeas and Cosmos
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Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas

 

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Ciao from Roma! The adventure has begun, my first trip to Rome, to Italy, to Tuscany to teach flower painting! We have arrived with luggage and paints, even though we (I!) almost missed the flight from London to Rome because the airport had just too many great places to shop for perfume and candy. One of those situations that just couldn't be helped. Already I am quite certain the thing I love most about Italy is the sky at sunset. It's biblical! 

This evening we had dinner with at the hotel, sharing a table with a famous children's author, her husband, the owner of the hotel, and the chef, and then the hubby and I raced off to explore the Coliseum at sunset. I've shared some of my favorite photos with you here, and promise to share many more in the upcoming days. If you look closely, you'll see the angels of Rome in one of the sunset photos! Let me know if you spot them. I'm going to try to get more photos of them tomorrow with the good camera.

Tomorrow we take the "fast train" (Italo!) to Florence, where we will be taken to our official flower painting headquarters. Let the poppy painting begin! Stay tuned for Tuscan color, gorgeous villages and markets, and more sunsets to come flower friends!

 


Tough Decisions About Italy and Vintage Blue Tulip Gardens

Class Demonstration

Vintage Blue Tulip Garden
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Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas

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It's time to make some tough decisions around Flower Mound Studio, and no, this does not involve insisting AnnieBee eliminate one toy because she got three new ones today. This is much more serious. I have to decide which Italian villages, markets, and castles to tour with my Tuscany students next week. Cortona, Siena, San Gimignano, oh my - I think I need a glass of wine! As if this were not enough pressure, I was just informed by a thoughtful and kind friend that Friday is national donut day here in the US and she will be enjoying it without me. Oy!! Before things get completely out of hand, I have to get my sticky notes out and write stuff down. Here are a few of my jottings, if you were headed to Italy for the first time in your life, what would be on your to-do list? Hmmm??

- teaching in Italy next week for the first time!

- touring the place near where the Renaissance began!

- staying in a hotel in Rome within walking distance of the Coliseum!

- visiting fields of poppies in full bloom!

Bon journo, and ciao bella, ya'll - I promise to share LOTS of pictures with you of my grand adventures. I can't make such promises about gelato, however, you know how it gets all melty if you try to share, after all.... 

 

The classroom models take a bow and a dip in Sonoma! (Perhaps some-tulips had too much wine?)

Painting Sonoma Sunflowers and You Know You're in California When...

Class Demonstration

Wild Garden Sunflowers
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Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas, Sold

 

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I am just back this evening from my first Sonoma, California, workshop, where the sunsets were spectacular, the fresh flowers were plentiful, and you couldn't walk five feet without stumbling into a gorgeous vineyard! We painted tulips, hydrangeas, cosmos, daisies, and delphiniums and I was acclimated back to the California I love before I had even polished off a glass of red! 

Most of all, I knew immediately, while standing in line for my gourmet iced mocha coffee with extra mocha, that I was back in California. The sign at the checkout stated my selection that day was certifiably gluten free, organic, non-GMO laced, fair-trade grown, vegan, women-owned, and socially responsible. 

My next workshop is in Tuscany, Italy, and I have a few seats left so pack your wine glass and your sun hat and join me for the peak of poppy bloom! I'm saving a bowl of gelato with your name on it!

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Thanks so much Rochelle Wines for a delicious wine tasting event!

Garden Constellation Peonies and a North Texas Workshop

Garden Constellation Pink Peony Garden
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Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Garden Constellation Pink Peonies is my wish that these fresh flowers would last forever, a wish upon a peony star! Tonight I'm packing for my Sonoma, California, workshop, and soon after I'll be heading to Italy to teach my first European workshop. When I quit my job a little over a year ago to pursue this painting dream, I never imagined how many new colors, how many new paths, this journey would give me. I am so very lucky to have the ability to be a full time artist and teacher! It's a wish come true.

I'm also super excited to announce my first North Texas workshop in many months, and I hope to see you there. For women who travel to workshops, this is a great opportunity to make it as easy as possible, since the La Quinta will pick them up at DFW International Airport and drive them to class every day. No more car rentals needed! Here are the details: 

 

Painting Brilliant Florals and Landscapes

July 10-12, 2015

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Close to Heaven Pink Peonies and Remembering Mom

Close to Heaven Pink Peonies
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I've been thinking a lot about heaven lately, since I now have one more guardian angel, perhaps the most powerful one I have ever had. I thought I would only feel my Mother's presence the morning after she died, when I felt a blanketing warmth and comfort surround me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. But today I felt her with me again, a transcendent peace settled over me this morning as I watched the sun finally come out after a night of ferocious thunderstorms. I think we all wish and hope that we will never truly lose the ones we love most, and perhaps this is all just wishful thinking. My friends assure me that I will be fatigued almost always now, since even if I am not aware of it, the brain is processing after a loss of this magnitude. If so, what a blessing to have a tired mind that allows my thoughts to wander to such feelings and memories of Mom's love. More than any other memory, I keep picturing my Mom at her kitchen table, stirring a glass of iced tea, and laughing. If there were one epithet I would hope for, it would be that people said of me, "I always remember her laughing." What a wonder to have lived my life with a Mother who had a magical laugh and an easy smile and a heart always open to others.

The studio models take a bow and a dip!

Spring Rain Peony and Hydrangea Container Garden

Spring Rain Peony and Hydrangea Garden
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Spring Rain Peony and Hydrangea Garden is my newest large container garden, unveiled at my art event at Wine Down Market in Flower Mound Saturday. I'm humbled and honored at such a great turnout for the show! Thanks so much to everyone who joined me, and congratulations to Kay McCarthy who won a fun and squishable peony pillow. All the proceeds for the pillow giveaway went to one of my favorite charities, Dallas Ft Worth Pug Rescue. There were several quite good looking puggies who joined us for the event, four footed snuffly little ambassadors to the cause. I'll be having another art show at Wine Down Market again this year, right in time for holiday shopping, I sure hope you can join me there! Sign up for my newsletter so I can keep you in the flower loop!

A Free Tulip Video and Framed in Violet White Roses

Framed in Violet White Roses
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Framed in Violet White Roses celebrates the push and pull of warm and cool violets and how it can be just so much fun to play with color. Today the pugs and I are celebrating in the studio the release of my full-length, free tulip video. Just a flower footnote for all those who watch, unlike my professional DVDs, Pink Pirouette Tulips on video was just an amateur production done by yours truly, with her puggy assistants, so the sound is not high quality. I beg your forgiveness for that, though if you listen closely, as a consolation prize, you just might hear snorting, barking and other assorted puggy noises! Stay tuned to the end for some fun out-takes involving four legged helpers!

Click here to watch the free video!

I hope you enjoy this little tulip treat, I created it for you as a thanks for walking with me on the flower-strewn path of my first year as a full time artist, and also to celebrate hitting 14,000 Facebook fans. I thank you from the bottom of my heart - with flowers (and pug kisses)!