Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Each day I walk from my cottage and studio down the mountain and back. It is one of my daily routines and provides inspirations for paintings. I am constantly greeted by the most wonderful panoramas .Farmlands and Valleys, dotted with small white houses and large chateaus with red tiled roofs.
The view of the village Roquecor on the hill top is one of my favorites vistas. A small medieval village not far from where I live , it is the closest for purchasing cheese , bread and wine.My french menu. And although it is a small village, it is full of rich experiences and wonderful, friendly people.

As the season progresses and I watch the fields change in patterns from harvesting and the colors change from the light, I am amazed at the difference created each day. Some of these have become embedded in my psyche and will no doubt show up in paintings for years to come. Little subtleties that leak out into the artwork, totally unplanned and recognizable only to me.
As my work here is almost completed ,I find that I am not ready to go yet. This place is one I have become attached too , It feels so familiar and has provided such a wonder place to work. Spending hours implimenting new ways to translate my visions , trying new techniques and directions.Whether they are beautiful or not, is not for me to say and does not prevent my artistic experiments from continuing. Some will go home with me and will hopefully take my art to new heights, others will remain here,in the trash,where they belong.

Renewing my artistic spirit has become the main focus of this sabbatical to France getting acquainted with my muse again and letting the creative process unfold. Those of you who truly understand this statement will see this spirit in my new work.

I am off for some more traveling now, exploring new towns and villages looking around the next bend hoping to find the next inspiration. Wish me luck...


Monday, October 09, 2006



Mes chers amis,

As I travel around France I am always struck by the beauty around me. While visiting Albi a town near Toulouse , I was fascinated by this hugh Cathedral in the middle of town. As much a fortress as a church , built of red brick in the true gothic style,it was started in 1282 and took a century to complete. And for as stark as it is outside , the interior is completely covered with paintings and carvings. Amazing!

I look at all things differently here, old stone buildings with their wonderful textures and colors, the streets in the towns and villages that are lined with interesting buildings adorned with shutters in lavender and that shade blue that is only found in France. Maybe it is just the light here, but everything looks incredible and extraordinarily beautiful to me. Maybe I am just falling in love.
Looking at the shapes and angles of the roof lines and the arches that are found everywhere in the cities I find myself mentally working out a composition that might work well on the canvas. Some are so compelling that I have started a painting that was inspired by the view in the photograph.

While in Albi , I visited the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. It was full of sketches he made of cancan dancers at the Moulin Rouge and prostitutes with their gentlemen callers. He also loved to paint the cabaret singer Atistide Burant and the Circus people.
I learned a lot about his point of view from studying his sketches and paintings. Quick brushstrokes with a simple line on cardboard were his preferred style and surface. He captured movement and expressions so well with these techniques and I gained a whole new respect for his talent and subject matter.

So yes, among other things I am learning new ways of looking at things here on my art sabbatical, and acquiring an expanded artistic point of view.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Getting Started

As I begin my first paintings, I am struck with the surreal feeling of being inside a picture.
After months of seeing this lovely studio online and corresponding with my landlords the Jones about my visit , it is hard to believe I am actually here, living my dream.
Each day I walk the mountain, absorbing the magnificent vistas and then I hurry back to the studio to capture the feeling of the views and the colors on my canvases.
The smell of the rich,moist earth and the feel of the crisp,pristine air on my face,renew my artistic spirit and refresh my energy. I found fresh walnuts on the ground and use them in my salad at dinner.
And as I ate the salad I thought, I could live like this for the rest of my life, paint on my hands and fresh walnuts in my salad,here in the Midi-Pyrenees,France.
oui, ce serait une bonne vie.
Until next time,