Friday, April 24, 2015

Enjoying Spring and Planning for Fall

Seems like everything's blossoming, growing, and greening-up time of year. It's so much fun to walk around the yard every day and discover what poked up through the soil overnight. Echinacea, hosta, and primroses are all growing, and the bleeding heart is covered with buds. The forsythia was spectacular this year - I brought a few branches inside to enjoy and did this little sketch in my Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook the other day.

5 1/2" x 8 1/2", ink & watercolor

I'm enjoying spring, but I have to admit I'm a little preoccupied with the future. I've been working on lessons for my week-long workshop in Maine in June...

And I need to finish up everything for a two-day sketchbook journaling workshop in San Clemente in July. I'm adding pages to my nature journal in preparation for my "Sketchbook Journaling in Nature" workshop at Touchstone in September, and always, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about Tuscany in October!

That's the reason for my writing today. I wanted to let you all know what a great deal that trip is now. The Euro/Dollar exchange rate has been dropping for months and it's almost down to 1:1. Since my Fattoria Bacio workshop is priced in Euros, that makes it an unbelievable deal! It's half the cost of comparable workshops. Click here for a flyer that details the prices.

There are still a few spaces open for this all-inclusive seven-day workshop. Read all about it on the Italy Workshop page and think about joining me for the week. We're going to have a great time sketching, learning, touring, and relaxing. And the food will be fantastic!

We have a great group of artists going on the trip. Many of them are people I know locally and a few are from other parts of the country, but we all have one thing in common - we love an adventure! We'll be seeing Tuscany at a slower pace, with time to sketch, visit the village markets, wander the back streets of hilltop towns and sit in the sun and sip a cappuccino. I believe that traveling should be more than just checking items off a list of "25 Places You Don't Want to Miss in Tuscany!!" My goal with this trip is to immerse ourselves in the joys of Tuscany, have a good time and come home with a journal filled to overflowing with memories of our time there.

I'll be teaching a lesson each day, then we'll head out to apply what we've learned. The class size will be small, only around ten or so students, which will allow me to help everyone individually as they work in their watercolor travel journals.

I'm so excited to have a chance to share Tuscany with a group of fun-loving artists. Think about joining us - it's going to be a wonderful trip!

Click here for more information about my
Fattoria Bacio workshop

Friday, April 17, 2015

Crazy for Daffodils!

Daffydowndilly has come up to town,
in a yellow petticoat and a green gown.
~  Traditional nursery rhyme

I taught a lesson on painting yellow daffodils the other day for my April "Sketching at Summerhill" party, and one of my sweet friends who came to paint brought me a gorgeous bouquet of daffodils from her garden. But these weren't the everyday kind of daffodils that I grow in my yard - hers were pink, white, yellow, orange and salmon-colored, many of them ruffled and curled like a frilly spring dress.

8-1/2" x 11", ink & watercolor in a Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook

We all oohed and aahed over them during the class, and several of my students did sketches of them. Then when everyone went home, I sat the pitcher of colorful blooms on my kitchen counter to enjoy for another day or two. But I kept thinking about how fleeting those blossoms were - they'd be wilting and shriveling up in such a short time.

So I did what any self-respecting artist would do - I sat down and began painting them!

What a great way to really savor nature's fleeting beauty!

The time I spent drawing and painting those gorgeous flowers was time I wasn't worrying or fretting or stressing over anything.

All I had to think about was how to mix that exact color of salmon-pink for the daffodil center, and whether to paint the shadows lavender, gold or green.

Such a simple thing - drawing a line, putting brush to paper, watching the color mingle and flow - but it changes me.

It calms my hyper, type-A personality and brings me peace. It's a way to meditate on beauty and make it a part of me. And it just plain makes me happy!

A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up,
whether or no the sun be shining outside.
~ A.A. Milne
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