Saturday, December 27, 2008

Residency opportunity

In my INBOX today was a nice little newsletter and invitation from Grant Pound of the Colorado Art Ranch. The timing wouldn't be right for me this coming year..............BUT it sounds wonderful. Maybe it would be a great adventure for some other artist. Do check it out and think about applying for a residency there. It should be unforgettable and inspirational.

Quotes from the newsletter/email.............

"The experiences I have had here are now a part of me. This time has been essential to the next step in my journey."
Ebony Rose Scalf, Artist-in-Residence, British Columbia

"Colorado Art Ranch has been a profound and unforgettable experience. I am forever grateful for your support."
Diana Rico,
Writer-in-Residence, New Mexico

We are planning on having three residencies for 2009. This gives us the chance to serve more literary and visual artists as well as rural Colorado communities. So far one is set in stone (or at least pixels). The others will be announced as the information develops. We hope you will consider applying and spread the word to other artists.

Grant Pound
Executive Director
Residency in Historic Trinidad, Colorado

Colorado Art Ranch will host visual and literary artists in Trinidad, Colorado. The residency begins April 17, 2009 and ends May 18, 2009. Deadline for applications is February 1, 2009.

Living Space
We have an unusual and very cool housing option this time. Residents will be housed in the Holy Trinity Convent (no longer active) in the heart of historic Trinidad. The convent features a large kitchen and an exercise room.

Residents will be our guests at the Artposium in Trinidad.

Read FAQs, and apply at online.
About Trinidad
Nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains halfway between Santa Fe and Denver, Trinidad retains its Old West character and the vitality of its pioneering days on the Santa Fe Trail. The community celebrates its colorful past while embracing new public projects.

Visitors find gracious parks among winding brick streets and broad avenues. A wealth of historic architecture and outstanding history, art history, and archaeological museums depict how the West was once. Musical and gallery events occur throughout the year, and the town enjoys the finest in professional theatre. Historic Trinidad
Other Residencies

We have plans for a residency in Salida that will (hopefully) take place in the Summer. The Fall residency will be near Paonia, Colorado. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's getting there!

This link will take you to some more photos as the kitchen is today on the day after Christmas.

Here are some pictures I took this afternoon after the man came to install the vent a hood. There are still lots of little things to putting in the back-splash and all the quarter-round along the floors....touch up paint, hang paintings, arrange things in shelves and cabinets...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day. I wish you all good fortune and a healthy, happy New Year for 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

What A Day!

What a day!

As everyone who reads this blog knows, I haven't had a real kitchen for some time. Today I needed to make something to take to a TX Wax meeting on Sunday and some cookies for a Christmas Cookie exchange party on Monday.

We've been using the old gas range in the kitchen of my studio so I put my fresh apple cakes in the oven and went about my business. I came to check on them about an hour later to determine how much longer they had to bake and clicked in 15 more minutes. It hardly registered that the oven wasn't as warm. When I came back later, it did. The darn oven went out on me right in the middle of all this stuff I had to do. Yikes............out to the well house to drag out the old toaster oven and I put them in one at a time and baked and turned and baked and turned. I'm crossing my fingers on this one but Curry said the middle of one of them seemed good to him. So I'll take the other one to the meeting.

Knowing this wasn't going to work for the cookies, I begged him to pull out my new oven/range and plug it in for cookie baking. The electricians only finished their work yesterday and I have no counter-tops yet. So I did all the cutting and slicing upstairs and went up and down, back and forth until they were all baked.

I'm tired.........and went to get burgers for to bed early I think.

I have done a few art related things...put hangers and wire on a couple of my latest paintings. Yesterday I had to make a run to Dallas to deliver some work. SO, art and art business continues, only not as I would like right now. Oh, and I added a couple of pages to my website since I'd forgotten to make pages for a couple of paintings.

Maybe this time next week my new kitchen will be in better working order..........most of it anyway.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I HATE painting cabinets!

The cabinets were installed a couple of days ago. Did I ever mention I hate painting anything but paintings? WELL, I hate painting cabinets even more than ceilings and walls. Here are a couple of pictures before the painting started.

We have to paint because if you want white cabinets in the color of white you choose, it seems you can't really buy already finished unless you get some kind of plasticized thermofoil or something. SO, we had a local cabinet man come in and make these to fit the space. This is an old country farm house but I like a lot of contemporary things so I will have Euro drawer pulls, a lot of stainless steel, Euro styled exhast fan, stainless steel up to the ceiling, black quartz countertops and mix it all up with all the old oak furniture. The cabinet man had the nifty idea of making me a free-standing server instead of just building it into the wall with legs in front. It's 89 inches long, and 15 inches deep. It will be great for a server for big family get-togethers or just for serving coffee. AND, it makes for a good reason for leaving the old cabinets and the window above it where the old kitchen sink used to be. I've been thinking of making a mosaic ceramic top....BUT I HAVE TO PAINT in the studio, I hope soon.

Back to my rant about hating to paint and priming cabinets.........We have have certain amounts of it done so the electricians can come back for the rest of their work and also putting in the under cabinet lights........When will I ever get a sink again?

Friday, November 21, 2008

From the studio window

Oh my.......two posts in one day. BUT, I took these pictures yesterday afternoon while my husband , and Junior were taking a break on my little back porch on the studio. We saw the "pet" and some other cows making their way up from the lake and couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures.

A Good Day

Making my day............

Over the past few years, I've been fortunate to have my work chosen for 5 different book covers. Two books have been from a wonderful poet who teaches at the University of Alabama, Theodore Worozbyt.

Yesterday he sent me this link to an interview he had about his books. My work featured on the cover is mentioned and his quotes made my day.

Pieces of Red 5 will grace the cover of the award winning poetry book, The Dauber Wings, by Theodore Worozbyt.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Progress is being made............slowly.

I'm showing some pictures taken over the past couple of weeks.... First the slow process of removing old flooring and down to the old pine boards. A nasty process, I assure you. Also the removal of a couple of layers on some of the walls, down to some old wallpaper when it must have been a dining or living room. This was found when taking out the old pantry area we are going to use as part of the new kitchen cooking/prep area. New wallboard had to be installed. Thank goodness it didn't have to look perfect since the new cabinetry will cover most all of it anyway. Nothing is perfect in this old a house you might as well like it that way.

The area where the old sink was is the area with the only two cabinets we left around the sink window. ( We still have to put in new bead board to meet the old here. This was the ONLY counter space in the old kitchen. Since I wanted to leave SOMETHING of the old, we left these two old cabinets, removed the doors, and I will leave them as open shelves for my blue and white dishes and also near the dining area in the kitchen for convenience. At the beginning I will paint the interior the same SW Universal Khaki as the walls about the wainscoting.......later I may add more color as is appropriate for the dishes displayed.

My husband (favorite helper) is doing most of the grunt work on this project. We are hiring out all the plumbing, electrical, cabinets and the new white oak floors are now installed but not yet finished. The same man who finished the other adjacent floors will be doing the work...starting on Thursday. I have no idea how long that will take but it will be three visits he says. After that will be the new cabinets installed...........WE have to paint them...paint grade maple. All the appliances are here. Are you tired yet? I am, but still have to finalize what hardware and counters/back splashes and get some schedule for the installation of new wiring, the rest of the plumbing and the venting, etc. I plan on a dark quartz counter top.

Off Tuesday to deliver more paintings to Dallas so it might be some time before I get back to the blog.
AND, I have been informed I will have Thanksgiving company...........

Monday, November 3, 2008


There's a lot going on here at the farm but not a lot of it is making art much to my disappointment. My mom died so I ended up making two trips to Oklahoma.

We've gutted a bathroom and the whole kitchen. The floors and some of the walls had to be stripped back so it was a long physical process (mostly for my husband) as he does most of this physical work. I have to be there to just lend support and the hammer and nails so to speak.

I have ordered and received the new appliances and have the cabinet man starting to work. We've had plumbers, need electricians and then the plumbers back later. I haven't a clue what back splash and counter top I want as I'm just going from one project to another helter-skelter. We also will not do anything without cash in hand so I wait daily for set-backs which would make the budget (What budget??) go out the window. The new oak floors will be installed on Thursday but I can't get the finisher on the phone.

I have a gallery interested in my work so I'm running back to Dallas Tuesday to take them some work. Fifteen gazillion people call wanting to know how much my house in Longview is selling for. My Seattle gallery, Gallery Mack, sold a large painting..............yaaay Gallery Mack.

Over the week-end my thirteen year-old grandson came for the opening of deer season...his dad came the next day and also my daughter and granddaughter. It was a interesting situation with only one bed due to all the upheaval here.........but two hideabeds. One is in the studio so we all ate up there and two slept up there. Looks like they all like my studio. OH yeah....didn't kill a deer ( saw some) but did kill that huge hog and did some stalking of the beaver that keeps damming up the spillway on the pond.

I have time to write this since I got upstairs to make coffee and discovered I had forgotten to set back the alarm clock, although I think I've re-set all the others. Joke's on me I guess. I'll be drooping tonight from being up so early.

Off to Tyler today and Dallas tomorrow....BUSY BUSY

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back to the Wax

Back to the waxes!

So long ago it seems since I put this piece up. I needed to get some commission work done with acrylic so all the wax/encaustic paints had to be put away to make room in the studio.

Later, a trip to Italy and moving and and and....all conspired to keep me away.

Today, I finally got to fooling around with this piece again, and I suddenly wanted to add something that I passed every day when running around the Umbrian hills. umbrella or Italian pine tree that seemed a lone sentinel on one of the roads we traveled. I'm not sure what kind of pine they are but it doesn't matter to looks like an umbrella.

This photo is a little dark since it is such a gray day today. If I don't change it, I'll have to take a better picture with truer color. Whatever, there were plenty of these kind of gray days in Umbria as well, so it seems appropriate. This one is 24 x 24" titled, Umbrella Pine, Umbria.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Same old refrain!

Still working on gutting the kitchen and one bathroom with hall. We've piled up everything we can in a back bedroom that also has to have the oak flooring refinished. Also, much furniture is piled up in the front living room (entrance hall). I have no idea how long we will have to live with this.

The tractor and farm truck is in the front yard waiting to take off the old toilet and vanity plus all the extra wall board removed so far from the bathroom. Next is demolition of the old shower. Now we discovered one old wall was left when they moved a wall to make this bathroom. Ooops...might be a wall that has to stay so back to rethinking all this.

My husband already took away all the old cabinets/pantry in the kitchen. We save what we can that might be reused but it's hard to store all this stuff.

Yesterday, we took a break for a time to go to my husband's big high school reunion at a ranch nearby. Woo...what a fancy place and fabulous food. It was great to see all these old friends for him, and nice for me to meet a few new people plus renew acquaintance with some I knew from before.

Back to the kitchen gutting.......our fridge is now in the front entry so I come down and pick up food, take it up to the studio apartment and place in the small fridge there to cook. Looks like I have a whole kitchen up there but small amount of counter space to work on....but it will do until we get this all worked out however long it takes. We're lucky to have somewhere to go while all this takes place. It will be a slow process due to doing a lot of work ourselves (really my husband with me standing by for support).

Maybe I can sneak in some real painting time.........I hope so.

I have a big week next week running back over to Longview several times for appointments and taking work for an art walk Downtown Longview has started recently. Some of my work will hang at the Tyler Street Bistro and Gilbert's Martini Bar. Come by if you are in town...........5-8 pm....Thursday, October 16. It should be fun. All the merchants in downtown will have art work to share.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Promised Painting Photo

I'm just now getting around to taking pictures of the four paintings I completed at colony. I did take some but the light was bad so I waited until I got home. Time is flying so I'm just now taking my first pictures here at the farm studio. Hummm...not funny if your painting wants to fly off the upper porch which almost happened. I kept moving around and moving around and finally got them done although I need a special place to hang them at a better level in the future.

This is the last one I did before Colony ended. I'm titling most everything right now with Umbria in it since that is what I hope I am calling on for my show in Louisiana next year....and these are the images that come to my mind as all the relationships with shape and color evolve.

This one is HilltownsUmbria ....30 x 30" acrylic on canvas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Big Mess

I haven't taken any good photos of my 4 new paintings yet. You can see why when you see this big mess in the farm kitchen.

After returning home, unloading painting stuff, washing, shopping, making more studio shelves.....who has time to paint?

The time is coming though............more when I have time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Woo woo....I've got internet people. Of course, now that I'm here at camp and painting, I don't have much, if any, time to check out anything on the internet. I only scan emails, etc.

I have got two paintings that might pass muster. One is finished and hasn't died on me (all acrylic painters know what I mean here). The other is still being considered but I think it will do.

Maybe I can get a couple of pictures taken and up tomorrow if things don't get too hectic.

Now time to close down for happy hour and dinner....see ya tomorrow if at all possible.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Farm Studio...continued

It's been a while but I've been working.... Just not always on painting. I'm still setting up in the studio and took more pictures. However, my ISP and Flickr don't always cooperate with me. I got some of the pictures to load after making them into web sized images. Here's the link  
Just look for the ones from Sept 8. 

The photo above was made at sunset during the week of rain and storms coming up from the coast..

Yesterday my daughter, her husband and two kids showed up with their two quarter horses. They are going to see if they can keep them out here now but we'll have to move them at times for the cows to get through their area. This morning after my husband headed out to Longview and a dental appointment and seeing after more house stuff...I heard a rumbling noise. Guess I couldn't see the horses running around but finally saw one of them running around the pens...whinnying. For myself, I was hoping nothing was wrong since I know absolutely nothing about seeing after horses. They seem to have quietened down now. They also know nothing about having a lot of space so I guess there is a lot of learning to do on all sides.

I'm planning to get back to the studio now but hopefully in the future some of this ISP coming in and out of service will get better. If not, you will hear me screaming from here to "anywhere and everywhere".

PS..........Looking through the pictures, you will see one room used to be a living room, one a bedroom and one a kitchen (forgot little bathroom)............we're going to keep a sofa up there so it will be a better place to just go sit at times and I also put in a little "break room" table in the kitchen. NOW, to figure out what to do with all the shipping boxes. I used to have them on a high large shelf mostly in the old studio closet. These closets are nice but not in the height and depth department for this kind of storage.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Friend........Bill Gingles it what you will. NO INTERNET, SUCKS.

I've been on the farm and trying to get into my mail or the bank or whatever, you name it....It's, LIKE DIALUP. I'll never complain about my old ISP of DSL-ATT-YAHOO again, I promise.

Anyway, I'm still scared to try to upload a picture but I finally got this email from a friend over in Shreveport about a neat Utube video he now has published so I thought I could load it, wish I could do one of these some day. (You wouldn't want to hear me, I promise with my TX accent).

................... Introducing, Bill GIngles......

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Carolyn and I traveled to Dallas Saturday to go to the opening reception of the "Some Like It Hot" show we have work in at the Bath House Cultural Center. It's a great place to have a show on the banks of White Rock Lake in east Dallas.

The reception was packed with lots of people interested in the encaustic technique as well as a lot of people coming in to see the Women Printmakers showing in the adjacent gallery.
Looking forward to sharing encaustic painting techniques, some of our TX Wax Dallas members are preparing for demonstrations of their personal techniques during the DADA art walk on September 13.

Right now Flikr says "We have a problem, Houston" for my uploads of maybe later I can get some up from the reception or send them to some other member of our group to post.
Go by the Bath House if you get a chance before September 27th when the show won't be disappointed. 521 E. Lawther Dr. Dallas, TX

Friday, August 22, 2008

Confident Color

Last week I was looking through my art books with the thought of starting to pack them up for the move to the farm. It suddenly hit me again..........MY WORK IS ON THE COVER OF THIS WONDERFUL BOOK by Nita Leland,(The New Creative Artist, revised).

And, it's happening again for the second time for her new book, Confident Color: An Artist's Guide to Harmony, Contrast and Unity.

Without a formal art education, I haunted the library and bookstores for books on art technique. Nita Leland's books were among my favorites. To think that my work is now in the place Edward Betts work was for the cover of first Creative Artist... awesome is an understatement. I never met Betts although I always loved his work and read many articles he wrote for magazines or where he was quoted in books. Many of the artists who have been featured in these books I've now met going to shows, working within organizations, etc. It's still amazing to me when I stop to think about it.

So when I was contacted last week by Art To Art Palette about my thoughts on being featured in Nita's newest book on color, the stars must have all be in alignment or something.

Karen Jacobs has a great comment on the book and being included in her blog a few days ago...thanks for the plug, Karen.

Most of all, thank you , Nita Leland, for writing some wonderful and inspirational books. I am so proud to be included with all the other fine artists in this latest publication. I'm waiting impatiently for it to be available in bookstores.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Art Museum auction

I donated a small collage to the local art museum here in Longview this week. It's framed and everything.........SO, if anyone is interested in bidding on it.

Here's link to the auction (it is a great cause you know). LMFA AUCTION

Or, just look around for other great items to bid on to support my local art museum.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Move In - Move Out...Day 2

I was going to call this...."Farm Studio Move, Day 2", but it looks more like "leaving the old studio, day 2" to me.

Bright and early this morning, Curry knocked on the door and had the old pick-up truck parked in the driveway. He was ready to mow our lawn (boy did it need it), wanted some coffee and breakfast, and started with dismantling more studio stuff. The poor room looks even more derelict than before now.

The big English wardrobe I found some years ago holds so much stuff....he's always hated it and calls it the "monstrosity". I keep telling him it's a great find and holds so much where I can find it and helps me stay a little more organized. Now it's just a shell waiting for the parts to be taken and bottom all in one piece and the rest can be dismantled for moving. It does pose a problem for placement I have to admit, as it's 7 ' tall and 7 ' wide. That means there are two walls in the new studio....and one is for the painting pegboard easel wall.

I'm trying not to even think about all the old paintings I need to throw out or do something with in that closet. Some I hate....I tore two up today. But some are just not what I do any longer and so they will not be seen in a show so how are they going to find a home??? My oldest daughter went "shopping" there in the studio the last time she was here. I don't think my youngest daughter or son really care that much for abstract art......oh well. I am going to donate one to the museum auction for later this month. Now I have to make time to get it down there in time.

I keep saying....simple, simple, simple...less is more, less is more. Clean, clean, clean!

Oh my gosh...I have to pack up all those books, too.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Farm Studio Move-In Day 1

August 8, 2008

I knew it was coming but it really hadn't sunk in. I'm moving out to the farm. I'm moving my home studio after 24 years and my home after 40 years. What an upheaval this is...but I hope a good one. I know there will be days (already have been) of exhaustion from the stress both mentally and physically. Ain't no spring chicken any longer......Also much time if you let it second guessing the decisions. I told my husband, lets just do it, we can always sell if it's too much later on.

While only about a third of my junk has been thrown down all over these rooms, it now really means this is going to take place soon. I NOW HAVE MY PAINTING WALL INSTALLED.

It's been a couple of days of cleaning. Most of these pictures were taken in process so try to look over all the dusty corners and bad looking vinyl floors. The carpeted room is in okay shape except for the step down into the painting room....cats had their way here it seems. I'll figure out something to do about it later. For now the old vinyl will just be scrubbed as much as possible and paint drips can cover the rest in time.

Who can complain to get three rooms and a tiny bathroom for their studio? And the view down the hills, pastures to the lake will be inspiration for me for sure.

I'm including a link to the Flickr folder to see all the beginnings. Hopefully later on I can post more when all the furniture and other "stuff" gets installed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White Space

Taking my personal "white space". this in my INBOX today. Call it what you want, all of us need some time to just germinate. I'm always commenting to people when I look at art, that I like/don't like the way someone uses their negative space......or has good quiet space placement in their work. This can be applied to life as well as Molly Gordon emphasized in this ezine email.

I'm certainly taking my white space lately. I look forward to the time when it will all pay off for me with lots of passionate work emanating from my studio at the farm.

quoted from Molly Gordon at AuthenticPromotion

Why Your Business Needs You to Do Less, Not More
Graphic designers and layout people will tell you that white space is what makes it possible for us to register text on a printed page or a computer screen. White space gives order, context, and emphasis to what matters. Without it, everything seems equally urgent and important.

If you’ve ever tried to read an email or web page with long paragraphs, you know what happens when too much content squeezes out the white space. It is hard to track meaning, hard to isolate key points, hard to know how to respond.

The same thing happens when there is not enough white space in our lives. Depending on our individual styles, we may get irritable, weepy, bossy, or simply forgetful. In an ironic turnabout, we may start saying "no" to things we'd like to say "yes" to and vice versa. Play feels like work, and work loses its charm.

On the other hand, when we expand or maintain white space in stressful times, we discover unexpected opportunities and solutions.

When a problem is too big or complex to be solved with available resources, we have to go to another level to solve it. White space helps us find that other level, when pushing harder and moving faster won't work.

If the white space in your life has been shrinking, or if, like me, you need more white space than usual right now, pause. Revise your commitments and declare a moratorium on promises for a few days.

Preserving white space allows the shape of what is truly important to emerge while giving us the breathing room to respond more completely and effectively.

That’s a good thing.
Until next week,
Molly Gordon

Thanks, Molly, for just confirming what I already knew!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Installation shots of show

I finally got back down to the museum today to take some installation shots of the show that opened Saturday night. No, I didn't go around and take pictures of the whole show........I'm being selfish and just taking MY long wall of 17 pieces.

Installation pictures

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Home exhbit

Photos from the opening reception

It's been a busy and exciting couple of days. I'm pooped and will get to bed early tonight probably.

I've uploaded a set of pictures of the Longview Museum of Fine Arts current show, "Coming Home". My work is very favorably shown on an entire wall of the largest gallery. We had a fantastic crowd there and I saw a lot of people I haven't seen in some time and met a lot of new ones.

As most artists know, it's rare that you get invited to show work at your local art museum. I'm honored to be one of 15 artists in this show.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Coming Home

A week ago today, I took twenty four paintings to the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. This is my local home town art museum. I have work in their Permanent Collection. This year marks the 50th Anniversary for the museum. To celebrate this event throughout the year, there will be three large exhibits that will show work from artists who are included in the collections and from artists who live around this area.

I'm proud and honored to be included in the Coming Home exhibit that will open July 19 and run through August 23. My work will be shown on the entire west wall of the Wrather Gallery when you enter the museum.

If you are in Longview during this time, please come by to see the show. AND, if you are there for the opening, please let me know as I will be there.

Here's a link to the show invitation....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Farm stuff

Busy at the farm. This morning we sat on the front porch drinking coffee and I noted how much Granny's lilies were blooming....give'em water and they bloom like crazy.

DH has been working on the closet in the front bedroom. Old houses don't have much in the way of closet storage so you just have to make do with what you have. We now have two rods on one side for tops and bottoms.......and a higher one on the other end for long stuff. The shelves are WAAY up but I'm tall so will make do until something better comes along. At least the old carpet in now pulled out, and the floor sanded and varnished. There is one more small closet in this room to work on step at a time. We pulled out an old cabinet and tried to recycle it into shelves in the middle.....however, it is just too big so out it went to the garage. I'll have to be on the look-out for something else for shoes up the middle of the closet...maybe just a lot of wooden cubes attached to the back of the wall.

I'm still waiting for the tile people to show and tell me what's what in the bathroom. We got the new vanity/sink/faucet and lighting installed ourselves. Now to wait for the tile people to tell me when they can do their work. If I didn't know better I would think I was in France where repair people show up 6 months after you call them. I did get a plumber to come out immediately when we called them about the lightning hitting the hot water pipe last week-end though......and it ended up taking out two breakers at the garage apartment and ruining the DISH connection to DH's aunt's television.

Last night we sat on the east porch drank, a glass of wine or two and watched all the fireworks from the nearest neighbors and town...........big display and surprising to me since I've never been over here for the big Fourth of July display before.

I brought a collage from home to put in over the bed to think about.....might work, or maybe better later to put up three very small panels. For now, it's up. When the electrician gets here to do some work in the computer room, I can get the fan it's now functional after taking it down to shortened the "wachamacallit" that hangs from the ceiling. I'll be glad when all the tile boxes and extraneous stuff is cleared out of here and I can move on to another room.

I'm determined not to put too much in any of these rooms with two households of furniture to combine. It will just be given away to family or given to free-cycle after figuring out what goes where. This is an opportunity to clear stuff out after living in one house over 40 years.


Monday, June 23, 2008


As my blog statement mentions..........what's going on in the studio, or not! Well, not is it for right now. I'm anxiety ridden about needing to be in the studio but other comittments are taking me in and out of the house. That is just not conducive to working creatively when you are there. Your mind is just not there.

Work at the farm is coming along, although very slowly. I've been over several times since returning from Italy. This last visit was to take a new bathroom vanity over. We got it put together and some of the plumbing stuff to wait for a real plumber for other things that need doing. I'm really not that much of a DIY person but my husband is always determined to try to do it himself unless he just has to call a service person. My thoughts are that for things like this, it is time. Who knew there were no water cut-offs until looking.........well now we know. It's not a good thought that you might have to have water turned off all over the place just to work on a shower installation or a lavatory update. Now we have a cut off in that bathroom for the lavatory..........slow progress for sure. Sticker shock for sure as well for "you know who". Of course, he should know I'm a bargain hunter so I'm doing the best that I can with what I've got.

Don't even think about me not still having painting going on in my mind..although you might wonder lately. It is there, all the beauty I soaked in while in Umbria..just waiting for the opportunity to escape into paint on canvas, or wax or collage on panel and paper.

Actually, I'm pulling out work for the show at the local art musuem to see what is available and to consider picking up a few pieces if needed. The show opens mid July with area artists featured this time, which is unusual. There is a 50 year celebration going on this year for our museum...I'm in the permanent collection there so I'm honored to have been selected for one of the shows.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last days

June 10 was here, the last day to get out and bid farewell to the wonderful area around Casa Rondini. When we had our bags packed about as much as wel could and had sorted things out for our night in Rome before the flight, we set out.

First we headed toward Monteleone di Orvieto and just looked around the area.........then headed back to cook a little dinner and clean up.

The next day we took a picture of our lovely host family, Franco, Bozena and their two daughters before driving out for the last time. As we headed toward Fabro Scalo, we saw that the poppy field was really putting on a show for us so we had to stop to take a few pictures. I also took a picture of the sign we'd passed so many times going that way with the names of so many of the towns around there we had passed through going and coming every day.

If anyone is heading to this area, you should definitely check out Casa Rondini. It will live up to your expectations and more as an ideal location for exploring Umbria and Tuscany.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pizza, Castiglione del Lago

June 8

Last chance for Pizza Night at Casa Rondini. Usually pizza night on Sundays is sort of an instructional "how to make pizza", like the pasta night. If it rains that might change since the oven is outdoors, but we will have pizza tonight.....Franco said so. (addendum: no pizza since the oven is outdoors because of rain..Stuffed Foccacia instead, with antipasti, wonderful spring peas and broadbeans from the garden, artichokes stuffed with garlic and parmesan. Ice cream and a blueberry tart for dessert. Way more food than we needed.

We're hoping our last laundry will have time to dry since it's been rainy/cloudy for several days. If not, then pack some in plastic bags for the trip home. We check out of our wonderful agritourisimo Tuesday morning and make the drive back to the Rome airport and the Hilton on the grounds there. We want to get the rental car all checked in and our hotel notified about out shuttle for departure times.

This has been a really marvelous trip. The time has flown by so quickly. How could it be already almost 28 days?

One last little trip out this afternoon....We went to Castiligone del Lago up on Lake Trasimeno again. No bags for Pat, sorry Pat, they were closed on Sunday at the only place I found them. We had a nice lunch, looked around, headed to Citta Della Pieve again so Carolyn could pick up a last minute item. It started raining and I took a 20 minute nap in the car while she went in to shop. Boy did I need it as I was really sleepy.

With that question about time passing so quickly, I'm also ready to get back in the studio. I'm thinking ahead to a big show at the local museum that will have my work featured and all that comes with slowly getting ready to move to the farm. I will be a very busy person. It has been really nice (understatement) to have no agenda for this whole trip. Every day or so we decided what we wanted to do and just went or NOT.Heaven. Umbria must be the greenest area in the world not withstanding Ireland although I've never been there so I wonder.

I found these pictures awaiting me as we walked to dinner.........Bozena's lilies were all in their glory. There was even a magnolia blooming today. I also took some pictures of the storm rolling in as we left Castiglione del Lago. Whatever the weather, the skies here are always awesome.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday at Casa Rondini

June 7

This day (Saturday) started with a lot of fog....I just turned over and went back to sleep. I was up early looking out due to that darn humongous crow or whatever he is pecking on the glass of the French doors in the kitchen again.He starts about 5-6 am. The only day he hasn't wakened us this week is the day we beat him up at 4:30 am to get ready for Rome.

Internet came back on so I uploaded some blog entries and downloaded to the laptop pictures from a couple of days. It looked like another good day for a pot of lentils so I did that as well.

A lot of the day is spent packing bags to see what will fit, and especially what will go in checked or carry-on baggage. Hum...what to wear now for the next couple of days???

The pictures for today were really made at the Vatican Museum in Rome yesterday.............those Romans sure did love their baths. This is not the largest of the tubs they have displayed there. Looks like a big party could be held in some of these....and probably was.


June 6 I tired. I didn't really sleep well last night knowing I had to be up at 4:30 am to get ready for a long day to Rome and back. We went on the train again and also bought a ticket on the Green Line to be able to go on and off the bus for the "sights". We spent most of the time in the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant near there and had a gelato on the way to the Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in for luck and that you will for sure come back to Rome one day...........then on to the Spanish Steps.

We barely made it back in time for the 5:12 pm return train trip. Tired for sure. I could see some of the other sights from the bus but we didn't stay on it that long......also the Coliseum, etc. Maybe we'll have time the evening before we return home to go into the city by metro .......and maybe not. We are staying at the Hilton at the airport so we can get out early for the 6:45am flight home on Wednesday. I took a couple of pictures at the signts we saw through the tour bus window......this one of the Coliseum is an example.

Oh we got home to Fabro, there was another rainbow waiting to greet us as we drove toward the house. It wasn't anything like the sight that greeted us on the first day we were here, but it was a good omen we think.

Another day in Umbria

June 5

Just a laundry etc. day in Umbria. We made a nice dinner again before our early trip to Rome in the morning..............up at 4:30am tomorrow.

The dinners we cook are joint efforts.......Carolyn made chicken and wine sauce this night. I made farfalle with peso sauce. We threw together a salad, artichokes from the garden and I did the bruschetta again with olive oil, tomatoes, basil and pecorino.......woo woo...with rosso from Casa Rondini.


Friday, June 6, 2008


June 4

We're driving to Florence today with a stop at the factory store (outlet) for the Siena leather shop (where I bought the red bag) is located.We made a little detour by getting off the A-1 one exit or so too soon. What the heck, we finally found it by following some parallel roads. In the shop I found just what I was looking for to take home as a couple of gifts. We headed on toward Florence and found a miraculously free parking spot right outside the pedestrian city center. We got our bearings (Carolyn is a good navigator) and started out. We found the San Lorenzo Market again where Carolyn was looking for a couple of things she saw previously and didn't get. I also found me that great little hanging leather eyeglass case I spotted on a woman at Il Latini. Oh yeah...then something else and on and on. We left no leather wallet, coin purse, money clip or handbag uninspected in all of Florence, Siena and environs.

Off to Rome on Friday on the train. If we take the 5am we can stay all day and head back at 7pm or 9pm train back to Fabro. By not staying overnight, we can forgo hauling the rolling laptop cases for all that gear. It will be an exhausting day for sure. I've never been to Rome so we will go to the Vatican Museum, Coliseum, Pantheon, etc by buying a day ticket on the buses that make the rounds where we can get on and off at will. Hummm....better make a run to the ATM on Thursday and do laundry again on our "rest" day here at Casa Rondini. There is also a little ceramic place Franco told me about near here where you can buy or make your own little oil jugs. He had a really cute one with a saucer that was different than the ones you see in all the shops. (Wonder if my baggage allowance can stand another item???)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


June 3...

We are off to Assisi this morning. The sun was shining as we got up but by the time we headed down the road, it had clouded up. We both took umbrellas this time and planned to carry them all day. Still no internet again this morning............and none when we returned from the trip either. Who knows why as we've given up trying to figure out why it comes and goes. It doesn't seen to really have anything to do with the weather like satellite internet does. I had to take this picture of the lilies in the flower beds......just think of the fragrance. I'd been watching them for several days. Bozena said we would find new delights each day as the flowers bloomed and she was right.

"Miss NUVI " did a good job of getting us there and back since we had to skirt Perugia.We only disobeyed her directions a couple of times this time. We found a parking garage and got a ticket. Good thing I noticed the sign saying take your ticket with you as we needed it to get back in. Weird way they had to pay as we had to go back in and put the ticket in an automatic machine with cash and then go back out and put it in another machine at the gate going out. Wonder how many just drive away and get a big fine later.

We started walking into the city street area after getting off a new, an elevator was welcome here. It all looked new with a nice contemporary steel railing, etc. However, that euphoria over an elevator didn't last long as the bridge ended and the walk began. It wasn't too bad considering some we've made over the last couple of weeks. We started finding shops all over the place and wandered into many of them and found some cute stuff for the grand-kids in one. I also finally found an olive oil bottle made in Deruta that I liked that was actually a decent price. I decided to come back and get it later if it was still there when we walked back to the car (and it was). We finally found the Basilica San Francesco where Saint Francis of Assisi is interred. It really is a beautiful church with all the Giotto frescoes.No photography was allowed although there were so many people in there that some didn't abide by the posted rules/signs.........or the Silenzio signs either.

Oh yeah, did I mention it started pouring down rain right as we were getting ready to sit down for a bite of lunch? We sat there with our umbrellas, under the umbrellas.......but finally when I saw mats washing down the street it was time to move indoors. We waited it out for a time. Due to the rudeness of the woman working there as we stepped into the space with our umbrellas....we decided to take our business elsewhere for lunch.

So we found a spot, ordered, sat or whatever. They served us, we decided on a gelato for desert. When il conto came, it seems we had to pay double OR more to sit, We sat down and they made us order from there when we'd planned to just order and then sit. Whatever, the reason (and I'd read of this), we were encouraged to do it the expensive way and then billed accordingly. Not happy campers, us.

I'm sure we didn't see much of what Assisi has to offer but the weather was not cooperating and it was time to head out for Casa Rondini...........we told NUVI, "Home, James" and headed out.

Some might wonder why I would show a picture of the edge of the Basilica, but my eye was caught by the verdant green of the landscape, the larger than life skies and the angles on the walk ways and buildings, with the curve arches just setting them off. These kinds of "marks" will show up in the paintings I will do after I return home from this inspiring land.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Slow Day In Umbria

June 2

We decided to decide this morning if we would go to Assisi. We were really tired from going out all day and into the evening just about every day since we've been here. SO, we just woke up...and turned over and went back to sleep. We knew the forecast was for rain, too. So it's been a lazy day around here....feels like a couple of weeks ago as it's much cooler when all the rain and wind came blowing through here today.

Now if it just blew on through enough to give us a little better weather tomorrow to go to Assisi. We're also looking at weather and schedules for a day by train to Rome but the weather looks like rain every day there as well except for Friday.

Late this morning I decided it was time for a pot of lentils since we bought them and the weather certainly called for something like this.........yum, yum they are good. Especially, with garlic and shallots from the garden and some chopped proscuitto crudo sautéed in olive oil.

Carolyn decided we couldn't let a day go by without a picture so here it is.........the beautiful sunset looking off the bedroom terrace....if you look really closely you will see the sparkle of the lights of Montegabbione.

Buona notte, amici.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore

June 1

Oh's June already. This afternoon we headed off to Monte Oliveto Maggiore. I'd been there before and Carolyn had not.

It shouldn't have been hard to find, but somehow it was. We did get off the A-1 at the right place but wandered off course at one of the round-a-bouts or strangely marked turns. into a tight squeeze and now know the meaning of the term. In Sinalunga, we went down a street that continued to get smaller until the passenger side outside rearview mirror scraped the side of a wall.......OOPS. Pulled those mirrors in for sure. I got out and helped direct Carolyn as she inched (I mean inched) the way back up the steep incline. At the end the transmission (or something) was smoking. We got the heck out of there and parked the car for a short time to cool it off. I was searching for numbers to call the rental office if necessary....but the auto kept on going although we would get a whiff now and then getting into the car the rest of the day.

Finally, we reached our destination. Beautiful and worth the trip for sure. More hills to climb, as I knew.

We considered a pizza again due to the later hour and being tired. Oh well...........home to Casa Rondini and the food we'd purchased earlier at the supermarket. Carolyn made a chicken saute/pasta sauce. We had a salad and the farfalle. We served it with some bread brushd with olive oil, and the Bianco we found at the supermarket.....Limoncello for the digestiv. Better watch out for Limoncello as it can make a person go dip their toes in the pool outside (cold water). No photos of this either even under the influence of Limoncello.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Arezzo, Cortona and Fish Night

May 29-30-31

Oh my....what to say, what to say! So much to do and what to pick to talk about. The day after the trip to Florence, we did laundry, rested up and made a reservation with our hosts here at Casa Rondini for "fish night". Previously they'd called it mussel night and we'd gone somewhere else. I'm fairly unsophisticated when it comes to various seafood you might say. But, what the heck, we decided to go anyway. We ended up with an insalada with eel, and something else that skips my brain right now. I was shocked that this dish was so good so I perked up some. The New Zealanders dining with us that night pronounced what we were eating or I mostly wouldn't have known. Well, I say that I still would have known those baby octopus and I think I spied a snail. We even has a cuttlefish,crawfish, mussels, and some anchovies.........oh me, if I hadn't been too embarrassed I would have passed on the anchovies. I went ahead and got out two of them...Probably the best anchovies in the whole world if I could eat two. .They had a lot of garlic, oil and spices so that helped. The fried calimari was good. Wish I could remember what one of the other main dishes was with all the veggie stuffing but I can't. We had a lot of courses including the wonderful torte with ice cream. One of the people from New Zealand informed us our host, Franco, had been a chef in, how lucky can you get!

Can't wait for Pizza Night sometime before we leave.

The next day we made a drive to Arezzo and found a good parking place, walked around, ate again (of course) and happened upon a great little art supply store where,of course, we found a few things we couldn't live without. I KNOW I WILL PAINT GREAT WORK WITH THESE PAINTING KNIVES. Or they will become a good souvenir of the trip. . We then stopped at an outlet mall on the way back that we heard of....but mostly USA brands. I did find a Moka pot to take home that was a good deal.

Today, we took our time getting out and about and then headed for Cortona. You have to go to the town where "Under the Tuscan Sun" was filmed, huh! We found a good place to park..........and lo and behold, a neat little shop with art glass jewelry. Woo-woo....just couldn't pass up that lovely bracelet and Carolyn got a great, unique ring. Nice young artist guy there, too, to tell us about his work.

We did another of the wonderful lunches there...........this time the Bistecca Fiorentina...very delish. Then since we had all that food, we had energy for another marathon climb to another church, Santa Margherita. Mass was being held so we could only glance around inside this beautiful Romanesque-Gothic church.

I did make a few pictures in Cortona, none at Arezzo but decided to share a picture of one of the many rose bushes right here at Casa Rondini. There are wonderful beds of roses and other flowers all over this place. I told Carolyn I never knew Italy loved roses like they do here. They are everywhere you go, from the lowliest to the fanciest homes and businesses........even the gasoline stations.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Firenze, Italy

Florence/Firenze..........May 27-28

Hum, what to say, what to say! What can you say about places with such a long history. I'd visited briefly before and went to the main museums (Uffizi and the Academia) but really didn't know or see that much but take in the old city near where we stayed.

This time I stayed at the same location just off the Doumo Piazza but had Carolyn with me. She teaches art for sure, I had a font of knowledge right there with me. She's also been there many times in the past.

So we made the rounds...and I do mean rounds and at about 92 degrees and many miles of steps we were bone tired by the end of the two days.But, I digress as I'm prone to do . Carolyn had never been to the Santa Croce cathedral so we went there that first afternoon. The next morning we set out for another place she's always wanted to see and hadn't......The Basilica of San Miniato Al Monte (top of the mountain to you, and especially to me. I thought I'd never get to the top of the steps that seemed to go on to infinity. If there is a place like this worth the effort of the climb, this one could be included. It is so beautiful, this 1000 year old church.

The night came and we decided to go to Il Latini, a restaurant my daughter and I had a good time at previously.We shouldn't have as we were so tired we felt ( or I did anyway) it an effort to eat and smile. they seat you at a table with 4-8 people communal style. Our bad luck was to get seated with a young woman who looked about 15 with her boyfriend who looked over 40. She was from Kent England she told us...and did not deign to make another comment even when prodded (graciously of course )...her date was nice and the other people on the other side were too far away with her in the middle to converse with much.

So .........early in the morning we got up never dreaming we would have the energy and headed up to the Basilica mentioned previously. We're doing pretty good for two old (nah) broads. And, we got in a little leather shopping running around as well.

On the way to the train station to return to Umbria, Carolyn took this picture of me in front of the Baptistry at the Florence Cathedral. And I took hers.

By the way........Carolyn's blog for this trip is located here. I'm sure we'll have some overlap but much with a totally different perspectiv.

May 26 addendum Al Fresco

Later that evening of the 26th, we cooked a chicken breast cutlet, made a salad with some fresh peas from the garden here, walnuts, tomatoes, leeks from the garden and a vinagarette, and a pasta with tomato and percorino. Carolyn also steamed a couple of artichokes from the garden here. We served it outside on our front terrace with some of the house Bianco. to Florence in the morning on the train.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Video experiment

My friend, Carolyn, took my two little camera videos and sized them down with some program her son gave's in I-phone cell format so it should be easier to show up on the internet..........hope I loaded it. We will see with this experiment...

Montegabbione and environs

Sunday, May 25

We spent much of Sunday with laundry, trying to get on the internet to upload a blog entry interrupted the previous day. Finally, I got my entry and pictures uploaded but was in the middle of an IM sessionwith Cynthia when it went out again. No more internet for the rest of the day/night and none this morning on Monday as well.

We were talking with our hosts and accidentally (and fortunately for us) found out there was a celebration of some kind (religious) in the little town down the road...Montegabbione. They outlined all the major central streets with chalk and filled in the spaces with flower petals to "paint" symbols of Christianity. We got there early before a procession of some kind would wipe them out and took pictures and generally just took in the sights and preparations. Very beautiful, indeed. And so interesting to find the continuance of celebrations such as this that have come down probably from the ages to the present day.We left before the procession to head to Citta Della Pieve (one of the favorite towns for us around here) for another "celebration/procession" there. We found an ideal observance point in a small bar with outside tables right across from the main staging area. There was supposed to be jousting somewhere but we must have misunderstood the timing since we never found/saw it. We were there to record on two short two minute videos the procession through the streets. Men wearing robes........all religious, etc, children (some so small to have their mamas escorting them, and the men having to bear the weight of numerous crosses and symbolic heavy decorations of all kinds. Forgive me for not knowing what much would mean as I'm not grounded in Catholicism at all....nor in art history. The videos are almost 200 mg each for two minutes each. I have no knowledge of compressing them so they can be up/downloaded so will have to figure that out at some point. The little Canon camera is great for these little short recordings. As an aside, we met some nice people from Cheshire UK there for a choir performance...but it started too late for us to hang around and still get back early enough to have something some dinner on the way back to the apartment.

We went back through Monteleone d' Orvieto to stop at a place known to our hosts for barbecue and pizza, La Tana del Gufo (OWL) Wonderful thin crust Capricciosa pizza for both of us and a small bottle of the house Bianco. I think we may go back there again before leaving Umbria as this is on of the little towns we can see from our back terrace.

The rest of today (if no internet returns) will be spent trying to figure out what will fit in the small rolling laptop bag (sans laptop) for the trip by train to Florence early tomorrow morning. Or maybe also to just wander around as we are prone to do. The sun is shining ...or comes and goes and we can hear the tractor and our host hard at work on the place.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Surprise on the way to Deruta

Sunday, May 25

Yesterday I was able to get through to the Residenza Proconsolo and make a reservation for Tuesday night. We can also stay an extra night if we decide to. Will take train from Fabro station near here to Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence. We should have a 10 minute or so walk to the B & B. Having stayed there before, I know you only go out the front door and walk a block to the can even see it from the window of the room. We'll be missing my Mississippi Art Colony friends as they will be arriving the day after we leave. Maybe we can still meet up in Assissi after the 31st.

We decided to make the drive to Deruta yesterday........known all over the world for their ceramics. When we were driving along...........whoa, suddenly the road filled with goats. It was a large herd with its own "shepherd".........a herding dog. The dog barked at them to get the move on and over to the side of the road and barked at us for taking pictures of his "babies".

Deruta was nice enough but we stayed a short time as they were preparing for a big celebration right there where we were for their soccer team's big awards/celebration for wins.

We didn't really see that much of Deruta probably since the town was preparing for a celebration/awards ceremony for their young soccer players to celebrate a big win. We did see quality work (according to my non-knowledge of ceramics) there in several shops we went in. One had PR posted on the wall about their work's quality.....from the NY Times, no less. One other shop sends work to Neiman Marcus and to All Things Foreign in Snyder Plaza, Dallas, TX. I'll have to remember to look for this in both places later on down the line. AND the prices were better for Olio bottles there than in Siena. I'm in the market for a new one so will keep looking as I broke one of mine not long ago.