Spring Rain Irises and Pugs in the Garden

Spring Rain Iris Garden
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Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas
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This morning my iris garden was struggling to regain its footing after the cool rains yesterday. A flock of yellow blossoms had fallen to the earth, so I took up my garden scissors and brought them indoors for a modeling session. My four pug helpers accompanied me on this rhizome reconnaissance mission into the gardens. Our rescue pug Hannah has bird patrol duties she takes quite seriously, while Howard Pee Pugpants enjoys smooshing his snout into the potting soil, the pots, the bags, the boxes, and anything in general he can reach. Java, my old man puggy, always comes to Mom for love and pats first, since he considers himself more human than pug. And Studio Director AnnieBee waits impatiently for me to throw the toy du jour a few gazillion times for her. She waits all day for this, and it's been a long, wet winter so we've had a lot of catching up to do. I hope you've had some productive moments in your spring garden, with helpers nearby to keep you smiling - tomorrow morning I'm off to teach in New Orleans, one of my favorite places in the whole world - and I'm not just saying that because of the beignets, cher!

The studio models take a bow and a dip!  

The studio models take a bow and a dip!

 

AnnieBee says, Don't forget to play outside today!

Southern Bell Sunflowers and a Tennessee Workshop

Southern Bell Sunflowers
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Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Southern Bell Sunflowers was one of my class demonstrations in Tennessee last week, and features some teal pops of color to balance the warm orange bellies of these large flowers. We had a great time in class, the students took home some prizes, new hats, and even one big grand giveaway of $1000 (in chocolate!). I'm delighted to announce I've opened another Tennessee class since the first one filled up so quickly - I hope to see you there!

Painting Brilliant Florals and Landscapes

in Memphis/Collierville, Tennessee

October 12-14, 2015

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Nashville, Tennessee, Alumni 2015

 

Blue Heaven Hydrangeas

Blue Heaven Hydrangeas
20X20
Oil on Deep Gallery Wrap Canvas
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I clipped the blooms from my hydrangeas this evening. I originally had planned to cut some of my new irises and bring them into the studio to paint. I stood in front of the iris bed with the scissors in hand, looking at the white irises, and the blue irises, and the deep purple, and I just could not bring myself to cut any of them. They were so tall, and fresh, and recently unfurled, and clearly enjoying their moment in the sun after a long winter.

The blue hydrangeas that traveled with me from my last workshop, however, were beginning to fade. Destined for my flower pots tomorrow, I knew the blossoms would not last much longer. Or perhaps that is just the excuse I used to have the courage to cut them. They posed quite bravely under the hot spotlight in Big Blue, my favorite vase, this evening. Here's to their sacrifice - thank you so much to these lovely blue blossoms!

The studio models take a bow!

Spring Sparkle Pink Geraniums and Caught in a Love Triangle With Sonoma Flower Gardens

Spring Sparkle Pink Geraniums
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Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Spring Sparkle Pink Geraniums was one of my recent class demonstrations and the flower models are already blooming happily on my sun porch, as part of my "paint the flower, plant the flower" recycling program. I'm leaving for Tennessee Friday for a full workshop near Nashville, but I have a confession to make. I am so excited about Tennessee and seeing all those friendly southern ladies, but Sonoma, California, is on my mind! Paint Brilliant Sonoma is coming up soon. Is it okay to be in love with two venues at the same time? Will Nashville begin saying awful things about Sonoma on its Facebook page if they discover I am practically seeing them both at the same time? I know the airline is pretty happy with me at this particular juncture, as I have six plane tickets in the queue and single handedly have funded an entire fuselage on one of the new Airbus 777s this year. Not to incur further jealousy, but the flight attendant slipped me an extra bag of peanuts on my last flight. I tried to nod my thanks to her, but the gentleman's elbow in the seat next to me was wedged so tightly under my chin I could barely get my seatbelt clipped.

Regardless, the evening wine tasting and hazy mornings over flower filled fields with clusters of grapes catching the dawn dew are calling my name. I would move back to California in a heartbeat, if I could afford the car registration fees. At least I can visit occasionally, and take you with me! Here's the squeeze on Sonoma:

 

Paint Brilliant Sonoma

May 29-31, 2015

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Click here and get the squeeze on Sonoma!

Click here and get the squeeze on Sonoma!

Signs of Spring Iris Garden

Signs of Spring Iris Garden
20X10
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Signs of Spring Iris Garden celebrates the first blooms in my spring garden, my purple irises. Thanks to the wet winter, the flowers are promising to perform extraordinary feats of color in my iris and hydrangea beds over the next few weeks. I promise to document the array of unfurling petals for you right here on the bloggy, so stay tuned flower friends! I hope you have a beautiful Easter weekend, with loved ones nearby.

Signs of Spring on the easel!

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
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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
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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
24X24
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.